View Full Version : what about consulting firms?

July 1st 2006, 02:52 AM
hi all!!!

i am working as an actuarial assistant in a life insurance company. my major task is group pricing - the marketing department provides us the info while we compute for premiums based on the data that they have given to us. i have been working here for nearly five months, and this is my first working experience as an actuary.

as months went by, sad to say, but, i'm not happy with my work. :( not that i'm not happy with computing and all that stuff, but what i'm SO dissatisfied about is the fact that we are ALWAYS in constant argument with the marketing. it is known here in our company that the actuarial & the marketing had always been in a head-to-head match against each other. :mad: i don't know if i'm only exaggerating, but i have experienced having MAJOR fights with them numerous times. it's like they've always been so concerned about closing a deal even though it would be a loss for the company. so, for the past few weeks, i'm SERIOUSLY considering resigning from my job.

i have gone over the various vacancies for actuarial assistant/analyst positions, and there are two of them that i'm eyeing on. both are in consulting firms, and one of them is, watson wyatt. the problem is, i don't have a clear picture of what would the nature of my job be; what kind of working environment i might be into; what kind of pressures i'll be facing & what specific kind of actuarial work would i be doing (would it be pricing, valuation, etc...).

honestly, it's VERY IMPORTANT for me to work in a peaceful atmosphere, where everyone works harmoniously with each other. yes, i am expecting rough times, but i guess they should not come every single day. i guess this sounds kinda personal, but i also think that the type of work you do has something to do with it. if your work is similar with mine (pricing), then expect that the marketing would ask you to release the rates at the earliest possible time... not to mention that they are always demanding for lower premiums. of course, that would not always be possible... :mad: maybe if i were just doing valuation reports or analysis studies, then my life could have been much easier and less stressful.

so, would anyone give me a clearer picture of what exactly is the nature of work of an actuarial assistant in a consulting firm? what exactly are the skills they need, and what challenges would i be facing??? i guess these are the most important things i need to know right now. if you have other suggestions or advices to give, it would greatly be appreciated. :) I AM REALLY CONFUSED RIGHT NOW, and i don't know what would be the best thing to do regarding my career.

thank you very much!!! God bless you all!!!

July 1st 2006, 01:44 PM
Actuarial Assistant is pretty generic title and reveals little about the position. You should keep you job for now and apply for open positions. During the interview be candid about why you are unhappy and ask them to describe the work environment. When you receive an offer from another company and are comfortable enough with the described environment to accept, then resign from your current position. Because you are so new to the field, you do not want gaps in your employment. Good luck.

July 1st 2006, 02:31 PM
As long as there have been actuaries and marketers working for the same company, there have been disagreements between the two groups. The level of acrimony will vary, but marketing is nearly always focusing on sales (they're judged on meeting sales quotas) while the actuaries are more focused on earnings.

Sounds to me like management needs to step in. The actuaries should be making sure management, whose compensation ought to be tied to earnings in some way, understand the risks involved.

Good luck...

Denny Crane
July 1st 2006, 09:53 PM

The very, very worst thing you could ever do for your career is to quit your job before you have another position to go to. If you do decide to make a change, you need to stick it out in the meantime. If you don't, your interview will be grossly overshadowed by the reasons you are unemployed.

Also, you may have to learn something very early in your career that usually takes years to learn. That is, the art of diplomacy. That is, work on getting the marketers to understanding your situation. i.e. by saying something like...I understand your need to get lower premiums to get the deal, and here's what I'm up against. I have to show my boss how this makes sense for the company to price the product this way. And, just like you have to show your client a lower premium to close the deal, I have to show my boss how such a premium impacts the company. If I can't sell my boss on this I can't get it done for you. Let's put our heads together and see how we both can win on this. There has to be a way we can come up with something that works for both of us.

Anyway, I'm sure your conversation won't go exactly that way but you get the idea. While trying to see their point of view, help them to understand and see your point of view by bringing them into the process. You show empathy for them, and at the same time, try to get them to understand what you are up against...as partners, not combatants. Easier said than done, but see what you can do.

July 2nd 2006, 11:30 AM
thank you so much for all your valuable advices. =)

well, i am completely aware that i should first find a job before quitting this one, since, as one of you has mentioned, i don't want to have any "gaps" in my career. and i don't want to take that risk of being unemployed since i am not yet 100% certain that i will be hired by other companies. =)

i am still thinking about things, and taking all important factors into consideration. with the numerous vacancies in the country as of the moment (i work outside u.s.), i am really tempted to resign from my position. on the other hand, i also feel that i still have to prove myself in this company and do my best to (at least) meet everyone's expectations. =( and aside from that, since i am only new in the field, i feel like i haven't learned enough or gained enough experience and skills to consider myself "marketable" to other companies. =(

maybe i'll just try to weigh things, and see what is the most "feasible" thing to do... ;>

if you have any other advices or suggestions, you surely are most welcome to give them. ;)

thanks so much for taking time to read this. :) i appreciate it very much. :)

take care & God bless!!! ;)

July 2nd 2006, 12:37 PM
Have you considered moving to another life insurance company or are you set on going to consulting?