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Thread: Making the switch from coffee to casualty...

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Making the switch from coffee to casualty...

    Hi, everyone--
    I am a new poster here. My situation is a little unique for an actuary, I'm told. I graduated from Saint Olaf College, a small liberal arts college with a respectable math program, in 2001 with my bachelor's in math. I did quite well GPA-wise, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa (an honor society), participated in non-mathematical extracurriculars, and developed my writing and communication skills.

    My intention at the time was to make a living by opening and running my own coffee shop, however, so I have spent the last 4.5 years working at Starbucks. During those years I took a couple of accounting and computer programming courses, which sparked my interest in the business and technology facets of actuarial science. I decided about a year ago that the retail/ food service life was not the life for me, and went back to my math roots and started studying for exam P, which I took in September last year and passed with flying colors.

    So now I'm in the situation of applying for actuarial jobs and translating my customer service experience to the actuarial field... I do strongly believe that all the interpersonal and teamwork skills I developed during the last few years will be valuable to anyone who hires me, but to be honest I feel downright flaky when I tell people that I work at Starbucks! So, be honest and tell me what you think-- should I try to sell this angle on my resume and in interviews? Should I peg myself as a "recent graduate" or a "career changer?" I think I am a hybrid of both. Would you consider me if you were on a hiring committee?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback! Sorry for the long & wordy post.

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level VI Poster Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    In your cover letter, I'd put that you're a career changer and the reasons you want to go into the actuarial field. I've worked at a coffee shop during high school and have been working as a waiter throughout college. For people like us with no corporate experience, it's a great example of teamwork, leadership, explaining things to others, dealing with difficult customers/clients/situations, time management... Working for four and a half years, I'd expect you to have some experience training others or other managerial responsibilities which is also great. You'll be treated like a recent graduate in the respect that you don't have any technical experience. I doubt you'll have much trouble getting interviews with an exam passed.
    Whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be running.

  3. #3
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    I'd definitely say you are a career changer. I graduated in 2001 too, and thats what I said whan I changed last year.

    the big thing is that you passed exam 1/P, the first time. Also, tell them how you wanted to own and run your own coffee shop, not just that you worked at starbucks cause it smelled good and it was simple.

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