Maria Bell headshot.

An Entrepreneurial Actuary: Maria Bell '22

Editor's note: Opus College of Business is highlighting Schulze Innovation Scholars, recipients of a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and participants in a premier academic program. Read the rest of the profiles.

Maria Bell '22 plans to apply her entrepreneurial problem-solving skills as an actuary in the corporate environment after college.

How did you decide on your double major at St. Thomas?

I've always had an aptitude for math, but I didn't want to be an engineer. Then I learned that actuarial science combines both math and business. As a double major in actuarial science and entrepreneurship, I'm working toward becoming a certified actuary. My goal is to incorporate my problem-solving skills into my future roles. I see a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurial thinkers in the insurance industry.

I joke that entrepreneurs tend to be very comfortable with risk, and actuaries are the ones assessing, analyzing and managing risk. Rather than having these two things work against each other, I want to find a risk appetite that's beneficial to all stakeholders.

What's an example of using both your actuarial science and entrepreneurship degrees?

One example could be how to launch new insurance products for auto risks that didn't exist 10 years ago – self-driving cars, for example. With my entrepreneurial background, I could develop and introduce these new ideas.

The past two summers, I benefitted from actuarial internships at UnitedHealth Group and Intact Insurance Specialty Solutions. I worked on real-world projects that improved my technical, analytical and interpersonal skills. These experiences also gave me great exposure to the risk management field.

At Intact Insurance Specialty Solutions, I was learning new things they provide insurance for every day - even the vocal cords of major singers! I accepted a full-time offer after graduation and can't wait to start. I also passed my third actuarial science exam this past summer, so it's been a busy couple of months!

St. Thomas does a great job teaching practical skills I can apply to corporate innovation. Right now, I'm learning about business strategy and financial decision-making. I'm also learning interpersonal skills on how to lead and listen to customers. These kinds of skills are crucial for any role.

I look forward to applying the innovative and critical thinking skills I'm learning to my actuarial journey after graduation.

Because of the Schulze Innovation Scholarship, I'll be well-prepared for my future.

Maria Bell '22