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How much math do YOU do?

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  • #16
    I used a lot of calculus, multi-dimensional ''''' solutions, during my first several years as a pricing actuary. Although much of that work is in software now, my employer found my ability to modify assumptions (and sometimes software) to be a distinct advantage. Now I do regulatory work, rarely numbers, but ability to audit and analyze numbers generated by others is a critical part of the work.
    I thought this WAS a real job

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    • #17
      Originally posted by NoMoreExams View Post
      Being a mathematician. What do you mean "a lot of math?" If you want to do math, go do research. Do you honestly think people in the business world sit there and do integrals? The closest is probably people working at hedge funds, the so called quants I guess who work in the financial engineering field. But even there, from what I understand there's a lot of relying on software. They develop a model, run millions of simulations, and test their theories but it's very cuthroat and it requires you to know a LOT of math. If you (not you specifically) are finding actuarial exams tough, you most likely will not make it.
      What I meant was, I thought that about 70% of actuarial work was software and other stuff, while 30% was filled with actually doing math yourself. Now, it sounds like >90% is just software, writing, and other stuff, while there is just a tiny bit of mathematical analysis. Is this true? And if yes, do most people on average still enjoy actuarial work? I have no clue what work in the real world is like.

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      • #18
        It sounds to me like you (and a lot of other people as well) would benefit from an informational interview with an actuary or two, maybe at different levels in their careers. I imagine that most would welcome the opportunity to show you what a day in the life is like. Go through some of your contacts and see if you might have a connection with anyone that could arrange this. Otherwise, I suppose cold-calling actuarial companies nearby may get you some results. This is also an EXCELLENT way to start building up a network for when you are job hunting.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Happychick90 View Post
          What I meant was, I thought that about 70% of actuarial work was software and other stuff, while 30% was filled with actually doing math yourself. Now, it sounds like >90% is just software, writing, and other stuff, while there is just a tiny bit of mathematical analysis. Is this true? And if yes, do most people on average still enjoy actuarial work? I have no clue what work in the real world is like.
          I'm also not clear what you mean by "actually doing math yourself". When I divide Claims and Premium to get a Loss Ratio, am I doing what you'd call math? Does it need to be something from Calc. 2? PDE? Diff. Topology? I'm not sure why people are so surprised that actuaries do high level math. The exams don't really utilize anything beyond undergrad (maybe arguably some early grad stuff). What we do utilize is our ability to find solutions, to think outside the box as the cliche goes and explain those complex thought processes to people that couldn't add 2 numbers together but are in charge of sales for example.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by ajsnyder85 View Post
            It sounds to me like you (and a lot of other people as well) would benefit from an informational interview with an actuary or two, maybe at different levels in their careers. I imagine that most would welcome the opportunity to show you what a day in the life is like. Go through some of your contacts and see if you might have a connection with anyone that could arrange this. Otherwise, I suppose cold-calling actuarial companies nearby may get you some results. This is also an EXCELLENT way to start building up a network for when you are job hunting.
            Thanks for the advice. I should definitely go on an informational interview.

            "I'm also not clear what you mean by "actually doing math yourself". When I divide Claims and Premium to get a Loss Ratio, am I doing what you'd call math? Does it need to be something from Calc. 2? PDE? Diff. Topology? I'm not sure why people are so surprised that actuaries do high level math. The exams don't really utilize anything beyond undergrad (maybe arguably some early grad stuff). What we do utilize is our ability to find solutions, to think outside the box as the cliche goes and explain those complex thought processes to people that couldn't add 2 numbers together but are in charge of sales for example. "
            By "doing math yourself," I mean any kind of math except basic arithmetic. ( I also count statistics and probability as math)

            Do exams prep you well for that kind of critical thinking? That kind of stuff is fun, but extremely challenging.
            Last edited by Happychick90; April 21 2010, 07:29 PM.

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            • #21
              Besides calculus for problem-solving, the need to use credibility theory is growing rapidly in actuarial applications.
              I thought this WAS a real job

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              • #22
                I should also note that I work in Health which is probably on the low-end of high level math since we mostly just price for a year so there's not THAT much predictive modeling as much as in... life I would assume. CAS actuaries also tend to use statistics a lot more from what I've heard. They can comment on that

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