Actuary vs. Graduate School

If you are like me and you majored in Mathematics in college, you might be considering to become an Actuary or going to Graduate school (to become a teacher or get your PhD in the field). I was there and I want to shed light on what swayed me.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to an REU (Research experience for Undergraduates) at Duke University. A lot of Math majors try to attend REUs. This gave me a valuable experience on what graduate school might be like. At Duke, I modeled the dynamics of a heart disorder known as ventricular fibrillation using physics of a bouncing ball. This was a combination of Physics with Differential Equations. Anyways, I figured out maybe graduate school was not for me. I was ready  to start making an income after four years in college.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for that opportunity at Duke, but it just wasn’t for me.

As an employed Actuarial Student (aka Actuarial Assistant in most companies), you are paid a full-time salary, but are also required to study and pass exams. You are given paid study time. Not only are you studying, but you are also earning an income.  Plus you are not going into debt because your employer is paying for your actuarial exam fees and study materials (which includes books, study manuals, and exam prep seminars).  Plus your salary usually goes up as you pass more exams (check with the actuarial employer on this).  Lastly, being an Actuary really is a dream job for me because we are using math and actuarial science applied to real world problems.  So that in a nutshell is why I chose becoming an Actuary vs. going to graduate school.

You will need strong technical skills to get that entry level actuarial position due to the very competitive market. Be sure to sign up for the All-Around Course.

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