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Jacob Snow: Using Mathematics to Address Real-World Challenges

Jacob Snow (’16SPS, Actuarial Science) currently works as an actuarial analyst at New Jersey’s largest health network, Hackensack Meridian Health, where his role involves monitoring the growth of value-based care plans, navigating drivers of cost and utilization, and delivering more effective care. Over the years, he has developed a successful record of making complex concepts more accessible to people of various backgrounds. He aims to utilize a healthcare career to make quantitative analysis more approachable and relevant to the world.

What initially attracted you to the Actuarial Science program at Columbia University?

I enjoy working with numbers and appreciate the ability to use mathematics to address real-life challenges. After earning a degree in mathematics at my local community college, I transferred to Rutgers with the intention of beginning a bachelor’s-to-master’s program in statistics. The opportunity to focus my math skills on actuarial science was very intriguing. At Columbia, I learned from the best and brightest minds in the industry on how to make complicated issues associated with math approachable and relevant to my career. Though I took a few online classes at Columbia, the vast majority of my classes were in person, and I enjoyed the camaraderie that being in a physical classroom offered.

What skills did you build and improve on through the program?

As a student in the M.S. in Actuarial Science program, I learned the importance of using innovative solutions to address the quantifiable aspects of risk. Also, I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to give back to Columbia by volunteering and participating in student life, and I am proud to have served as the treasurer for the Actuarial Society of Columbia University. I also served as a founding member and Vice President for Gamma Iota Sigma at Columbia University. Gamma Iota Sigma is an Insurance and Risk Management pre-professional fraternity that provides a venue for students studying insurance, actuarial science, and risk management to network with and learn from each other. I have always been curious about how we analyze risk and reward, and being a member of Gamma Iota Sigma introduced how other risk-related disciplines work together with actuarial science.

How have these skills helped you succeed in your career?

As the one and only Actuarial Analyst at Hackensack Meridian Health, my goal is to improve the allocation of resources by analyzing data and add value to care by increasing benefit and reducing cost. I dig into problems to find the key issues, and I am willing to do extra research and ask follow-up questions to figure out the true causes underlying difficult problems. The skills that I learned as a student at Columbia University have served me well, both in terms of my actuarial training and in terms of the opportunities that we had to work on group projects that required us to apply quantitative knowledge to real-world scenarios.