Any regrets choosing the actuarial profession?

If you could do things all over again, would you choose the same path for yourself? Why? What would you change? 

If I could do it all over again, I would still choose the actuarial profession.  It’s a great profession because of its job stability, high pay, and great work environment. When I was in college, I knew I was good at math, but I wasn’t sure what kind of job I could get. Then I heard about being an Actuary and I felt that was what I wanted to do.

Any regrets? Well, I actually completed my path to fellowship exactly as I planned it out. I wanted to be an FSA by age 30, then I wanted to start a family after that. Passing all the exams is a tough journey, but I enjoyed everything along the way. I was obtaining knowledge to help me solve actuarial problems and I was rewarded if I passed the exams through salary increases.

Since I found out about the profession while I was a freshman in college, choosing a college with an actuarial science program was not on my radar. If I would have known about actuaries while in high school, I might have attended an actuarial science program. Is this a regret? Not really; I feel my liberal arts education has given me advantages. It’s important for an Actuary to have strong math skills, but just as important is knowing what is going on around us (e.g. Political Science, Religion, Economics, Science).  Our actuarial models are based on assumptions about what is happening out in the world.

One regret I do have is this. When I was applying for actuarial internships, I did not have any technical skills in Excel, Access, VBA, SQL, and SAS. I was lucky to get an actuarial internship with a health insurance company, but I spent a large part of the internship learning the very basics of Excel. That first month was not very productive by my current standards.  An internship is your chance to show what you can do.  During a job interview, they may even ask you to demonstrate your technical skills.

You need to be ready to work from day one. Don’t make the mistake I did and learn those technical skills now through the Technical Skills Course.  I created this course for you to mitigate this risk. Over 350 aspiring actuaries have already enrolled in the course.

Lessons of an Actuarial Independent Study

Last Spring, I wanted to give back to my Alma Mater, so I agreed to help teach an Actuarial Independent Study. The topics were entirely based on Exam 3/MLC, Actuarial Mathematics, where the first goal was to create a mortality table.  Before creating such a table, my students and I needed some data. Luckily we came across virtual island data. This data simulated the lives of hundreds of individuals.  Eventually, the virtual island individuals reached their death and we were supplied with important information about their death.

As the students went about creating the mortality table, Excel skills became very important for their efficiency.  They had to calculate how long somebody lived by taking the difference of two dates. Excel functions came into play here.  Then the students had to group individuals together by different age brackets, which Pivot tables came into play.  At this point, they started to calculate the probability of death within the next year.

After a week of hard work, the mortality table was developed. But the fun didn’t stop there!  From Exam 3/MLC, the students knew that with a mortality table, they could use it to theoretically price Life insurance.  To make this leap though, knowing how to use Lookup functions based on various categories made the students very efficient.  Better yet, with Excel VBA, they were able to run a few hundred simulations!

At the end of the Actuarial Independent Study, the students created a mortality table, knew how to set a theoretical price based on the mortality table, and could now price a premium for hundreds of virtual individuals wanting to buy Life insurance using Simulation.  But just as important, they learned valuable skills in Excel and VBA that made them more marketable as an aspiring Actuary.

You too can learn the fundamental technical skills used in this Independent Study to become an Actuary. Sign up for the Technical Skills Course today!

Idea: Helping out Non-Profits to gain experience

There are a lot of non-profit businesses out there needing help with their business issues (e.g. Reading Programs, Health clinics, Boys & Girls Clubs, Cancer Associations, Food Banks). Actuaries and people wanting to become Actuaries have potential to help them out. Developing simple metrics such as how many customers do they serve, what kind of customers are buying their products, is the price appropriate, what would sales look like if they tweaked this assumption?  They will enjoy the charts you create for them.  What about a database you build, but they can maintain and run monthly? If you are looking for experience, you can possibly reach out to these non-profits and see if you can perform some technical analysis. Your services may end up being free, but at least you can put it on your resume, gaining good practical experience for a great cause.

Of course, you will need technical skills to help these businesses out and promote yourself.  Sign up for the Technical Skills Course to gain an array of technical skills.

Here’s to your journey to become an Actuary

Gain the technical skills in order to do actuarial work.  If you are a college student or if you are a career changer looking to get into the field, these videos will give you exposure to the tools Actuaries use in the real world.  Visit The Infinite Actuary to learn more about the Technical Skills Course by clicking here.