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  • Can't get an internship or job

    Hi everyone, I'm in a bad situation that maybe someone can help me with.

    College for me was hard. Real hard. I'm not sure why, maybe I didn't have good study skills, or my heart was somewhere else, I'm not sure. Studying and passing the soa exams DURING college was almost impossible for me. I've tried to study and take the exams and have already failed twice.

    Now I'm a senior about to graduate this May. I feel like I had to focus so much of my energy on simply not failing my classes and keeping everything together that I probably will not have an exam passed before I graduate. Everyone always says that you need to pass 2 exams before you graduate... Well this simply is not a possibility anymore.

    I can't get an entry-level job of course, because I don't have the exams passed. But also, I can't get hired as an intern anywhere because I will already be graduated (all of my denials have specifically stated this). I'm lost about what steps I should take next.

    Should I keep hoping that I can be hired as an intern by the time I graduate, without any exams passed? Or should I find SOME kind of employment that's not actuarial-related and stick with it for a year or 2 while I study for the exams?

    Or do you think that this simply isn't going to work for me (I've already started to accept this as a possibility). I still think I'm capable, my grades are A's and B's in my math/actuarial courses.

    I feel like my university and the atmosphere of this kind of field put a LOT of pressure on making us pass as many exams as possible, as fast as possible. I simply couldn't do this. Is there anyone out there who was in this same situation, or who got a late start in this type of field? If so, what did you do during your non-actuarial, "limbo" period of your life?

    I would prefer taking about a year off of EVERYTHING and simply studying the '''' out of the exams and passing as many as possible. However, I'm not sure if this period of unemployment/not in school will look bad to employers.

    Thank you everyone for your honesty and any input you would like to give!

  • #2
    This may sound brutal but you should consider the option that you don't have what it takes to be an actuary. I say that because as hard as school is, work is harder (a lot harder for some of us). If you were not able to pass the easier exams (P and FM) during college, do you think you'll be able to pass harder exams while working? It is true you get study time, but you must put in at least twice as much of your own time. These are the questions you need to think about.

    As far as what you should do right now... If you are determined on being an actuary, I would try to find a job that at least somehow relates to being an actuary, those are mentioned in other threads. If you cannot find one of those, find A job that's at least "corporate America" type. While working those jobs, STUDY, STUDY, STUDY. Forget about having a social life. Some of us pass exams because we are a lot smarter than everyone else, most of us pass them by sitting and studying countless hours.

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    • #3
      I agree with NoMoreExams.

      If it is difficult for you to pass the first few exams during your college time, believe me, most probably you will find it much more difficult to pass the remaining ones when you are working.

      I don't mean to discourage you. I know that it is tough, and actuarial exams are hard. If I were you, I will burn the midnight oil to get at least 1 exam passed before May. At the same time, keep looking for actuarial jobs and some other closely related jobs such as underwriting, or other positions in insurance industry. After you pass a few exams, apply for internal transfer. This is only if, you are so determined to be an actuary.
      A&J Study Materials (anjstudymanual.com)

      Provides study manuals and questions banks for exam P/1, FM/2 and MFE/3F

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you both, for being honest. Your advice seems to be in sync with my teachers and those in the actuarial field. However my advising counselors, peers, and family members seem like they are on a different ideology, one that's sort of a "go at your own pace" attitude.

        I find it somewhat amazing how much I feel like I've been punished simply because I didn't look into actuarial science towards the end of my sophomore year, and had never heard of the SOA until my junior. I guess that's just how life is! Only the ones who stay focused and get to the finish line first will survive...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jec2009 View Post
          Thank you both, for being honest. Your advice seems to be in sync with my teachers and those in the actuarial field. However my advising counselors, peers, and family members seem like they are on a different ideology, one that's sort of a "go at your own pace" attitude.

          I find it somewhat amazing how much I feel like I've been punished simply because I didn't look into actuarial science towards the end of my sophomore year, and had never heard of the SOA until my junior. I guess that's just how life is! Only the ones who stay focused and get to the finish line first will survive...
          sorry to break it to you but the standard is outdated. many people and companies put bullsh1t exam requirement at "having at least 1 exam". the reality is dont expect them to contact you unless you have three exams passed.


          anyway, best of luck to you

          Comment


          • #6
            Hang in there

            I think you need to hang in there. I was in a similar situation coming out of school with no exams. Everyone seemed to tell me that I couldn't become an actuary, and I was starting to believe it. I graduated in June and worked a part time job while moving back home with my parents. I studied for FM & P, and a few months later (with 1 exam, and waiting on results for the second), I got my big break. Since then (4.5 years ago), I have had good work performance, and have passed 2 more exams (M & C), have credit for all my VEEs, and I am working through the FAP modules. It sounds cliche, but if you work hard and want it enough, you'll be OK.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the recent posts, KHC831 and osugreg365

              That's interesting, KHC831. I've been wondering why some of my friends who have an exam or 2 passed were having just as much trouble as I was... I guess competition in general has increased. At my school, our teachers keep saying that there are more and more students every year who want to be an actuary and they have to hire more teachers/offer more class times for us.

              osugreg365, that sounds like the kind of path I have decided to take. I have an interview coming up for an accounting-type, part time job. This way, it won't look like I've been doing NOTHing right out of college, and I will have the spare time to study for the tests. And a little bit of income.

              Thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jec2009 View Post

                That's interesting, KHC831. I've been wondering why some of my friends who have an exam or 2 passed were having just as much trouble as I was... I guess competition in general has increased. At my school, our teachers keep saying that there are more and more students every year who want to be an actuary and they have to hire more teachers/offer more class times for us.

                Thanks!
                i know last year only some of my friends with 2 exams got internship, this year only those with three exams got the offers(i didnt get any, so im on the same boat as you) if this pattern holds, i might just look into a different field

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                • #9
                  I got an internship offer for this summer with just a 7 on exam P. On top of that offer, I also got 6 phone interviews and 2 on-site interviews. I don't know what I'm doing different, but it hasn't seemed all that impossible to get noticed.

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                  • #10
                    Stodd Online
                    Actuary.com - Level III Poster

                    Posts: 103
                    Join Date: Mar 2009
                    Location: Idaho

                    ''''' '' difference applying for actuary positions in Idaho and New York I imagine. But that sounds like you are having fantastic luck! Are you getting looks from larger companies or smaller ones?

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                    • #11
                      I'm not applying for actuarial positions in Idaho. In fact if you check the actuarial directory, there are only about 18 or so in the state, and only 11 or so of those are still working as actuaries. Of those eleven, around 5 work for an office of Milliman, and another 5 work for United Heritage. Thats the entire actuary job market around here. The odds of me ever working as an actuary in Idaho are next to zero, I don't expect I'll ever land a job in Idaho, and I haven't bothered applying to any positions here. I've had phone interviews with places in Denver, ''''''and, Chicago, 2 places in NYC, and Boston. I've been flown out for on-site interviews in Boston and ''''''and. I'm mostly hearing back from large companies. The interviews I flew out for were with one of the biggest P&C companies in the country, and with one of the biggest consulting companies in the country. My phone interviews were all with large, well-known companies.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by trsspidey View Post
                        Stodd Online
                        Actuary.com - Level III Poster

                        Posts: 103
                        Join Date: Mar 2009
                        Location: Idaho

                        ''''' '' difference applying for actuary positions in Idaho and New York I imagine. But that sounds like you are having fantastic luck! Are you getting looks from larger companies or smaller ones?
                        ty for pointing that out, i was gonna say the same!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Stodd View Post
                          I'm not applying for actuarial positions in Idaho. In fact if you check the actuarial directory, there are only about 18 or so in the state, and only 11 or so of those are still working as actuaries. Of those eleven, around 5 work for an office of Milliman, and another 5 work for United Heritage. Thats the entire actuary job market around here. The odds of me ever working as an actuary in Idaho are next to zero, I don't expect I'll ever land a job in Idaho, and I haven't bothered applying to any positions here. I've had phone interviews with places in Denver, ''''''and, Chicago, 2 places in NYC, and Boston. I've been flown out for on-site interviews in Boston and ''''''and. I'm mostly hearing back from large companies. The interviews I flew out for were with one of the biggest P&C companies in the country, and with one of the biggest consulting companies in the country. My phone interviews were all with large, well-known companies.
                          i dont believe in luck, so im guessing you have good networking skills. you said you got an offering, do you mind sharing that info with us?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd like to be able to say I'm excellent at networking, but thats simply not true. I only applied to one job through a personal connection, and I never even heard back from that job.

                            Here's the details of my job search, with company names replaced.

                            Company A: Health Consulting in Denver, CO
                            -Emailed cover letter and resume in response to an online job posting on November 9
                            -Prepared work and writing samples by December 17
                            -Phone interview with four people in the office on January 14
                            -Received offer on January 26

                            Company B: Health Insurance in Springfield, MA
                            -E-mailed a request for more information about the internship on November 9
                            -Received request for resume, submitted on January 14
                            -Resume forwarded to reviewing team as of February 25, no further response

                            Company C: Reinsurance in New Jersey
                            -My brother's father-in-law suggested I send him my resume for him to forward to actuarial, sent resume on December 30.
                            -No response

                            Company D: Retirement Consulting in ''''''and, OH
                            -Applied online in October
                            -Phone interview on November 5
                            -Flown out for on-site interview December 7
                            -Rejected via email on December 15

                            Company E: P&C Insurance in Chicago, IL
                            -Emailed cover letter and resume to chief actuary found through actuarialdirectory.org on January 12
                            -Phone interview on January 18
                            -Rejected via email on February 2

                            Company F: Consulting in Hartford, CT
                            -Applied online on January 12
                            -Rejected via email on February 26

                            Company G: P&C Insurance in Boston, MA
                            -Applied online on November 9
                            -Phone interview on February 11
                            -Flown out for on-site interview March 8
                            -Rejected via email on March 22

                            Company H: Life Insurance in New York, NY
                            -Applied online on January 12
                            -Phone interview on January 28
                            -Rejected via email on March 24

                            Companies I,J,K, and L: Consulting in ''''''and, OH; P&C in Hartford, CT; Health Insurance Nationwide; Consulting Nationwide;
                            -Applied online on Nov 9, Jan 12, Jan 23, and Jan 23, respectively
                            -No response

                            Companies M,N,O, and P: Consulting in ''''''and, OH; Health Insurance Pennsylvania; Insurance in Boston, MA; Health Insurance in Boston, MA;
                            -Emailed resume and cover letter to chief actuaries found through actuarialdirectory.org on Nov 9, Jan 12, Jan 23, and Jan 23, respectively.
                            -No response



                            In summary:
                            -I applied to 16 places, 2 of them small, 14 of them large and well-known.

                            -I applied by emailing materials in response to a job posting in 3 cases, one of them resulting in a job offer, two of them not responding.

                            -I applied by emailing a person I'd found through actuarialdirectory.org in 4 cases, one of them resulting in a phone interview, and 3 of them resulting in no response.

                            -I simply filled out an online application in 8 cases, 4 of them resulting in phone interviews, 2 of them in on-site interviews, and 4 with no response.

                            -I only had a personal connection for 1 place I applied, and I received no response from that company.



                            You can draw whatever conclusions you like from my job search. The only thing I can surmise is that:
                            1) Applying online is not as bad as everyone says. It got me phone interviews half the time, on-site interviews a fourth of the time.
                            2) I barely did any networking at all.
                            3) I didn't apply for work anywhere in Idaho.
                            4) Every response I got came from a large, well-known company.
                            5) I only have one exam passed, and I only got a 7 on that exam.

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                            • #15
                              i see. thanks for sharing your experience

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