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  #1  
Old 11-03-2017, 10:32 AM
JohnEdwards JohnEdwards is offline
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Default Options for an Actuary in a Consulting role

Hi all

Longtime lurker here and first time poster. I've found the collective advice on this forum invaluable - and at times it's saved me from making some bad decisions. I'd really appreciate some perspectives on the following:

Firstly a bit about me:

- Good GPA at a solid state school
- No internship
- 3 Exams
- Currently employed in an Actuarial position at a large insurance company, as a temp hire, and so don't have access to the company's rotation and development program

Medium-term, I'd like to access a rotation program and build my career properly, but am hearing advice internally from my teammates that this may be difficult, given firms usually prefer to grant entry to new Grads and from an internship.

Does anyone have any experience on accessing rotation programs having started off as a consultant, or know if there are firms out there that might be useful to explore for those that started off this way?

All the best

JE

Last edited by JohnEdwards; 11-03-2017 at 11:06 AM.. Reason: Clarify details
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  #2  
Old 11-03-2017, 10:44 AM
Westley Westley is offline
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First, it seems obvious to me just given the wording you've used, which company you work at. As such, somebody working there could easily identify who you are. This may or may not be an issue for you. If you care about anonymity, I will PM you a couple of notes to change in your post. And then maybe I'll have some advice.




Posts below have been edited by me until OP confirms that he's ok with the non-anonymity of his post. And would say generally, we probably shouldn't be too specific on company names even if he is ok with it.

CS and bjc, feel free to re-post or add info but want to make sure OP is ok before we discuss those specifics.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Colonel Smoothie
What are you missing by not being in the development program, other than the nominal title of being in it?

I suppose a big downside is being isolated from the core actuarial group. Network extensively with every actuary, especially with those who have the authority to get you in. Hop on projects with actuaries who are in the program so you can make a name for yourself and have people vouch for you. Be aggressive about trying to get in and don't let an initial rejection deter you from trying to get in.

And, getting a new job at another company where you'll be in the development program is another option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjc2142
I think the position named "Consultant" are not commonly used in the industry like they are in either of those companies (names redacted by Westley). Some companies have a leadership program which is like student program at other companies plus something else, and have separate set of actuaries not in the program. I heard internal transfer to that leadership program is harder than internal xfer to student program in other companies. Some companies use the term consultant for people outsourced (usually for visa reasons) meaning that they don't have good benefits, etc. It usually takes them a while before they are actually hired by the company, if that happens at all.

In my company, everyone has to be in the program. There's no consultant roles available. In other companies, student program may have different name like leadership program, and it may be just standard student program or some sort of accelerated or prestigious program, so I think your question needs to be more your company specific.

Last edited by Westley; 11-03-2017 at 11:03 AM..
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  #3  
Old 11-03-2017, 11:04 AM
Westley Westley is offline
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I don't know what the program you're looking at offers, or why specifically you want access to it, so some background on why that's important to you would be helpful. If you want exam support and the company won't offer it, there's plenty of others that will (support the site sponsor). If you want rotational opportunities, and they won't let you participate in the formal program, you can network out and find other opportunities in the company and apply for them. If there's other things (training, development, mentorship) that you're looking for, there's ways to construct that outside of the formal program; or other companies that will include you in their programs if you switch companies.



Also, not clear what you mean when you say that you are working as a consultant. Are you an employee of the company? Or of Milliman, WTW, or similar and doing work for the company? Or some other arrangement?
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  #4  
Old 11-03-2017, 11:20 AM
JohnEdwards JohnEdwards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
I don't know what the program you're looking at offers, or why specifically you want access to it, so some background on why that's important to you would be helpful. If you want exam support and the company won't offer it, there's plenty of others that will (support the site sponsor). If you want rotational opportunities, and they won't let you participate in the formal program, you can network out and find other opportunities in the company and apply for them. If there's other things (training, development, mentorship) that you're looking for, there's ways to construct that outside of the formal program; or other companies that will include you in their programs if you switch companies.



Also, not clear what you mean when you say that you are working as a consultant. Are you an employee of the company? Or of Milliman, WTW, or similar and doing work for the company? Or some other arrangement?
Thank you Westley

To clarify further: it's the exam support that I'm most interested in - mainly to help me make the most of the time I have and am able to spend on exam prep. May I ask for some additional steer on which (types) of companies might provide that to those in my position?

As for training and development - I've been treated well here and am a solid part of the team, so don't feel this is missing at the moment

And to clarify the role - it's an external firm that placed me (I'm a hire from abroad on a visa), and whilst it's called a consultant, it's a temp/contractor role.

Best

JE
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  #5  
Old 11-03-2017, 11:31 AM
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I sent you PM. Are you getting neither study hours or exam related fee support? One consultant I knew from your company seemed to have study hours, but it may have been unofficial one granted by his/her manager.
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Old 11-03-2017, 11:34 AM
Westley Westley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEdwards View Post
To clarify further: it's the exam support that I'm most interested in - mainly to help me make the most of the time I have and am able to spend on exam prep. May I ask for some additional steer on which (types) of companies might provide that to those in my position?
Some companies don't hire people with visa issues, then they just don't and there's nothing to discuss. If they do, then they usually treat these people the same as non-visa (by law they pretty much have to, which doesn't always match with actual practice).

So, if a company is willing to hire you given visa status, then they're going to treat you like anybody else - you've got 3 exams, most are going to offer exam support. In short, I think you need to find companies that will hire people on visas, and then interview and be clear in the interview process that you have had reasonable exam success without support, and are now looking to get exam support to accelerate your advancement. I don't know how to identify companies that will sponsor visas or whatever specifically you need, but probably others can comment on that...

Can you get your current company to switch you over (to en employee, to a member of the formal program, or to a exam-supported non-member)? That's trickier because they probably like the status quo and it's hard to push them off of that without a reason, but worth a convo - I'd just tell them that you like the team and company blahblahblah and have been working through exams on your own, ask if there's potential to get into a role with exam support. If they say no, then move on; if they say yes, tell them how interested you are and see where it goes.
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:02 PM
JohnEdwards JohnEdwards is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
Some companies don't hire people with visa issues, then they just don't and there's nothing to discuss. If they do, then they usually treat these people the same as non-visa (by law they pretty much have to, which doesn't always match with actual practice).

So, if a company is willing to hire you given visa status, then they're going to treat you like anybody else - you've got 3 exams, most are going to offer exam support. In short, I think you need to find companies that will hire people on visas, and then interview and be clear in the interview process that you have had reasonable exam success without support, and are now looking to get exam support to accelerate your advancement. I don't know how to identify companies that will sponsor visas or whatever specifically you need, but probably others can comment on that...

Can you get your current company to switch you over (to en employee, to a member of the formal program, or to a exam-supported non-member)? That's trickier because they probably like the status quo and it's hard to push them off of that without a reason, but worth a convo - I'd just tell them that you like the team and company blahblahblah and have been working through exams on your own, ask if there's potential to get into a role with exam support. If they say no, then move on; if they say yes, tell them how interested you are and see where it goes.
Thanks Westley - a couple of lines of enquiry there that I'll look into

Regards

JE
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  #8  
Old 11-03-2017, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westley View Post
Also, not clear what you mean when you say that you are working as a consultant. Are you an employee of the company? Or of Milliman, WTW, or similar and doing work for the company? Or some other arrangement?
XXX used title "Actuarial Consultant" for people who are not employed directly by XXX, but are employed by outsourcing firm and working for XXX. The primary reason was that outsourcing firm was sponsoring visa for them. I'm pretty sure their net salary and benefits sucked. I couldn't tell whether one was consultant or regular employee without looking at their title, because they were part of the team, had their own desk, and sat with us all the time. Not sure why it's called consultants. We were doing the same work. (more like contractors than consultants I guess)
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  #9  
Old 11-03-2017, 11:08 AM
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Colonel Smoothie Colonel Smoothie is offline
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I kind of wonder why anyone would put up with being a second class citizen in a department like that. I guess we can blame the visa system for that.
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Don't you even think about sending me your resume. I'll turn it into an origami boulder and return it to you.

Last edited by Colonel Smoothie; 11-03-2017 at 11:30 AM..
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Old 11-03-2017, 11:08 AM
Westley Westley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjc2142 View Post
(more like contractors than consultants I guess)
What you're describing is what I expected and agree with this comment - even if the internal title is "consultant", describing this as a consultant role is more confusing and "contractor" would be more accurate and descriptive.
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