“The mathematics department was phenomenal. You really get to know the professors, and it is easy to get help.”

Ian Watson, Mathematics

Math major Ian Watson ’16 made history when he graduated in May – he is the first Missouri Western student to pass two actuarial exams before graduation.

Watson, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, passed his first actuarial exam in June 2015, and his second in January 2016. He estimates that he studied about 300 hours before each exam. For the first exam, he was one of only 45.2 percent of candidates that received a passing score.

“Studying for actuarial exams makes nearly any student doubt themselves because the exams are challenging and are known to have a low pass rate. In addition to being totally prepared, students need to be able to work quickly, confidently and accurately,” said Dr. Steve Klassen, associate professor of mathematics.

Since there is not a specialized actuarial degree, Ian worked with Dr. Klassen to make sure he took the right classes in order to be prepared for the exams, including an independent study class with Dr. Klassen. Dr. Klassen also connected Ian with alumni who are actuaries and arranged for him to attend an actuary career fair.

“The mathematics department was phenomenal,” Ian says. “You really get to know the professors, and it is easy to get help.”