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sykochikka
July 18th 2005, 01:37 PM
Hi I'm still a student and I was wondering how do you decide which field to go into? I was leaning towards pension but that's because my mentor is a pension actuary...I'm not sure which field is best for me how on earth do you decide? What is each field really about? Is there any place that I can read up about each field of actuarial work that can help me decide? Or since I'm still a student do I have to decide now? I was told that I should decide when I get my first job, but isn't that late?

Hope you can help me out..
Thanks!

Ken
July 18th 2005, 05:32 PM
You don't select your field, the field selects you.

Sorry, I just felt like saying that. Seriously though, I wish I knew the answer to this questions as well. I don't know what I want to do Life/Pensions/P&C wise but I can tell you that I want to go into Consulting as opposed to Insurance. I don't want to be feeding any stereotypes, but from the people I've met from companies coming to campus, I find the people in consulting more interesting in general. It could just be small sample bias so don't take my word as fact.

sykochikka
July 18th 2005, 05:58 PM
You don't select your field, the field selects you.

Sorry, I just felt like saying that. Seriously though, I wish I knew the answer to this questions as well. I don't know what I want to do Life/Pensions/P&C wise but I can tell you that I want to go into Consulting as opposed to Insurance. I don't want to be feeding any stereotypes, but from the people I've met from companies coming to campus, I find the people in consulting more interesting in general. It could just be small sample bias so don't take my word as fact.

Hey Ken, thanks for replyin back. You're right about the consulting vs. insurance companies...I've heard that too...I've also heard that in consulting, you move up the ladder faster...I asked an actuary how to decide and he told me that you find out what field to go into when you get your first job...I just think that's waayy too late to decide on what field you want to go into...I just like to plan everything in advance and I definately don't want to wait until I'm done with college...

wat
July 18th 2005, 06:26 PM
Hey Ken, thanks for replyin back. You're right about the consulting vs. insurance companies...I've heard that too...I've also heard that in consulting, you move up the ladder faster...I asked an actuary how to decide and he told me that you find out what field to go into when you get your first job...I just think that's waayy too late to decide on what field you want to go into...I just like to plan everything in advance and I definately don't want to wait until I'm done with college...

It's hard to know all that much about what the practice is like w/out experiencing the company and the work setting firsthand.

To add to the discussion about consulting vs. insurance: one thing the consulting area has going for them is that consultants generally make more than those working for insurance companies (the extent to which it differs varies). However, consultants generally work longer hours than do those in insurance. Insurance has rush periods (end of the year work, modeling, etc.). With consulting, your busy period is when you're demanded.

Plus, I've noticed that insurance companies are more generous in terms of an actuarial study program than consulting agencies. Consulting is mainly about the client.

As for Life v. P&C v. Pensions, I'm not sure I can comment on the difference. I've only had experience with a life company.

sykochikka
July 18th 2005, 06:47 PM
It's hard to know all that much about what the practice is like w/out experiencing the company and the work setting firsthand.

To add to the discussion about consulting vs. <A title="Search for insurance" style="COLOR: #65b45c; TEXT-DECORATION: underline" href="http://69.42.87.207/cgi-bin/ezlclk.fcgi?id=6710" target=_blank>insurance</A>: one thing the consulting area has going for them is that consultants generally make more than those working for insurance companies (the extent to which it differs varies). However, consultants generally work longer hours than do those in insurance. Insurance has rush periods (end of the year work, modeling, etc.). With consulting, your busy period is when you're demanded.

Plus, I've noticed that insurance companies are more generous in terms of an actuarial study program than consulting agencies. Consulting is mainly about the client.

As for Life v. P&C v. Pensions, I'm not sure I can comment on the difference. I've only had experience with a life company.


What kind of things do you do in Life? What does it involve? Thanks for the info on the consultin vs. insurance btw...

wat
July 18th 2005, 07:02 PM
What kind of things do you do in Life? What does it involve? Thanks for the info on the consultin vs. insurance btw...

Well, I still don't have too much experience, but I'm more on the financial statement side. We work with accounting to get the financial statement for our company out on a monthly/quarterly/annual basis. Probably about 70-80% of the stuff I do relates to that.

However, we also do mortality studies, develop our own experience factors for TDI, and at year-end, a couple of us (I might get called for it) do modeling & cash flow testing.

Other than that, we get study time, but that's about it in a nutshell.

Irish Blues
July 30th 2006, 09:56 PM
Early on, you just want experience in something - if you get into life and you don't like it, for the first few years you can still move over to one of the other areas without much of a problem. For the most part, unless you have a really strong urge to go into one particular field (example: I wanted into P&C if I could help it, and I would have taken a job in another field long enough to get basic experience so I could get over to P&C), you take a job and gain experience and then decide what field you want from there.

resolvent has it correct - when you find a job that you thoroughly enjoy, you'll be happier and won't care (too much) about what you make; if anything, you'll make more than the average person who's doing the same job but hates it. Contrary to popular belief, if you hate your job there will be a point where you could be making $500,000 and you won't care because you'll give it all away to get out.

italy
August 21st 2006, 07:57 AM
everyone sais that in consulting salaries are higher, but since most of the people who work in pensions are consultants, the statistics about salaries in pensions should be high.. they're not. the actuary salary survey made by d.w. simpson & co shows higher salaries for those working in the property-casualty field, and in this field (unless I'm wrong) most of the people work for insurance companies...
how would you explain this?

Chitown26
January 18th 2008, 03:52 PM
It seems to me that the specific field- in terms of consulting vs. insurance and discipline- with the highest salary would be property & casualty consulting. This would make sense, like you said, Italy, because most P&C actuaries are in insurance. Prof. D'Arcy, at U. of Illinois, was a former CAS chairman, has always promoted P&C because they are in such high demand.

SkeeDaddy
March 27th 2009, 04:14 PM
Early on, you just want experience in something - if you get into life and you don't like it, for the first few years you can still move over to one of the other areas without much of a problem. For the most part, unless you have a really strong urge to go into one particular field (example: I wanted into P&C if I could help it, and I would have taken a job in another field long enough to get basic experience so I could get over to P&C), you take a job and gain experience and then decide what field you want from there.

resolvent has it correct - when you find a job that you thoroughly enjoy, you'll be happier and won't care (too much) about what you make; if anything, you'll make more than the average person who's doing the same job but hates it. Contrary to popular belief, if you hate your job there will be a point where you could be making $500,000 and you won't care because you'll give it all away to get out.

Do P&C actuaries actually get to use math? I'm in pensions, and so far i've used annuities (FM) and mortality (MLC) but nothing from exams P, MFE, or C. I also wish I could make more use of my programming skills. Sorry if I'm taking this thread off-topic. But I'm curious on what P&C might have to offer..

Thanks in advance!

NoMoreExams
March 30th 2009, 05:38 PM
Do P&C actuaries actually get to use math? I'm in pensions, and so far i've used annuities (FM) and mortality (MLC) but nothing from exams P, MFE, or C. I also wish I could make more use of my programming skills. Sorry if I'm taking this thread off-topic. But I'm curious on what P&C might have to offer..

Thanks in advance!

I probably sound like a broken record when I say this but I'm pretty sure this topic has been discussed on AO, have you tried searching their threads?

alekhine4149
March 31st 2009, 08:40 PM
Do P&C actuaries actually get to use math? I'm in pensions, and so far i've used annuities (FM) and mortality (MLC) but nothing from exams P, MFE, or C. I also wish I could make more use of my programming skills. Sorry if I'm taking this thread off-topic. But I'm curious on what P&C might have to offer..

Thanks in advance!

I'm a P&C first year worker, and I use math but not much of course. It sounds like you use more than I do. There are modeling jobs that use a little more math, but it's not like non-management have a lot of room for creativity. They're mostly managing software applications like anyone else.

The only prelim that matters much where I work is 4/C. That has plenty of applications in a P&C environment. The other prelims are barely needed.

CAS exams are the most relevant at my company. CAS 5 and 6 are incredibly useful, but this isn't advanced math by any means. It's mostly just complicated algebra and basic insurance concepts.

Programming, yes definitely! I say all this noting that I'm just one example at one company.