SWM Stories

The International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA)

The International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA) was established in 1992 to address a lack of diversity in the actuarial profession, aiming to reduce underrepresentation of Black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American groups. According to the IABA, the primary driver behind the lack of black actuaries is not black students’ lack of mathematical ability, but rather a lack of knowledge of the profession’s existence outside of certain groups. Determined to improve the rate of growth of underrepresented groups within the profession, the IABA approached the Goldenson Center to conduct Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) analysis and provide suggestions on how to proceed.


A team of students under the leadership of the Director of the Goldenson Center, Professor Jay Vadiveloo, compiled data on the IABA through phone interviews and email correspondence to obtain a clear picture of the organization’s structure, risks and growth opportunities. One growing issue at the time was that some organization members were finding it hard to devote time to IABA activities due to most members working full-time outside the organization. It was suggested to the IABA to implement community outreach programs, modify the budget and clarify spending rules, so as to promote efficiency and improve retention rates at all levels of the organization while also marketing the benefits of joining the IABA to recruit more members.


The IABA were also advised on how to improve their ongoing initiatives, which included reaching out to high schools and colleges to promote the actuarial profession and educate students of a wider range of ethnicities about the actuarial certification process, as this was a large barrier of entry to students who did not have the resources to prepare for this. The analysis suggested that providing scholarships for well-performing college students was effective, but could be further extended to high-achieving high school students as well to motivate them to consider the career early on. By tracking important metrics such as the number of high school students expressing interest in pursuing an actuarial science-related degree would also allow the IABA to track the effectiveness of its programs in the future.

Between Rounds Bagel

Between Rounds Bagels is a business that opened in 1990 in the Vernon, Connecticut area. The Goldenson Center had analyzed daily sales records for each item. We had noticed that there was a problem with marketability. One of the problems Between Rounds Bagel had was how to bring in new customers. We had noticed that there were not many promotions or coupons offered by Between Rounds Bagel.  One of the suggestions that Goldenson Center had was that they would run bagel promotions one at a time and test what days of the week were most effective and how helpful they are in bringing in business. There could also be deals done online using Groupon, an organized website that allows businesses to advertise with printable coupons, and by creating a Facebook page, they could advertise, offer coupons, and organize promotions. Due to Between Rounds Bagel facing competition, the Goldenson Center had suggested a change in the image of their store to appeal to a younger clientele as this could be one of the ways they can mitigate this risk. Since then, they have built two more retail locations in South Windsor, Manchester, and are continuing to expand.

Willimantic Brewing Company

Willimantic Brewing Company has been the “go-to” place for beer connoisseurs, wing fans, and bar-fare enthusiasts in and around the Willimantic area. There wasn’t a particular problem that the brewing company wanted the Goldenson Center team to solve, but the company wanted the team to help with business growth. The team started by profiling the industry in which the business belongs, gathering information on the types and criteria for the craft beer industry, and also gathered data on the amount of opening and closings of microbreweries, brewpubs, and regional craft breweries. Since Willimantic Brewing Company also focuses on food, the team also brought in stats on the US restaurant industry obtained from national restaurant associations.

From there, the Goldenson Center team gathered general information such as the number of employees, how the business operates, space of seating, competition, etc. Then, the team further analyzed the steps taken by the business to protect against any risks/allegations they may face.

Using this information, the team crafted tables and charts on their performance between the years 2006-2010 as annual sales, contribution to total sales, costs of sales, gross profit, gross profit margin, net income, and net profit margin. The team concluded that both the net income and the net profit margin were trending up, so the business was managing its expenses efficiently.

With so much wiggle room, the team gave some recommendations that were inexpensive and easy to execute, such as:

  • The location did not allow for close parking, so advertise the parking area nearby on social pages to customers who are aware, or offering valet parking would relieve the customer of the stress of parking;
  • Continuing with online advertising/promotions, the team gave many websites in which they could choose who they wanted to advertise their specials;
  • Having formal training sessions for employees to ensure they are held to a certain standard and to further enforce underage drinking regulations to reduce the risk of accidents occurring near the premises.