SMS: Alumni Homecoming & IFoA Ceremony 2022 

Sunway Alumni Homecoming

Sunway’s School of Mathematical Sciences (SMS) hosted an Alumni Homecoming ceremony on June 18, 2022, to welcome former students back to their alma mater. Professor Sibrandes Poppema, President of Sunway University, and Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences and Professor Ho Chee Kit were among the distinguished guests who graced the gathering.

The event’s emcees, Matthew and Anna, welcomed the audience with vigour to kick off the event, which was followed by an opening speech by Prof Poppema. In his remarks, he recalled some of the new facilities and plans that Sunway is now developing to allow development for the other Sunway schools. Despite the fact that SMS was only formed 5 years ago, the school has over 700 alumni who are currently working in industries such as insurance, banking, finance, and others. Furthermore, SMS’ Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Actuarial Studies programme received a QS 5 star rating, making it the only 5 star programme in Sunway University and the only 5 star programme in Malaysia in the discipline of Mathematical Sciences.

Next was the presentation award for ‘The Top Employers Award’ given to employers in recognition of their support towards the students at SMS.

The next presenting honour was the ‘Outstanding Alumni Award.’ The following list of students were given a token of appreciation for their contributions to the school over the past years. 

Next was an Alumni Sharing Session, during which some of the alumni recounted their experiences while studying at Sunway as well as their experiences after graduation. Ms Tan Lynn Wei, a Sunway Actuarial alumna with nearly 5 years of working experience in the risk management profession who’s now an Executive in Investment and Operational in a unit trust management company, Ms Givaythaa A/P Ganisen, a Sunway Actuarial alumna who secured the exemptions under the Exemption Excellence Award and is now an Analyst in RBC Investor and Treasury Services, and Mr Arshad Muhamad, an alumna  who  is  currently  an  Information Technology Support Engineer in DXC Technology, made up the panellists for the sharing session. Along with a bright moderator, Mr Gabriel Ng, a Sunway Alumnus who is now an Insurance Analyst at Cover Genius, a worldwide insurtech that specialises in integrated insurance.

With the conclusion of the sharing session, Professor Ho, was asked to offer his closing address and conclude the event. In his remarks, he expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to begin this path of establishing the SMS culture with the lecturers, colleagues, industry partners, alumni, and students for their ongoing devotion in the face of hardship. The obstacles ahead are huge, therefore he urges everyone to put on a brave front, despite the fact that both failure and success are habits, they can always be better.

The evening concluded with a networking session at Sunway’s Art Gallery, where alumni, employees, and students could meet, reminisce, and look forward to the future together.

Lastly, to bring the readers closer to the event itself, Echo had the opportunity to interview some of the attendees such as Givaythaa and Vaibhavi. Both of them enjoyed the networking and engagement session as they both had the chance to meet with their friends and lecturers before the event began. This brought back so many memories at Sunway University. For Givaythaa, she enjoys networking, her expectations were met as she got to meet up with not only her friends but also her juniors and lecturers during the event. Lastly, she does hope that this event would continue to be held every year as it brings opportunity to both alumni and students to connect with one another. 

Sunway IFoA Awards Ceremony

On the 2nd of July 2022, the 3rd Sunway IFoA Awards Ceremony was held at the Rooftop Terrace, Sunway University. The event, held from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, was attended by 30 participants. Due to the pandemic, the 1st and 2nd IFoA Awards Ceremony were held virtually on the 25th of June 2021 and 19th of November 2021, respectively. Hence, the third edition of the IFoA Awards Ceremony, held physically, was very much awaited.

Pre-Event Photos

The IFoA Awards Ceremony centers around awarding students who have completed their studies in BSc (Hons) in Actuarial Studies with full exemptions, as the course offers up to six professional paper exemptions – CS1, CS2, CM1, CM2, CB1 and CB2 – coming from the professional actuary body, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA). As of 2022, there are over 45 universities worldwide that offer such exemptions, and Sunway University remains proud to be able to achieve the full 6 exemptions in its BSc (Hons) in Actuarial Studies.

Ms Chan’s Opening Remarks

The award ceremony started with an opening remark by Ms Chan Lay Guat, the Head of the Department of Actuarial Science and Risk. She congratulated the students as represented the third batch of graduates who would be receiving the Exemption Excellence Award. Most students who graduated with full exemptions managed to secure an actuarial job within 3 to 6 months of their graduation, some even before their graduation. With that, the Head of the Department hoped that the students’ achievements could inspire current students, as they could also achieve the amazing feat through hard work and persistence. The completion of their course at Sunway University only marks the beginning of their actuary journey. She concluded her speech by expressing her hopes that the students would not forget their time in Sunway and she thanked her fellow colleagues who taught and inspired these bright students.

Mr Mark’s Congratulatory Speech

Next, the Guest of Honor, Mr Mark Chau, IFoA’s Regional General Manager for Asia Pacific delivered his congratulatory speech. He shared that the IFoA qualifications are internationally recognised, which will enhance one’s career, adding global mobility and recognition to be within reach of international opportunities. Being qualified tells the employer that one has a set of certified skills matched with the required experience for the industry. However, attaining the IFoA qualifications requires hard work and persistence. He closed his speech by congratulating the students for their hard work. 

With that, the award ceremony officially began. Mr Chau presented the Exemption Excellence Award to the 12 students who have achieved six IFoA exemptions. These students are: 

  1. Calvin Lee Kai Meng
  2. Cha Yee Ming
  3. Gam Yao Yi
  4. Gan Ming Hui
  5. Gan Zi Tian
  6. Koh Wan Fong
  7. Lim Xin Jie
  8. Matthew Goh Sek Foong
  9. Melanie Yeow Chee Wei
  10. Ng Shen Ting
  11. Nicholas Cheong Yeow Hoe
  12. Tan Si Ke
Graduates receiving the Exemption Excellence Award
Exemption Excellence Award recipients

In addition, two students were selected to deliver their speech on receiving the full exemptions. Calvin Lee Kai Meng expressed that he initially enrolled in the course due to the good reviews by the seniors and the exemptions offered from the professional and recognised body of IFoA. He emphasised that consistency is very hard to maintain, but it is one of the key factors to achieving goals. Lastly, he urged his juniors to be disciplined and consistent in achieving their chosen career path.

Melanie Yeow’s Speech

The next student who gave her speech was Melanie Yeow Chee Wei. To her, she pursued the IFoA pathway due to the prestige and career development prospects as this would be a good stepping stone for her career. She received a lot of moral and emotional support from people around her, which kept her motivated. She is very grateful to IFoA for providing the exemptions to universities such as Sunway University, as it helped secure her position in AIA as an Actuarial Analyst. Finally, she tipped the juniors that the subjects and skills learnt in the course are useful in the real world regardless of the pathway they choose. 

Sir Edward Johnston Prize Award recipient, Nicholas Cheong

After Melanie’s speech, the Sir Edward Johnston Prize Award was presented to Nicholas Cheong Yeow Hoe. This award was established in 2013 when the IFoA received a bequest from Sir Edward Johnston’s widow, Christine Ottewill. The family has had a long association with South East Asia so it felt fitting that the bequest be used in connection with the IFoA’s growing presence in that region. The Sir Edward Johnston Prize is awarded to the best performing graduating students on the actuarial programmes at several universities which are linked to the IFoA like Sunway University.

Delivering his acceptance speech, Nicholas Cheong enthusiastically mentioned that the exemptions (and the award) he received is a major confidence boost for him to continue his actuarial career pathway, as knowing that by completing this degree, he will be part of one of the most highly demanded and highest paying jobs in the world. His journey in Actuarial Studies was very challenging and he has pushed himself to his very limits. He thanked his lecturers for their constant support and patience throughout the course. With that support, he and his peers managed to “survive one of the hardest and most challenging courses” while developing the necessary skill sets for the future. He also acknowledged IFoA for recognising Sunway’s Actuarial Studies course and providing the IFoA exemptions.

Following Nicholas Cheong’s speech, a Token of Appreciation was presented to Mr Chau by Ms Chan. To conclude the IFoA Award Ceremony, a group photo with all attendees of the event was taken to commemorate the event. A lunch and networking session followed shortly after.

All in all, witnessing the IFoA Awards Ceremony and commemorating the achievements by the seniors have definitely inspired and motivated many of the juniors to continue to work hard in the course, where they could aspire to be just like their seniors, and possibly being one of the next award recipients for the upcoming IFoA Awards Ceremony.

Group Photo with Attendees of Sunway IFoA Award Ceremony

All in all, witnessing the IFoA Awards Ceremony and commemorating the achievements by the seniors has inspired and motivated many of the juniors to continue to work hard in the course, where they could aspire to be just like their seniors, and possibly being one of the next award recipients for the upcoming IFoA Award Ceremony.

Ms Chan with Exemption Excellence Award recipients
Ms Chan with current Actuarial Studies students

Written by: Maki, Jamie, Sing Yuin

Edited by: Natalie

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