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The "École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique" (ENSAE) is one of the leading French graduate schools in the fields of statistics, economics, finance and actuarial science.
ENSAE is a founding member of the Paris Institute of Technology (ParisTech), together with some of France's most prestigious graduate schools of engineering (the so-called "Grandes écoles"). ENSAE is deeply related to the Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST), one of France's leading research centers in economics, statistics, and finance. More recently, ENSAE became a founding member of the Paris-Saclay University. University partnerships extend to all excellence of ENSAE-CREST: economics, statistics, insurance, and finance.
ENSAE's faculty includes some of the country's foremost specialists in their fields. Most lecturers at ENSAE are full-time professors or researchers, but many are professionals working in large public or private corporations.
About a hundred and fifty students graduate each year from ENSAE. After completing a program comparable to the first year of study for a North-American Ph. D. or a top-level North-American Master's Degree in Economics or Statistics. Two-thirds of ENSAE graduates join banks or insurance companies. Many of the others obtain academic positions or work as consultants or auditors. Over fifty percents of ENSAE graduates work in the field of finance.
The academic background of ENSAE students is extensive. Some of them are admitted through a competitive examination after two or three years in the post-secondary school preparatory programs (the so-called "classes préparatoires"). Others are graduates of the top French graduate schools such as Ecole Normale Supérieure, Ecole Polytechnique, and other Grandes Ecoles. Others are university graduates in either economics or mathematics.
ENSAE also welcomes international students who have graduated from top graduate schools of comparable standards in their own countries. Depending on their background and needs, these students can be admitted either into the first or into the second year of the mainstream three-year engineering program, or the fifteen-month graduate program "Mastère Spécialisé" in Actuarial Science, Data Science, Quantitative Finance or Applied Economics.
Ph.D. students who have passed their qualifying examinations can join the CREST to work on their dissertation.
The word "actuary" appears for the first time in the 18th century in England: "expert who calculates risks and insurance premiums." The Larousse dictionary defines him today as a "specialist who makes statistical calculations for insurance." This is a somewhat narrow view; he should instead be considered as a specialist in risk management in insurance companies. He conducts studies to mathematically model these risks (development and pricing of insurance contracts, evaluation of financial products, investment choices, financial risk management). He also controls the legal, accounting, tax, and commercial aspects in which he intervenes.
Historically, actuarial studies have emerged as soon as the problem of organizing and financing a system of insurance on life arose. Today, the actuary's work has extended to all insurance systems (pension and insurance plans, personal insurance, fire insurance, accident, and different risks). Required to take part in the management of substantial funds collected by insurance companies, the actuary must also have some knowledge of quantitative finance.
Created in 1891 by the French Institute of Actuaries, the title of "actuary" was initially intended for professionals successfully passing a qualifying examination. Since 1930, a degree has also been issued by way of training by the University of Lyon (ISFA) and, gradually, by several universities and Grandes Ecoles, including ENSAE in 1985. The actuarial movement in France is managed today by the Institute of Actuaries. In 2015, it had 3000 associated or qualified members. There are about 200 newly trained actuaries every year.
The Actuarial major allows ENSAE students to acquire a solid methodological base and present their application to the Institute of Actuaries to become associate members.
Historically, the core business of the actuary was the pricing of insurance contracts and provision for commitments related to these contracts. In casualty insurance, nearly 70% of the companies' liabilities consist of provisions for outstanding claims. Their impact on the income of insurance companies makes their assessment strategies. That is why senior actuaries in insurance companies are led to hold managerial and senior positions. For this, they must have advanced knowledge of statistics, computer science, and insurance.
The risks of natural disasters and the industrial risks of large groups increasingly affect non-life insurance companies' liabilities. The use of reinsurance products has become a necessity for the solvency of companies. It is thus clear that actuaries naturally find their place in insurance and reinsurance companies to establish risk-sharing mechanisms.
The inversion of the insurance production cycle leads companies to collect large sums of money and manage them intelligently. The number of assets managed by life insurers at the end of 2014 amounted to over 1,900 billion euros (source: FFSA). The actuary has a privileged place to occupy in asset-liability management and asset allocation trades. These jobs require excellent knowledge of portfolio management tools and financial mathematics. The development of retirement savings plans over the last fifteen years in France has brought job opportunities and prospects for actuaries.
Actuarial firms, internal audit departments of insurance companies, and the regulatory authority (ACP, Prudential Control Authority) finally offer cross-functional positions to actuaries in control and auditing.
In summary, the actuary degree allows us to occupy high-level positions in insurance companies. It provides the basic knowledge required for career-oriented towards education and research in assurance.

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