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WayToProspective
November 29th 2008, 07:31 PM
I just graduated with a Bachelor in Actuarial Science in August 2008, and my GPA was pretty decent. In addition to my strong academic background, I passed both Exam P and FM in May 2008 and sat for MFE in November; I actually put down on my resume that I had taken MFE and was waiting for the result. I feel i have a great chance of passing it. Also, I have fulfilled all my VEE requirements by taking classes at college. After taking MFE, I have been actively applying to jobs and kept sending resumes to companies. It has almost been a month after my sitting for MFE, and I have not received a single response yet. Is the job market really affected that bad by the current ongoing crisis, or am I just too anxious about getting a job? Don't tell me i have to go bak to college for a mba and prepare for more exams. Really broke and don't wanna take extra loans for graduate school.

sulfysulf
December 1st 2008, 03:03 PM
Your story depresses me...because you're not alone. This seems to be the recurring theme as of lately...where people have done their part of completing their studies with an admirable gpa along with 2 exams...only to be disappointed come job search time. From what I've understood, such qualifications as what you've expressed are the historical standard of which is normally required. Although, no one ever clarified under what state of the overall economy is required for this standard to hold true. I fear that many companies are at best in a hold position...and at the worst, firing rather than hiring. When will this change for the better? Well, no one really knows for sure...I've heard estimates of a 2 year recession as well as talks of a modern-day Great Depression...lets hope with every bit of our being that it's not the latter. But even if the worst were true...I'm not sure what that means. Of course, older employees will retire or die or younger employees may change careers...and so there must be a void going forward, however small it may be, that must be filled by entry-level employees. BUT, does that mean that the historical standard of a decent gpa and 2 exams passed still holds as sufficient...during an economical period that is significantly less prosperous than that what is historically considered as 'normal'? Well, my guess is no...as demand increasingly outweighs supply...the only 2 possibilities towards equilibrium that I see are: 1. a more competitive atmosphere, where higher qualification standards are set and/or lower salaries are paid and 2. a reduction in supply where young, aspiring college students and hopeless grads frustrated with endless searching realize that getting a job as an actuary isn't as promising or rewarding as previously thought...and therefore they take a different career path. So, my solution for now is to work towards the 3rd exam and hope for interviews in the near future...but after that point, I'm not sure as of yet...I agree with you that grad school looks too expensive for both my wallet and my time...

Puoya
December 1st 2008, 06:10 PM
LOL. Its going to get like Canada. 4 exams + intership + good GPA.

Bluefusion
December 4th 2008, 11:54 AM
The economy is something that's worrying me as well.

I'll be graduating this August, and I'm starting to get anxious about not hearing anything from companies. I've attended an actuary fair and sent out my resume to a number of companies and I've kept in contact with a recruiter. So far, I've had one phone interview back in November. The interview was as good as I could hope for and I haven't heard anything.

I searched the forums to find any discussion on the current economy, but it has only been mentioned in passing.

Does anyone else have concerns about the recession?

A_Albelda
December 4th 2008, 04:32 PM
I just wanted to put in my two cents. Yeah...I'm worried.

I was looking at a couple of headhunting websites and they are looking for people with several exams, several years of field specific experience, with specializations highly recommended. HOW are we supposed to get the experience BEFORE we get to the job market?

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but the reality is that the market is a lot tougher now. So, in conclusion, yes, the actuarial job market and recession scare me.

I wish us all skill and luck!

A_Albelda

EDIT: PS I'm surprised that more people haven't weighed in on this issue. LURKERS: Stop lurking and post!

NoMoreExams
December 4th 2008, 05:39 PM
I just wanted to put in my two cents. Yeah...I'm worried.

I was looking at a couple of headhunting websites and they are looking for people with several exams, several years of field specific experience, with specializations highly recommended. HOW are we supposed to get the experience BEFORE we get to the job market?

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but the reality is that the market is a lot tougher now. So, in conclusion, yes, the actuarial job market and recession scare me.

I wish us all skill and luck!

A_Albelda

EDIT: PS I'm surprised that more people haven't weighed in on this issue. LURKERS: Stop lurking and post!

That happens a lot, i.e. "we want X exams with Y years of experience". How are you supposed to get it? Well internships help. You should've been told to get them but let's say you have not for whatever reason, at this point it doesn't matter. Your best bet is to keep passing those exams (I wouldn't get more than 4) and keep applying. Keep knocking on doors, keep sending your resumes out, keep going to career fairs, keep working on those interview skills. There ARE people that are getting positions with no experience so it's not impossible just tougher. In the meantime, I would get a job in an insurance firm in the underwriting department for example so I can be close to the Actuarial department just in case a position opens up, I would know about it first.

aaronb
December 4th 2008, 08:22 PM
Well I was already concerned but I'm much more concerned now. I live in Portland, OR where there are very few jobs available as it is. When I first started my studying and exam taking, they made it sound like 1 exam = job. As time has gone I've realized you really need more... more exams, more credits, more experience, etc. I've only passed the first exam and have taken the second, but am still waiting on results. Hopefully my current job treats me well since it looks like it might be some time before I'm doing what I really want. Good luck everyone! We'll all have our jobs eventually.

AganaBelea
December 4th 2008, 11:39 PM
Amen to what everyone has said so far...especially


When I first started my studying and exam taking, they made it sound like 1 exam = job. As time has gone I've realized you really need more... more exams, more credits, more experience, etc.

I was completely unfamiliar with the actuarial world before college. When I learned about it in college, my professors spoke SO highly of it, and reiterated that there was so much demand for actuarial grads out of college, and that passing one exam would almost guarantee a job.

I've been tempted to contact my old professors (I graduated in 2007). I don't want their current students to be told the same untrue things I was told about the actuarial market. I based almost all of my decisions on what my professors told me.

NoMoreExams
December 4th 2008, 11:42 PM
Amen to what everyone has said so far...especially



I was completely unfamiliar with the actuarial world before college. When I learned about it in college, my professors spoke SO highly of it, and reiterated that there was so much demand for actuarial grads out of college, and that passing one exam would almost guarantee a job.

I've been tempted to contact my old professors (I graduated in 2007). I don't want their current students to be told the same untrue things I was told about the actuarial market. I based almost all of my decisions on what my professors told me.

Your professors told you something that was probably true at the time. No one expected the market to fall this much so I'm not sure what you would say to your old professors?

AganaBelea
December 5th 2008, 09:07 AM
Your professors told you something that was probably true at the time. No one expected the market to fall this much so I'm not sure what you would say to your old professors?

The current economic issues have certainly made things worse, but I was applying to jobs in 2007 (at the same time my professors were telling me things were grand in the actuarial job field) and was having the same lack of success in applying (and was being told by recruiters that they wanted people with more exams and more experience for these entry-level positions).

I wouldn't want to contact my professors out of meanness - I would just want the current students not to experience the same kind of disappointment I did (I think my professors were overly optimistic with the actuarial path, especially since none were actuaries themselves, and I would not be surprised if they were still telling students it's easy to get a job in the field, even with all the economic turmoil).

I'm not trying to blame them; I shouldn't have been so reliant on my professors for information about my chosen career path. But alas, I was a naive undergrad. :)

NoMoreExams
December 5th 2008, 01:17 PM
The current economic issues have certainly made things worse, but I was applying to jobs in 2007 (at the same time my professors were telling me things were grand in the actuarial job field) and was having the same lack of success in applying (and was being told by recruiters that they wanted people with more exams and more experience for these entry-level positions).

I wouldn't want to contact my professors out of meanness - I would just want the current students not to experience the same kind of disappointment I did (I think my professors were overly optimistic with the actuarial path, especially since none were actuaries themselves, and I would not be surprised if they were still telling students it's easy to get a job in the field, even with all the economic turmoil).

I'm not trying to blame them; I shouldn't have been so reliant on my professors for information about my chosen career path. But alas, I was a naive undergrad. :)

Yeah I hear you there. It's best to err on the side of caution when listening to people talk about an industry they have no experience in. I was applying for jobs around the same time as you were and did not find it as challenging as you. I did have an internship and 2 exams passed, not sure what your situation was like. I also came from a university that was big on placing actuarial students so that probably helped. Like I said in other posts, don't give up, keep trying.

vividox
December 5th 2008, 02:26 PM
I also jumped right out of college and right into the actuary field.

A lot of people on this site show very good educational progress (including exams) and still no job. I think the biggest factors are a properly executed resume and a nailed interview.

The resume is a project. It is the single hardest one side of paper I've ever had to construct in my life. It is the sheet of paper that people look at and will base their first impression on you entirely. It needs to be concise, complete, flashy, and organized. There are a multitude of resume help sites out there, and if you attend a university or college, their career center has materials, too. The main thing is put your education experience and exam progress right up top, and don't include anything that isn't relevant to the job you are applying to.

Also realize that companies that hire actuaries don't want to hire math nerds with no social life. They want people to be liberally educated, good communicators, good at presenting information. An actuary really needs to be a "jack of all trades, master of math." If you are missing the "jack of all trades" part, or simply not conveying to a prospective employer that you have that, your resume may be overlooked.

Practice for the interview. It sounds stupid, I know, but if you go in there and wing an interview, you are going to be put on the spot and your first answer may not be your best one.

Also, networking. I found a lot of people to hand resumes to through my college. A professor there was very active in helping prospective actuary students and kept track of all of his students who had graduated and got actuary jobs. The new students sending out resumes would simply send them to all the guys who had graduated. They see their univeristy name across the top and you instantly get recognized a little more than someone else. Any connection you can make with someone is a good one.

So there we go:
1) High quality resume
2) Good interviewing skills, practice
3) Networking

Hope this helps someone out there, good luck to all of you still searching.

NoMoreExams
December 5th 2008, 03:09 PM
P.S. you're <> your :)

B411et
December 5th 2008, 10:48 PM
I come from a very small school that doesn't have a very good actuarial program. So everything I did - studying for exams and applying for internships/jobs was all self-effort. But I don't regret picking this school.

Vividox, I completely agree with your post. I've spend over a year revising my resume. I had showed it to several people who are "type A" and nearly everyone at my internship, including my manager. It got to the point where I was sick of looking at it. But having a "perfect" resume is very crucial especially since HR individuals probably hundreds if not thousands of resumes for entry-level positions.

Networking is very crucial - note that the actuarial world is small. For those not graduating soon: Make sure at your internship, you give it your all, even if you don't think you'll return. This means do all your work twice (or three times) as fast but still accurately, volunteer for more work, arrive earlier and leave later than your boss, and get to know everyone you work with/for - your employer will definitely notice this. Plus, it'll make your internship experience better even if the work is mundane. The firms that I was hoping to work for cannot hire full-time and my internship wound up giving me an surprisingly competitive offer. Thus far, I've applied to 30 firms and the results are disappointing.

Be professional and persistant and something is bound to come your way...good luck!

Gus Gus
December 12th 2008, 10:00 AM
I agree with a lot of what has been written on this thread.

Until recently I also believed that Have a degree + Pass Exam = Get a Job. I've gotten a single phone interview out of twenty or so jobs that I've applied for. :(

But it doesn't really matter to me. There isn't another career that I want to pursue. I'm going to keep applying for jobs and sending emails and bugging the one (former) actuary I know and working on eliminating the clear deficiencies that are present on my resumé.

I've been a poor, hungry college kid for four years now; I can make it a little bit longer while I prepare myself for this job.

So I encourage everybody on this thread not to get discouraged. :)

AdamMalone
December 14th 2008, 10:22 PM
Just a little on my experience: I graduated in May, passed P in July, and just had my first interview last week (2nd week of December). I also attended an 'informational dinner' but I have yet to hear back from the host company. So one interview in 4 months is a bit sparse I suppose but then again I have not expanded my geography. For the record my GPA was about 3.3 overall, 3.5 math and I had no internship.

Good luck to everybody looking for a job. People I have talked to tend to tell me: "don't worry - your kind will always be in demand" so I'm trying not to stress about it too much.

JCholet
December 15th 2008, 06:10 AM
I just graduated with a Bachelor in Actuarial Science in August 2008, and my GPA was pretty decent. In addition to my strong academic background, I passed both Exam P and FM in May 2008 and sat for MFE in November; I actually put down on my resume that I had taken MFE and was waiting for the result. I feel i have a great chance of passing it. Also, I have fulfilled all my VEE requirements by taking classes at college. After taking MFE, I have been actively applying to jobs and kept sending resumes to companies. It has almost been a month after my sitting for MFE, and I have not received a single response yet. Is the job market really affected that bad by the current ongoing crisis, or am I just too anxious about getting a job? Don't tell me i have to go bak to college for a mba and prepare for more exams. Really broke and don't wanna take extra loans for graduate school.
I think what is helping me right now is that I got a non-actuarial (contract, even) job at a life insurance company right after I graduated. It has gotten my foot in the door of the industry, and I think it will greatly increase my chances of finding actuarial work soon. Industry experience, even non-actuarial, seems like a great way to become familiar with things one eventually needs to understand anyway.

WayToProspective
December 16th 2008, 01:41 AM
I think what is helping me right now is that I got a non-actuarial (contract, even) job at a life insurance company right after I graduated. It has gotten my foot in the door of the industry, and I think it will greatly increase my chances of finding actuarial work soon. Industry experience, even non-actuarial, seems like a great way to become familiar with things one eventually needs to understand anyway.

Based on what you mentioned above, we should not be picky about what we doing; as long as it is related to the insurance industry, it might increase the probability of getting a future actuarial position. I went to one of the agency offices of met life, and they were willing to sponsor me to get license for Health, Life, and series 6 or 7. After successfully getting my license, I will be hired as a financial representative, of whom the major responsibility is to sell financial products, such as insurance and annuities. Don't you think it would be a good stepping stone for me to get an actuarial job in the future.

Wayne
January 11th 2009, 06:47 AM
Amen to what everyone has said so far...especially



I was completely unfamiliar with the actuarial world before college. When I learned about it in college, my professors spoke SO highly of it, and reiterated that there was so much demand for actuarial grads out of college, and that passing one exam would almost guarantee a job.

I've been tempted to contact my old professors (I graduated in 2007). I don't want their current students to be told the same untrue things I was told about the actuarial market. I based almost all of my decisions on what my professors told me.

Sounds like how they talked about computer programming even after the dot com collapse. For 3 or 4 years my profs and family kept talking about how wonderful the computer programming field is. Ha, that's why they say those who can't, teach.

Joey Mi
January 14th 2009, 03:15 PM
Yeah i feel you. I'm graduating from a big and respected university in May with a double major in actuarial science and economics. I have a 3.7 cummulative GPA and have already passed both P and FM. I decided it is a good idea to take MFE in May to hopefully make myself more marketable. A few months ago when I had only one exam passed I applied to maybe 5 or 6 different companies and got 0 responses. Im hoping next week to get serious and apply to as many places as I can find. It's just so depressing to have worked this hard and still have no job lined up.
I also have a question. Is it a good idea to put down the grades I got on the exams on my resume? I got an eight on both so I am not sure what to do.

audiophile42
January 14th 2009, 09:28 PM
Is it a good idea to put down the grades I got on the exams on my resume? I got an eight on both so I am not sure what to do.

Most companies I've talked to don't care what score you got, just if you passed or not. I would leave them off. If it gets brought up during the interview (which I've not experienced, but I know some have), that's one thing. But to actively put the score out there on a resume seems kinda ehhhh to me.

gary_k
January 14th 2009, 09:45 PM
After reading this thread I thought I'd share my experience so far. I am a career-changer, having taught college mathematics for 10 years. I have a master's degree in math (3.3 graduate GPA, not bad, not great), and 2 SOA exams passed. I have no actuarial experience or internships. I have applied for nearly 200 jobs in the past 8 months (104 to be exact since Jan 1) and have gotten a dozen or so phone interviews and 2 on-site interviews. I am still looking for that first job.

It seems to me that the economy is a huge factor. I've been told several times that I was a leading candidate but the company decided to not hire anyone at the moment. Also geography appears to be a huge issue. I was told California (and the west in general) has too many applicants for too few jobs and not many companies are interested in relocating people. I moved myself out of California to Ohio so that I can be closer to employers in the midwest and east coast, but of course not everyone can do this.

I mentioned to one recruiter a while ago that I had been looking for a position for 6 months and was getting frustrated, and he told to me that 6 months is actually not a very long time to look for an entry-level job. My advice is keep applying and keep taking exams, if you really want to be an actuary. And be open to relocation.

P.S. This was my first post! :-)

Bluefusion
January 15th 2009, 09:58 AM
I've been told, "Well, we decided to hire someone with more experience."

I think what is happening is that with the job market, companies are realizing they can be very selective and try to hire someone who has been in it for a few years. It seems to me that most companies want an ASA but no one wants to go through the effort to get them to that point.

Puoya
January 26th 2009, 09:10 PM
I can only say, this truly S U C K s!

NoMoreExams
January 26th 2009, 09:11 PM
I can only say, this truly S U C K s!

Don't lose hope, the company I work at just hired like 8 new people. We are looking for an intern that if we like we'll try to create a position for.

Puoya
January 27th 2009, 12:06 PM
Don't lose hope, the company I work at just hired like 8 new people. We are looking for an intern that if we like we'll try to create a position for.

Thanks for the encouragement~ Hopefully it will happen sometime......

LOL, just got another, "we've decided on a different.................."

(/iropracy
January 28th 2009, 01:41 AM
I think volume is our best bet. Send out as many resumes as possible and be open to anything and everything. There is always someone out there more qualified than you are. I think it boils down to personality and the interview.

I have been a little more pushy than I typically would be and it has helped. Being direct and saying "hey, no matter what I am going to be an actuary and you should hire me right now" (not really but it is the attitude that counts).

I am just going to go out there and act like I am exactly what they are looking for. Never give up. I have read in a few places that you should not worry if you don't get a job right away after school. Yes it would be nice but I guess just do not give up. We are all qualified. You don't have uninterested individuals who are not qualified posting here!

Puoya
January 28th 2009, 12:31 PM
You are right.

Attitude, patience and perseverance will eventually get us there.
Its just such a bummer when you get a rejection letter or not hear anything for a while. :)

Chopin-Lover
January 28th 2009, 02:17 PM
I have read in a few places that you should not worry if you don't get a job right away after school.

This is true for some but some graduates have a window of time to look for an entry-level job.

AganaBelea
January 29th 2009, 08:50 AM
This is true for some but some graduates have a window of time to look for an entry-level job.

Are you saying that after you graduate, if you don't get an entry-level actuarial job within a certain window of time, it decreases your chances of *ever* getting an actuarial job? (Or are you just saying there's a window of time since, obviously, they soon have to get a job, actuarial or not, to support themselves?) I've worried that this is true. In your opinion, what would you say that window of time is?

Gus Gus
January 29th 2009, 10:17 AM
So I have a degree and an exam and I've been steadily applying for jobs since August. Only two companies have shown interest out of the 50 or so that have my resume and even those have only amounted to a phone interview. :dull: I'm gonna write FM and maybe MFE in May so that should drum up the interest in ol' Gus Gus. If nothing pans out soon after I get 2/3 exams under the belt then I'm going to start a MS in either software systems or technical management [basically an MBA-type program for engineering, math, comp sci, etc. people]. If anybody wants to throw down an opinion on which one would be better for the actuarial profession, I'd appreciate it. I was to understand, from this forum, that graduate degrees weren't necessarily that important but recruiters have suggested otherwise. Who to believe? :unsure: There's quite a bit of conflicting information out there and on here.

I don't have much perspective, but it appears that there are too many entrants and not enough associate-level folks. [This point has already been made on this thread I think] There are loads and loads and loads of jobs out there for ASA and above. Probably like 3 to 1 it seems tho I could be biased. I wonder, how long does somebody have to sit in an entry position with two exams before they get let go? I've heard stories about 40 year old dudes taking their third exam for the nth time. Does that happen? Why do companies keep people around who can't pass exams? In the short term it's probably better to keep people who have experience but surely there has to be a point where it's detrimental to the company, yes?

I got to the party late, man. I was uninformed/misinformed for my first three years of college - I didn't even realize that people took exams while they were still in school until I was a senior... :goofy: I blame big research universities who don't give enough practical advice to students. Not my fault that I'm unemployed. Of course not. ;)

NoMoreExams
January 29th 2009, 12:56 PM
Are you saying that after you graduate, if you don't get an entry-level actuarial job within a certain window of time, it decreases your chances of *ever* getting an actuarial job? (Or are you just saying there's a window of time since, obviously, they soon have to get a job, actuarial or not, to support themselves?) I've worried that this is true. In your opinion, what would you say that window of time is?

I thought he meant for those international students who have to get a job else leave. I wouldn't say your window of opportunity goes to '''' if you don't find a job within a year provided you continue searching, passing exams (if you don't have any or just 1), and hopefully try to find a job in something related to actuarial. The question you will have to answer after a year or more is probably why has it been a year. If your answer is, I've been doing this and this and that and had no luck, that's a perfectly fine answer. If your answer is well I'm just trying to see what's out there, etc. that's probably not as good since the company doesn't know if after a year you are going to leave. Note that you don't bring value to a company until probably at least half a year.

Knowthebiz
May 23rd 2009, 12:09 PM
After reading through lots of these threads, I am now a bit worried about getting a job as an Actuary. I am currently a Biz Finance major entering my sophomore year and considering AS, which would require me to change my major to Math as my university is set up as math degree with concentration in AS. I am worried as to job outlook with math degree. Would minoring in business work or should I just stay as business finance and take courses to help with AS exams and not minor in anything. Or maybe minor in math???? Or double major???? I am so confused. Any input would be a great help.

NoMoreExams
May 23rd 2009, 01:17 PM
After reading through lots of these threads, I am now a bit worried about getting a job as an Actuary. I am currently a Biz Finance major entering my sophomore year and considering AS, which would require me to change my major to Math as my university is set up as math degree with concentration in AS. I am worried as to job outlook with math degree. Would minoring in business work or should I just stay as business finance and take courses to help with AS exams and not minor in anything. Or maybe minor in math???? Or double major???? I am so confused. Any input would be a great help.

All that matters are exams and internships. If you have 3 exams and an internship but majored in leisure studies that looks infinitely better than 1 exam and no internship but a major in math/AS. Multiple majors/minors don't matter. I know people get hung up on those but why would employers care? We care about exams and your ability to do work. Majoring in math and econ and ... don't really matter.

Knowthebiz
May 24th 2009, 06:49 PM
All that matters are exams and internships. If you have 3 exams and an internship but majored in leisure studies that looks infinitely better than 1 exam and no internship but a major in math/AS. Multiple majors/minors don't matter. I know people get hung up on those but why would employers care? We care about exams and your ability to do work. Majoring in math and econ and ... don't really matter.
I guess what I really am saying is "if" I were unable to find an Actuarial position.......not much I can think of that interests me in Math alone, would minoring in "Biz Corp Finance" help me to find some kind of work while I search for Actuarial position. I don't live on either coasts and would love to work west coast.....not so set on east coast; although I know there is a lot of opportunity. I do plan on taking exams while at school. One for sure......2nd one will not be class prepared and I will do on my own.

NoMoreExams
May 24th 2009, 07:15 PM
I guess what I really am saying is "if" I were unable to find an Actuarial position.......not much I can think of that interests me in Math alone, would minoring in "Biz Corp Finance" help me to find some kind of work while I search for Actuarial position. I don't live on either coasts and would love to work west coast.....not so set on east coast; although I know there is a lot of opportunity. I do plan on taking exams while at school. One for sure......2nd one will not be class prepared and I will do on my own.

To be honest I have no idea what the opportunities are like in other sectors. I've never even heard of "biz corp finance" degree and from my understanding minors don't really matter anywhere but I could be wrong.

Edwin Oslan
June 18th 2009, 12:46 PM
I don't want to beat a dead horse as it seems most of my questions have been answered on this thread. I just graduated with a B.S. in statistics and am frantically studying for Exam P. I too was told by my prof that passing one exam guarantees a job. In fact he said that one needs to just sit back and wait for the calls. Apparently it's not that way anymore.

So, what I want to know is; are the jobs people are looking for and not getting in their respective local areas? I was hoping to move to L.A. or around there in a short time after taking exam P, assuming I'd pass and get that "inevitable" job. What are the chances of this? Do I have to get prepared for more exams or does my chances of getting a job have to do with expanding my geography or should I just wait at folks house until the recession expires?

Y2A
June 18th 2009, 02:50 PM
1 exam (P) and math/econ degree here. Still looking for a job. Man this is frustrating. What is the point of putting in the effort into these things if you can't even get a job out of it. I really feel like I have been lied to for the past couple of years about the actuarial field. oh well, I will be taking FM in august. hopefully with two down that will give me a better shot.

NoMoreExams
June 18th 2009, 04:08 PM
I feel like we ARE beating the proverbial horse. A few things changed, people seem to be able to read this just fine but won't accept it.

1) Arguably the preliminary exams have gotten easier, you can debate 1 vs. P but you would be hard pressed to find a person who thinks that FM is at all comparable to 2.

2) Exams are now offered more often and therefore more people pass more exams - THIS IS YOUR COMPETITION. Think about it, there's only X number of jobs and if the # of people that have 1 exam passed or 2 exams or ... has increased significantly, the odds of you getting a job with 1 exam have decreased.

3) The economy ''''s right now, nothing anyone can help you with there.

So what exactly have you been lied about? Your professors were basing their observations and predictions based on the status quo at the time your discussions took place. I'm not really sure why people keep blaming others other than for the fact that it might make it easier for them to justify not getting a job. However the facts are that you have to work hard(er) now to hopefully get a job. So no, passing 1 exam will most likely not get you a job. Is there a chance? Yes. Will you increase odds significantly by passing one or two more, of course.

Edwin Oslan
June 19th 2009, 01:45 AM
thanks for the reality check. I was actually unaware of most of that. I only got on this site today so I didn't know that people were having trouble finding jobs despite two exams under their belts. Professors still make the claim that the actuarial profession is some kind of untapped ''''mine for elite math/stats freaks and that insurance companies are nearly desperate for people to analyze risk for them. I figured this must be the case if there are supposedly only 20,000 in the United States. And to be sure my prof went so far as to say that in today's troubled economy actuary is the sure thing.

ker8
June 19th 2009, 05:29 AM
thanks for the reality check. I was actually unaware of most of that. I only got on this site today so I didn't know that people were having trouble finding jobs despite two exams under their belts. Professors still make the claim that the actuarial profession is some kind of untapped ''''mine for elite math/stats freaks and that insurance companies are nearly desperate for people to analyze risk for them. I figured this must be the case if there are supposedly only 20,000 in the United States. And to be sure my prof went so far as to say that in today's troubled economy actuary is the sure thing.

I wouldn't say it's a "sure thing", but in talking to people at insurance companies, they've told me their business has increased because of the recession. They claimed since things were going down hill, more people were buying insurance.

I will say there is competition out there, but I'm not exactly sure how much more than before. I can't say from before a few months ago, but I *personally* cannot see a person having to wait more than a year to find a job if they have at least 2 exams, high gpa (ie, above 3.5), good interviewing skills, flexibility, and honestly a good way to contact people when looking for a job (ie, sending resumes and coverletters to SOA members). Perhaps I was simply lucky, but I doubt it. Maybe if you restrict yourself to a single city or something (or even state), that could be problematic, but otherwise.....

NoMoreExams
June 19th 2009, 09:46 AM
I wouldn't say it's a "sure thing", but in talking to people at insurance companies, they've told me their business has increased because of the recession. They claimed since things were going down hill, more people were buying insurance.

I will say there is competition out there, but I'm not exactly sure how much more than before. I can't say from before a few months ago, but I *personally* cannot see a person having to wait more than a year to find a job if they have at least 2 exams, high gpa (ie, above 3.5), good interviewing skills, flexibility, and honestly a good way to contact people when looking for a job (ie, sending resumes and coverletters to SOA members). Perhaps I was simply lucky, but I doubt it. Maybe if you restrict yourself to a single city or something (or even state), that could be problematic, but otherwise.....

I find it a little disturbing that professors are still telling kids that the outlook is still the same as it was ... even 5 years ago. In my experience, in the health industry, that is simply not true. A lot of companies I know are enforcing hiring freezes which would kind of put a damper on hiring an entry level analyst though actuarial departments seem to find a way to be the exception to the rule.

I agree with ker, if you have 2+ exams (so the employer knows you can pass exams), 3.5+ GPA (so you can get past some HR threshold), some technical know how, good interviewing skills and willingness to relocate, you should be ''''en. Honestly though, I never had to send my resume to anyone outside the people that came to my college to interview. When I first started college, what I saw was that if you had 1-2 exams - this was when 2 was really hard and a lot considered it to be the deciding factor if you were going to make it through the exams, you were hired and some of these people lacked half the stuff I listed above. Then when I was getting hired, if you had 2-3 exams, you were almost automatically in - this was when 2 became FM (more so if you had 3-4 I guess), but all of this was before exams were being offered 4 (?) times a year, I really do believe that is what's increasing the competition and why you simply cannot expect to be given a job if you have even 2 exams passed.

sulfysulf
June 20th 2009, 10:08 AM
NoMoreExams makes a good argument. I'm curious if you guys think grad school (Actuarial Sciences at Ball State) is a complete waste of time/money. I've passed P and FM and hopefully can add MFE to that list in 2 weeks. Although, I'm missing VEE credits and lack an internship, since I actually graduated with an engineering degree a couple years ago. I'm thinking that if I've passed the 3rd exam, I'll become much more competitive. I've been very flexible in my search, talking to recruiters and applying to about 20 different companies...with not as much as a single inquiry. I should mention that I completed my degree "With Distinction" from a reputable college (Purdue University). So, I really just want an entry level job...as soon as possible...but my search has been miserable...and I feel stagnant sitting around my parents house with a $10 an hour summer job. So, I'm all set up to start school in August...it'll just be a matter of putting my money where my mouth is. Do you think I should just go ahead with it or not follow through and continue job searching? It's not completely ridiculous in that in addition to completing the VEE, I'll also make sure to get an internship for next summer, which will make me much more competitive. On a side note, how do companies feel about missing VEE credits (need 2 additional classes)? I have to eventually get them...and grad school will be a perfect opportunity to knock them out. Anyway, a lot of rambling information...but I'd appreciate others' opinions on this, since it'll probably result in about a $10,000 loan when all is said and done.

cauger@bryant.edu
June 20th 2009, 10:46 AM
That is a good question, but it's one you ultimately have to decide on your own. Purdue is a great school...I was initially going to go there myself. And the fact that you've passed 2 exams (and potentially the third) will be good. Are you looking at working in Indianapolis? If you are, look into Wellpoint and OneAmerica. I've seen posts that they've been hiring. Send your resume straight to their chief actuary in addition to applying regularly. Also, Lincoln Financial is in Ft. Wayne if you want to go to that part of the state.

I'd say that if your heart is into being an actuary, grad school isn't necessary. Some choose to do it just because it's a goal. But once you get a job, the company would help you get the VEE out of the way when they're necessary. I'm still in school myself, so I don't know how much you'll value this reply. Just keep working and make sure to sit for your third exam. You'll be fine. Your credentials are great, it's just a matter of things falling into place for you.

Bluefusion
June 20th 2009, 11:15 AM
I recently graduated this May and I can relate to what you all have written. You can read my comment on page one to see my concerns.

In hindsight, I really think we just graduated at the worst possible time. When I did most of my interviewing and job fairs last year, Bear Stearns had already collapsed, Merrill Lynch was on the way out, and the other investment banks and commercial banks were having problems. 2008 was a scary year and even through the beginning of this year we just didn't know where the bottom was, and so companies really held back on their hiring. I really noticed how openings just become more scarce as time passed.

I did not land an entry-level position. I passed the P/1 exam with a score of 10 and the FM/2 exam with a score of 8, and I didn't even study for the P/1 that much. I graduated with a 3.98 GPA with a bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science. I might say I fell through the cracks. Maybe I did not interview well, or my resume had a flaw. I did not do an internship, which I know hurt me tremendously. I also did not have programming skills, which also seemed overwhelmingly important to interviewers.

Whatever the case, I had an alternative plan. Around November I realized I wasn't going to find a job, and I applied to grad schools. I won a fellowship to study Statistics and work towards a Ph.D.. And, I have to say that I'm glad things worked out the way they did. I've talked with a number of friends who are working entry-level actuarial positions and they are working so much that they have no life, and they aren't enjoying it either.

Things may not work out the way you intended. Fortunately, I had fairly realistic professors. Don't listen to faculty who tell you that anything is a guarantee. Unless you're graduating from an Ivy League school, I wouldn't believe it. My advice to anyone who reads this who hasn't graduated yet is to give yourself multiple options. You may plan to become an actuary, but despite the best efforts it may just not happen. If you insist on it, then an internship is a must nowadays. And, based on my job fair experience, programming skills are a must as well.

Sinjin
June 20th 2009, 02:24 PM
And, based on my job fair experience, programming skills are a must as well.

Were they asking for experience with specific languages - like C/C++, Java, SQL - or just programming experience in general?

NoMoreExams
June 20th 2009, 02:34 PM
Whatever the case, I had an alternative plan. Around November I realized I wasn't going to find a job, and I applied to grad schools. I won a fellowship to study Statistics and work towards a Ph.D.. And, I have to say that I'm glad things worked out the way they did. I've talked with a number of friends who are working entry-level actuarial positions and they are working so much that they have no life, and they aren't enjoying it either.


I find this kind of hard to believe, entry level working so much they have no life? They are either not catching on to their assignments which at entry level are not that complex or they are working in consulting in which case they knew what they were getting into. It is true that close to exam time they might have to put in hours to pass the exam but once again the amount of time they need to devote depends on how intelligent they are. Personally around exam time, I have no social life. Some of my friends still go out drinking 3-4 times a week and end up passing. Obviously they are smarter than I when it comes to exams.


Were they asking for experience with specific languages - like C/C++, Java, SQL - or just programming experience in general?

In my experience it's been mostly VBA and some SQL. However if you are proficient in C/C++, etc. you surely have the ability to pick up VBA.

That'sLife
June 21st 2009, 03:28 AM
FWIW, the job market is dismal for anyone out there period. I have another year until graduation (5 year student :skeptical:) and while most of my friends graduated this year, a majority are walking through fire to find jobs. The few who are finding jobs are making less than what I made when I worked in retail.

It's important to be realistic about how job markets can change. My freshman year I knew of one aspiring Actuary, and when he graduated at the end of 2005 he had a few jobs lined up before he walked. It's discouraging to see how quickly this has changed, but everyone should have backup plans.

I am aware that while a bachelor's degree is sufficient for an Actuarial career, it doesn't open up many job opportunities outside of Actuary, and other markets do not care about Actuarial exams. Once I graduate I'll have 3 exams under my belt with a pretty decent GPA but no internship. I know that my lack of internship and the fact that my GPA isn't 3.8 and above will hurt my chances, so I'll give the job search a go for a while and then do the grad school thing if it doesn't work out.

I don't see the economy turning around anytime soon, and the only thing I can see working in my favor is if I network like crazy to try to get my foot in the door.

Sinjin
June 21st 2009, 03:36 AM
The few who are finding jobs are making less than what I made when I worked in retail.

And how much is that?

That'sLife
June 21st 2009, 03:52 AM
And how much is that?

Most majored in Liberal Arts and a few in Journalism. I think the highest I have heard so far fulltime is in the low 20k. One in particular is making $8/hr out of school. I made almost twice that working in a makeup boutique.

NeedMercy
June 21st 2009, 06:16 AM
Well its June 2009, did u get a job yet? If not then the economy has really affected the insurance job market. Also, just keep taking the exams to become a SOA fellow.

NeedMercy
June 21st 2009, 06:29 AM
Well its June 2009, did u get a job yet? If not then the economy has really affected the insurance job market. Keep taking the eams to become a SOA fellow and eventually you will be hired by someone.

Bluefusion
June 21st 2009, 09:24 PM
I find this kind of hard to believe, entry level working so much they have no life? They are either not catching on to their assignments which at entry level are not that complex or they are working in consulting in which case they knew what they were getting into. It is true that close to exam time they might have to put in hours to pass the exam but once again the amount of time they need to devote depends on how intelligent they are.

I have two female friends at two different companies who are pretty quiet and aren't the type to exaggerate. They've told me that they've had to log 60 to 80+ hours of work a week, regularly work on the weekends, and work up to 14 hours a single day. One girl's "mentor" actually quit the week she began working because of the stress. Even if they're exaggerating a little, it still seems rough to me.

Then again I have another friend who says it's pretty laid back, but he's with a smaller company. It probably comes down to corporate culture.

NoMoreExams
June 21st 2009, 09:42 PM
I have two female friends at two different companies who are pretty quiet and aren't the type to exaggerate. They've told me that they've had to log 60 to 80+ hours of work a week, regularly work on the weekends, and work up to 14 hours a single day. One girl's "mentor" actually quit the week she began working because of the stress. Even if they're exaggerating a little, it still seems rough to me.

Then again I have another friend who says it's pretty laid back, but he's with a smaller company. It probably comes down to corporate culture.

THAT seems completely outlandish. I'm not calling you or your friends liars, just saying they should switch companies. I've worked maybe 2-3 times a year a week that was over 40 hours. But I don't work in consulting, if they do... that's on them :)

naiginod
June 22nd 2009, 09:42 PM
Does anyone know how bad it would be if I didn't put my GPA on my resume? It's sub-3.0 as I worked full-time and went to school at night making it difficult to maintain a better average. I have already passed P and will be taking FM in August. I get the sense that everyone on these boards has/had a 3.5 gpa.

NoMoreExams
June 22nd 2009, 09:47 PM
Does anyone know how bad it would be if I didn't put my GPA on my resume? It's sub-3.0 as I worked full-time and went to school at night making it difficult to maintain a better average. I have already passed P and will be taking FM in August. I get the sense that everyone on these boards has/had a 3.5 gpa.

If you don't put it, they will ask and you will have to talk about it. Also if it's not on, you might or might not get past HR (assuming they need any old GPA to get past their filter).

If you do put it, they will ask since it < 3.0 and you might not get past HR depending on their cutoff (if any).

Draw your own conclusions.

naiginod
June 22nd 2009, 09:56 PM
If you don't put it, they will ask and you will have to talk about it. Also if it's not on, you might or might not get past HR (assuming they need any old GPA to get past their filter).

If you do put it, they will ask since it < 3.0 and you might not get past HR depending on their cutoff (if any).

Draw your own conclusions.

If I passed 3 exams, does that help negate my GPA? What else can you do with actuarial exams? I just graduated and like I said, planned on taking FM in August and then was going to start the big job push afterwards, and teach myself SQL/other DB languages.

NoMoreExams
June 22nd 2009, 10:04 PM
If I passed 3 exams, does that help negate my GPA? What else can you do with actuarial exams? I just graduated and like I said, planned on taking FM in August and then was going to start the big job push afterwards, and teach myself SQL/other DB languages.

It does help. In the end employers don't care that much what your GPA was, they do care about exams. However since at times HR serves as the filter that decides whether your resume will end up on an actuary's desk, GPA is one of the criterion they use. Other than exams, you want an internship, knowledge of Excel/Access and furthermore VBA/SQL/SAS. Also work on your interviewing skills.

naiginod
June 22nd 2009, 10:11 PM
It does help. In the end employers don't care that much what your GPA was, they do care about exams. However since at times HR serves as the filter that decides whether your resume will end up on an actuary's desk, GPA is one of the criterion they use. Other than exams, you want an internship, knowledge of Excel/Access and furthermore VBA/SQL/SAS. Also work on your interviewing skills.

I feel my interview will be one of my strong suits. I have worked as a lead with my previous and current job (not field related) and have above average social skills, IMO. I'm just hoping my GPA (2.7) isn't going to be the road block from getting my butt into that seat.

That'sLife
June 22nd 2009, 11:06 PM
Does anyone know how bad it would be if I didn't put my GPA on my resume? It's sub-3.0 as I worked full-time and went to school at night making it difficult to maintain a better average. I have already passed P and will be taking FM in August. I get the sense that everyone on these boards has/had a 3.5 gpa.

Put it on there and have a REALLY good explanation to back it up.


If I passed 3 exams, does that help negate my GPA? What else can you do with actuarial exams? I just graduated and like I said, planned on taking FM in August and then was going to start the big job push afterwards, and teach myself SQL/other DB languages.

Probably. If you are weak in one area, show strength in another. Now of course if it's between you and someone else with a 4.0 AND 3 exams, well the GPA might be a tie breaker.

Honestly, I don't think you can do much else with actuarial exams. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. You could look into underwriting. If you choose to do something other than actuary, be aware that you'll most likely need to work on a masters or MBA to advance in the career field.


I feel my interview will be one of my strong suits. I have worked as a lead with my previous and current job (not field related) and have above average social skills, IMO. I'm just hoping my GPA (2.7) isn't going to be the road block from getting my butt into that seat.

Yes! You need to sell yourself, especially if you're trying to make up for a weaker GPA. Once you get your foot in the door, it's time to shine.

http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actuarial_discussion_forum/showthread.php?t=135425&highlight=gpa

kg1128
July 7th 2009, 01:10 PM
honestly it's not that bad. i started job searching last september and got 3 offers within a month. my gpa is below 3.0, took me 6 years to graduate college and i had 2 exams at that time but failed M and C many times.

i'm not sure how the economy has affected insurance companies, but consulting industry still has a lot of work and is in need of more actuaries (despite pension field is slowly dying due to defined contribution plans). actually the stock market plunge and the change in pension laws have generated more work for most consulting firms. so keep your head up, pass your exams, and don't mess up the interviews.. you can def find a job.

Butters
July 7th 2009, 01:56 PM
I think I am only going to finish school with 2 exams, but a 3.5 GPA, and two different actuarial internships in two different fields (Health Insurance, and Pension Consulting) in two different countries (Canada and the USA). Will the two internships make up for only graduating with two exams? I know its a tighter field now, and I am aware that 3 exams is probably ideal at this point, but there is nothing I can do with respect to taking more exams. Will my diversity in terms of the fields where I had an internship make me a more qualified candidate for a position, or make it look like I am just hectic, all over the place, and can't make up my mind?

Edit: And I have 3 VEE's (stats, corp finance, economics)

NoMoreExams
July 7th 2009, 02:50 PM
I think I am only going to finish school with 2 exams, but a 3.5 GPA, and two different actuarial internships in two different fields (Health Insurance, and Pension Consulting) in two different countries (Canada and the USA). Will the two internships make up for only graduating with two exams? I know its a tighter field now, and I am aware that 3 exams is probably ideal at this point, but there is nothing I can do with respect to taking more exams. Will my diversity in terms of the fields where I had an internship make me a more qualified candidate for a position, or make it look like I am just hectic, all over the place, and can't make up my mind?

Edit: And I have 3 VEE's (stats, corp finance, economics)

Depends how you spin it, learn to make yourself look good but don't lie. You CAN go in and says " I don't know what I want to do, etc. etc." or you can go in and say "I've done this, this and that. I am confident I want to work for YOU because my experiences <describe them / point out specific examples> have led me to believe the work you guys do is the tops!"

Butters
July 7th 2009, 03:01 PM
I like it... "been there, done that... that ''''s, this is cool". Phrased more delicately of course.

I think more importantly I'm worried I might be lost amuck the 2 exam passers in the job pool. When should you start applying ( I don't get recruiters coming to my university) for full time jobs? Will the VEE accredation and 2 internships + 2 exams = 3 exams and 1 internship? Or should I bust my nuts to get that third exam done before graduation?

kg1128
July 7th 2009, 11:46 PM
I think I am only going to finish school with 2 exams, but a 3.5 GPA, and two different actuarial internships in two different fields (Health Insurance, and Pension Consulting) in two different countries (Canada and the USA). Will the two internships make up for only graduating with two exams? I know its a tighter field now, and I am aware that 3 exams is probably ideal at this point, but there is nothing I can do with respect to taking more exams. Will my diversity in terms of the fields where I had an internship make me a more qualified candidate for a position, or make it look like I am just hectic, all over the place, and can't make up my mind?

Edit: And I have 3 VEE's (stats, corp finance, economics)

So you're trying to find ur first job out of college.. having an internship experience def helps but not because it means u know something but because it shows your interest in the general field. Honestly companies don't care about experience for new hires. Whatever company or industry u end up, it takes at least 1 or 2 yrs to be experienced. So they're more interested in ur potential and aptitude rather than expertise. For instance I had internship with p n c insurance company but I got offers from iso, bcbsnc, and pension consulting firm which are all totally diff companies.

cmcm750203
July 14th 2009, 01:33 PM
'''. This was a depressing read, and this coming off of not passing the P/1 yesterday. I was gung ho about signing up for the September session, but after reading this I'm not sure how I feel about my prospects. I'm not a recent grad. Have a BS in Math (graduated with a high GPA from an OK school) from 2005, I'm 32 and was psyched about the prospects of entering the field, but I have to say now, I am a bit deflated. Between the 3+ test suggestions, the programming experience requirements, the internship(s), I'm not as hopeful as I once was. Don't get me wrong I WANT to do this, but I'm not getting any younger and I think this seems like it's a young person's field. Obviously I have a long way to go, but any thoughts on my prospects would be great. Thanks.

First post btw.

corinabarbu
July 15th 2009, 12:33 PM
From what I read, people much older than 32 enter this field and become successful. You'll probably feel much better in Sept after you will have already passed P. Good luck!

surya2cents
July 17th 2009, 07:16 AM
I have graduated recently and I am having a hard time landing interviews. I recently passed exam P and I have gotten 2 responses out of the 40 plus applications I submitted. But, I will continue to pass exams. I am quite professional in passing exams and I am confident that I will have 5 exams under my belt by November.

One of the reasons entry level jobs are so tight in USA is due to the fact that most of these are being outsourced to India. Swiss Re for example laid off around 172 actuaries in North America while continuing to hire in Bangalore. I guess the ease with which one can setup a webex video conferencing means there is virtually no difference to communicating with a team in Houston, versus a team in Bangalore. And India has enough talent (the high school math programs make Calculus and Differential equations and Linear Algebra mandatory - think about 20 million students graduating from Indian high schools each year and you will begin to understand the magnitude of competition Americans face in the coming decades), whereas American education system is in total doldrums - 95% of high school students struggle with simple algebraic manipulations (which Indian kids learn to be fluent in by 6th or 7th grade). Indian actuaries can work at one-tenth of the salary for same or better quality. Hence there is no wonder that a big chunk of actuarial entry level jobs get shifted to India. There is no way to reverse this trend. And once the Indian actuaries acquire enough experience, they find it very easy to come to the USA and take up managerial positions.

American students should not be fooled by their professors and take up their suggestion blindly. After all the professors have a lot of vested interest in drumming up their profession :laugh: They will always promise you the sun and the moon and so will university counselors - who have no idea about the impact of outsourcing. So, dont be naive.

I am not sure what advice to give to Americans - you simply cannot take up any engineering, math, actuarial, science or programming careers. You cannot face the competition from India in terms of wages. This will ultimately lead to dejection and career changes.

The companies are short sighted in their approach. Outsourcing entry level jobs that can be easily coordinated from USA, will only lead to the depletion of talent pool here and the migration of well bred talent from India to USA after 3-4 years of work experience. Companies will not openly acknowledge this. The HR departments are adept in the art of the spiel and will concoct some vague general HR nonsense to every specific question.

The horizon is bleak for American kids - not only will they have to face the enormous debt burden due to the ineptness and over spending of the current generation, but they will also suffer a double blow due to the lack of opportunities the current generation is leaving them.

sulfysulf
July 18th 2009, 06:27 AM
surya2cents, You hit the head on the nail. I just happened to read an article put out about Allstate on this very exact topic...maybe a year ago...but I had forgotten about it until now. I was disgusted by it because of the way the company was bragging of how clever they are and how cost effective this outsourcing has become. I also wrote a very similar conclusion as yours...although, I believe it went unread and buried somewhere within these archives. I distinctly remember how Allstate claimed to specifically limit this practice to only the entry-level...yet, anyone with half a brain cell can see that if they're willing to outsource these jobs, they'd outsource them all if given the opportunity. These entry-level Indians won't always stay this way, right? You're exactly right in that they'll become our managers...and drag the salary down along with it. So, yes, it's very short-sided of these companies...and it'll only serve to further hollow out the American workforce. But then again, what hasn't been hollowed out recently? We've done it to ourselves with these corporate, greedy practices...and it becomes clear that the employment shift will only cease once there is some kind of equilibrium. We're still not even close to that...the days of the "rich" American are ending very quickly...but I suppose the days of the "dirt-poor" Indian are improving. When you objectively compare the two, Americans are embarrassingly stupid. Most of us can't speak a 2nd language, can't even speak English properly...and are struggling through College Algebra as community college students. Too much fluoride, high-fructose corn syrup, and primitive television programming...it's finally caught up to us.

Here's a link to this other thread...with the article I read and my thoughts on it then. http://www.actuary.com/actuarial-discussion-forum/showthread.php?t=10697

BRiemann
August 19th 2009, 11:30 AM
Are you willing to relocate out of state?
It seems as though the job market is saturated in some markets way more than others

Zac
August 19th 2009, 07:11 PM
Are you willing to relocate out of state?
It seems as though the job market is saturated in some markets way more than others

It sounds like India is your best bet :unsure:

JS1
August 27th 2009, 01:21 AM
'''. This was a depressing read, and this coming off of not passing the P/1 yesterday. I was gung ho about signing up for the September session, but after reading this I'm not sure how I feel about my prospects. I'm not a recent grad. Have a BS in Math (graduated with a high GPA from an OK school) from 2005, I'm 32 and was psyched about the prospects of entering the field, but I have to say now, I am a bit deflated. Between the 3+ test suggestions, the programming experience requirements, the internship(s), I'm not as hopeful as I once was. Don't get me wrong I WANT to do this, but I'm not getting any younger and I think this seems like it's a young person's field. Obviously I have a long way to go, but any thoughts on my prospects would be great. Thanks.

First post btw.

Starting at 32 is over the hill in this field.

JS1
August 27th 2009, 01:23 AM
honestly it's not that bad. i started job searching last september and got 3 offers within a month. my gpa is below 3.0, took me 6 years to graduate college and i had 2 exams at that time but failed M and C many times.

i'm not sure how the economy has affected insurance companies, but consulting industry still has a lot of work and is in need of more actuaries (despite pension field is slowly dying due to defined contribution plans). actually the stock market plunge and the change in pension laws have generated more work for most consulting firms. so keep your head up, pass your exams, and don't mess up the interviews.. you can def find a job.

I work for a pension consulting company that doesn't require exams. There is work to do (e.g., Pension Protection Act), but the need for actuaries is slim. They hired me because I have 12 years experience in pensions, not because I passed five exams.

Changes in federal law mean we have to revise plan documents, re-calculate optional forms, revise the letters sent to retiring employees, etc., but on the actuarial side it makes little difference. Computers, and to a lesser extent, India, do the bulk of the work while actuaries merely sign off on it. Think about it -- how many people do you really need to sign off on something? Not thousands!

Anyway, if you're willing to settle for a salary of 40 to 50 big ones (still middle class) instead of the outrageous expectations some people have of making $125k+, you will be OK.

Secret12
August 27th 2009, 01:28 AM
Hi,

I'm new to the Profession of Actuary. I have done my MBA in Finance.

As I don't have any Maths Background ( though I can cope up in near future )

I will be taking FM exams coming this December instead of P1( lots of calculus and Probability is involved so wanted to avoid the test before FM)

I wanted to really have a opinion/suggestion/advice from all of you that which book should I refer as I have gone through various thread most of them had referred in the link to go for ASM and if ASM than which author..

Last but not the least could you please recommend me which Maths ( which should include Calculus and Probability) class should I take in county college near to my residence which could help me to take my P1 exam easily



I will really appreciate your input if you all can guide me ..


Regards,
Rajiv.

JS1
August 27th 2009, 01:51 AM
Hi,

I'm new to the Profession of Actuary. I have done my MBA in Finance.

As I don't have any Maths Background ( though I can cope up in near future )

I will be taking FM exams coming this December instead of P1( lots of calculus and Probability is involved so wanted to avoid the test before FM)

I wanted to really have a opinion/suggestion/advice from all of you that which book should I refer as I have gone through various thread most of them had referred in the link to go for ASM and if ASM than which author..

Last but not the least could you please recommend me which Maths ( which should include Calculus and Probability) class should I take in county college near to my residence which could help me to take my P1 exam easily



I will really appreciate your input if you all can guide me ..


Regards,
Rajiv.

I think you meant to hit "new thread" not "reply". Your question has nothing to do with the subject.

WILLEL2338
August 27th 2009, 04:57 AM
My thoughts are that it has become harder to find entry level actuarial work not so much because of the economy as it is because the employers need to protect their profession. They need to protect it from becoming watered down, which is what would happen if everybody got a job who had passed only one or two exams.

Like any guild, they-the companies who hire actuaries-only want the best to be able to join. (More specifically, they only want those who can attain FSA/FCAS) It isn't so much that the supply (the # of jobs) has been tempered by the receding economy, it is that the demand (the # of applicants) is relatively weak. This isn't to say demand is low; rather, it is to say that despite there being many applicants, there aren't all that many highly qualified applicants.

By all accounts, there is a a lack of FSA/FCAS and there is a multitude of those who have passed only a few exams and who are already working as actuaries within student programs at variouis insurers/consulting firms. Further, many of the FSA/FCAS are older and will retire within 10-15 years.

By other accounts, many of these actuaries within student programs are finding it difficult to pass upper level actuarial exams. This is where the economy comes into play... companies cannot afford to whiff on new hires because right now they don't have cash to burn by employing those who can't or won't pass all the exams. They want to hire only those who will become FSA/FCAS.

Because of the poor economy, many have been drawn to this field not because they want to become FSA/FCAS, but instead because they want a stable job that is "recession proof" and where they "don't have to work long hours". This instills fear into companies because 1. there wasn't this type of demand for this field prior to this recession and 2. the actuarial exams are so comprehensive and the exam process itself is so rigorous and at the same time they need FSA/FCAS, for the time being they would rather not hire any new actuaries and instead focus on providing all available resources to those who are already in student programs. They want these employees to succeed in the exams far more than they want to hire those who potentially only want a stable job and who have no desire to become FSA/FCAS.

Ultimately, the economy is still the key to entry level actuaries being hired. Once the economy picks up, many of those who might have wanted to become actuaries will eventually seek other work and only the most persistent and dedicated will still be looking for actuarial work.

In short: I don't believe that actuaries aren't being hired now because there are no available slots; instead, they aren't being hired because the companies want to protect their craft.

If you're being graduated with a 3.7+ GPA Cum Laude with distinction with 3-4 exams AND you can sell yourself in an interview and ask pertinent questions to interviewers regarding the future state of insurance, etc., then you will get hired now, despite the bad economy. This is because they will believe you can become FSA/FCAS within the next 5 years. If you don't have these credentials, then you'll be lucky to get a job at this time.

-Will

JS1
August 27th 2009, 07:42 AM
Well said, WILLEL2338. The only thing I disagree with is "demand" and "supply" -- it's the reverse. But you and I both understand the concept clearly and I hope we can get other people to understand that this is real life.

Workers supply the labor and companies demand it (those who demand, pay, and those who supply, receive, the price, which for labor is the wage/salary). Supply is up and demand is down, so in a perfect market that would result in a price drop to cut down on supply and raise demand (much like housing or oil), but because salaries change very slowly, if at all, in the downward direction, we are stuck with companies who aren't willing to pay the 'big bucks' for actuaries or wannabees but still lots of people going for it because of the (pretty much non-existent) 'big bucks'.

What's worse is that the worldwide labor market is a lot more fluid, so instead of companies cutting actuarial salaries to balance the labor equation, they ship our work off to India where people make a fraction of what Americans were making. The company benefits from the price reduction, but Americans suffer unless you move to India, which is obviously not practical.

iromio
August 27th 2009, 08:38 AM
Starting at 32 is over the hill in this field.

so what is the desirable age for this profession?

NoMoreExams
August 27th 2009, 09:11 AM
30s is not over the hill, JS1 is just trolling again. If I could believe his earlier posts were a sincere attempt to show a different side of a coin, THIS is def. trolling. There's a few threads on AO where people discuss entering the field after teaching for awhile (even after getting their PhDs) which would place a good number of them in the 30s.

JMO Fan
August 27th 2009, 11:26 AM
I started at 24. When some implied I was late, I noted that the guy at the next desk who started the same month was about 40. He got FSA 7 years later, retired after about 20 great years.

As a bonus, his son started exams earlier, will likely have a great 40-year career as FSA.

WILLEL2338
August 27th 2009, 02:37 PM
Workers supply the labor and companies demand it (those who demand, pay, and those who supply, receive, the price, which for labor is the wage/salary). Supply is up and demand is down, so in a perfect market that would result in a price drop to cut down on supply and raise demand (much like housing or oil)...



This first part is well put. I stand humbly corrected and I agree with you in this regard of supply and demand. Workers supply the labor; companies demand it (obviously!)--it was very late when I came up with that...




but because salaries change very slowly, if at all, in the downward direction, we are stuck with companies who aren't willing to pay the 'big bucks' for actuaries or wannabees but still lots of people going for it because of the (pretty much non-existent) 'big bucks'.

I will expound this second part. You're right and I do agree that companies aren't willing to pay big bucks to who you call wannabes (I like this use of the word wannabe). This is because it's plain as day that these wannabes don't really want to be actuaries; they just want a job and so they are unlikely to finish the exam process.

You're wrong, however, that the big bucks are non-existent. As I stated in the first post, those who show real promise in attaining FSA/FCAS will still be in demand and will subsequently earn "big bucks". It is becoming very competitive. As such, it's becoming harder for employers to determine who can become FSA/FCAS... as a result, simply passing exams is no longer the only requisite to finding entry level work. One needs to demonstrate they have what it takes (to become FSA/FCAS)... good grades, good communication skills and internships have increased in importance. More exams than just a few are necessary. More important still, might be one's ability not only to sufficiently answer interviewer's questions, but also to ask potential interviewers and hiring managers pertinent questions that show one understands this field and industry. A well placed question in an interview is far more meaningful than any answer one might give. Thus, the ability to market oneself is more important now for actuaries than it used to be.


As I understand it, the way it used to be was get a degree and pass 1-2 exams and get hired, regardless of communication or marketing skills. This very advice is what led to an influx of wannabes that now threatens to water down the entire field.

Among those applying for actuarial entry work today, I can't help but feel there is a growing rift between "wannabes" and those who have the talent and drive to become FSA/FCAS. (Just reading this forum, I see anecdotal evidence of those who have passed 1-2 exams but can barely write coherent English)...

Maybe the upper level exam process is what used to wash them out, but right now companies simply can't afford to pay wannabes to participate in student programs and further, there are just so many of them that employers don't know what to do, so they've relatively shut their doors to protect their profession and not because there aren't available slots. They're just afraid to whiff on new hires and they're afraid to have even more wannabes populating their student programs. The demand for FSA/FCAS has not been tempered and I think that's where we disagree. Talented people can still find very high paying work in this field and I base what I say on lengthy discussions I've had with people who have worked in this profession for years, many of whom are FSA/FCAS. Again, this relative hiring freeze is simply a way for them to protect their profession, and it's temporary.




you and I both understand the concept clearly and I hope we can get other people to understand that this is real life.

Maybe... but I feel you're quite a bit more jaded than I; you're far too pessimistic in your outlook. Then again, I think you're also older than I am and it's hard for me to criticize you because you are the man in the arena, whose face has been marred by dust and sweat and blood, etc... maybe I will feel as you do in a few more years (I'll be 27 this September).

You are correct that it is real life. There are serious hazards to pursuing this career and it is a risky opportunity cost to spend a lot of time and money on exams before securing employment. This topic is worth a good debate. Those who dismiss you as a malcontented troll do so in part because they don't want to face a reality that maybe they are the wannabes to which we are referring.

I feel as you do that many people out there who have 1-2 exams and are looking for a job should most definitely should not be seeking employment in this profession and are only hurting themselves and others by doing so. At the same time, it isn't up to you (or me) to make that decision for them.

BRiemann
August 28th 2009, 01:40 PM
Lets not be too pessimistic.

Us "wannabes" are not applying to be astronauts.

Simply put I would like to do Math for an insurance company.

They dont give well paying jobs away

We need to expect competition

If it wasn't a competitive field then it probably wouldn't be worth going after

This recession has turned box boy jobs at walmart competitive

It may have been easier to land an actuary job a few years ago, but that can be said about anything now

I have a degree in Mathematics, a decent gpa and a solid resume.

I wont be watering down the profession, I believe that statement was a little harsh

Most of us on this thread were Math majors and we dont water down anything

If one can survive Real Analysis with the textbook written by Walter "grab your ankles" Rudin then one probably has the intelligence and drive to succeed in this field

The bottom line is lets not be too pessimistic

--Josh

WILLEL2338
August 28th 2009, 05:18 PM
Lets not be too pessimistic.

Us "wannabes" are not applying to be astronauts.

Simply put I would like to do Math for an insurance company.

They dont give well paying jobs away

We need to expect competition

If it wasn't a competitive field then it probably wouldn't be worth going after

This recession has turned box boy jobs at walmart competitive

It may have been easier to land an actuary job a few years ago, but that can be said about anything now

I have a degree in Mathematics, a decent gpa and a solid resume.

I wont be watering down the profession, I believe that statement was a little harsh

Most of us on this thread were Math majors and we dont water down anything

If one can survive Real Analysis with the textbook written by Walter "grab your ankles" Rudin then one probably has the intelligence and drive to succeed in this field

The bottom line is lets not be too pessimistic

--Josh


Josh, perhaps my post was melodramatic. Perhaps you've lent perspective. Perhaps I am too pessimistic.

Nonetheless-and I feel strongly about this-there are people who were drawn to this field due to economic circumstances (or promises from professors or by reading BLS reports about job conditions, etc.) who don't have a real passion for it, nor are they especially talented, nor do they have the right credentials (at this time) to be hired. And so, it is debatable to ask whether or not they should be (potentially) wasting time and money on exams for the sole purpose of enriching the SOA. That isn't to say actuarial science is in major decline and that isn't to say it isn't worth pursuing.

I certainly don't mean everybody and I absolutely meant no offense to you who seem to have taken my ramblings as a personal affront... It would be somewhat hypocritical of me to say actuarial science is a dying field while at the same time pursuing it myself. I don't consider myself a wannabe, either.

Perhaps, you're right. Maybe it as simple as saying "it's just become more competitive... like everything else". While that's certainly true, I think it's deeper than that. By all accounts, there are ASA/ACAS who are having great difficulties with upper level exams and there are actuaries in student programs who aren't progressing fast enough through the lower level exams. Employers want students who will pass exams and because of the economy not providing sufficient ROI on investments the last few years, employers don't have cash to burn hiring students who won't make it through the exams. It's not that slots or jobs aren't available for students; it's that they cannot afford to hire those who won't finish the exams. Therefore, they only want to hire those who show the most promise in becoming FSA/FCAS. Again, that could be overanalyzing. Maybe it could be said as succinctly as you put it, "This recession has turned box boy jobs at walmart competitive

...

It may have been easier to land an actuary job a few years ago, but that can be said about anything now"

I guess my bottom line point I'm trying to make is: demonstrate you have what it takes to finish the exams, and you'll find it easier to get hired. That's just my thesis... I could be wrong.

-Will

Y2A
August 28th 2009, 06:50 PM
WILLEL2338, with all due respect, if you are making vast generalizations about the actuarial field and have no exams done you are the "wannabe" of which you speak. You can talk when you have some exams under your belt.

WILLEL2338
August 29th 2009, 12:15 AM
Don't pull any punches, Y2A. Take the gloves off and tell me how you really feel.:laugh:

I suppose that's a fair criticism; however, I think you were so blinded by your desire to insult me that you've glossed over the finer points here.

I may not have exams, but I base my opinions on not only an extensive knowledge of business hiring practices. (I've signed non-disclosure and non-competing agreements, so I can't talk further about this.) I also base it on lengthy conversations I've had with several FSA and FCAS. I wouldn't call one thing I've said a "vast generalization". My observations are grounded in truth and reality. Ignore me at your own peril.

If you think I haven't said anything worthful, then that's fine. But, I will continue to talk whenever I want, not when you tell me it's acceptable.

-Will

Maxkil
August 29th 2009, 02:47 AM
I'm glad this topic was re-dugged. The links below from Forbes and CNN had led me to think that Actuarial Job was more in demand b/c they are the people who are needed the most in this financial mess that we are in. I think, in my opinion, the demand will rise in the future.

I'm a Computer Science major w/ Minor in Math. I have 5+ years in CS field and 4+ in the Insurance Industry. What is happening now in the CS industry, and this is true for Engineers, is that companies don't want to hire anybody who they have to train. They want to get some body who will be able to work and function in the company from day one. Some of my closes friends are engineers, and they are experiencing the same thing in their industry. Companies desperately (I mean desperately: note I'm a manager) want a CS and Engineers but will not hire anyone with no experience or someone they have to train for a while before they get ROI. They are willing to pay a hire pay for some one with experience than get someone with lower pay and train.

With this thread discussion, it is likely that Actuary is the same. (Note: I'm studying to become an actuary to supplement my CS experience in the Insurance Industry. My CS landed me a good starting salary but it moved up slowly. People who are experts in the field are the one who become upper management. And Actuaries are the experts in the field.)

Forbes top 10 Jobs for Graduates
http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/09/college-grads-jobs-leadership-careers-cx_tw_0109jobs_slide_9.html?thisSpeed=15000

CNN top 10 starting salaries
http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/09/college-grads-jobs-leadership-careers-cx_tw_0109jobs_slide_9.html?thisSpeed=15000

JS1
August 29th 2009, 12:35 PM
Lets not be too pessimistic.

Us "wannabes" are not applying to be astronauts.

Simply put I would like to do Math for an insurance company.

They dont give well paying jobs away

We need to expect competition

If it wasn't a competitive field then it probably wouldn't be worth going after

This recession has turned box boy jobs at walmart competitive

It may have been easier to land an actuary job a few years ago, but that can be said about anything now

I have a degree in Mathematics, a decent gpa and a solid resume.

I wont be watering down the profession, I believe that statement was a little harsh

Most of us on this thread were Math majors and we dont water down anything

If one can survive Real Analysis with the textbook written by Walter "grab your ankles" Rudin then one probably has the intelligence and drive to succeed in this field

The bottom line is lets not be too pessimistic

--Josh

If you can pass the first two exams, you're not "watering down" the field.

The problem is that the number of people who want to get into actuarial student programs is far more than the number of slots.

Some of it is due to the economy, but mostly it's because the SOA and their hangers-on keeping touting 'actuary' as the best job ever, so of course that attracts more people.

For example, if being a shift leader at Bojangle's ($8.25/hr) was touted like actuary was, they would be getting a stack of applications and would be doing 1 hour interviews and rejecting 90+% of the applicants. But that's not the case, which is why Bojangle's advertises right there in the restuarant that they are hiring shift leaders for $8.25 an hour.

Most locations are also hiring for 'team members' (sugar-coated version of "bottom-rung fast food worker") which pays minimum wage, a dollar an hour less.

I've worked fast food before and had no interest in being a shift leader. The extra work and responsibility required to be a shift leader, in my opinion, isn't worth an extra $1 an hour which is why they're always looking for shift leaders.

BTW the Bojangle's in rural counties actually do get a bunch of applications for 'team members' because the unemployment rate is 20 to 25%, a situation not unlike the Great Depression. In rural counties, it is Depression II.

Dagnabbit, I should be an economist. :)

levenzaha
August 29th 2009, 01:29 PM
not that it matters, but this forum is making it impossible for me to choose between being excited for a great job after college or nervous that im going to be living in my parents basement for an extended period of time. i feel like i have bipolar disorder! different mood everyday

LisaMauriThomas
August 29th 2009, 01:55 PM
As a job search expert, I can tell each of you that your approach is key. How you construct your job search strategy will make all the difference. Take a good look at your credentials, your level of experience, your geographical area and the top industries supported in your location. You are already online and talking. Mix that in with your overall professional networking activities.

It's tough out there but NOT IMPOSSIBLE. There are jobs. Employers are hiring. Be highly competitive - this is no time to be passive about employment. You can do it!

Good luck to each of you. Need additional help? Please visit my site at www.changeyourjob.us and review the mix of free and affordable services available.

-Lisa

drparliament
August 29th 2009, 03:47 PM
not that it matters, but this forum is making it impossible for me to choose between being excited for a great job after college or nervous that im going to be living in my parents basement for an extended period of time. i feel like i have bipolar disorder! different mood everyday

It's not uncommon for people to have a pessimistic attitude towards the future during times of distress (like now.) Also, ten years ago (late 90's) everyone assumed good times were here to stay forever because of the massive economic growth our economy was experiencing.

The economic cycle is an unfortunate reality. Don't worry about stuff that you can't control. Worry about the stuff you can: getting good grades, PASSING 2 EXAMS before or shortly after graduation, and applying for jobs/internships. There will always be a demand for actuaries in the future - if not in insurance, then in other fields (edit: which isn't to say that you won't face adversity getting hired. I just mean the field isn't dying like some people claim.)

Look at the bright side, you don't have a family to support or anything like that. Imagine how bad this recession would be hurting you if you had kids to take care of, and were like 90% of Americans and had no real savings.

levenzaha
August 29th 2009, 04:08 PM
It's not uncommon for people to have a pessimistic attitude towards the future during times of distress (like now.) Also, ten years ago (late 90's) everyone assumed good times were here to stay forever because of the massive economic growth our economy was experiencing.

The economic cycle is an unfortunate reality. Don't worry about stuff that you can't control. Worry about the stuff you can: getting good grades, PASSING 2 EXAMS before or shortly after graduation, and applying for jobs/internships. There will always be a demand for actuaries in the future - if not in insurance, then in other fields (edit: which isn't to say that you won't face adversity getting hired. I just mean the field isn't dying like some people claim.)

Look at the bright side, you don't have a family to support or anything like that. Imagine how bad this recession would be hurting you if you had kids to take care of, and were like 90% of Americans and had no real savings.

well hopefully i have the controllable things covered. Is 2 the perfect amount of exams to have? I am taking a risk and sitting for MFE in november (havent received study materials yet). Hoping that i will pass and it will put me over the edge. and very true that i dont have anyone to support. in fact, my parents are very supportive, and certainly wouldnt mind me living in the basement for as long as i need to.

drparliament
August 29th 2009, 05:12 PM
I'm not an expert on these things. I have read in several sources that there is such a thing as passing too many exams BEFORE your first actuary job. I'm not sure what an employers logic is, but it's what I have read. Multiple sources said not to take more than 3 exams. Another thread on this site said you could take 4 as long as you had your undergrad in actuarial science. Again, I do not understand employer's logic, and would love for someone to explain it (being serious, not sarcastic.)

I said to pass two because I took my first 1 this summer (passed) and haven't been getting call backs even with my good GPA and other stuff. People with 2 are having a little more luck attracting attention.

Again, these are difficult times, don't anticipate the future being bad forever. Work hard my friend.

levenzaha
August 30th 2009, 08:46 PM
yeah i have heard of the too many exam rule too. Was wondering if MLC+MFE counts as one exam? so i get P, FM, MLC and MFE done by May does that only count as 3 exams?

NoMoreExams
August 30th 2009, 08:51 PM
yeah i have heard of the too many exam rule too. Was wondering if MLC+MFE counts as one exam? so i get P, FM, MLC and MFE done by May does that only count as 3 exams?

Most places would count it as 4.

drparliament
August 30th 2009, 09:08 PM
No More Exams,

Why is there such a thing as too many exams?

NoMoreExams
August 30th 2009, 09:12 PM
No More Exams,

Why is there such a thing as too many exams?

In theory there isn't assuming you don't have high expectations as to your salary. People look at ASAs making ... 80k for example and expect the same. Not going to happen, those ASAs have work experience behind them, you most likely will not. You will probably get a higher salary than a person with ... 3 exams but not as much as you would think.

JMO Fan
August 31st 2009, 08:35 AM
Some companies, especially larger ones, have suggested salary ranges based upon exams passed. More exams without experience can make it hard for them to fit a candidate into their existing staff. It might mean continuing to look for fair pay from a company with a less rigid salary/exam structure.

Jessica Chung
September 1st 2009, 03:55 AM
I'm planning to graduate with 5 exams, up till C. The reason for this is that I would like to cover as many exams as possible while I'm still in school and then attain ASA/FSA status as soon as possible. Also, it's easier to take exams while in college since the material is still fresh in my mind. Is this explanation reasonable for having taken that many exams before I get a job?

NoMoreExams
September 1st 2009, 09:47 AM
That explanation is fine but I don't think employers are going to ask why you passed so many exams. They might somehow hint or ask about your salary expectations.

drparliament
September 1st 2009, 12:54 PM
I'm planning to graduate with 5 exams, up till C. The reason for this is that I would like to cover as many exams as possible while I'm still in school and then attain ASA/FSA status as soon as possible. Also, it's easier to take exams while in college since the material is still fresh in my mind. Is this explanation reasonable for having taken that many exams before I get a job?

I admire your ambition, but how far along are you? Are you just starting college now?

Consider:

In order to take the probability exam with a chance at passing, you're going to need 3 semesters of calc and 1-2 of calculus based statistics. This means the earliest you could probably take exam P or FM would probably be the summer after your sophmore year. If you take (and pass) one every 6 months after that, that'd mean you'd be taking your final exam the summer after graduation. The exams take a great deal of study time in addition to what you learn in classes.

NoMoreExams
September 1st 2009, 01:49 PM
I admire your ambition, but how far along are you? Are you just starting college now?

Consider:

In order to take the probability exam with a chance at passing, you're going to need 3 semesters of calc and 1-2 of calculus based statistics. This means the earliest you could probably take exam P or FM would probably be the summer after your sophmore year. If you take (and pass) one every 6 months after that, that'd mean you'd be taking your final exam the summer after graduation. The exams take a great deal of study time in addition to what you learn in classes.

I disagree, I came into college with credit for calc. 1-3 and vector calc.

drparliament
September 1st 2009, 03:59 PM
I disagree, I came into college with credit for calc. 1-3 and vector calc.

True, but that's pretty advanced compared to most students. Most are going to come in freshman year either having to take calc 1 or 2, don't you think?

Also, if Jessica has never taken an SOA/CAS exam before (I don't know that she hasn't), she might not realize how hard they are and how much study time is required.

NoMoreExams
September 1st 2009, 05:20 PM
True, but that's pretty advanced compared to most students. Most are going to come in freshman year either having to take calc 1 or 2, don't you think?

Also, if Jessica has never taken an SOA/CAS exam before (I don't know that she hasn't), she might not realize how hard they are and how much study time is required.

Not sure to tell you the truth. Most actuarial students I met, placed out of calc 1 and a good portion placed out of calc 2 as well. I agree it's unlikely to find kids who placed out of calc. 3 but they could jump into calc. based prob. and study at the same time.

FWIW, I think Jessica passed at least 1 exam (maybe 2) already but I'll let her speak to that.

LisaMauriThomas
September 2nd 2009, 07:15 AM
Keep in mind that your professors probably haven't been out looking for work themselves in awhile, in some cases 20 years or more and the climate was quite different. In 4 year universities, also, your professors are not necessarily tied in closely with industry contacts like the faculty at 2 year tech schools are. Your professors are there to teach you, to pass on their expertise about actuary science. But they are not career counselors. See your Career Services office. Find out which companies recruit on campus in your field (whether you are a current student or a graduate). Join the non-profit professional organizations that directly support Actuaries at all levels. Directly investigate the companies that need actuaries as part of their operating structure. Prepare a resume then get it professionally critiqued for best results and to directly support your search efforts. Good luck to all of you! Let me know if I can be of further assistance. -Lisa Thomas, Change Your Job, Change Your Life - http://changeyourjob.us

LisaMauriThomas
September 2nd 2009, 07:20 AM
As far as number of exams go against years of relevant experience - if you have the time and means to take them now versus later, do so. It is up to you to what extent you highlight them on a resume. Be clear in objectives and cover letters that you are seeking an entry level position but are also confident that you will be able to contribute quickly given the fact that you also have additional exams completed. Don't expect higher salaries based on exams alone - it simply won't happen. Convey that you understand that exams and experience complement each other, act in tandem, and that you wish to complement your exams with relevant entry level experience. Let me know if I can be of further assistance. -Lisa Thomas (http://changeyourjob.us), http://changeyourjob.us

Maxkil
September 2nd 2009, 05:23 PM
I have an opinion in regards to the number of exams. I haven't read this anywhere. I'm basing it my 4+ experience in the insurance industry.

Different insurance carriers specialize in different coverage, heath, car, workers comp., etc. Even in the same insurance carriers, they might own subsidiaries that specialize in different coverage. Even in the same subsidiary, it might be more profitable in one coverage vs. others. In that regard, an insurance carrier will want an Actuary that specializes in what they do. Hypothetically, if you specialize in annuities, then a life insurance carrier will consider an actuary who specializes in life insurance instead of you.

My plan, best on my experience, was to take four test, and then ask the carrier I work for where they need me to specialize.

So my advice, get a company to support you after 4-5 tests, then ask them where they want you to specialize. This will guarantee a job but not necessarily the specialization you wanted.

P.S. Anybody know which Actuary specialization is more in demand? For some reason, I think annuities, bonds, and stocks will be more in demand. More in the financial industry than insurance.

JS1
September 2nd 2009, 07:11 PM
The spammer posting his website 2 and 3 posts up reminds me of the subject of college recruiters.

Are there any these days?

When I graduated in 1996 (far better job market then), only one company came to visit -- Prudential from Des Moines.

I got three interviews (not from Prudential) and one job offer, so obviously I took it.

spadeser2002
October 15th 2009, 08:46 PM
What is the probability of me getting an actuary job within the next 12 months?
I have MS in pure Math.
Passed P and FM.
No actuary experience.
I live in Chicago.
What can I do to increase my chance (of getting a job)? :Depressed:

levenzaha
October 15th 2009, 11:55 PM
What is the probability of me getting an actuary job within the next 12 months?
I have MS in pure Math.
Passed P and FM.
No actuary experience.
I live in Chicago.
What can I do to increase my chance (of getting a job)? :Depressed:

Keep going. pass another one if u can. I have 2 exams and am going for MFE in Nov (i've barely studied so i have 0 chance of passing) I am an undergrad senior and have had a few interviews (better than nothing?).

JMO Fan
October 16th 2009, 11:22 AM
What is the probability of me getting an actuary job within the next 12 months?
I have MS in pure Math.
Passed P and FM.
No actuary experience.
I live in Chicago.
What can I do to increase my chance (of getting a job)? :Depressed:
Expand your search beyond Chicago. Brush up your resume and practice interviewing. Talk to several recruiters.

levenzaha
October 17th 2009, 07:58 AM
I'm only a senior, so this is merely a guess. it seems like actuarial development programs are really important to launch a career. but, they really only seek fresh college grads and recruit in october of senior year

haipham2007
October 17th 2009, 08:38 AM
What is the probability of me getting an actuary job within the next 12 months?
I have MS in pure Math.
Passed P and FM.
No actuary experience.
I live in Chicago.
What can I do to increase my chance (of getting a job)? :Depressed:

My son will graduate in December with Math degree (Statistic) with GPA > 3.8 and in Honor program. He has passed 1P, 2FM and 3MLC and has 2 summer internship but so far no job offer.

levenzaha
October 18th 2009, 12:57 PM
My son will graduate in December with Math degree (Statistic) with GPA > 3.8 and in Honor program. He has passed 1P, 2FM and 3MLC and has 2 summer internship but so far no job offer.

'''. that is discouraging to say the least...

tyhawk10
October 18th 2009, 10:21 PM
Don't give up!!!! I was in the same boat as everyone else looking for an entry level position. I graduted May 2008, and just accepted my first position last week!! So thats' some 17 months after graduating. However, I didn't pass my first exam untill May 2009. So, thats' 5 months after passing an exam to find an entry level job. Here's my best advice:

SOA directory: this has a list of EVERYONE working in the field. Contact them.

I mailed / e-mailed out 150+ resumes and cover letters since passing my first exam. Once those got circulated to the right people, I got A LOT of feedback about the job market and who was hiring. This takes some time so be patient and DONT STOP contacting people. Also, be prepared to re-locate, because right now it's hard to be picky. Unless you are lucky and live near a very big city, you probably will have to re-locate to some extent. I'm from Pittsburgh and I am re-locating to Louisville....7 hrs isn't bad.

After getting an interview offer:

PREPARE! I did my homework and made questions for all the people who were interviewing me. This kept the interview rolling very smoothly and they were impressed by what I knew and wanted to know. Also, Google search "top interview questions and answers". Skim the results for some good questions that you think may pop up and be prepared.

Finding a job takes A LOT LOT LOT of persistence, but nailing the interview is key.

tyhawk10
October 18th 2009, 10:25 PM
Also, keep in mind:

A majority of the people that come and post on the "It's SO hard to find an entry level job" still haven't found a job. So of course, there will be a lot of discouraging and negative feedback. Don't let that discourage; as there are jobs out there and the people who get them don't always come and give positive feedback on these boards.

haipham2007
October 19th 2009, 07:30 AM
Also, keep in mind:

A majority of the people that come and post on the "It's SO hard to find an entry level job" still haven't found a job. So of course, there will be a lot of discouraging and negative feedback. Don't let that discourage; as there are jobs out there and the people who get them don't always come and give positive feedback on these boards.

Sorry, I just want to tell you the fact due to economy downturn. My friend's son graduated last year had no trouble to get a job at all even he only passed one exam.

Y2A
October 19th 2009, 07:42 AM
Sorry, I just want to tell you the fact due to economy downturn. My friend's son graduated last year had no trouble to get a job at all even he only passed one exam.

Exactly, he found a job last year. I had a friend who also had no problem getting a job he had interviewed for last November (and got an offer last December) with one exam. Companies didn't start scaling back their positions for entry-level actuarial programs and intern positions until this year. Posts like the one above are why there is so much misinformation out there.

tyhawk10
October 19th 2009, 11:17 AM
Exactly, he found a job last year. I had a friend who also had no problem getting a job he had interviewed for last November (and got an offer last December) with one exam. Companies didn't start scaling back their positions for entry-level actuarial programs and intern positions until this year. Posts like the one above are why there is so much misinformation out there.

I found an entry job THIS YEAR with an actuarial program.

NoMoreExams
October 19th 2009, 01:24 PM
Obv. it's gotten harder to find a job. These reasons have been listed and re-visited a couple of hundred times this year alone on this forum alone. Although this list isn't exhaustive, some of the ones that spring to mind are economic situation, exams being offered more often therefore having only 1-2 exams is no longer as "amazing" as it once was, exams getting easier i.e. FM is a lot easier than the old 2, etc.

So the obvious question that you should ask is "what should I do?" That also has been discussed and although the following list isn't exhaustive either, you should probably still pass exams, 3-4 seems to be the magical number now, have a good GPA so your resume doesn't get thrown out (however I would still sacrifice GPA for an exam up to a point), your openness to relocate, your knowledge of Excel/Access/SAS/etc. (VBA included), your knowledge of the actuarial work in general (do you at least know the difference between P&C and Life?), your knowledge of the company you are interviewing (you'd be amazed how many people don't do the minimum amount of research but still expect to be given a job!), etc.

haipham2007
October 19th 2009, 02:52 PM
Exactly, he found a job last year. I had a friend who also had no problem getting a job he had interviewed for last November (and got an offer last December) with one exam. Companies didn't start scaling back their positions for entry-level actuarial programs and intern positions until this year. Posts like the one above are why there is so much misinformation out there.

Y2A,

I don't understand what you mean !!! I just told you all the fact, I did not say it was hard last year just happen this year just like you said why you said post like mine why there is so much misinformation out there.

corinabarbu
October 19th 2009, 03:39 PM
Don't give up!!!! I was in the same boat as everyone else looking for an entry level position. I graduted May 2008, and just accepted my first position last week!! So thats' some 17 months after graduating. However, I didn't pass my first exam untill May 2009. So, thats' 5 months after passing an exam to find an entry level job. Here's my best advice:

SOA directory: this has a list of EVERYONE working in the field. Contact them.

I mailed / e-mailed out 150+ resumes and cover letters since passing my first exam. Once those got circulated to the right people, I got A LOT of feedback about the job market and who was hiring. This takes some time so be patient and DONT STOP contacting people. Also, be prepared to re-locate, because right now it's hard to be picky. Unless you are lucky and live near a very big city, you probably will have to re-locate to some extent. I'm from Pittsburgh and I am re-locating to Louisville....7 hrs isn't bad.

After getting an interview offer:

PREPARE! I did my homework and made questions for all the people who were interviewing me. This kept the interview rolling very smoothly and they were impressed by what I knew and wanted to know. Also, Google search "top interview questions and answers". Skim the results for some good questions that you think may pop up and be prepared.

Finding a job takes A LOT LOT LOT of persistence, but nailing the interview is key.

Would you mind sharing some of the questions you prepared for the interview and the sources you used to learn more in order to be able to ask/answer such questions? Thank you.

ker8
October 20th 2009, 08:31 AM
Exactly, he found a job last year. I had a friend who also had no problem getting a job he had interviewed for last November (and got an offer last December) with one exam. Companies didn't start scaling back their positions for entry-level actuarial programs and intern positions until this year. Posts like the one above are why there is so much misinformation out there.

I just wanted to add, that I got a job THIS year, but I did have 2 exams passed. I did not graduate in actuarial science (astronomy actually). It took me 6 months to pass those 2, and another 4-5 months to find a job. Really though, only about 2 months to find a job b/c the first month I didn't look, and relied on a recruiter. And then the next 1-2 months I only applied to positions already posted on company websites!

It is a hard time out there, I won't lie, but it's not as hopeless as many on this board seem to say. Getting the first phone interview was tough, I'll admit. But, after that, everything seemed to start rolling along. I had 5-6 phone interviews, 3 in-person interviews, and 2 offers.

The only thing I WILL say, is that the odds of you finding a job are SIGNIFICANTLY reduced if you are unwilling to move, or only looking for positions in one particular city.

ker8
October 20th 2009, 08:41 AM
Would you mind sharing some of the questions you prepared for the interview and the sources you used to learn more in order to be able to ask/answer such questions? Thank you.

My story is extremely similar to tyhawk's. I took a book out of the library, titled something like 101 Best Interview Questions, or something to that effect (there's about 10-20 books w/similar titles there). I prepared answers for ALL 101 of them, minus several that did not apply to me, ie, why are you switching careers/companies. Explain the work experience you have in this field, etc.

If you're starting out, they most definitely won't ask you questions that are too in depth. Most of mine were, "How did you find out about the actuarial profession", "This job is several hours from your home, are you sure you're willing to relocate", "Why do you want to go into health/pensions/life over the others".



And, probably should go in another post, BUT, I will say, when I called one unnamed company near Detroit, I basically got an offer during my telephone interview. I ended up turning it down b/c the guy seemed a bit too excited, and I already had an offer on the table from another company (he didn't know about this). So, what I'm saying is, if you are willing to relocate to this area of the country, they seem to be MORE interested in your resume than most others, b/c they simply don't get the volume of resumes, that even the same company does in other city locations.
(For this same company, I applied to about 12 different locations, and sent my resume to the "main" HR person, who all informed me they did not have any entry-level actuarial openings. However, as you can see, Detroit said differently. So, you just have to keep pushing, b/c in large companies especially, one person does not know everything).

JMO Fan
October 20th 2009, 11:34 AM
Make sure your focus in interviews is on what the interviewer wants = an employee who will solve problems, work hard & smart, and help the boss/company look good, increase influence, and make money.

For example, you could ask, "What could I do in this job in the first 6 months that would make you say I'm a success?"

tyhawk10
October 20th 2009, 02:43 PM
Obv. it's gotten harder to find a job. These reasons have been listed and re-visited a couple of hundred times this year alone on this forum alone. Although this list isn't exhaustive, some of the ones that spring to mind are economic situation, exams being offered more often...

So the obvious question that you should ask is "what should I do?" ... your openness to relocate, your knowledge of Excel/Access/SAS/etc. (VBA included), your knowledge of the actuarial work in general (do you at least know the difference between P&C and Life?), your knowledge of the company you are interviewing (you'd be amazed how many people don't do the minimum amount of research but still expect to be given a job!), etc.



Right. It has gotten harder to land a job recently, but not impossible. "What should I do?" is the exact questions you need to ask yourself. These companies are big and that makes it hard (communication / HR speaking). Being very very very persistant about contacting as many people as you can is huge. A single company has many offiices and you WILL hear different responses about job openings at each office. Get your resume out there, lots of them. Your information needs to get to the correct people. The results will come, but it takes time. And a LOT of effort.

tyhawk10
October 20th 2009, 02:53 PM
If you're starting out, they most definitely won't ask you questions that are too in depth. Most of mine were, "How did you find out about the actuarial profession", "This job is several hours from your home, are you sure you're willing to relocate", "Why do you want to go into health/pensions/life over the others".





My experience was the same way. Chances are, if you are just starting out and they bring you in for a face-to-face interview, they are already acknowledging your credentials thus far. They just want to make sure they can stand to work with you for the next x years. So make sure you prepare and present yourself in a way that makes it impossible for the company to say no. If you do enough practice and preparation, you'll know when you are ready.

alekhine4149
October 20th 2009, 07:39 PM
Congrats to tyhawk and ker8, and kudos for bringing some much needed optimism into this thread. :coolman:

Some of the most recent suggestions: keep putting yourself out there, prepare all common interview questions, continue to improve your skills, research the company you're interviewing for, don't rely only on recruiters.

haipham2007
October 20th 2009, 11:18 PM
Don't give up!!!! I was in the same boat as everyone else looking for an entry level position. I graduted May 2008, and just accepted my first position last week!! So thats' some 17 months after graduating. However, I didn't pass my first exam untill May 2009. So, thats' 5 months after passing an exam to find an entry level job. Here's my best advice:

SOA directory: this has a list of EVERYONE working in the field. Contact them.

I mailed / e-mailed out 150+ resumes and cover letters since passing my first exam. Once those got circulated to the right people, I got A LOT of feedback about the job market and who was hiring. This takes some time so be patient and DONT STOP contacting people. Also, be prepared to re-locate, because right now it's hard to be picky. Unless you are lucky and live near a very big city, you probably will have to re-locate to some extent. I'm from Pittsburgh and I am re-locating to Louisville....7 hrs isn't bad.

After getting an interview offer:

PREPARE! I did my homework and made questions for all the people who were interviewing me. This kept the interview rolling very smoothly and they were impressed by what I knew and wanted to know. Also, Google search "top interview questions and answers". Skim the results for some good questions that you think may pop up and be prepared.

Finding a job takes A LOT LOT LOT of persistence, but nailing the interview is key.

Hi Tyhawk10,

You sent your resume to most people in SOA directory?

I will ask my son looks into this. My son got one interview last month but they want him right away.

Thank you

pydstheace
October 21st 2009, 12:59 AM
Is emailing SOA directory members out of the blue really appropriate? secondly, my undergraduate GPA is well below a 3.0 and i don't have experience. i have passed 2 exams however. for those that have gotten a job, how detrimental is my gpa? i may do a masters of actuarial science and raise my gpa.

pydstheace
October 21st 2009, 01:01 AM
tyler, how did you choose who to email in the directory? you can't email every actuary in america

tyhawk10
October 21st 2009, 07:53 AM
Is emailing SOA directory members out of the blue really appropriate?

Pydstheace; if you are looking for a job, yes, I would recommend utilizing all readily accessible information.

Every response I got was friendly and helpful, be it a phone call or an e-mail. Granted, a LOT of e-mail replies were "I recieved your resume, but we aren't hiring at this time". But the people who really helped were the people who said "I got your resume, and forwarded it to so and so who will contact you with further information." Some people even called me back and we ended up having a decent phone conversation about the job market, when their company will hire next, what to expect when starting out etc... Anyways, if your resume gets forwarded to HR, it looks better coming from an actuary that's already inside their company.

Also, use a cover letter. I had 3 short paragraphs. Make sure you let them know you are interested in any internships or entry level positions.

tyhawk10
October 21st 2009, 08:00 AM
tyler, how did you choose who to email in the directory? you can't email every actuary in america

1) Pick your favorite city.

2) Arrange all the names alphabetically by last name or by company.

3) Start contacting, don't stop untill you get a job lol.

There WILL be a lot, it takes time. It's worth it.



Keep in mind, this isn't the only way to approach finding a job. I am merely sharing the method that worked for me.

pydstheace
October 22nd 2009, 12:01 AM
i really appreciate your help tyler. thanks a ton

drparliament
October 22nd 2009, 12:42 AM
Why is a fellow Pens fan quoting Wayne Gretzky?

JMO Fan
October 22nd 2009, 08:41 AM
One advantage of sending e-mails (over resumes) is that you are more free to emphasize your strengths. You can point to your exams passed (and skip the GPA), talk about solid experience (and skip the bad - for now), and/or focus on school performance, if that's your best feature. You're just trying to generate some interest, see if the recipient knows of any openings - at his/her shop or another's.

If my suit looks good, no need to show off the ink stain on the inside pocket. ;)

spadeser2002
October 22nd 2009, 10:52 AM
I notice that there are not many "entry level" positions, that don't require experience.
Should I apply to positions that say "2-3 years experience required", even though I have no experience in the actuary field?

bscottseig
October 29th 2009, 07:31 PM
I just wish I would have graduated earlier when people with no exams were getting jobs.

LFB1988
October 30th 2009, 11:46 AM
I just wish I would have graduated earlier when people with no exams were getting jobs.

You said it. Well, hopefully now that we're "out of a recession," unemployment will fall in the next few months and the job market won't be so competitive for those of us looking for jobs now.

drparliament
October 31st 2009, 02:34 AM
One projection I heard on TV stated that unemployment wouldn't return to 5% until 2014 (it's at 9.8% now.) :wideyed:

spadeser2002
November 2nd 2009, 12:51 PM
That is really good news then. The number of people in the US labor force is approximately 154 millions. (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm)
If unemployment rate is 5% in 2014 then there will be 4.8% more jobs available, which is more than 7 millions (considering all things are equal). Now, some of them will be actuary jobs and you should grab them. There is a speculation that the unemployment rate will go down after the first quarter of 2010. If you are unemployed, your life can only get better. Unless you are running out of food. In that case I suggest the nearest homeless shelter, or try some of these free food strategies.
http://frugalliving.about.com/od/foodsavings/tp/Get_Free_Food.htm

TheShark
October 19th 2011, 09:13 PM
Dammit, I wish I read this thread before choosing my major in university.

Currently a junior with 2 exams passed and can't even land an internship interview after applying to more than 60 companies. I am also working part-time at an insurance company.

Actuarial is no longer the gravy train it once used to be... :(

drparliament
October 19th 2011, 11:26 PM
Dammit, I wish I read this thread before choosing my major in university.

Currently a junior with 2 exams passed and can't even land an internship interview after applying to more than 60 companies. I am also working part-time at an insurance company.

Actuarial is no longer the gravy train it once used to be... :(

You're only a junior? You still have time to switch to engineering (or something else) and not have to that much extra time. I start back for ME in the spring.

Plus you could still take the exams if you wanted to :). Keep your options open and you'll be fine.
------
(to clarify: I also don't mean you have to switch majors, just that if you're unhappy with your current one, you could still consider it. You wouldn't be missing much and you might have even more options when you graduate. I find it baffling that schools offer an AS undergrad major given that it is such a niche field and you can take the exams no matter what you majored in.)

Irish Blues
October 20th 2011, 07:34 AM
I'll also add: "the actuarial gravy train" isn't over - the gravy train of passing a couple of exams and just showing up somewhere and getting hired is. Once you're in, like any good profession you've got to ''''' up to get out - but right now the competition is so fierce, passing 2 exams and getting a degree doesn't distinguish you from the rest of the field.

If you're a junior with 2 exams passed and couldn't get an internship, at least one of the following is true:
-- You limited where you were willing to look,
-- You started late in the process,
-- Your resume isn't up to snuff, or
-- Your interview skills need improvement.

I'm going to assume the first two are not true; however, the latter two tend to be accurate in way too many cases. It's why I've stated repeatedly that people wanting into this field need to nail down those two things. It's not just true of entry-level candidates, either; a couple of weeks ago we had a new FCAS in to interview, and there was nothing in his resume or his answers that left anyone here with that "I can do something special" vibe; on the contrary, he left us with a "I'm an FCAS, but I still need to be told what to do because I don't know how to think for myself" feeling ... which, if you're an FCAS, is not what you should be.

[rant about the failures of the credentialing process to turn out sufficiently qualified actuaries omitted]

TheShark
October 21st 2011, 06:53 PM
I'll also add: "the actuarial gravy train" isn't over - the gravy train of passing a couple of exams and just showing up somewhere and getting hired is. Once you're in, like any good profession you've got to ''''' up to get out - but right now the competition is so fierce, passing 2 exams and getting a degree doesn't distinguish you from the rest of the field.

If you're a junior with 2 exams passed and couldn't get an internship, at least one of the following is true:
-- You limited where you were willing to look,
-- You started late in the process,
-- Your resume isn't up to snuff, or
-- Your interview skills need improvement.

I'm going to assume the first two are not true; however, the latter two tend to be accurate in way too many cases. It's why I've stated repeatedly that people wanting into this field need to nail down those two things. It's not just true of entry-level candidates, either; a couple of weeks ago we had a new FCAS in to interview, and there was nothing in his resume or his answers that left anyone here with that "I can do something special" vibe; on the contrary, he left us with a "I'm an FCAS, but I still need to be told what to do because I don't know how to think for myself" feeling ... which, if you're an FCAS, is not what you should be.

[rant about the failures of the credentialing process to turn out sufficiently qualified actuaries omitted]

I applied to more than 60 companies, my main problem from what I understood is my low GPA (2.7)

I read a book on how to write resumes, then read dozens of threads on actuarial resume writing on the Actuarial Outpost and also got mine reviewed by people on that website. I didn't put my GPA on my resume and all the companies who got back to me asked for my transcript and then never contacted me again.

For the record, I never got an interview, even though I had read 3 books on interviewing, read threads on the AO about interviews and bought a new suit and got a conservative haircut since I was absolutely sure of getting an internship after passing 2 exams while going to school full-time and having a part-time non-actuarial role in an insurance company.

My experience so far has depressed me so much that I'm even considering just dropping out of school altogether :(

pydstheace
October 21st 2011, 11:54 PM
Shark,

I've seen your posts since I subscribed to this thread for a while and I really feel for you. My advice is to put your statistics and quantitative abilities out of actuarial science. You might want to apply for schools offering an analytics masters degree. I'm at DePaul and have an internship in web analytics and I just landed an interview for a marketing analytics position a few days after I applied. Like you I passed two exams (I passed them within a span of 2 months after college). I took exam C but didn't pass on my first attempt. But because of my gpa, there was no point of passing more exams and wasting money and time. I am really happy I left actuarial science and I don't look back one bit.




I applied to more than 60 companies, my main problem from what I understood is my low GPA (2.7)

I read a book on how to write resumes, then read dozens of threads on actuarial resume writing on the Actuarial Outpost and also got mine reviewed by people on that website. I didn't put my GPA on my resume and all the companies who got back to me asked for my transcript and then never contacted me again.

For the record, I never got an interview, even though I had read 3 books on interviewing, read threads on the AO about interviews and bought a new suit and got a conservative haircut since I was absolutely sure of getting an internship after passing 2 exams while going to school full-time and having a part-time non-actuarial role in an insurance company.

My experience so far has depressed me so much that I'm even considering just dropping out of school altogether :(

drparliament
October 22nd 2011, 07:46 AM
My experience so far has depressed me so much that I'm even considering just dropping out of school altogether :(

No! Do NOT drop out of school! I read a story the other day about a law school graduate (obviously not a top 10 law school, but a law school no less) graduate who was waiting tables. I was floored. In other words, I feel your pain too, but now is not a good time to be looking for a job.


My advice is to put your statistics and quantitative abilities out of actuarial science. You might want to apply for schools offering an analytics masters degree.

^Yes, this.^ Stop thinking of yourself as an actuarial analyst and start thinking of yourself as a quantitative analyst (of which AS is just one type that you might eventually work in.) Accountants, engineers, statisticians, financial analysts, etc. are all other types of analytical positions that anyone who could pass 2 exams would do well in also.

TheShark
October 24th 2011, 02:01 AM
Thanks pydstheace and drparliament, I'll do as you said. Lots of career options out there, I should have done more research before going into AS. I hope other people thinking about AS aren't as misinformed as me. The teachers who say that 1-2 exams by graduation equals a job offer need to get shot.

tyhawk10
October 25th 2011, 07:33 AM
How long have you been looking for positions? Hard to believe you are giving up on all of this already.....when you are still in school!

Unless you hit career fairs (freshman, sophomore year) and internships (sophomore, junior year) early, don't get the false sense that 3 weeks after you graduate and THEN start looking for a full time position, you're going to have 4-5 companies calling you back for an offer.

I get to work with our recruiting staff, and they are always looking to bring in sophomores and juniors for internships, then hire these people back on after graduating. So if it seems like there aren't that many job openings, that might not be the case. It's just that companies already have their eyes on prior contacts, the students who were pro-active about their career and held internships. Keep in mind, those students aren't on these threads discussing NOT finding a job, so you won't hear from all the people who actually DID get hired.

Also, in my experience working with a larger company, they only hire twice a year, in classes of 5-10. So if you don't search job postings EVERY week, and have contacts in place when these interview sessions open up, you might miss a round of interviews, and be out of luck for the next 8 months.

And as for GPA thresholds go, a 3.0 is the cut-off. I've talked to a lot of students who went back to AS grad school JUST to bring up their GPA. Otherwise, you won't even get a look. Why? Put 65 resumes side by side. Each of them has 1-2 exams passed, many with internships. Who are the one's getting called for an interview: higher GPA.

As for me: I switched from a teaching concentration to actuarial science concentration in my math program my senior year of college. I graduated in 2008, with no exams passed. Studied and passed an exam several months after graduating, and found a job 5 months later. This job required me to relocate, as most positions will, like Irish Blues said. So, it's all about what you put into your search and if you are really serious about the field. But don't give up if this is really want you want to do.

Bluefusion
October 28th 2011, 11:03 PM
Way back in 2009 I posted a few comments about not being able to find a job. Apparently I am still subscribed to this thread so when you started posting to it two years later in 2011, it showed up in my e-mail. Being curious, I wanted to read the new posts. Let me share my experiences with you since then.

I passed the FM exam with a score of 8, P exam with a score of 10, had a near 4.0 GPA, a great resume, and solid interview skills. My problem is that I didn't have connections.

Instead, I went to graduate school and earned a master's degree in statistics. With the knowledge of probability you acquire in the process of studying for the P exam, statistics is a great choice. And, you should be able to get funding to study either in the form of a fellowship or by working as a TA. Trust me, the course work was very difficult, but it paid off. Rarely did someone leave the statistics department without a job lined up. I myself got a job as a marketing analyst at a major bank.

The moral is that, while results may vary, if you feel like you're heading into a dead end with the actuary gig, have a solid back up plan. Also, dropping out of school is not a solid back up plan.

TheShark
November 5th 2011, 08:39 PM
How long have you been looking for positions? Hard to believe you are giving up on all of this already.....when you are still in school!

Unless you hit career fairs (freshman, sophomore year) and internships (sophomore, junior year) early, don't get the false sense that 3 weeks after you graduate and THEN start looking for a full time position, you're going to have 4-5 companies calling you back for an offer.

I looked from the beginning of May to late-October, with September and October being the busiest months. I went to a lot of career fairs and spammed the SOA directory. I sent in 100+ applications in total but got 0 interviews. The ones who got back to me told me they had dozens of candidates with 2 exams for every internship position. I can't see the competition get any easier.


So, it's all about what you put into your search and if you are really serious about the field. But don't give up if this is really what you want to do.

I can bring my GPA above a 3.0, I can pass more exams (in fact I'm sitting for MFE in a week and am pretty confident of passing it) but the thing is I am disappointed about how this whole thing has turned from being the best job with zero unemployment to a saturated entry-level market with geographic restrictions.


I passed the FM exam with a score of 8, P exam with a score of 10, had a near 4.0 GPA, a great resume, and solid interview skills. My problem is that I didn't have connections.

Did you graduate from an AS program? If not I can understand the lack of connections. But still, I'm happy to see that you got an M.Sc in Stats and got a job at a major bank. I think it's much much more respected by the general public who don't even know what AS is.


The moral is that, while results may vary, if you feel like you're heading into a dead end with the actuary gig, have a solid back up plan. Also, dropping out of school is not a solid back up plan.

I admit that my reaction was over the top and I assure you that I won't drop out of school; but after being so confident about getting an internship and then seeing my hopes get dashed, it's about time I look into something else.