School of Business

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By: Megan Nash

Meet Sang Hoon Ahn, actuarial faculty for the Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate at VCU School of Business, where he combines his expertise in Statistics and Actuarial Science with a passion for mentoring students. A lover of classical music and profound personal moments, Sang’s teaching is as much about imparting knowledge as it is about inspiring curiosity.

Let’s get started!

Where can we find you on the VCU map?

I’m located in the School of Business (Snead Hall), Office B4166.

Can you share a bit about your educational journey? Where did you go to school, and what was your major?

I studied at the University of Iowa where I earned two Master of Science degrees – Statistics and Actuarial Science.

What inspired you to pursue a career in your field, and how has your journey evolved over the years?

I chose an actuarial career post-college and military service. Learning about actuarial science during my MBA, I saw a chance for professional growth and financial stability for my family. The idea of utilizing mathematics in my work was also particularly fascinating. After graduating from graduate school, I spent about a decade working in the field, followed by another 10 years running my own business as an independent actuary.

Since 2015, I’ve been teaching actuarial science at the university level, following on from high school teaching. I’ve come to realize even more that teaching is a very precious task to me through my experiences in the school setting. Beyond delivering knowledge, it is my objective to be a steppingstone for students to push past obstacles, unveil their passions and actualize them.

Meeting my students with this hope is a profound and rewarding part of my journey.

Can you share a memorable experience from your teaching career that had a significant impact on your approach to education?  

Before teaching at school, I did a summer student-teaching stint. I taught students retaking a failed Geometry exam. One student’s question, “How can you subtract two from one?” initially drew laughter, but it was earnest. Stumped, I simply acknowledged her query. This respect shifted her attitude; she became attentive and ended the term excellently.

Reflecting on this, her question seemed a precursor to understanding negative numbers, showing deep thought. Now, I foster such inquisitive thinking in my lessons, realizing I might be guiding the next great thinker in this AI-driven era.Bottom of Form

That’s a powerful teaching moment! Interesting how a simple question can open doors for broader understanding. Speaking of powerful moments …

If you could time-travel to any historical period for a day, which era would you choose any why?

It would undoubtedly be the day I first met the young woman who would later become my wife. I would look upon her with all the warmth and fondness that has only deepened over time. It’s with those eyes and heart that I desire to spend the rest of our lives together, cherishing each moment as much as I did that very first one.

If you had to create a playlist of songs that represent your academic journey, what would be your ‘Top 3?’

  1. The Marriage of Figaro – Canzonetta sull’aria (A Little Song on the Breeze) played at “Shawshank Redemption” – Mozart
  2. One moment in Time
  3. Beethoven’s 5 Secrets – OneRepublic played by The Piano Guys
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