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Old 10-02-2010, 09:46 AM
Sir Lancelot Sir Lancelot is offline
 
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Default Actuarial vs Statistics

Hello. I am a recent college grad with a background in Econ and Math. I was attracted to the actuarial route because it is a career that uses my background and interest in math and statistics in an applied, practical context. I have passed the first few actuarial exams (P, FM, MFE) and am looking at entry level positions.

Lately, I have been considering whether actuarial is the right route for me or whether pursuing a graduate degree in statistics would make more sense. I know that my passion is working with statistical modeling. I really enjoy working with data, running regressions, interpreting results, playing with the parameters of models, etc. I have a background in SAS and a little bit in R. I really enjoy using these types of programs and am interested in learning how to use them better. I feel that I am flexible in which specific area I would like to apply my statistical abilities to. But I know that I am interested in applied statistics, not theoretical.

I am attracted to the actuarial route because I think that it could be a career where I would use the statistical modeling I love in an applied context. Lately, I have been concerned that in a number of actuarial routes, the models are already built, and there is not much opportunity to play and work with specifying these models. My concern is that the focus of the job may not be on the statistical expertise, but maybe this concern is unfounded.

However, I know that there are fields of predictive modeling, catastrophe modeling, financial modeling within actuarial that are much more focused on statistical modeling. But possibly, statistics grad school is a better route into these areas.

So I have the following questions on which I would be interested in your opinions and advice:

1) Are the predictive modeling, cat modeling, and financial modeling fields good ones to be targeting based on my background and interests?

2) Are there other fields in actuarial I should consider?

3) For these actuarial modeling fields, does training as an actuary or as a statistician prepare one better?

4) Given that I may be targeting a narrow group of actuarial jobs, does pursuing actuarial or statistics make more sense for me?

Thanks for your help and your advice.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:05 AM
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SOAPhobic SOAPhobic is offline
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If you really like to do statistical analysis that much, then your best route is to get a Ph.D. in Statistics (don't do theory). Statistical analysis exists in P&C predictive modeling. Even if you make it into that unit, you won't be using many new methods for many years to come because like you said, in practice people generally use what's already been used. Think of your grandma crawling on the floor. That's how slow moving the insurance world is.

If you don't care that much about money, you are better off working in a different industry or getting a Ph.D.
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