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Old 07-05-2018, 03:55 PM
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Default Graduate degree for free or Actuarial exams?

I'm currently an evening/adult undergraduate student in Mathematics, planning on sitting for actuarial exams soon. I'm also currently employed at an insurance company. I've read that masters degrees aren't that useful and focusing on exams should be a priority, so far I've planned to follow that advice and hunker down for exams after graduation.

That being said, my employer has a generous tuition reimbursement program, paying back 100% of the cost with no limit. I'm really debating about getting a masters because of this.

What do you think, if money isn't a factor should I pursue a masters? Also, because of the slower actuarial progression, I'm leaning towards only applying to Harvard and MIT since I'm in the Boston area. I'll be looking for Data Science or Applied Mathematics respectively.

It's a long shot but should I be accepted to one of those schools and get a free ride, would it be worth it career-wise?

I'm also semi-interested in a career in academia, possibly teaching in the evenings later in my life, or participating in industry research, academic volunteer work etc.

Thanks so much for the advice AO.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:04 PM
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I would say if you're willing to go outside of actuarial, then the masters would help you. If you want to stay in actuarial forever, then it probably wouldn't help as much as exams.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:10 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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go for exams.

most people here don't have masters or phd, so most would just say go for exams.

the academia route is still wide open after you get your FCAS.

but it would be very hard to pass exams after a certain age.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:39 PM
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If you can get into Harvard or MIT and attend for free, I don't see why you wouldn't go that route.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azM6xSTT2I0


Something about how your kids are going to be ordering actuarial services from me on the way to a ski trip..
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:47 PM
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I would say if you're willing to go outside of actuarial, then the masters would help you. If you want to stay in actuarial forever, then it probably wouldn't help as much as exams.
I'm planning on staying in insurance for my entire career.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:59 PM
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If you can get into Harvard or MIT and attend for free, I don't see why you wouldn't go that route.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azM6xSTT2I0


Something about how your kids are going to be ordering actuarial services from me on the way to a ski trip..
Yeah I'm a bit conflicted because of that. Part of me feels that even if it's not the optimal career choice it's such an amazing opportunity it's hard to pass up.

Normally I would just apply then weigh my options if accepted. The issue is to improve my chances of acceptance I'll need to get involved in some undergraduate research, prep for GREs, etc. Hard to commit early to something that is somewhat superficial/pride driven, not adding much professionally.

I could take that time and possibly pass another exam by graduation and absolutely earn my FCAS letters quicker if that's the focus.

Do you have some concrete reasons why you think it's worth it?
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Algebruh View Post
...

Do you have some concrete reasons why you think it's worth it?


Because an unlimited tuition reimbursement benefit while living in a location that makes Harvard and MIT viable options is incredibly valuable. And it's the kind of benefit that might not be there in a couple years.

Are you sure it is truly unlimited? Is there a cap on the amount that will be reimbursed in a given year?

Last edited by nonlnear; 07-05-2018 at 06:10 PM..
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:10 PM
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Are you thinking of an executive MBA or do you want to learn something?
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:14 PM
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Because an unlimited tuition reimbursement benefit while living in a location that makes Harvard and MIT viable options is incredibly valuable. And it's the kind of benefit that might not be there in a couple years.


I am at a loss as to how you wouldn't at least apply. How do you know you want to stay in insurance for the rest of your life when having a graduate degree (any graduate degree) from MIT or Harvard potentially opens so many doors you literally don't even know what options would become available. Yes, your FCAS would be slowed but in some ways this is like saying "Hey guys, I can travel the world on someone else's dime for the next year, or I can pass a couple more CAS exams and get closer to FCAS. What should I do?"

Don't limit your options because you are afraid of getting FCAS a year or 2 later.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:34 PM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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Wait a minute, less than 1 year ago you were still a freshmen(sic) in college, now you are asking about a graduate degree...

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Originally Posted by Algebruh View Post
I'm a freshmen in college taking night classes, currently majoring in Mathematics. I also work full time in the mail room at an insurance company who hires actuaries. My goal is to become an actuary.

Here is my planned course and exam schedule:

Fall 2017: Calculus I
Spring 2018: Calculus II
Fall 2018: Multivariate Calculus
Spring 2019: Probability
Fall 2019: Sit for exam P

At this point I'm hoping to take 1 or 2 exams per year...
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