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  #1  
Old 06-27-2018, 06:03 PM
MC102 MC102 is offline
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Default Value Of Multiple Roles

In general, I hear that having rotations and new opportunities is the best thing that you can do for your resume as a young actuary. Your level of exposure to different areas of the actuarial field appears to be valued very highly in considerations for jobs at the next level (and levels, for that matter).

I have some reservations about this being true or overvalued, and am interested in a few questions:

1. How important do you think having multiple roles is?
2. How important do you think having multiple roles in vastly different sub-fields is?
3. How much importance do you see hiring managers in your company putting on this?
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:05 PM
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I work in health and it is definitely important. It is best to move around when you're just starting out because less will be expected of you and you will be given more time to learn. This can either be done through a rotation program or applying for jobs through your company. My company's rotation program is strictly lateral (so you won't be promoted from level I to level II through a rotation) so if you want a promotion, you may have to apply for a higher level job.

For example, suppose you are a level 1 actuary in Pricing with a couple years of experience. If you want to move to a different department, you can do it through rotation but maintain the level 1 job or apply for a level 2 job within a different department. At lower levels, you'd be given more time to catch on and learn the new responsibilities. You'll also have less responsibilities so it will be easier to catch on.

At higher levels, you would be a semi-manager or a manager and it's much harder to get the job with no relevant experience in the said department. Suppose you've been in Pricing for 7 years and now you're a level 3 or level 4 actuary. Suppose you want to switch to another department but maintain or even become a higher level actuary. More will be expected of you and many people on the team will have more experience in that department. There also may be other applicants with experience in the department who may get the job instead of you.

So it's mainly good to move around to learn different areas, see what interests you, and give yourself more opportunities to move into different teams later in your career. You don't want to limit yourself too early on.
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:29 PM
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1. Really important
2. Really important
3. A lot
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:20 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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You didn't ask "why?" So, you're going to get curt replies.

To answer the important question, having experience in multiple fields is better for getting that next job. You are a more flexible person, and the next company might need someone who can switch sub-fields with little learning curve in an emergency.

Having experience in multiple sub-fields is better for finding the sub-field you like and/or are very good at. So, you'll know what to look for in the next job.
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Old 06-27-2018, 09:55 PM
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1. important
2. important
3. important

It's important for people to know what they really know what they want to do, hard to do if you've only ever done one thing IMO.
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Old 06-27-2018, 10:12 PM
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It depends. If you are in a role where you do a little pricing, a little reserving, touch a lot of lines of business, then you are getting variety without rotating. If all you do is rate indications for personal auto for the state of Florida all day, you might benefit from rotating and seeing a new area.

Rotating too much could keep you from understanding any one thing too deeply. May not be important early on, but at some point developing specialized expertise can prove useful.

Also I think the importance of getting both pricing and reserving experience early is overstated. The concepts overlap a lot. I did zero reserving for several years but you still need to understand loss development to price. When I started to do some reserving eventually, nothing felt radically "new" from things I knew from pricing experience, exams, etc.

Also, reading industry news, regularly talking with coworkers in other departments, etc. can be useful in learning new things, if you don't want to constantly rotate. Having an awareness that jobs different than yours exist, and what kind of work they entail, is good, even if you haven't tried each of those jobs. It can improve the quality of conversations you have with business leaders and other departments if you understand that there's a bigger purpose to the company beyond your specific role. I am always surprised by how some people live a bit in a bubble. I work in a moderately non traditional role currently, and some people on my team have worked their entire careers here, and they don't seem to grasp that other actuaries in other roles look at things differently, and that there is a reason why. Spending many years in one position is fine but take care to learn what it is other people do at least on a basic level, which can improve your understanding of where your department "fits" in the wider scheme of things and give you a bigger picture.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:26 PM
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I’ll elaborate on my thoughts more. My company has a rotation program for the first 2 levels. A large portion of the managers around me have been in the department for a long time, getting multiple promotions with no rotations, although the nature and scope of their work continues to expand. It goes along the lines of:

1. You do a good job, how about you get an employee or two under you.
2. You get more visibility from managers and represent your work to other teams.
3. After doing a great job leading your team in working with this other team, it seems like a good idea to just move the other team under you and promote you.

I certainly see how rotations make you more marketable. But what about when that next level position opens up in your department? If you haven’t seen a rotation or two yet, is it better to move lateral in the long term? Pros and cons?

And every situation is different, certainly dont think there is a one size fits all.
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Old 06-28-2018, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MC102 View Post
....
And every situation is different, certainly don't think there is a one size fits all.
You answered your own, and several past and future, questions on this forum right there.

"A person or two under you"? Ah, those were the days of a heavily-layered pyramid. I think I'm about five or six levels down from the CEO, and that is pretty much the bottom. I'm getting max pay at this "level," (say, three times an EL) so don't cry for me, Argentina.
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DTNF's Trademarked Standard Career Advice: "pass some exams and get back to us."
DTNF's Major advice: "Doesn't matter. Choose major that helps you with goal of Career Advice."
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DTNF's Law of Job Offers: You not only have to qualify for the position, but you also have to be the best candidate available for the offer.
DTNF's Work Philosophy: I am actuary. Please insert data. -- Actuary Actuarying Rodriguez.
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Old 06-28-2018, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr T Non-Fan View Post
so don't cry for me, Argentina.
I chose freedom, running around trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all
I never expected it to


Agree that every situation is different, another reason it's important for young people to find coaches and mentors early. Sit down with a senior person every once in a while and get their view on what you should be doing to accomplish what you want. Not saying that reading posts on the internet is worthless, just that you can't really explain enough in a text box to accomplish as much as if you spend some real time with somebody experienced.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MC102 View Post
I’ll elaborate on my thoughts more. My company has a rotation program for the first 2 levels. A large portion of the managers around me have been in the department for a long time, getting multiple promotions with no rotations, although the nature and scope of their work continues to expand. It goes along the lines of:

1. You do a good job, how about you get an employee or two under you.
2. You get more visibility from managers and represent your work to other teams.
3. After doing a great job leading your team in working with this other team, it seems like a good idea to just move the other team under you and promote you.

I certainly see how rotations make you more marketable. But what about when that next level position opens up in your department? If you haven’t seen a rotation or two yet, is it better to move lateral in the long term? Pros and cons?

And every situation is different, certainly dont think there is a one size fits all.
Running the risk of getting pigeon holed, locked into knowing/doing only one or a few things. Which is fine if this role is all you ever want to do, but how would you know if you've not done anything else? What happens when you want or need to leave the company, or if the company leaves you? Without at least some experience diversification, you've narrowed the field for employment opportunities.
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