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Thread: HELP! where to start?

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    HELP! where to start?

    Can anyone offer some guidance about how to get into the field, essentially starting from scratch? I will be graduating this winter with a Master's in Applied Math; I was a finance major for undergrad. Unfortunately I have only very recently discovered the actuarial field so I don't have any actuarial exams, courses, or experience in anything related. But I do have lots of background in finance, math, stats, and economics.
    Where do I start? Do I need to pass the exams before I can do anything at all? Do I need to take courses in order to pass the exams, or is it possible to just study on my own and pass them?
    And what about entry-level jobs? Is it useful to try to gain experience in the field before having passed any exams, and if so, will anyone hire me while I'm in the process of taking these exams and support me in doing so? Or am I better off just getting an unrelated quantitative (probably gov't) job with higher pay and taking the exams on my own?
    Any information would be extremely helpful, even a link to a webpage with some of this information. I just don't know anybody in the field of whom I can ask these questions. Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Thanks for that link.... it was very informative.

    On the topic of sending resumes out to and "cold calling" actuaries, would it be preferential for an entry level candidate to send their resume/cover letter to the chief actuary, a lower level actuary, or both?

    I want to have the highest confidence possible that my resume is at least being looked at and considered by an actual actuary and not just someone in HR. At the same time, I don't want to piss off some FSA/FCAS because my email is clogging up their inbox and he/she doesn't have time to deal with it.
    Last edited by JUICE; August 2nd 2007 at 07:13 PM.

  3. #3
    Actuary.com - Level VI Poster Ken's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    In a larger company, I think sending to chief actuary is a bad idea. It could take weeks for your email to even get read. I think an associate would be a good idea and they can send it on to the person responsible for hiring.
    Whether you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be running.

  4. #4
    Actuary.com - Level II Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I agree with Ken on this one. For my current possition I sent my resume to the person listed on soa.org under careers/actuarial training programs. They forwarded it to the person in charge of the student program. If you apply through the company's website, still send out an email with your resume and let them know you applied. You can get the study manuals and books from http://www.actexmadriver.com/. I study on my own. Some people take classes. It's up to you. I think you should continue looking for the gov jobs you mentioned just in case. If you don't get a job without exams resend your resume after each passed exam.
    Good luck

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