I was telling a friend (not an actuary) about my desire to be an actuary, and he was telling me that a friend of his from college (who probably hasn't been working more than 1-2 years) is an actuary, and that one of the tasks his friend was given to do was do some calculations to determine the damage caused by fire protection sprinklers. As a mechanical engineer, such a problem would be attractive to me and could at least draw a little bit on my technical knowledge. Certainly, I don't expect to be able to play engineer often as an actuary, but it would be nice if the possibility at least existed that my future actuary job could make use of my engineering background, sometimes doing more than just statistical number crunching. So, how common is it in the actuarial world to perform those sorts of analyses, and are certain areas within the actuarial world more likely to have fun, quirky problems to solve than others? Like, do consultants get to have more variety in the sorts of work they do than those who work for insurance companies?