IABA Boot Camp Participant Perspective

Tenesia McGruder

Ama Ampadu-Kissi was not always interested in actuarial science. In Ghana, she was a math and computer science major, and she initially thought she’d become an accountant. As fate would have it, she didn’t get accepted into business school. So, she investigated other professions and stumbled upon actuarial science. After some research, she decided to pursue the major because risk management appealed to her. Her research culminated in the decision to pursue a graduate degree in actuarial science at Illinois State.

“I heard about the IABA in the past, but I didn’t know much about the organization,” Ama says. “A teaching assistant at Illinois State mentioned the IABA Boot Camp. I applied just one day before the application deadline and was fortunate to be selected for the 2016 IABA Boot Camp class.”

Ama says that attending the Boot Camp alleviated significant potential roadblocks for her as an international student. It helped her create a professional resume and learn the importance of establishing a network.

She credits IABA’s programs with forcing her out of her comfort zone and helping her career. Ama feels so strongly about IABA’s impact that she has become a dedicated volunteer and led the team for the Scholarship and Boot Camp program research. She also holds an IABA Board position as Student Liaison. This year she plans on taking one more exam toward obtaining her Fellowship and taking the third Chartered Financial Analyst exam.

“My experience with the Boot Camp and IABA gave me more exposure [to the profession], cultivated my leadership skills and allowed me to make a positive impact on others,” Ama says. “For that, I am grateful.”

Ama Ampadu-Kissi, ASA, is a senior actuarial associate at Venerable Annuity. She attended IABA’s Boot Camp in 2016 and received an IABA scholarship in 2017.
Tenesia McGruder, FSA, MAAA, is an actuary at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.

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