View Full Version : My situation and probably your situation too (sorry about the length)

January 12th 2007, 08:44 PM
I believe my situation is very realistic to you all people attempting to get into the field.To people that’s in this situation… please leave a comment and tell me what you’re doing and what you will do.

I’ve graduated from a good Canadian university at the end of August 2006. The first exam I did in 2005. Like everyone else here, I took a break and decided to study for the FM exam in November. After exam, I started studying for the third actuarial exam. As of now, I’m started looking for a job/career. Today is the release of the FM exam. To be honest, I was surprised I didn’t pass. However, my problem stated beneath is independent on the exam result...

Here’s the problem.
Over the break, I did a lot of thinking about my future. Studying for the first two exams is intersting. However, as I scanned though the third exam material. I was not really interested in studying life/death/survival models ( I cannot comment on how interesting it is to do it on computer as work…). My heart is not in it at all. I start to wonder if this profession is really for me. I think I was caught in the hype of actuarial profession here in my city. There are currently two reasons why I should no longer pursue in this field…

i) People around me said it doesn’t suit me or I should pursue another ambitious career.
I’ve talked to people including my uncle who has a post-graduate degree in mathematics from a top five university in the world (math wise). I usually ask him for advice on what math course I should take and such. However, he said the actuarial field is not for me because the profession would be too dull for me (maybe I’m too lively?)…… I’ve also asked some actuaries for insights, they said the profession is overly saturated and actually it’s a lot more work then people realize. They also said the salary is not bad, but compare to other profession, other related profession gets paid more and has less restriction (exam related)and some recommend me that I should look into other profession. My resume (in my opinion of course) is actually pretty good (decent), I have decent grades, some job experience (not actuarial), I was the exec for few of the student association… I’m an all-round student. At least I had a phone interview with Mercer consulting (which I got rejected. ouch) which is the only job I applied for (I know... I’m stupid sometime)… However..

ii) I don’t think I can find the type of jobs I want

When I went for the sitting of the FM exam. I was surprised by how many people actually sat for it. I think there were around 50!!!!! That is crazy because in my city, they usually hire two intern for actuary and one actuary position (ever year!!!). This is purely insane. I know people who graduated from my university pretty well I would say. One of them who basically had a 90% average couldn’t find an actuarial job and decided to do a master in actuarial science instead. The other one, probably the ‘top student’ for stat/math, the ‘top student’ couldn’t find the good consulting job that she wanted in the states so she settled for the one here in my city. I have heard people with four exams and still cannot find a job…

My grades are no where near those ppl’s grades.. I want to do something with consulting where I can interact with clients and do the technical stuff.. Since all the ppl around me have SO MUCH trouble evening getting an interview even though their grades are much more superior then mine. I wonder how I can get an interview and let’s not even dream about going into consulting (I wonder why Mercer HR even called me!?!)

My question to all the actuaries out there.. What would you do if you were in my shoes? Should I just give up all together and move on to something else?? What should I move on to?? Would you continue??....I’m so confused right now!

Thomas H
January 13th 2007, 08:15 PM
I'm not an actuary. I'm just another guy looking for an entry level actuary job.

I noticed that you said you weren't interested in the material on the third exam. Does this mean that you won't be able to motivate yourself to study for it? If so, then I would say that yes you probably should find another career field to enter. If you won't be able to motivate yourself to pass the exams then you won't get the credentials and you won't be as valuable to the companies. That might have a negative effect on your career advancement as an actuary.

Again, note that these comments are from someone who has not actually worked in the field yet.

January 18th 2007, 02:05 AM
I'm lost. Maybe I could get through studying for exam M. I'm just wondering, what do you guys do after graduating and waiting to get your first job as an actuary. Also, what happens if you don't get in to the field? What is your back up plan?

January 18th 2007, 01:28 PM
I was in a similar situation as you just a year and a half ago. I chose to pursue a techincal job (not requiring any actuarial exams) rather than an actuarial student position. I was hired by a major insurance company as an analyst for life product pricing. After about 6 months I was able to get into the actuarial student program (after passing P and FM on my own time and money).

I guess my point is that there are other ways to get where you want other than being hired into it.

January 18th 2007, 06:51 PM
You're forgetting that there's more than one city in your country that hires actuaries.

January 18th 2007, 10:08 PM
hey MJ421 ,

I feel the same way you do, I'm graduating this year and I'm completely lost. I haven't really applied anywhere because unlike you, I never sat through an SOA exam, i just thought i'd do them when I graduate and since companies don't really look at you if you dont have an exam, i didnt bother applying. Also, I get the same reaction from people when I tell them what I plan to be because people don't think it suits me, i'm a "lively" girl but i'm not sure what lively career would suit me.
I'm not sure what university you graduated from but I'm also canadian and most people in my class already have job offers (canadian citizens I should say), of course these people have 2 exams under their belt at least.

I've considered doing a career test or something like that to figure out what I really wanna do but haven't gotten around to it...have you thought about that?


January 23rd 2007, 11:15 PM
i have no idea. consulting is interesting although it is very competitive. i'm quite stressed out at this moment!! i wish i'm still in school.

February 5th 2007, 01:53 PM
Hey MJ 421,

Did you graduate from UW in Aug 06?

I graduated from UW in Aug 06 and have passed two exams by that time and four exams in total now but still struggling to find my first actuarial job to prove my passion and abilities in this industry. I understand your frustration becasue I think we are facing the same situation.

I questioned myself so many times and asked, "am I not good enough to find a career in this industry?"
People around me think I have the talent for this industry but just one opportunity away from success. I doubted because I did not enroll in the CO-OP program during my university career.
However, I still haven't give up becasue I really believe that I just need to work harder while waiting and be ready when opportunity come. Hope that I can influence you.

February 5th 2007, 02:16 PM
Hey anguswong1021,

1) Are you getting any interviews?
2) Are you a Canadian citizen?

I wonder if being a non-Canadian citizen is a factor.

February 5th 2007, 07:26 PM
I think you listen to other people too much. You also sound like you may be a people pleaser and not very confident. I don't think your career choice is the problem here.

February 6th 2007, 02:26 AM
Hey godsen,

Thank you for reading my story.

I am a Canadian citizen.

I had some first round Interview at the end of last year (Hewitt, Towers and Assurant) but cannot get to the second round for all. By that time, I only had 2 exams and I got my M and C last month but seems like most companies have completed their recruitment for 2007.

I also tried DW Simpson and they said they can't help becasue US companies do not want to sponsor VISA to entry-level and CA companies want experience.

So, any suggestion in my case?:QuestionMark:

February 6th 2007, 04:47 AM
hey angus,

i'm pretty sure you will get a job. you passed exam m and c at the same time! (congrats) it's just a matter of time. there should be plenty of job openings in ontario. it ''''' that us companies don't hire canadains(i also hate it when contests are only open to americans:( ). are you looking to get an actuarial job with a consulting firm? i'm just wondering. are you working right now or are you looking for a job?

btw. let just say i graduated from a top university! maybe uw maybe not! and thanks for sharing your story. it definitely helped.

best of luck,

February 6th 2007, 08:36 PM
Yes the downside of being an actuary is the tedious exam process. Even though the meterial might not be as interesting as it seemed, it is a way to test ppl's willpower and ability to focus and learn to develop the ability to solve complicated problems. If that's not in for you, then don't come into the actuarial field. And you should be more flexible about job locations... again, if you really want to do it. Other professions may not have an exam process, but it's much more stressful. As an actuary working in the consulting field, depends on your company definitely, but usually they don't over-work you, since you have exams to study for, and they encourage a work-life balance. Unlike investment banking or management consulting... it's quite different in terms of stress level and work hours. In my opinion, money's not everything. I rather get paid a little less but gain the time to do other things~ plus, actuaries don't usually get underpaid. For more details about their salaries, working conditions, etc. you can search online and find out more~ Afterall, you need to determine what's important to you and what's not.... cost/benefit analysis ;)

February 6th 2007, 09:26 PM
Have you looked for places outside of CA? Here's a link to companies that have entry level programs - http://atp.soa.org/actuarial_training_program.php .I'm an international student and I have 3 companies willing to hire and sponsor me and I only have exam P, so maybe you need to change the type of places you are applying to.

February 9th 2007, 10:42 AM
Have you looked for places outside of CA? Here's a link to companies that have entry level programs - http://atp.soa.org/actuarial_training_program.php .I'm an international student and I have 3 companies willing to hire and sponsor me and I only have exam P, so maybe you need to change the type of places you are applying to.

'''! What are those companies? I'm in the same boat with you. However, I've tried a few companies and got no response at all.