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Valparaiso University Chair: Shane Drew, PhD, ASA
http://www.valpo.edu/actsci/

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  #1  
Old 11-27-2007, 06:14 PM
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Default Welcome Valpo Actuaries!

As the actuarial program continues to grow back on campus, I thought it would be fun to have a place for Valpo actuaries to communicate.

To all Valpo alumni: Where are you working? When did you graduate? Any advice to current students?

To current Valpo actuarial students: What's the latest on campus? How is the actuarial program these days? How is the job hunt going?

And as a side note...how cool is it that Valpo is in the Horizon League now? Not a bad start to the hoops season. Go Valpo!
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:34 PM
GuleGirl GuleGirl is offline
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I'm glad we have our own forum!

I'm a senior actsci major at Valpo - graduating in May. I would be happy to get any advice from Valpo alumni! What did you do right after graduating? Where are you now? Any tips or tricks for finding the right job?

It's a pretty exhilirating process for me right now!

The latest on campus... not much I suppose. Do you know about the new student union? Unfortunately it won't be completed until after I'm gone, but it's looking awesome. And we got a parking garage this year! As far as the actuarial department, I'm not sure how it has been in the past, but it's awfully small right now. There are just two of us graduating this year.

Pearson is listed as the chair, but she's been gone for 2 years and I'm not sure she's coming back?? I'll check on that. But since I've been here (I'm a transfer student and have only been here since fall '06) the acting department chair has been Virginia Shingleton. She is also the chair for the economics department.

The job hunt is just beginning for me. I'm stuck between sticking around here/Chicago or experiencing something new and exciting far away! Any recommendations? Would like to write more, but time for class! Hope we can get more Valpo students and alumni on here!
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Old 12-11-2007, 04:45 PM
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Pearson is listed as the chair, but she's been gone for 2 years and I'm not sure she's coming back?? I'll check on that. But since I've been here (I'm a transfer student and have only been here since fall '06) the acting department chair has been Virginia Shingleton. She is also the chair for the economics department.
I noticed that, too. I think it's probably because the department website still has her listed as the chair (shocking but true). Last time I talked to her, she did not have plans to come back to Valpo, but I definitely don't want to speak for her.

I will PM you and share some of my "wisdom." In the meantime, hopefully some other alumni will post some of their thoughts on here, too.
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Old 12-31-2007, 03:27 PM
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I'm a Valpo alum with an econ degree and math minor. As it turned out, I ended up taking some additional post-grad math classes and taking actuarial exams. I'm working in the Twin Cities for a smaller actuarial consulting firm, and really enjoying it. I'm always willing to help VU grads. PM me if I can help. Good luck building the program.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:43 PM
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I'm a Valpo alum, and I've tried (unsuccessfully) to recruit on campus for the company I work for.

Two words: PASS EXAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Most companies (mine included) require at least one exam for an entry-level position. Two, maybe even three, is ideal. I like to see P and FM passed by the time you interview for full-time, which will generally be in February/March of the year you start working. Nothing else really matters if you don't have any exams.

Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions. I'm trying to maintain a certain semi-anonymous standing on this board.
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Old 01-03-2008, 02:45 PM
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I'm a Valpo alum, and I've tried (unsuccessfully) to recruit on campus for the company I work for.

Two words: PASS EXAMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Most companies (mine included) require at least one exam for an entry-level position. Two, maybe even three, is ideal. I like to see P and FM passed by the time you interview for full-time, which will generally be in February/March of the year you start working. Nothing else really matters if you don't have any exams.
This is absolutely true. I can't stress it enough: No matter how busy you feel you are on campus, you MUST pass exams while still in school in order to get an actuarial position upon graduation. Plus, if you can take the exams early enough, it will give you a big leg up when trying for internships, too.

Also, MG, I can relate - I've tried to recruit from Valpo, as well, without much success. Current Valpo students: This means that if you pass some exams, there ARE people out there who will do what they can to help you find jobs!
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:07 PM
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This is absolutely true. I can't stress it enough: No matter how busy you feel you are on campus, you MUST pass exams while still in school in order to get an actuarial position upon graduation. Plus, if you can take the exams early enough, it will give you a big leg up when trying for internships, too.

Also, MG, I can relate - I've tried to recruit from Valpo, as well, without much success. Current Valpo students: This means that if you pass some exams, there ARE people out there who will do what they can to help you find jobs!
ITA.

I know I sound like a broken record, and a meanie to boot, but trying to get an actuarial job with no exams is like trying to get into college with no h.s. diploma. JLW is absolutely right - you MUST find a way to pass exams in school. I spent 4 years at Valpo, so I know how busy everyone is and how caught up you can get in campus life, but it's imperative that you make exams a priority. It can be done - I passed 100, 110, and 140 (equivalent of P and FM) before I graduated. Schools like Ball State and Purdue are churning out tons of candidates with 2 and 3 and sometimes 4 exams - this is your competition for jobs (in Indiana, anyway). You've got to step up to their level, even though your support system is not quite the well-oiled machine theirs is. I am more than willing to help out a fellow Valpo person - but you have to be qualified, and that means exams.

One other thing regarding getting caught up in campus life - the Indianapolis Actuarial Club has one student meeting per year - it's always in the evening, and students/professors from nearby colleges can attend for free. It's dinner and a presentation. Every year I extend the invitation to Valpo, and every year no one from Valpo shows up. This is a golden opportunity to meet other actuaries and actuarial students - and in such a small profession, you can't discount the value of relationships. At this early stage, you need to take every opportunity to start building those relationships. I've seen so many jobs filled because someone knew someone else... I realize this seems impossible (what? drive 2.5 hours to Indy on a weeknight?) but you've got to view this type of thing as an investment in your career - it's not the end of the world if you miss one club meeting or one class.

Last edited by MG; 01-03-2008 at 04:11 PM..
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Old 01-03-2008, 06:01 PM
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Schools like Ball State and Purdue are churning out tons of candidates with 2 and 3 and sometimes 4 exams - this is your competition for jobs (in Indiana, anyway). You've got to step up to their level, even though your support system is not quite the well-oiled machine theirs is.
In Illinois, your competition is definitely U of I (sounds similar to Ball State and Purdue). Their actuarial program is phenomenal, and they give a TON of help to their students when it comes to preparing for exams, finding internships, and finding full-time positions. It almost doesn't seem fair given how little help you guys on campus seem to be getting, but that's your competition over here in Illinois.

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One other thing regarding getting caught up in campus life - the Indianapolis Actuarial Club has one student meeting per year - it's always in the evening, and students/professors from nearby colleges can attend for free. It's dinner and a presentation. Every year I extend the invitation to Valpo, and every year no one from Valpo shows up. This is a golden opportunity to meet other actuaries and actuarial students - and in such a small profession, you can't discount the value of relationships. At this early stage, you need to take every opportunity to start building those relationships. I've seen so many jobs filled because someone knew someone else... I realize this seems impossible (what? drive 2.5 hours to Indy on a weeknight?) but you've got to view this type of thing as an investment in your career - it's not the end of the world if you miss one club meeting or one class.
There's also the Chicago Actuarial Association, of which I'm active on the Program Committee. College students are frequently invited to come to CAA events, so I need to do a better job of making that information available to you guys. The (very unimpressive) website is at http://home.comcast.net/~chicagoactuarial/actuary.html. Maybe I'll also try to start a separate CAA thread under our Valpo forum to keep you updated on CAA events.
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:12 PM
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Hope everyone had a nice holiday season! Commonpa, I love the quote in your signature. Right before I took my first exam my husband kept saying that to me (he’s a little crazy about the Adidas brand - that’s where he got it.) It’s a great motto for my next few years of exam taking!

Thanks for all the advice and offers to help out. I’m hoping that the program will improve, and I’m going to try to take some steps this semester to start a club or something similar to what the bigger schools have. A lot of us students feel like we’re going at this alone and in the dark, while, as you have mentioned [and scared me!], many of the schools in the area have done so much to help their students pass the exams and find jobs.

It’s great that we have alumni that want to help, and if you ever have any recommendations or know of events that students may be interested in, feel free to PM me (or post here) and I will spread the word around campus.
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Old 01-04-2008, 01:06 PM
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Im going to try to take some steps this semester to start a club or something similar to what the bigger schools have. A lot of us students feel like were going at this alone and in the dark, while, as you have mentioned [and scared me!], many of the schools in the area have done so much to help their students pass the exams and find jobs.
Yes! A club would be a great start. I think it would help all of the current actuarial students, plus it should help the program get more exposure on campus. If you need any alumni support or are looking for ideas, please let me know.

And I hear what you're saying about feeling like you're going at this alone and in the dark. It doesn't seem like you're getting much (any?) support from the faculty, which is tremendously disappointing. A club by itself will only help so much, but hopefully it will get the attention of the faculty and make them realize that they need to do more for you than what they are currently doing.
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