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Research your career choices

By Pertunia Mafokwane | 2017-07-25 10:10:19.0

Gontse Sekhitla was 17 when he made the decision to become an actuary.

At the time he was in Grade 11 at Potchefstroom Boys High School. Now 29, Sekhitla is head of risk product development at Liberty Corporate.

He said at first actuarial science was the last choice on his list of career choices after accounting and engineering. But when he researched more about the career he found that it suited his personality.

"I knew that I wanted to be in business so engineering took the back seat. I found that actuarial science was more my personality and what I wanted to do," Sekhitla said.

"I chose it because it gives you an opportunity to touch on a lot of aspects in the finance industry."

Raised by a single parent with other siblings, Sekhitla said he was really good in maths and average in other subjects. He completed his degree in actuarial science at Wits University in 2009.

"It was a very difficult course, I must say. For me, the biggest jump was from high school to first year.

"I do not think high school and the subjects we take adequately prepare you for it because it is a different level in thinking and applying concepts," he said.

Sekhitla worked as an actuarial analyst at Alexander Forbes for a year before he went back to university to complete his honours degree.

He returned to Alexander Forbes in 2012, when he was promoted to a senior actuarial analyst. In 2014 he was promoted to an actuarial specialist, where he became the key contact person to deal with various companies.

Sekhitla was also involved in new business acquisition strategy before he left the company in 2016 to join Liberty.

"My whole career I have always been involved in (dealing with) employer benefits. I like to be able to make a difference in people's lives.

"Being able to assist people at their time of need is what I enjoy about my job," he said.



Sekhitla said it was important for young people to research careers before they make a choice.

"Know exactly what you are getting yourself into, because it is a long journey to actually qualify as an actuary, but it is worth it."

He gives credit to the SA Actuaries Development Programme that sponsored his studies.

"I would like to be a CEO of an organisation at some point."