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  • What are my chances?

    Hi,

    I'm planning to start a new career. Was looking to accountancy but a few of my friends advised me to look at actuary (none of them in the field). There are few things about myself:

    - 5-years non-US degree in Mechanic Engineering (graduated 1998)
    - GPA 3.9
    - took a lot of course works in math during study
    - moved to US three years ago (my English is far from perfect)
    - 30 years old
    - was thinking to apply for PhD in my major but found out that I don't like it
    - my current occupation is sales
    - love math
    - adept with computers (hardware and software)
    - know a few computer languages
    - even was programming Excel and Access long time ago

    What are my chances to get into actuarial field? Is it a problem to have a non-US degree and relatively poor English? Do you suggest me getting MS here in US (e.g. MS Accountancy or Statistics)? It'll take me about 2-3 years to get it done. If I pass 1-2 exams and nothing else what is a probability to find an internship in NYC area?

    Thanks in advance.

    Max

  • #2
    Originally posted by Max Rum
    Hi,

    I'm planning to start a new career. Was looking to accountancy but a few of my friends advised me to look at actuary (none of them in the field). There are few things about myself:

    - 5-years non-US degree in Mechanic Engineering (graduated 1998)
    - GPA 3.9
    - took a lot of course works in math during study
    - moved to US three years ago (my English is far from perfect)
    - 30 years old
    - was thinking to apply for PhD in my major but found out that I don't like it
    - my current occupation is sales
    - love math
    - adept with computers (hardware and software)
    - know a few computer languages
    - even was programming Excel and Access long time ago

    What are my chances to get into actuarial field? Is it a problem to have a non-US degree and relatively poor English? Do you suggest me getting MS here in US (e.g. MS Accountancy or Statistics)? It'll take me about 2-3 years to get it done. If I pass 1-2 exams and nothing else what is a probability to find an internship in NYC area?

    Thanks in advance.

    Max
    It's not a bad start. There' s one essential thing missing from the resume, though, and you seem to already know it - exams. It sounds like you have the mathematical background to take Exam FM, and if you've had probability, maybe taking Exam P.

    If you have citizenship (or at least, the permission to work) in the US, it shouldn't be a problem that you attended college overseas. And for the record, I don't think your written English is bad at all. It's very coherent - much more so than others that attempt to enter the field. But it's always good to try to keep improving.

    I'd say go ahead and register for the February Exam P and study for that. In the meantime, I don't suppose it would hurt to contact a few insurance companies/consulting agencies. But understand that in NYC, the market is very competitive - they are able to pick from college students that have majors in actuarial science and may be graduating with 3-6 exams. But good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your kind reply, wat!

      I have a green card, so there is no problem for me to work in the U.S. I think I'm going to try to apply for MS in Accountancy program and in the mean time to study P exam for February. I know it will be very hard to work full time and prepare two exams (GMAT and SOA/P) but I'll give it a shot.

      What do you think, is it a good idea to get MS Accountancy here in the U.S.? Will it improve my chances to get a job as an actuary?

      Thanks again.

      Max

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Max Rum
        Thanks for your kind reply, wat!

        I have a green card, so there is no problem for me to work in the U.S. I think I'm going to try to apply for MS in Accountancy program and in the mean time to study P exam for February. I know it will be very hard to work full time and prepare two exams (GMAT and SOA/P) but I'll give it a shot.

        What do you think, is it a good idea to get MS Accountancy here in the U.S.? Will it improve my chances to get a job as an actuary?

        Thanks again.

        Max
        It's not really that important to have a "certain major". More or less, as long as you can demonstrate that you have the capability of passing actuarial exams, you'll be okay. While the accounting background might help a little if you're in a financial reporting position, I don't think you need an MS in Accounting or anything. Mainly - take exams. Study hard for them and pass them.

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't study accounting!

          If you really want to be an actuary, you should not waste time studying accounting. Why not get into a graduate program in actuarial science? This is what you want to do, right? Why would you spend time doing anything else?

          No, no, no. No accounting. Study what you want to do. List of actuarial programs at universities is at: www.beanactuary.org.

          Yours,
          Krzys'


          Originally posted by Max Rum
          Thanks for your kind reply, wat!

          I have a green card, so there is no problem for me to work in the U.S. I think I'm going to try to apply for MS in Accountancy program and in the mean time to study P exam for February. I know it will be very hard to work full time and prepare two exams (GMAT and SOA/P) but I'll give it a shot.

          What do you think, is it a good idea to get MS Accountancy here in the U.S.? Will it improve my chances to get a job as an actuary?

          Thanks again.

          Max
          Want to know how to pass actuarial exams? Go to: smartURL.it/pass

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for your information, krzysio!

            The reason I'm going to get a master's degree is that I'm not quite sure I would be able to find an actuary job after I pass one, two or even more exams. I just don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. If there is a problem with an actuary job I will work as an accountant until I find something. I think it's better than work in sales all the time.

            I haven't decided about accounting yet. May be it'll be MS in Statistics. It's closer to the actuarial field but I have to make more research about job market in Statistics. What do you think about it? Can you suggest me anything else but actuarial science?

            Thanks again for your reply. By the way, I'm thinking to buy your manual for exam 1/P.

            Best regards.

            Max

            Comment


            • #7
              If you find that pearl,why look for anything else?

              If you really want to be an actuary (big IF), this is a profession that requires total and absolute commitment. Do you know the difference between the contribution the chicken and the pig made to your ham and eggs that you have for breakfast? The chicken was involved in that meal. The pig was truly committed to it. What you need to do is make that decision: do you want to be an actuary? The job is just about perfect, you do not have to work with blood, you do not have to visit your clients in jail or chase ambulances, and you get a six figure income, guaranteed. The catch is the exams. And, I guess, for many people: having to work with math (the catch for non-nerds) or having to use math in business (the catch for nerds). But tell me, where else can you have the company pay you to get an equivalent of an advanced graduate degree and then give you a substantial raise when you get it, give you a high position, serious money, and, if you want, you can just work nine to five.

              But this is not a part time thing. It is hard, very hard, to study for these exams. And it ought to be -- if you mess up and policyholders do not get their money, you are causing a serious problem. You must become a serious, responsible, reliable professional. So you must be, must be committed, no matter how hard this gets, no matter what the world throws at you. If you hesitate, you will suffer.

              The purpose of the actuarial exams is the same as the purpose of a boot camp: to get rid of you. If you hesitate, you get mowed. So you need to decide, and once you decide to be an actuary, do not study anything else.

              Yours,
              Krzys'

              Originally posted by Max Rum
              Thanks for your information, krzysio!

              The reason I'm going to get a master's degree is that I'm not quite sure I would be able to find an actuary job after I pass one, two or even more exams. I just don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. If there is a problem with an actuary job I will work as an accountant until I find something. I think it's better than work in sales all the time.

              I haven't decided about accounting yet. May be it'll be MS in Statistics. It's closer to the actuarial field but I have to make more research about job market in Statistics. What do you think about it? Can you suggest me anything else but actuarial science?

              Thanks again for your reply. By the way, I'm thinking to buy your manual for exam 1/P.

              Best regards.

              Max
              Want to know how to pass actuarial exams? Go to: smartURL.it/pass

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by krzysio
                If you really want to be an actuary (big IF), this is a profession that requires total and absolute commitment. Do you know the difference between the contribution the chicken and the pig made to your ham and eggs that you have for breakfast? The chicken was involved in that meal. The pig was truly committed to it. What you need to do is make that decision: do you want to be an actuary? The job is just about perfect, you do not have to work with blood, you do not have to visit your clients in jail or chase ambulances, and you get a six figure income, guaranteed. The catch is the exams. And, I guess, for many people: having to work with math (the catch for non-nerds) or having to use math in business (the catch for nerds). But tell me, where else can you have the company pay you to get an equivalent of an advanced graduate degree and then give you a substantial raise when you get it, give you a high position, serious money, and, if you want, you can just work nine to five.

                But this is not a part time thing. It is hard, very hard, to study for these exams. And it ought to be -- if you mess up and policyholders do not get their money, you are causing a serious problem. You must become a serious, responsible, reliable professional. So you must be, must be committed, no matter how hard this gets, no matter what the world throws at you. If you hesitate, you will suffer.

                The purpose of the actuarial exams is the same as the purpose of a boot camp: to get rid of you. If you hesitate, you get mowed. So you need to decide, and once you decide to be an actuary, do not study anything else.

                Yours,
                Krzys'
                '''! I can only imagine how that would have read if you hadn't sugar-coated it.

                But you're absolutely right - I think people consider the field b/c it sounds easy, looks easy, ... and as long as you do your job correctly it probably is easy. However, people getting into the field don't realize the importance of what actuaries do and the problems that can result from making a mistake that seems to not be very important at the time. If you're in charge of reserving and ''''' up the reserve estimate, or you're in charge of pricing and charge less than what the loss data says you should be charging, or you don't realize that loss trends are going up and you keep looking at data from 3 years ago b/c it looks better, you can put your company out of business quickly.
                "You better get to living, because dying's a pain in the ***." - Frank Sinatra

                http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blogger_ar...blogger_id=174 - where I talk about the Blues and the NHL.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I can see your point, krzysio!

                  I'm just scared reading messages on actuarial forums when people with US degree and 3-4 passed exams cannot find an entry-level or an intern position for half a year or longer. So I'm not really sure that after I pass a couple of exams I'll be able to find something. If could get an intern I would concentrate on passing exams for sure. It would not really be an option to study accounting in that case.

                  Max

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have to wonder where those people live. I live in New Jersey, with commuting access (1.5 hours, however) to NYC, and from what I've heard at school, some firms are already knocking on my school's doors for interns for NEXT summer. That sounds like strong demand.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Which school are you studying? Princeton?
                      What program?

                      It's always good to hear great news that there is a demand for actuaries. But I think it really depends which school you are at. I have some friends studying in two different colleges here in NYC. Those who study in the first one are saying that they have a lot of recruiters in the school and there is no problem to find a job at all. However, the other school doesn't offer much support in finding a first job, so many graduates have to look for the first intern for months after graduation. In my situation - when I pass 3 or 4 exams it'll 10 years since my graduation. I guess, nobody going to knock in my door to give me a job and I'll be in the situation even worse than students from the second school.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wish No, NJIT, Applied Mathematics major with an option in Finance and Actuarial Science.

                        If I had been wiser, I'd have had my degree for two years already (I graduated HS at 18 with an Associate of Science - that was three years ago, and I'm just now returning to school), but such is the folly of youth (and given two years ago I was clueless as to what profession I wanted to seek, all is well, I suppose).

                        Obviously, NJIT is closer than 1.5 hours, but I don't live on campus, heh.
                        Last edited by SirVLCIV; October 8 2005, 12:43 AM. Reason: Add

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Max Rum
                          I can see your point, krzysio!

                          I'm just scared reading messages on actuarial forums when people with US degree and 3-4 passed exams cannot find an entry-level or an intern position for half a year or longer. So I'm not really sure that after I pass a couple of exams I'll be able to find something. If could get an intern I would concentrate on passing exams for sure. It would not really be an option to study accounting in that case.

                          Max
                          I had to pass Exam 2 before I got serious interest. I didn't have an internship, had a degree in math (not actuarial science b/c my university didn't have a program in actuarial science), and literally lived 60 miles from the nearest actuary who might have been able to hire me. I couldn't get a job as an actuary b/c I didn't have experience, but I couldn't get the experience b/c I didn't have a job doing actuarial work.

                          I wonder how much of "I can't find something, I have 3, 4, eleventy exams" has to do with interview presentation - if you can't interview worth a lick, you'll have a hard time getting anyone to hire you. I had to work at it for a few months and go through three mock interviews at school before I finally felt comfortable with it all. So aside from the obvious part - passing exams - I would suggest making use fo your career center on campus and work on developing good interview skills.

                          At some point we should probably start a thread on things to do and NOT to do in an interview - I think people will be surprised at how helpful that alone could be.
                          "You better get to living, because dying's a pain in the ***." - Frank Sinatra

                          http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blogger_ar...blogger_id=174 - where I talk about the Blues and the NHL.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Irish Blues
                            I wonder how much of "I can't find something, I have 3, 4, eleventy exams" has to do with interview presentation - if you can't interview worth a lick, you'll have a hard time getting anyone to hire you.
                            Thank you . . . good to see someone else thinks this way, too.

                            Originally posted by Irish Blues
                            So aside from the obvious part - passing exams - I would suggest making use fo your career center on campus and work on developing good interview skills.
                            And again!
                            act justly. walk humbly. .

                            Comment

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