PDA

View Full Version : What do you like about being an Actuary?


trainheavy
04-08-2011, 04:19 PM
I'm just curious as to what people find are the true gratifications in being an Actuary? Or another question, given you're an Actuary, do you wish you would have pursued something else?

silverfox
04-08-2011, 04:41 PM
Money + work/life balance

Simply Brilliant
04-08-2011, 04:58 PM
Money + work/life balance

:iatp:

Yes to something else (half the time)

Wigmeister General
04-08-2011, 05:24 PM
Money
Travel
Meet interesting people

FormLetter
04-08-2011, 05:30 PM
constant partying
access to high-powered weapons
laser shows
hats
dune buggies

sneakerx
04-08-2011, 05:34 PM
Irritable Bowel Disease. "IBD" for those in the know.

Hawkshaw
04-08-2011, 05:38 PM
As a consulting actuary I really enjoy getting out and meeting with people and helping them address their issues. Oh, and money and work/life balance.

hellomath
04-08-2011, 05:41 PM
Money + work/life balance

:iatp:

For the amount of money we make, the work/life bablance is pretty good.

Not too stressful either.

Vorian Atreides
04-08-2011, 05:42 PM
Money
Travel
Meet interesting people

constant partying
access to high-powered weapons
laser shows
hats
dune buggies
These could also answer "Why I joined the military?". :judge:

bananadotcom
04-08-2011, 05:45 PM
Money and not too stressful

Still, it sucks overall.

bananadotcom
04-08-2011, 05:46 PM
Meet interesting people

???? Really? Nothing but a bunch of corporate drones and douches around here. Not so much the actuaries but others who work with us.

ElDucky
04-08-2011, 05:49 PM
First you become an actuary.
????
Then you get the women.

Simply Brilliant
04-08-2011, 06:03 PM
First you become an actuary.
Get an Audi
Then you get fat women.

IFYP

Stanley Milgram
04-08-2011, 06:14 PM
Insurance is surprisingly interesting, something I didn't discover until many years into the career. But the only thing I'd want to do in insurance is actuarial work because it has the lowest amount of BS. And the Money and work/life balance doesn't suck either.

Sloop John B
04-08-2011, 06:18 PM
Most of my friends are poor grad students who are in lab until 10pm most nights. I'm usually done studying by then and have a fair bit of cash.

vicho
04-08-2011, 07:01 PM
Anything but money...
Would do something else if I want money.

MasterChief
04-08-2011, 07:16 PM
interesting to see that most people didnt actually name things they like that are specific to the actuary field, and didnt comment on the job itself.

SamTheEagle
04-08-2011, 07:20 PM
The dorks who actually like that crap are too good to be hanging out on here all day long.

annuitize
04-08-2011, 07:54 PM
It's a safe haven for really smart math people with poor social skills who want to make 6 Figs early in their careers.

ndruo
04-08-2011, 09:05 PM
Money and not too stressful

Still, it sucks overall.

It sound like it's time for a career change to the puppy dogs, fireworks, and candy industry! I start on Monday.

Will Durant
04-08-2011, 09:28 PM
Nothing - if I had to do it over again I'd do something else

MasterChief
04-08-2011, 11:02 PM
Nothing - if I had to do it over again I'd do something else

Thanks for the honesty, may i ask why you feel this way?

gracyjoe
04-08-2011, 11:23 PM
Ask me when I'm done studying...

deathfrombelow
04-08-2011, 11:38 PM
It's a safe haven for really smart math people with poor social skills who want to make 6 Figs early in their careers.

What a joke.

MasterChief
04-09-2011, 12:17 AM
What a joke.

seriously really smart math people go to graduate school

TheShark
04-09-2011, 12:22 AM
seriously really smart math people go to graduate school

+1

urbansombrero
04-09-2011, 12:43 AM
they go to graduate school and then regret they did.

hahaha

annuitize
04-09-2011, 01:16 AM
seriously really smart math people go to graduate school

:lol: Smart math people would take the 60K actuarial starting salary. Grad school is for azns on visa.

urbansombrero
04-09-2011, 01:22 AM
The top math kids do a PhD at top schools like Harvard, MIT, Princeton, UCLA, Chicago, NYU. Suprisingly, there are very few asians doing math PhDs. They tend to do PhDs in applied areas like finance, statistics and engineering. The large majority of asian students in "graduate" school are doing mini masters programs that cost a shitload of cash. The large majority of the time they are getting fleeced and alot of them end up going back to China. You should check the UMinessota math finance program and see how many asians were unemployed 6 months after finishing the program. Poor *******s.

annuitize
04-09-2011, 01:41 AM
probably none of them because they needed sponsorship.

Funemployed
04-09-2011, 02:08 AM
Nothing - if I had to do it over again I'd do something else
This.

The pay was nice, but in the end it wasn't worth being a corporate donkey. And I can't really say I met very many interesting people. Made a couple friends here and there, but the overwhelming majority were honestly douchebags. Much happier now that I'm out.

campbell
04-09-2011, 06:48 AM
seriously really smart math people go to graduate school

...and then we become actuaries.

Seriously, the money is good for the amount of work we have to do.

You can make more money elsewhere in finance, but that usually involves a hell of a lot more work.

You can get a PhD and be a prof, but the academic life doesn't pay as well (well... depends what you're doing. Some profs can get side gigs and do fine for themselves), and there are other downsides as well.

I have met a lot of interesting people in this field. You do have to actively look for interesting people, though. That's true almost anywhere you go. You can't expect interesting people just to pop up and say howdy.

campbell
04-09-2011, 06:52 AM
I also find the work actually interesting, but I could find lots of different work interesting.

Straight From My Id
04-09-2011, 09:29 AM
What I like is that I make extremely good money compared to almost all viable career alternatives.

What I like is that I get to be creative every single day, and that every day of my job is different and challenging.

What I like is that I actually appear to be adding value and changing outcomes.

What I like is that much of my actuarial peer group, the people I would be competing against should I choose to keep moving up, have only moderate or even limited business and social skills.

Would I work > 0 hours if I were a millionaire? No. Do I think I landed in the best possible career for me? Probably.

Wigmeister General
04-09-2011, 10:55 AM
???? Really? Nothing but a bunch of corporate drones and douches around here. Not so much the actuaries but others who work with us.

I'm a consultant. I rarely work with corporate drones and douches. I often meet with the owners of the companies. They're fascinating people.

SirVLCIV
04-09-2011, 11:29 AM
Money
Travel
Meet interesting people

These could also answer "Why I joined the military?". :judge:

No, for that, "Meet interesting people" should be followed by "Kill interesting people".

deathfrombelow
04-09-2011, 11:47 AM
:lol: Smart math people would take the 60K actuarial starting salary. Grad school is for azns on visa.

:roll2: :troll:

deathfrombelow
04-09-2011, 11:49 AM
No, for that, "Meet interesting people" should be followed by "Kill interesting people".

Reminds me of a classic George Carlin bit. Look it up.

smekta
04-09-2011, 12:48 PM
You can't expect interesting people just to pop up and say howdy.

Howdy!

campbell
04-09-2011, 01:16 PM
Howdy!

Howdy, yourself!

ADoubleDot
04-09-2011, 01:27 PM
Campbell, is that a correct use of a comma?

campbell
04-09-2011, 01:31 PM
Well, it's more an improper use of a reflexive pronoun.

Vorian Atreides
04-09-2011, 01:37 PM
No, for that, "Meet interesting people" should be followed by "Kill interesting people".
OP didn't ask for a comprehensive list. :judge:

But that was the next phrase I was expecting to see. :-P

Arthur Kade
04-13-2011, 04:30 PM
Often conversations with my colleagues make me :cry:

Today has been a particularly bad day.

limabeanactuary
04-13-2011, 04:42 PM
Often conversations with my colleagues make me :cry:

Today has been a particularly bad day.

:bighug:

Hydraskull
04-13-2011, 04:55 PM
constant partying
access to high-powered weapons
laser shows
hats
dune buggies

Woah woah woah woah woah - HATS?

limabeanactuary
04-13-2011, 05:08 PM
I have a barrister wig.

LifeSucks
04-14-2011, 01:00 AM
This.

The pay was nice, but in the end it wasn't worth being a corporate donkey. And I can't really say I met very many interesting people. Made a couple friends here and there, but the overwhelming majority were honestly douchebags. Much happier now that I'm out.

:iatp:

Robot_Insurance
04-14-2011, 02:36 AM
I'm still curious to hear from the "nothing" crowd - what don't you like other than working with a bunch of uninteresting douchebags?

annuitize
04-14-2011, 09:01 AM
I like how I'm not in grad school eating Ramen noodles and creeping on freshmen girls.
Oh wait, I kind of still do that sometimes.. Opps

mxpx=1/2
04-14-2011, 11:03 AM
I'm still curious to hear from the "nothing" crowd - what don't you like other than working with a bunch of uninteresting douchebags?

I'll take a shot.

Prestige: There are basically three types of people in the world: actuaries, people who have no idea what an actuary is, and people who hate actuaries.

Cost/benefit: Some on here have talked positively about the money, but I'd have to disagree. If you're smart enough and hard working enough to pass these exams, the odds are that you'd make more money with less barrier to entry as a producer or an underwriter.

Although "nothing" isn't right for me, as I do find much of the career intellectually interesting, which you won't find in many (any?) other career tracks in the insurance industry. But I'd still go a different route if I had a rewind button.

asdfasdf
04-14-2011, 12:01 PM
It's alright. What's nice is there is less douchebaggery than general corporate work, you advance to a decent level just based on tests, if you can handle the tests you make it to middle management without the ass kissing that would otherwise be required to reach that position. Certainly there are other good opportunities out there, I'm happy with my choice, but I also graduated in a more forgiving time, if I was 19 today I might opt for something different given how dry the entry level market seems to be now (although that seems to be a common problem with all college degree type jobs now anyway).

Locrian
04-14-2011, 02:44 PM
What I like is that I make extremely good money compared to almost all viable career alternatives.

What I like is that I get to be creative every single day, and that every day of my job is different and challenging.

What I like is that I actually appear to be adding value and changing outcomes.

What I like is that much of my actuarial peer group, the people I would be competing against should I choose to keep moving up, have only moderate or even limited business and social skills.

Would I work > 0 hours if I were a millionaire? No. Do I think I landed in the best possible career for me? Probably.


This, minus all the "every day" stuff. There are days when my work is not creative or challenging or changes outcomes or anything but irritating. Those days are few though and I like my job a lot.

Edit: Er, and my peers are actually really sharp on all fronts. So I guess this just mostly fits me. It's a lot closer than most of the other replies here.

LifeSucks
04-14-2011, 05:01 PM
I seems to be almost the only one who:
* wants the job to be interesting and purely technical
* cannot stand working in a corporate environment
* doesn't want to be in management ever
* treats salary as only a byproduct of work, not its purpose

So I left for IT.

asdfasdf
04-14-2011, 05:05 PM
I seems to be almost the only one who:
* wants the job to be interesting and purely technical
* cannot stand working in a corporate environment
* doesn't want to be in management ever
* treats salary as only a byproduct of work, not its purpose

So I left for IT.

Sounds about right, there are purely technical roles out there, but generally the thought is you move up once you have that base to making business decisions. How's IT working out for you? I saw basically 0 creativity based on what people who've gone into it have told me, but I'm sure there's some variety.

jy99
04-14-2011, 05:24 PM
Did a 2 year stint after college and left as an ASA...I recognized I needed some purpose in my work life when it hit me that I'd have to be employed for about the next 40 years.

Now I'm in medical school, we'll see how this ends up.

DaveTheBarbarian
04-14-2011, 05:29 PM
Did a 2 year stint after college and left as an ASA...I recognized I needed some purpose in my work life when it hit me that I'd have to be employed for about the next 40 years.

Now I'm in medical school, we'll see how this ends up.

Congrats man. I was thinking of pursuing this path at one point.

AUM
04-14-2011, 06:57 PM
I like the fact that you actually get to work with smart people. I used to work in a different career in management and the general rule is that you're surrounded by people who get where they are through political maneuvering and ass kissing. I like the fact that you have to demonstrate some competence in order to pass the exam track.
I wouldn't change this career choice for anything else. I think the majority of people who complain about this career haven't experienced enough of the life on the "other side of the fence".

Funemployed
04-14-2011, 08:01 PM
Competency and passing exams will only take you so far at the end of the day. To survive and go higher requires political maneuvering and ass kissing on top of it all. Granted, this is more due to the fact that most actuarial careers exist in corporate environments than the actuarial career itself. Unfortunately, it's hard to separate the two.

Jemaine Clement
04-14-2011, 08:05 PM
I like the fact that you actually get to work with smart people. ... I like the fact that you have to demonstrate some competence in order to pass the exam track.
I wouldn't change this career choice for anything else. I think the majority of people who complain about this career haven't experienced enough of the life on the "other side of the fence".

:iatp:

Remember, you're polling a biased sample here. Experienced actuaries who spend the workday reading internet fora are more likely to be bored with their jobs than those who are working and/or socializing with coworkers.

I love this job. My coworkers are smart, fun, and just the right amount of geeky. The work is really technically challenging and allows for a lot of creativity within constraints. I feel really valued, and the generous compensation package backs that up. I can think of very few careers that pay this well, have such a good work/life balance, have such good job security, are this intellectually stimulating, are (relatively) easy to break into, and don't require a graduate degree.

Sssuperdave
04-14-2011, 10:25 PM
I love this job. My coworkers are smart, fun, and just the right amount of geeky. The work is really technically challenging and allows for a lot of creativity within constraints. I feel really valued, and the generous compensation package backs that up. I can think of very few careers that pay this well, have such a good work/life balance, have such good job security, are this intellectually stimulating, are (relatively) easy to break into, and don't require a graduate degree.

:iatp:

LifeSucks
04-15-2011, 04:16 PM
How's IT working out for you? I saw basically 0 creativity based on what people who've gone into it have told me, but I'm sure there's some variety.

Hmm, every task is interesting. Figuring out how to code stuff, figuring out why stuff doesn't work.
I do hear the opinions that IT has 0 creativity and I don't get them. For me actuarial jobs were boring. Oh well, I guess people define "creativity" differently.

asdfasdf
04-15-2011, 04:19 PM
Hmm, every task is interesting. Figuring out how to code stuff, figuring out why stuff doesn't work.
I do hear the opinions that IT has 0 creativity and I don't get them. For me actuarial jobs were boring. Oh well, I guess people define "creativity" differently.

Comp sci 102 killed it for me:

Here's your problem
Here's exactly how we want the solution strucutured
If you solve the problem but don't do it the way we wanted then you fail

It seemed that would likely keep up for the first few years in the field, but I'm sure it's not true everywhere. I'm happy with my choice anyway.

Kris Kross
04-16-2011, 01:16 AM
Comp sci 102 killed it for me:

Here's your problem
Here's exactly how we want the solution strucutured
If you solve the problem but don't do it the way we wanted then you fail

It seemed that would likely keep up for the first few years in the field, but I'm sure it's not true everywhere. I'm happy with my choice anyway.

seems like a problem with that class.

hiact
10-24-2012, 05:51 PM
I seems to be almost the only one who:
* wants the job to be interesting and purely technical
* cannot stand working in a corporate environment
* doesn't want to be in management ever
* treats salary as only a byproduct of work, not its purpose

So I left for IT.
I'm actually trying to go the other way. I've been working in a development/support capacity for the last 5 years out of a 10 year IT career. The politics can be quite draining. There's a fair bit of butt-kissing required and I work with people that have no business doing this type of work due to the low quality control. The users usually don't care as long as the job gets done but guess who gets to clean it up and blamed for it when it breaks?

One of the reasons I'm attracted to AS is the high barrier to entry and the measurable progression with exams. I've found with IT, there are a lot of people getting by with copying and pasting code without fully understanding what the code is doing.

I like the fact that you actually get to work with smart people. I used to work in a different career in management and the general rule is that you're surrounded by people who get where they are through political maneuvering and ass kissing. I like the fact that you have to demonstrate some competence in order to pass the exam track.
I wouldn't change this career choice for anything else. I think the majority of people who complain about this career haven't experienced enough of the life on the "other side of the fence".

TrollMaster
10-24-2012, 11:41 PM
I like the fact that you actually get to work with smart people. I used to work in a different career in management and the general rule is that you're surrounded by people who get where they are through political maneuvering and ass kissing. I like the fact that you have to demonstrate some competence in order to pass the exam track.
I wouldn't change this career choice for anything else. I think the majority of people who complain about this career haven't experienced enough of the life on the "other side of the fence".

This

Interrogative Statement
10-25-2012, 12:36 AM
This

Smarter than the average person? Sure, definitely.

But don't have too lofty of expectations. You just don't have to have THAT much intelligence to be an actuary.. only enough to get through the exams.

Domino
10-25-2012, 01:00 PM
I like the fact that you actually get to work with smart people. I used to work in a different career in management and the general rule is that you're surrounded by people who get where they are through political maneuvering and ass kissing. I like the fact that you have to demonstrate some competence in order to pass the exam track.
I wouldn't change this career choice for anything else. I think the majority of people who complain about this career haven't experienced enough of the life on the "other side of the fence".


I'll go one step further. In my experience, one needs to demonstrate more than the ability to pass exams to advance in the actuarial field. Due to the high level of involvement and exposure actuaries have in the work they do, there's a lot of accountability that needs to be followed otherwise there's a seriously loss of credibility (hence, the ASOPs). Those who can't be trusted to be accountable for high level work will usually never get it, or when they do their lack of ability shows very clearly. Eventually they don't last, or just stay at an analyst level.

Vorian Atreides
10-25-2012, 01:29 PM
One of the reasons I'm attracted to AS is the high barrier to entry and the measurable progression with exams.
The barrier isn't so much as being "high" as it being fairly convoluted.

And the measurability of the Exam progression is now being readjusted.

Good luck!

TrollMaster
10-25-2012, 02:01 PM
Smarter than the average person? Sure, definitely.

But don't have too lofty of expectations. You just don't have to have THAT much intelligence to be an actuary.. only enough to get through the exams.

I don't need expectations since I am speaking from my own personal experience. And smart is a subjective word. Saying smart people can coincide with smarter than the average person. Nevertheless, my main agreement is in the statement regarding people not having enough experience in other management areas and all the B.S. that goes along with that compared to what we have to deal with. And the fact that I would not change my choice of Actuary for career. It is the best job I have ever had!

TrollMaster
10-25-2012, 02:02 PM
I'll go one step further. In my experience, one needs to demonstrate more than the ability to pass exams to advance in the actuarial field. Due to the high level of involvement and exposure actuaries have in the work they do, there's a lot of accountability that needs to be followed otherwise there's a seriously loss of credibility (hence, the ASOPs). Those who can't be trusted to be accountable for high level work will usually never get it, or when they do their lack of ability shows very clearly. Eventually they don't last, or just stay at an analyst level.

I could not agree more.

TheShark
10-25-2012, 03:31 PM
Smarter than the average person? Sure, definitely.

But don't have too lofty of expectations. You just don't have to have THAT much intelligence to be an actuary.. only enough to get through the exams.

Top 3% of the American population for smartness, especially considering that 30% of the population have a bachelor's degree (2011 census) and most of these degrees are in non-smart majors.

Interrogative Statement
10-25-2012, 04:33 PM
Top 3% of the American population for smartness, especially considering that 30% of the population have a bachelor's degree (2011 census) and most of these degrees are in non-smart majors.

Having a bachelor's degree is mildly correlated with intelligence, in my opinion.

And you're getting this 3% from where, again?

Interrogative Statement
10-25-2012, 04:57 PM
The barrier isn't so much as being "high" as it being fairly convoluted.

And the measurability of the Exam progression is now being readjusted every four years or so.

Good luck!

IFYP

TheShark
10-25-2012, 04:58 PM
Having a bachelor's degree is mildly correlated with intelligence, in my opinion.

And you're getting this 3% from where, again?

Look at the percentage of people who get Fellowship; 3% is probably harsh, should be less than that.

Interrogative Statement
10-25-2012, 05:07 PM
Look at the percentage of people who get Fellowship; 3% is probably harsh, should be less than that.

OK, so you WERE indeed just making it up on the spot... had to check.

Vorian Atreides
10-26-2012, 01:26 PM
IFYP
My original statement is correct and likely to be more relevant to the OP in situ.

But I agree with your fix as well.

waterborne
10-26-2012, 01:47 PM
OK, so you WERE indeed just making it up on the spot... had to check.

:rofl:

extrovertedactuary
10-26-2012, 09:21 PM
OK, so you WERE indeed just making it up on the spot... had to check.

Why are you such a dick towards The Shark and actuarial science majors? He's saying that 30% of Americans have bachelor's degrees and of those, people that became actuaries are almost surely in the top 10% due to the high barriers to entry and difficulty of handling the work and exams.

Maybe he is improperly making the assumption that actuaries are smarter than the sociology and anthropology majors that get "jobs" at Occupy Wall Street, but we'll consider it a reasonable assumption.

Also, most likely far less than 3% of Americans are capable of becoming an actuary and getting through the exams. Do you not believe this to be correct?

PJA
10-26-2012, 09:35 PM
Why are you such a dick towards The Shark and actuarial science majors? He's saying that 30% of Americans have bachelor's degrees and of those, people that became actuaries are almost surely in the top 10% due to the high barriers to entry and difficulty of handling the work and exams.

Maybe he is improperly making the assumption that actuaries are smarter than the sociology and anthropology majors that get "jobs" at Occupy Wall Street, but we'll consider it a reasonable assumption.

Also, most likely far less than 3% of Americans are capable of becoming an actuary and getting through the exams. Do you not believe this to be correct?

Assuming that the 30% with a degree are the smartest 30% is clearly incorrect. Among the top 30%, I also doubt that only 10% would be able to pass actuarial exams. I don't doubt that anyone in the top 30% could pass them if they had the motivation to do so.

To put 3% into context, the top 3% of IQ would be in the high 120s, which is not even close to necessary to pass actuarial exams.

Colonel Smoothie
10-26-2012, 09:36 PM
Also, most likely far less than 3% of Americans are capable of becoming an actuary and getting through the exams. Do you not believe this to be correct?

I guess it depends on what you mean by capable. I believe given enough time and resources, most people would be able to pass the exams.

Colonel Smoothie
10-26-2012, 09:43 PM
One of the reasons I'm attracted to AS is the high barrier to entry and the measurable progression with exams. I've found with IT, there are a lot of people getting by with copying and pasting code without fully understanding what the code is doing.

Prepare to be disappointed. Posers exist in every profession.

TheShark
10-27-2012, 03:42 AM
Why are you [Interrogative Statement] such a dick towards The Shark and actuarial science majors?

I had a look at his posting history, especially this one (http://www.actuarialoutpost.com/actuarial_discussion_forum/showthread.php?t=241243) thread that he started.

Obviously things did not work out for him and he felt that the actuarial intern mentioned in that thread "stole his job," which to me explains his attitude towards ActSci majors.

hiact
10-27-2012, 04:29 AM
Prepare to be disappointed. Posers exist in every profession.

Thing is, the posers that I've known would not take the time to grind through a bunch of tests. I suspect the actuarial posers are a lot more capable than the IT posers.

Sinkingfun
10-29-2012, 01:20 PM
you DEFINITELY don't need to be top 3% intelligence to pass actuarial exams...some pretty mediocre math students pass actuarial exams if they prepare correctly and spend enough time. It's much more about preparation than intelligence...there is nothing really all that deep on any of the exams.

I've seen very smart people fail them from lack of preparation...and morons pass them because they bought 3 manuals and did so many practice problems that they were basically recreating the exam.

I used to think I was the sh1t (kind of like this top 3% clown) because I got through P, FM, and MFE super easily. Then I took topology and ran into that "read something in the book a million times and still be confused" problem that I never experienced when studying for actuary exams. That is a genetic peak. Not being a genius actually prevented me from understanding topology at a high level. Actuary exams don't work like that. Every problem has a super simple algebraic solution; even if a topic is confusing at first, it can only be so confusing when the solution works through basic algebra. Not only that, but there is a lot of memorization on actuary exams...and I don't understand how memorizing a bunch of formulas makes you smart - it makes you ambitious. Now that I'm a senior math major and have seen all kinds of math, I hardly consider actuary exams as math exams. Math geniuses could probably handle FM in middle school if they had the discipline to study...that's not really a joke either. In fact, an elegant solution to a challenging math proof often times assumes the algebra that is like the whole problem on actuary exams.


This is not to say actuaries aren't smart or that people pursuing the career path are out of the top 3%. I interned this summer and everyone I worked with was very bright. Some of them were definitely in that top 3%. To excel (lol, get it) tremendously in this field, you have to be very smart...i don't know about NEEDING to be top 3%, but top 10% for sure.

My point is that to pass the exams, you definitely can't be SUPER bad at math, but you definitely don't need to be that great either. Those of you that claim you need to be a math genius to pass actuary exams are unbelievably insulting to real math geniuses - people that get phD's in math studying really deep topics. Try taking a grad math class and then talking about how hard FM is.

Interrogative Statement
10-29-2012, 02:55 PM
...but we'll consider it a reasonable assumption.

Also, most likely far less than 3% of Americans are capable of becoming an actuary and getting through the exams. Do you not believe this to be correct?

I'm saying that throwing figures out there purely on assumption with no means to back them up, like you just did, is not sound.

Sinkingfun
10-29-2012, 02:59 PM
Also, most likely far less than 3% of Americans are capable of becoming an actuary and getting through the exams. Do you not believe this to be correct?

Absolutely not.

extrovertedactuary
10-29-2012, 03:17 PM
I'm saying that throwing figures out there purely on assumption with no means to back them up, like you just did, is not sound.

Are these assumptions too vauge?

I look at the number of Americans that go to school beyond high school and major in a quantitative discipline. Then, out of those that major in a quantitative discipline, I think a smaller portion could hack the exams.

Well, I definitely don't think all actuaries are in the top 3%. I think many of them are, but it is hard to measure.

Arthur Kade
10-29-2012, 03:19 PM
I guess it depends on what you mean by capable. I believe given enough time and resources, most people would be able to pass the exams.
Really, you think 50% of the population of the US is smart enough to pass P and FM. Do you get out much?

Arthur Kade
10-29-2012, 03:24 PM
I used to think I was the sh1t (kind of like this top 3% clown) because I got through P, FM, and MFE super easily. Then I took topology and ran into that "read something in the book a million times and still be confused" problem that I never experienced when studying for actuary exams.
That's because topology is a top-0.5% thing. Doesn't necessarily make the 3% claim false (although I do think 3% is too low).

Colonel Smoothie
10-29-2012, 03:40 PM
Really, you think 50% of the population of the US is smart enough to pass P and FM. Do you get out much?

Yeah, I think most of the failure has to do with people not knowing what to do rather than not being able to do it. It's my belief that most of the inequality in performance has to do with socioeconomic issues, but there are plenty enough threads in political for that.

Granted, you will still have plenty of people who absolutely cannot pass the exams no matter how hard they try, but I think that number would be far lower if everyone were on an even playing field.

Colonel Smoothie
10-29-2012, 03:43 PM
*far lower than you think, I mean

asdfasdf
10-29-2012, 03:49 PM
Really, you think 50% of the population of the US is smart enough to pass P and FM. Do you get out much?

Yeah, people as a whole are terrible at math, I think anyone capable of passing entry level calculus could pass P and FM, probably 10% of the population falls in that bucket.

bananadotcom
10-29-2012, 04:14 PM
you DEFINITELY don't need to be top 3% intelligence to pass actuarial exams...some pretty mediocre math students pass actuarial exams if they prepare correctly and spend enough time. It's much more about preparation than intelligence...there is nothing really all that deep on any of the exams.


This is definitely true. Just take a look at me. Highest math I took was linear algebra and I didn't excel at it either. I would no doubt fail at something like topology or analysis. But I am really good at memorizing details and solving relatively simple math problems very quickly.

I would estimate you would need to be in the top 20% of intelligence to make fellowship. If I had to guess I would say the average actuary is around 90-95th percentile for intelligence.

TheShark
10-29-2012, 04:21 PM
Yeah, I think most of the failure has to do with people not knowing what to do rather than not being able to do it. It's my belief that most of the inequality in performance has to do with socioeconomic issues, but there are plenty enough threads in political for that.

Granted, you will still have plenty of people who absolutely cannot pass the exams no matter how hard they try, but I think that number would be far lower if everyone were on an even playing field.

Everyone is not on an even playing field. If that were the case, then yes the 10% clown would have had a point.

extrovertedactuary
10-29-2012, 04:32 PM
This is definitely true. Just take a look at me. Highest math I took was linear algebra and I didn't excel at it either. I would no doubt fail at something like topology or analysis. But I am really good at memorizing details and solving relatively simple math problems very quickly.

I would estimate you would need to be in the top 20% of intelligence to make fellowship. If I had to guess I would say the average actuary is around 90-95th percentile for intelligence.

Even though my assumptions were vague, at least they were further reaching than this. You are one data point out of many is what I'm trying to say.

Someone above mentioned that many actuaries not being able to do topology well does not disprove the 3% question, because topology is even harder, so it is of the top 0.5% level of intelligence.

Having said that, I think one thing that would make it so most people could not get through the exams is the time constraints. I think people in general could learn a lot of the material on the exams, but I don't think many people in the general population are capable of understanding enough of the material and computing the questions within the 3 hour or so time frame.

sushieater
10-29-2012, 04:33 PM
If one can pass all the prelim exam using ONLY books WITHOUT study manual from asm, actex, tia, you-name-it, then i agree he/she is truly intelligent. Most of us are just dedicated to our goal and work-hard toward it, which is good because the society rewards the hard working folks (like me :D)

ditkaworshipper
10-29-2012, 07:26 PM
I'd say a significant portion of actuaries are in the top 3% of intelligence, but beyond a certain point, I think it actually hinders your ability to pass these exams. They're more detail oriented than conceptually difficult, which really annoys some of the super smart people I know.

FourKicks
10-29-2012, 07:42 PM
I think anyone capable of passing entry level calculus could pass P and FM, probably 10% of the population falls in that bucket.

and then consider that the remaining prelims are harder, and if we're talking CAS upper levels, then those are significantly harder.

3% capable of making it to fellow sounds about right to me.

Yeah, people as a whole are terrible at math

:iatp: x 1000

TheShark
10-29-2012, 07:45 PM
and then consider that the remaining prelims are harder, and if we're talking CAS upper levels, then those are significantly harder.

3% capable of making it to fellow sounds about right to me. 50% is absurd. most people are horrible at math.

People suggesting 50% have horribly low self-esteem.

Colonel Smoothie
10-29-2012, 07:48 PM
Yeah, people as a whole are terrible at math.

People who think this have never been to a country where most people are good at math. Or are at least way better at it than Americans.

But yeah, change the culture resources, etc, I guarantee you that 50% would be capable.

TheShark
10-29-2012, 08:05 PM
People who think this have never been to a country where most people are good at math. Or are at least way better at it than Americans.

But yeah, change the culture resources, etc, I guarantee you that 50% would be capable.

We are looking at the % of people who are born in the US and who can obtain Fellowship.

my cousin has a phd in psychology, she can't solve two equations with 2 unknowns.

zeus1233
10-29-2012, 08:10 PM
I'd say a significant portion of actuaries are in the top 3% of intelligence, but beyond a certain point, I think it actually hinders your ability to pass these exams. They're more detail oriented than conceptually difficult, which really annoys some of the super smart people I know.

It depends. I always felt the first few math/finance exams are more conceptual than some others considered them because they were written by academic types.

The last few exams are often just rote regurgitation of lists, which is really a test of memorization (a specific type of intelligence) more than anything else.

TrollMaster
10-29-2012, 11:58 PM
People who think this have never been to a country where most people are good at math. Or are at least way better at it than Americans.

But yeah, change the culture resources, etc, I guarantee you that 50% would be capable.

Quotes like this always annoy me. Two cases to consider, I am sure there is more but lets keep it simple. First, the only contact we American students have with foreign students are the ones who come to college here. The way I see it there are two types of these foreign students. They are either the best and brightest their country has to offer or they come from wealth and have resources to come to college in the U.S. Either way not a good sample to judge the math aptitude of an entire country.

Next, math is shoved down students' throats because it is the political agenda of the country. then a study is released that so and so country has the best math students. These studies generally only count the tests of students who are in school, which will generally by a smaller sample size of the true population. i.e. we educate a larger percentage of the population here, so of course overall standard math scores will be lower.

Plus, you do not need to be a math expert to excel in the United States or anywhere for that matter. I think we all get full of ourselves sometimes because we are pretty decent at math. There are plenty of professions where people can run circles around us that we could never do, make more money and not need to be a math expert.

it is all about will and desire. And some people have a will and desire for other things than math.

Sinkingfun
10-30-2012, 12:01 AM
People suggesting 50% have horribly low self-esteem.

More like, people suggesting 3% have horribly low self-esteem.

extrovertedactuary
10-30-2012, 12:03 AM
Quotes like this always annoy me. Two cases to consider, I am sure there is more but lets keep it simple. First, the only contact we American students have with foreign students are the ones who come to college here. The way I see it there are two types of these foreign students. They are either the best and brightest their country has to offer or they come from wealth and have resources to come to college in the U.S. Either way not a good sample to judge the math aptitude of an entire country.

Next, math is shoved down students' throats because it is the political agenda of the country. then a study is released that so and so country has the best math students. These studies generally only count the tests of students who are in school, which will generally by a smaller sample size of the true population. i.e. we educate a larger percentage of the population here, so of course overall standard math scores will be lower.

Plus, you do not need to be a math expert to excel in the United States or anywhere for that matter. I think we all get full of ourselves sometimes because we are pretty decent at math. There are plenty of professions where people can run circles around us that we could never do, make more money and not need to be a math expert.
it is all about will and desire. And some people have a will and desire for other things than math.

I agree with some things you said.

Just out of curiosity, what are some of those professions?

TheShark
10-30-2012, 12:06 AM
More like, people suggesting 3% have horribly low self-esteem.

No, if you think that 50% of Americans can do what you are doing, then you are devaluing your achievements and telling yourself that you're nothing special.

But anyways, keep on believing what you believe and you will make an expert in inferring in no time.

Colonel Smoothie
10-30-2012, 12:07 AM
I agree with some things you said.

Just out of curiosity, what are some of those professions?

I don't know, but the number is shrinking by the day.

Colonel Smoothie
10-30-2012, 12:09 AM
Plus, you do not need to be a math expert to excel in the United States or anywhere for that matter. I think we all get full of ourselves sometimes because we are pretty decent at math. There are plenty of professions where people can run circles around us that we could never do, make more money and not need to be a math expert.

it is all about will and desire. And some people have a will and desire for other things than math.

Yeah, the problem with this thinking though is just because such professions exist without mathematically competent people doesn't mean they are running at their full potential.

Who knows, they could be even better if they had a math expert helping them out.

Colonel Smoothie
10-30-2012, 12:18 AM
For example, take writing. Most people would agree that you don't need to be good at math to be a great writer. Well, you sort of do because you might not want to contradict yourself, or whatever.

Well anyways the coders are already working hard on predicting what word phrases/patterns people like to read when they read media, and already working on creating scripts to automate the process of creative writing. Journalism, as we know it, will be dead in a matter of decades.

Colonel Smoothie
10-30-2012, 12:19 AM
Oh and they're working hard on replacing us, too. Once we get around to automating automation itself, it's over, man.

Colonel Smoothie
10-30-2012, 12:22 AM
More like, people suggesting 3% have horribly low self-esteem.

I agree. I also agree with you in that the exams test preparedness more than mathematical talent, as you are aware from taking that Topology class.

That's not to say passing exams is bad thing. It does take a lot of hard work and you should be proud of your efforts. However, to think that you're in the top 3% of human beings in intelligence, or to think that you're somehow special, is hogwash.

extrovertedactuary
10-30-2012, 10:34 AM
I don't know, but the number is shrinking by the day.

For example, take writing. Most people would agree that you don't need to be good at math to be a great writer. Well, you sort of do because you might not want to contradict yourself, or whatever.

Well anyways the coders are already working hard on predicting what word phrases/patterns people like to read when they read media, and already working on creating scripts to automate the process of creative writing. Journalism, as we know it, will be dead in a matter of decades.

Oh and they're working hard on replacing us, too. Once we get around to automating automation itself, it's over, man.

I agree. I also agree with you in that the exams test preparedness more than mathematical talent, as you are aware from taking that Topology class.

That's not to say passing exams is bad thing. It does take a lot of hard work and you should be proud of your efforts. However, to think that you're in the top 3% of human beings in intelligence, or to think that you're somehow special, is hogwash.


Colonel, this is so depressing. You always have such a negative outlook on so many professions. We better just :toast: and wait for the world to end...

TrollMaster
10-30-2012, 11:29 AM
I agree with some things you said.

Just out of curiosity, what are some of those professions?

Sales people and Sales directors. It takes a special kind of person to deal with the high pressure involved in a sales postion. And to do it successfully for a lifetime.

HVAC technicians who are great at what they do and start their own business.

Education admin., nurses, lawyers, or executives in general. People who are responsible for leading people with a unified vision and making that happen succesfully. I am sure we coould name endless possibilties. The fact is the world does not revovle around math knowledge, though we would like to think so.

And I do not want to hear about how lawyers and nurses need math, blah, blah, blah. Yeah the probably took calculus maybe, but the fact is the do not use it, nor do they need greater then college algebra. You can get into law school with English, Poli Sci, Communications...

Sinkingfun
10-30-2012, 12:56 PM
No, if you think that 50% of Americans can do what you are doing, then you are devaluing your achievements and telling yourself that you're nothing special.

But anyways, keep on believing what you believe and you will make an expert in inferring in no time.

It depends what your argument is exactly. I don't think you are catching my point. I completely agree that to easily pass all of the exams and dominate the job, you need to be bright and that 50% quote is obviously ridiculously overestimated.

However, if we are talking about actually being CAPABLE with enough time to pass an exam like P or FM, I am definitely closer to the 50% number. You need to relearn the definition of capable.

What I am telling you is that FM is basic algebra, and many people are capable of solving two equations with two unknowns. In fact, I am willing to guess that the majority of people that "can't" do it are really just uninterested by math and don't care to learn how. As far as actual mental capabilities go, there is not that much to FM.

I've seen people (this is not a joke) get confused by seeing (1 + i)^-1 as opposed to 1/(1 + i) still end up passing FM. Truly difficult subjects don't work like that.

In a truly difficult subject, you could study 5 hours a day for years and still be pretty bad at it. Why? Because your brain lacks the neurons to handle the information. That my friend, is what intelligence is. The former is ambition related.

I'm not even trying to bash on actuaries; many actuaries are really smart. All I'm saying is that the smart actuaries view the exams as bullsh1t, time consuming requirements...not their greatest accomplishment or best representation of what their brains are capable of.

I tutor the material for FM at my school. I haven't looked at the material in over two years and I almost always still know what to do. That is not a hard subject.

sneakerx
10-30-2012, 01:04 PM
It depends what your argument is exactly. I don't think you are catching my point. I completely agree that to easily pass all of the exams and dominate the job, you need to be bright and that 50% quote is obviously ridiculously overestimated.

However, if we are talking about actually being CAPABLE with enough time to pass an exam like P or FM, I am definitely closer to the 50% number. You need to relearn the definition of capable.

Go to someplace that has a normal sampling of humanity like the Social Security office and tell me that 50% of those people could pass P and FM. Your perspective is distorted, because you hang around actuaries(or whoever) all day. Frankly, I'm surprised that society doesn't implode upon itself.

Sinkingfun
10-30-2012, 01:08 PM
Go to someplace that has a normal sampling of humanity like the Social Security office and tell me that 50% of those people could pass P and FM. Your perspective is distorted, because you hang around actuaries(or whoever) all day. Frankly, I'm surprised that society doesn't implode upon itself.

It's less than 50%; I'll give you that. It's probably more like 30-40%. Also, keep in mind, a lot of those people you are referring to have a horrible view of education and learning. They may have been raised in bad environments and never found themselves academically.

What I'm saying is that you sit down a focused, ambitious person and try to teach them how to solve two unknowns with two equations, most people could do that. And mentally, that is all there is to FM. The rest is just knowing things; aka studying a lot.

Most people do not have the drive to sit down with a thick manual and learn all of the material. So all together, the people capable of passing these exams is pretty low. However, of the people with enough motivation to sit down with the manual, intelligence is far from the necessary factor.

TheShark
10-30-2012, 01:11 PM
Yeah, I think a couple of people in this thread only hang around smart people (math majors, actuaries, etc).

Sinkingfun
10-30-2012, 01:16 PM
Yeah, I think a couple of people in this thread only hang around smart people (math majors, actuaries, etc).

This is true. All of my close friends are very smart with math so I'm sure my view is slightly tainted. I'm mostly basing my opinion off of my tutoring experience. I've pretty much walked kids entirely through simple problems and they still end up passing.

TheShark
10-30-2012, 01:31 PM
This is true. All of my close friends are very smart with math so I'm sure my view is slightly tainted. I'm mostly basing my opinion off of my tutoring experience. I've pretty much walked kids entirely through simple problems and they still end up passing.

Me I feel inferior around smart people so I tend to hang out less with them. Most of my college friends have bad GPAs.

yoyo
10-30-2012, 01:38 PM
Frankly, I'm surprised that society doesn't implode upon itself.oh, but it is. it just takes a while.

Sinkingfun
10-30-2012, 06:25 PM
Me I feel inferior around smart people so I tend to hang out less with them. Most of my college friends have bad GPAs.

And this is why you think you need to be in the top 3% intelligence. Maybe among your friends, you are in the top 3%. Sure, plenty of people can't do math. But at the same rate, pretty much any mediocre engineer is smart enough.

PJA
10-30-2012, 06:49 PM
In a truly difficult subject, you could study 5 hours a day for years and still be pretty bad at it. Why? Because your brain lacks the neurons to handle the information. That my friend, is what intelligence is. The former is ambition related.


I think even you are seriously underestimating people's abilities.

I used to think I was incredibly bright on account of I easily got the highest grades in my math and physics classes (e.g. these so-called 0.5% classes like topology and functional analysis). I'm entirely convinced at this point that although I may be smarter than average, the main reason I did well was that I was 50x more interested in the material than most people.

The main reason people get frustrated with higher math is that they just haven't taken the time to understand all the math that comes before it, and so they get to some higher math class and they have absolutely no idea what they're doing, so they become very frustrated.

Despite doing well in topology, I feel the exact same way when I'm studying for FM and I breeze through the first 250 pages of the ASM manual only half-assing the material (geometric series, yawn), then I get to page 251 and I don't have any idea how to do whatever problem is being presented to me.

I think probably most of the people who get through the prelims could easily do well in a topology class, and I don't think doing well in either requires close to top 3% intelligence.

oceankyle
10-30-2012, 08:21 PM
This is true. All of my close friends are very smart with math so I'm sure my view is slightly tainted. I'm mostly basing my opinion off of my tutoring experience. I've pretty much walked kids entirely through simple problems and they still end up passing.

Also maybe look at public schools. Kids DEFINITELY get pushed through the system. If you show up and try a little bit, you are passing. Parents making noise seems like it helps too (which probably happens if they spend money on a tutor). Squeaky wheel gets the grease...

Top 3% of intelligence? What is intelligence?

OME76
10-30-2012, 08:52 PM
If you show up and try a little bit, you are passing. Parents making noise seems like it helps too (which probably happens if they spend money on a tutor). Squeaky wheel gets the grease...


School has further deteriorated since you were in it. Believe it or not, I've known teachers that passed anyone that showed up to class. They still got in trouble for failing too many students and were told they needed to pass the ones that didn't show up too.

oceankyle
10-30-2012, 08:59 PM
School has further deteriorated since you were in it. Believe it or not, I've known teachers that passed anyone that showed up to class. They still got in trouble for failing too many students and were told they needed to pass the ones that didn't show up too.

I hear you, not to get too far off topic but my Aunt is a college professor and she gets that same thing... at the college level! She catches flack for enforcing the completely fair and normally syllabus guidelines that result in kids failing because they lost points for writing 600 words for a required 1000 word paper.

Call My Put
10-30-2012, 11:39 PM
Being an actuary sucks. Completely meaningless work. Actuary jobs are just as shitty as any other cubicle job, except you get paid more and get to feel "special" compared to all the lowly admin, finance and other people.

Being an actuary is like being the shiniest turd. At the end of the day you are still a turd. You still have to be a corporate slave and waste away your youth in a god damned cubicle with all the other slaves. And after a hard day of meaningless work you get to go home and continue the festivities with your beloved 10,000 page ASM manual.

If you have the will power and mental capacity to obtain your FCAS/FSA, you are better off putting all that time and effort into medical school. Getting an actuarial science degree is probably my biggest regret in life

CalculatinFool
10-30-2012, 11:55 PM
Being an actuary sucks. Completely meaningless work. Actuary jobs are just as shitty as any other cubicle job, except you get paid more and get to feel "special" compared to all the lowly admin, finance and other people.

Being an actuary is like being the shiniest turd. At the end of the day you are still a turd. You still have to be a corporate slave and waste away your youth in a god damned cubicle with all the other slaves. And after a hard day of meaningless work you get to go home and continue the festivities with your beloved 10,000 page ASM manual.

If you have the will power and mental capacity to obtain your FCAS/FSA, you are better off putting all that time and effort into medical school. Getting an actuarial science degree is probably my biggest regret in life

Thanks for getting back on topic! How does every thread, even one as straightforward as "What to you like about being an actuary?" always devolve into a look-how-smart-i-am thread? It's almost like a comfy blanket that actuaries always pull out when faced with uncomfortable realizations. You nailed it "Call My Put"!

captain_epsilon
10-31-2012, 12:24 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaR2JeqxQDY

*singing off-key* ooOOooOOO, Cantcha you see there'll come a day when it wont matter lalalala oooOOoo--WHOA! *holds up a garbage can lid to guard against a sudden barrage of rotten cabbage & tomatoes*

captain_epsilon
10-31-2012, 12:59 AM
Being an actuary sucks. Completely meaningless work. Actuary jobs are just as shitty as any other cubicle job, except you get paid more and get to feel "special" compared to all the lowly admin, finance and other people.

Being an actuary is like being the shiniest turd. At the end of the day you are still a turd. You still have to be a corporate slave and waste away your youth in a god damned cubicle with all the other slaves. And after a hard day of meaningless work you get to go home and continue the festivities with your beloved 10,000 page ASM manual.

If you have the will power and mental capacity to obtain your FCAS/FSA, you are better off putting all that time and effort into medical school. Getting an actuarial science degree is probably my biggest regret in life

but isn't the medical doctor complaining about god-awful hours, and being on-call all night long for emergency surgery, and putting up with belligerent patients, and the endless stress, and the 10 years of school? he's probably thinking how stupid he was for choosing against an actuarial science major in college because if only he had chosen that major he could be earning the same amount of money with fewer hours and less stress. Grass is always greener?....

mb158127
10-31-2012, 01:06 AM
Also maybe look at public schools. Kids DEFINITELY get pushed through the system. If you show up and try a little bit, you are passing. Parents making noise seems like it helps too (which probably happens if they spend money on a tutor). Squeaky wheel gets the grease...

Top 3% of intelligence? What is intelligence?

Not sure if you are saying it is, but I think the pushing through of retards is definitely NOT a problem at public schools, or at least a much smaller problem compared to at the undistinguished private schools. Public university professors have no incentive to pass tards (they are public employees with contracts and tenure, and if they don't have tenure...their tenured colleagues who teach the same tards will be deciding whether they get tenure). The small private schools are the ones pushing the tards through - they are little for-profit business entities. The professors at many of these degree-mills often don't have contract or union protections. If a professor is failing too many tards they hear from the dean that they need to "spend more time helping the students with the material"...and by the way enrollment is down this year from last and the administration may be forced to cut faculty positions and/or add another course to faculty member course loads. The professor gets the message. The tard gets the courtesy of an efficient market outcome when their parent is paying 30-40K for them to attend. Not so at the public university.

I suspect it is also a problem at some of the more prestigious schools, but more based on family ties and connections, not just by virtue of paying tuition. Sure there are probably rare cases at public schools, maybe favoritism based on a student's personality, politics or whatever. But not like at the small private schools.

Colonel Smoothie
10-31-2012, 01:07 AM
I guess it's a tradeoff...If you're an ER surgery doctor you're working life is going to be miserable but you're going to be making baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank!

captain_epsilon
10-31-2012, 02:01 AM
I guess it's a tradeoff...If you're an ER surgery doctor you're working life is going to be miserable but you're going to be making baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank!

Thus we arrive at the crux of the issue which is that there's no free lunch.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:10 AM
I'm just curious as to what people find are the true gratifications in being an Actuary? Or another question, given you're an Actuary, do you wish you would have pursued something else?

I once was considering a career in sales/trading vs actuarial so I went to talk to a successful actuarial professor. He said the main difference is traders want more volatility in the financial markets as it means more trading activity and therefore revenue, but actuaries foster stability in the economy/world by providing risk management/hedging products.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:13 AM
As a consulting actuary I really enjoy getting out and meeting with people and helping them address their issues. Oh, and money and work/life balance.


I don't dispute the money part, but "work/life balance" compared to what career? Investment banking? As a traveling consultant, aren't the trips draining the life out of you?

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:16 AM
First you become an actuary.
????
Then you get the women.

First you become an actuary, then you get the money, then you get the power, then you get the home theater system. Then the women will come; they love drama.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:20 AM
Insurance is surprisingly interesting, something I didn't discover until many years into the career. But the only thing I'd want to do in insurance is actuarial work because it has the lowest amount of BS. And the Money and work/life balance doesn't suck either.

What other neighboring careers have more BS? For instance, where would you put accountancy in the BS scale? What about IT?

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:25 AM
It's a safe haven for really smart math people with poor social skills who want to make 6 Figs early in their careers.

If such mathematically adequate people also have above average social skills -- but not exactly social butterflies -- in your opinion, how would these help them advance in their actuarial careers? In other words, what kind of advantage would social skills add on top of the technical skills?

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:33 AM
:lol: Smart math people would take the 60K actuarial starting salary. Grad school is for azns on visa.

"azns on visa" or human citizens alike. Many people are just ill-informed about other career opportunities, too scared of the real world, or outright would not function in a corporate setting, especially those scientifically/mathematically inclined.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:38 AM
:lol: Smart math people would take the 60K actuarial starting salary. Grad school is for azns on visa.

The top math kids do a PhD at top schools like Harvard, MIT, Princeton, UCLA, Chicago, NYU. Suprisingly, there are very few asians doing math PhDs. They tend to do PhDs in applied areas like finance, statistics and engineering. The large majority of asian students in "graduate" school are doing mini masters programs that cost a shitload of cash. The large majority of the time they are getting fleeced and alot of them end up going back to China. You should check the UMinessota math finance program and see how many asians were unemployed 6 months after finishing the program. Poor *******s.

This is different from my experience. At my university graduate level math and stat classes are filled with the Chinese; for computer science classes, it's half Chinese and half Indians. I agree with your observation regarding the Master of Financial Engineering varieties -- almost all Chinese paying top yuan.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 03:50 AM
Sounds about right, there are purely technical roles out there, but generally the thought is you move up once you have that base to making business decisions. How's IT working out for you? I saw basically 0 creativity based on what people who've gone into it have told me, but I'm sure there's some variety.

There's a variety of functions in IT, ranging from the guy who installs MS Office on your PC to the guys who design low latency/high frequency trading systems, which is real complex and "technically" creative work. The former are rightly called IT guys; the latter are more suitably called application developers or technologists.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 04:04 AM
Comp sci 102 killed it for me:

Here's your problem
Here's exactly how we want the solution strucutured
If you solve the problem but don't do it the way we wanted then you fail

It seemed that would likely keep up for the first few years in the field, but I'm sure it's not true everywhere. I'm happy with my choice anyway.

No. All three points are the opposite of my experience having worked in IT at a few places.
1. You don't know the problem; things don't work the way users expect; you walk through the process, "debugging";
2. You structure the solution based on your judgment and the team's development guidelines and coding conventions;
3. In some pressing situations like fixing front office trading applications, time is indeed of essence, but in most other situations things can wait and may be re-prioritized.

This is a common rude surprise among students of computer science as they get out into the wild.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 04:19 AM
You still have to be a corporate slave and waste away your youth in a god damned cubicle with all the other slaves.

I have worked in an office with cubes and one without. You never know how good something is until you lose it.

WallStreetITGuy
10-31-2012, 04:22 AM
Thanks for getting back on topic! How does every thread, even one as straightforward as "What to you like about being an actuary?" always devolve into a look-how-smart-i-am thread? ...

Because actuaries may be donkeys, but they are donkeys with free will.

zeus1233
10-31-2012, 11:31 AM
I don't dispute the money part, but "work/life balance" compared to what career? Investment banking? As a traveling consultant, aren't the trips draining the life out of you?

Lots of actuarial consultants don't travel, especially at the entry level. And some insurance actuaries travel. It just depends on the job specifics.

yoyo
10-31-2012, 12:39 PM
i like that i do many more things than straight up traditional actuarial work. i work for a small carrier and i have meaningful involvement with all areas of the company. what i have to say about finance, underwriting, marketing, claims matters.

actuarial positions come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak, and it's up to you to find what suits you well.

Sinkingfun
10-31-2012, 02:11 PM
the only experience i have is interning...but my question for others:

How much do you think money plays a role in liking your job? i.e. Do you ever think you hate your job, but walk away with a smile because of a decent paycheck? This is probably one of my biggest fears.

zeus1233
10-31-2012, 02:31 PM
the only experience i have is interning...but my question for others:

How much do you think money plays a role in liking your job? i.e. Do you ever think you hate your job, but walk away with a smile because of a decent paycheck? This is probably one of my biggest fears.

Money makes it easier to put up with BS, but it isn't going to make you love the job. There's a lot of psychological research that's been done about the fact that being paid more than others doesn't make you magically love your job. It can't overwhelm things like being bored or disliking your co-workers.

Colonel Smoothie
10-31-2012, 02:33 PM
the only experience i have is interning...but my question for others:

How much do you think money plays a role in liking your job? i.e. Do you ever think you hate your job, but walk away with a smile because of a decent paycheck? This is probably one of my biggest fears.

A lot. I wasn't born rich so of course I have to work and the money factors in. I like my job, but I'd be doing something else if I had millions.

A good question to ask yourself is whether you'd be doing it if you didn't need the paycheck. If the answer is no, money factors in to some extent.

TheShark
10-31-2012, 04:31 PM
A lot. I wasn't born rich so of course I have to work and the money factors in. I like my job, but I'd be doing something else if I had millions.

A good question to ask yourself is whether you'd be doing it if you didn't need the paycheck. If the answer is no, money factors in to some extent.

If money wasn't a factor to me, I wouldn't even work. I'd chase my dreams day and night.

mathmajor
10-31-2012, 05:03 PM
Couple years of experience here, relatively fresh:

*Doing work that uses my skills, that a lot of people can't do
*Advancement based on something besides # of years
*I find insurance as a concept to be interesting
*Working on real-life problems with real money at stake
*Good opportunity to make lots of $ in your 20s
*Personal satisfaction of earning ASA/FSA, one of the toughest designations

oceankyle
10-31-2012, 08:28 PM
Not sure if you are saying it is, but I think the pushing through of retards is definitely NOT a problem at public schools, or at least a much smaller problem compared to at the undistinguished private schools. Public university professors have no incentive to pass tards (they are public employees with contracts and tenure, and if they don't have tenure...their tenured colleagues who teach the same tards will be deciding whether they get tenure). The small private schools are the ones pushing the tards through - they are little for-profit business entities. The professors at many of these degree-mills often don't have contract or union protections. If a professor is failing too many tards they hear from the dean that they need to "spend more time helping the students with the material"...and by the way enrollment is down this year from last and the administration may be forced to cut faculty positions and/or add another course to faculty member course loads. The professor gets the message. The tard gets the courtesy of an efficient market outcome when their parent is paying 30-40K for them to attend. Not so at the public university.

I suspect it is also a problem at some of the more prestigious schools, but more based on family ties and connections, not just by virtue of paying tuition. Sure there are probably rare cases at public schools, maybe favoritism based on a student's personality, politics or whatever. But not like at the small private schools.

I just re-read the post and he wasn't even referring to grade school tutoring anyway. I subscribed to this thread to see what people like about their jobs definitely not going to debate this haha.

tim08
11-01-2012, 12:03 AM
Being an actuary has always been an ego thing. The job itself is like any other cubicle job, other than the fact that your co-workers are often more intelligent and the pay is quite high early in your career. But for all that good stuff, you sacrifice your early/mid twenties to study around the clock, so it can be a pretty rough tradeoff.

Saying one should do medical school is a totally different issue. You would have to go through school for much longer: 4 yrs undergrad, 4 yrs med school, 3-5 yrs residency (30s when you're finally done), all while earning much less than an actuary at those ages. Although the MD title sounds more impressive, that's once again purely ego. Plus, I know many new FSAs at 24/25, so you'll be done a lot earlier.

At the end of the day, the question is are you good at Excel? Programming? Explaining things to people? If so, then it's a pretty good gig. It's not always what you "love", but also what you're good at. Oftentimes, people start to enjoy the things that they're good at.

Personally, this job is a means to an end, pays the bills, and will allow me the financial freedom to do what I want. Most jobs that pay 6 figures demand a lot longer hours, more experience, and more sales work. At the end of the day, I've realized that the grass is rarely greener on the other side...

yoyo
11-01-2012, 02:40 PM
the only experience i have is interning...but my question for others:

How much do you think money plays a role in liking your job? i.e. Do you ever think you hate your job, but walk away with a smile because of a decent paycheck? This is probably one of my biggest fears.i think money always plays a role. having said that, i like my chosen profession and i really like my job.

i couldn't do it just for the money, but i know some who do. i just wasn't created that way.