View Full Version : career change for Ph.D.?
02-19-2002, 10:16 AM
I have a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and have worked for the past 6 years in the software development field for a major corporation. I am considering a career change because I would like to use my advanced math background. I am considering taking the first 2 exams this year. I would also like to remain in the Southeast (Atlanta). What are my prospects? How should I go about pursuing an actuarial job?
02-19-2002, 10:28 AM
if I had a PH.D I would probably stay away from the actuarial field. I'm sure you could find more interesting options where you wouldn't have to spend the next 4-5 years taking exams. With a PH.D in math, you could probably go through exams 1-4 without too much of a problem, but the upper exams are much different.
Plus, I'm sure you would be taking a large pay cut accepting an entry-level actuarial position.
02-19-2002, 11:24 AM
I have a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. [...] I would like to use my advanced math background.
make sure that you get into P&C, otherwise ypu will not be using any of your advanced math skills as soon as you are don with the first 4 exams.
02-19-2002, 11:41 AM
I switched with a Math PhD in 1998. As others have said you will find exams 1-4 pretty passable (though you will have to study). After that more work is required to pass. Plan on a travel-time to FSA of 3-4 years if you have other obligations.
Whether you will get to use your math training depends highly on what company you work for and what type of actuarial work you end up doing. I think the comment about working for a property/casualty company is off-base. I found reasonably challenging work with a life company in the ALM and risk management groups.
What you want to avoid (imho) is a sleepy small company with little interest in applying advanced techniques to insurance problems. There are a couple of well-known, large companies in Atlanta. One way to get started is pass exams 1 & 2 and start contacting these companies. You can find them by searching the membership directory at the SOA website.
02-19-2002, 02:58 PM
I switched with Ph.D in pure mathematics almost 2 years ago after 5 years in academia
(in research university). I am not sure if I
would recommend it to a friend. I work in consulting and the work hours are often long.
I have passed 5 exams; exams are not particularly challenging subject-wise-- but the amount of material for each is staggering. Plan to put in 300-400 hours per exam if you want to pass it on your first attempt. Most companies will give you some time (may be about 100 hours of work time to study). My work does not involve much math--and since I came in on the ground level, I had to do a lot of trivial and/or boring work. Escaping into exam land was sometimes the only thing which kept me sane. I don't really know if I was unlucky to pick a wrong line of work/or wrong office. On the other hand, I did not research what other actuarial possibilities are there... I am thinking about it now--alas, between exams, family and work I hardly have time to breath.
02-19-2002, 03:27 PM
I would think a PhD might have fun at a rating bureau, though there aren't any in Atlanta that I know of.
Only a Phd could love those ISO loss costs circulars . . .
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