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  #11  
Old 07-05-2018, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by nonlnear View Post


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?
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  #12  
Old 07-05-2018, 06:55 PM
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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?

How many exams have you passed? How close are you to graduating? How long have you been working in insurance?


I think its worth it for the reasons people posted above. Being an actuary is a great profession (after exams), but you would have a lot of options with a grad degree from MIT.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:15 PM
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I'm just going to tell you this:

Given the details that you provided in a previous post, you're either planning extremely ahead of time or you're omitting a lot of details.

I should also mention that I have my bachelor's degree in math from a no-name university. My degree essentially has the same curriculum as what you stated in your previous post. I found out after I graduated that Harvard's top math students cover what I learned in 4 years in greater depth in two semesters.

Give that some thought, and I would be concerned, if I were mentoring you, that you're considering applying for a grad level Applied Mathematics program and it doesn't seem like you've mention anything about taking pure mathematics classes or the math GRE subject test. In case you don't know, this is different from the regular GRE quantitative test.
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  #14  
Old 07-05-2018, 07:46 PM
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I'm just going to tell you this:

Given the details that you provided in a previous post, you're either planning extremely ahead of time or you're omitting a lot of details.

...


Thanks P.M. for digging up the post from last year. That raises a lot of questions.

OP, if you are serious about attending a top shelf school and you have a truly unlimited tuition benefit, you should go to the best school you possibly can ASAP. The longer you wait to try to step up the further behind you will be. What are you doing right now, and where? Don't worry about specific school name if you're worried about privacy, [Big name U], [main campus State U], or [{direction} {state/county name} JuCo] will suffice.
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  #15  
Old 07-05-2018, 10:34 PM
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I want to thank everyone for being so thorough, I intentionally tried to not be too wordy with context/back story but I should have known you guys were going to want the details to really help me out. I'll do my best to clarify my circumstances.

I don't think I've properly introduced myself here either so I suppose I'll do that now as well.

I should start off with the fact that I'm 30. I dropped out of high school in 06', got my GED in 07' and worked mostly hard labor for about 4 years. I eventually transitioned to working at Amazon.com providing tech support for the Kindle. I continued to work in call centers and eventually was promoted to a Workforce Management Analyst and got a real taste for what a job in analytics was like. I was producing reports, maintaining spreadsheets etc and I loved it. I didn't participate in any forecasting but was there for meetings/discussions about it and knew a career analytical in nature is what I wanted.

I enrolled at my local community college as a Math major. Having been out of school for so long (and not taking my studies seriously in my teen years) I had a lot of catching up to do, starting with basic algebra. Along the way I had scheduling issues with my employer(s) and I ended up changing jobs about 4 times over the span of a year, prioritizing my studies. By then I knew I wanted to work as an actuary so I started applying to all the insurance companies in the area for call center work.

I was extremely fortunate with the position I found. The company hours are ideal for taking courses in the evening, and they provide 100% tuition reimbursement with no cap for undergrad and graduate degrees. This opened a lot of doors for me, as you can imagine I wasn't doing well financially, loans / public schools were what I thought my options were up until this point.

When I wrote that post a year ago I did have some college credits from the community college but in terms of mathematics I was essentially still a freshmen. I was transferring from the community college with Calc 1, which I think a decent amount of people take in high school, so that's why I referred to myself that way.

Now for specifics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonlnear

What are you doing right now, and where? Don't worry about specific school name if you're worried about privacy, [Big name U], [main campus State U], or [{direction} {state/county name} JuCo] will suffice.
I'm a Mathematics Major and Computer Science Minor at Boston University, cumulative GPA 3.8

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Originally Posted by clarinetist

you're considering applying for a grad level Applied Mathematics program and it doesn't seem like you've mention anything about taking pure mathematics classes or the math GRE subject test.
I haven't taken any pure mathematics, and you're right I'm by no means a genius, the Ivy league may in fact be out of my league.

That being said I'm doing my best to enhance my studies on my own. Since I'm not paying for tuition I'm spending some of my money to buy more rigorous textbooks, studying them along side my coursework. I've also recently purchased an introductory text on analysis and am hoping to work through a proof heavy calculus book on my own, regenerating the proofs ect. I also have quite a few Dover books on Mathematics series focused on Probability and Statistical Theory. I'm working through them prior to my university course work and will hopefully have a firm grasp of the theory by the time I start exam P prep.

I have some schedule constraints so some of the more rigorous pure mathematics courses just aren't available to me. Fortunately I'm able to take almost every statistic/probability course the university has. Here's a link to my entire course plan: https://i.imgur.com/nzZVrgK.png

I'm currently taking ODE.

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Originally Posted by sjb554

How many exams have you passed? How close are you to graduating? How long have you been working in insurance?
I haven't passed any exams, I'm planning to start taking them in the spring of 2020, so about 1.5 years from now.

I've been working in insurance for a year, starting in the mail room but have since been promoted to an agency support roll. Since my exams are a ways off I'm working towards my CPCU at the moment to gain more industry knowledge and also cultivate the study habits I'll need for the actuarial exams. I'm taking a CPCU exam a month (3 down) and should have my designation by March 2019.

I'm on track to graduate summer/fall 2021, so 3.5 years from now if all goes according to plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clarinetist

you're either planning extremely ahead of time
This is true and maybe Its a bit premature but really I'm only considering grad school if its at MIT or Harvard, otherwise I'm just going to stick with actuarial. If I do end up pursuing the degree I want to set myself up for the best chances of admission. I'll need to get started within the year working on some undergraduate research, building better relationships with my professors for recommendations, and preparing for the GRE. BU has a nice undergrad research program, but before i commit to all that extra work I want to be confident going to grad school is a good choice in the first place.

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Originally Posted by Colymbosathon ecplecticos View Post
Are you thinking of an executive MBA or do you want to learn something?
Here's the program I'm considering at Harvard It's a new data science program they launched this year.

Also one other detail that may help my chances, my father and his wife both work at Harvard so I may have some leverage there.

For MIT there are two programs I would consider, Masterís in Operations Research or Master of Business Analytics.

The Harvard program I believe is more technical, MIT is more business. Either way I think for free either would be ok, they're both broad but also relatable to Actuarial. At least that's what I'm thinking, you guys are a better judge of that.

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Originally Posted by Kenny View Post


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.
I'm with you man, that's basically why I'm considering it. I'm extremely fortunate to even be thinking about this.

On the other hand its tough working full time, attending university in the evening, and taking professional exams. My social life is essentially non-existent, its tough for keeping in touch with family, keeping my girlfriend happy, etc.

I'm looking at 3.5 more years then a more manageable schedule focusing entirely on actuarial exams. If I decide to go the graduate route I'm looking at extending the university life by 2 or 3 more years, at that point I'll be pushing 40. I wonder if the career benefits could even be felt this late in my life.

I hope that answers everyone, thanks again for taking the time to give me advice here. And Happy belated 4th!
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  #16  
Old 07-05-2018, 11:15 PM
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That was my first thought when I read that you have already taken the first few steps in the right direction: from dropout to GED to working to CC, then to BU with a strong GPA. You're on the right track for sure.
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  #17  
Old 07-05-2018, 11:23 PM
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I want to preface this by saying that I'm not trying to suggest that you can't do this. But I feel a need to chime in on this.

Here's the thing that I've noticed a lot of people don't figure out until they're close to associateship if they haven't learned pure math already:

Just because you've passed a bunch of actuarial exams, it doesn't mean that you'll do well in an applied/pure math grad program.

I can't tell you the number of people whom I've met throughout my career - examples such as one person whom I know who thought that a Ph.D. in mathematics should be a piece of cake after nearing associateship and could not stomach the patience of reading through an introductory real analysis book (and I'm talking easier than Rudin).

I've looked at your course plan: I look at it and think that you're aiming to be a data professional who is aiming to be out in the workforce when you graduate. This is not the same as what you need to prep for grad school. If you want to go to grad school in math (or stats, even), you will need more pure mathematics courses than what you've currently planned. More specifically, you need real analysis, abstract algebra, and topology if you want to have any chance of doing well in math grad school. I'm not in math grad school - I'm in stats - but I wouldn't have made it through my qualifying exams without real analysis.

Go look at the Math GRE Subject Test syllabus and try out the sample questions.
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  #18  
Old 07-05-2018, 11:26 PM
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Also, I'm really surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet, but be careful about unlimited caps on tuition. Most companies have caps because once you exceed a certain level, it will be reported to the IRS as income, for which you will be taking taxes.
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  #19  
Old 07-05-2018, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Algebruh View Post
I haven't passed any exams, I'm planning to start taking them in the spring of 2020, so about 1.5 years from now.

I'm on track to graduate summer/fall 2021, so 3.5 years from now if all goes according to plan.
I think you are over analyzing and over planning this without attempting a single actuarial exam, as someone who is still 3.5 years away from obtaining your undergraduate designation.

It is good to think ahead, but the following statement is quite irrational given the nonzero possibility that MIT, Harvard, and actuarial exams all prove to be too difficult for you.

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I'm only considering grad school if its at MIT or Harvard, otherwise I'm just going to stick with actuarial.
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  #20  
Old 07-05-2018, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by clarinetist View Post
I want to preface this by saying that I'm not trying to suggest that you can't do this. But I feel a need to chime in on this.

Here's the thing that I've noticed a lot of people don't figure out until they're close to associateship if they haven't learned pure math already:

Just because you've passed a bunch of actuarial exams, it doesn't mean that you'll do well in an applied/pure math grad program.

I can't tell you the number of people whom I've met throughout my career - examples such as one person whom I know who thought that a Ph.D. in mathematics should be a piece of cake after nearing associateship and could not stomach the patience of reading through an introductory real analysis book (and I'm talking easier than Rudin).

I've looked at your course plan: I look at it and think that you're aiming to be a data professional who is aiming to be out in the workforce when you graduate. This is not the same as what you need to prep for grad school. If you want to go to grad school in math (or stats, even), you will need more pure mathematics courses than what you've currently planned. More specifically, you need real analysis, abstract algebra, and topology if you want to have any chance of doing well in math grad school. I'm not in math grad school - I'm in stats - but I wouldn't have made it through my qualifying exams without real analysis.

Go look at the Math GRE Subject Test syllabus and try out the sample questions.
The Harvard DS program he linked doesn’t look to be nearly as rigorous as what you might be thinking. It has no GRE subject requirement.

I agree the OP might be putting the cart before the horse, but given how far the OP has come and how far he wants to go I can understand the desire to plan. When you feel like you’re making up for lost time, the future can look awfully close. That’s not to say there’s much point picking a specific grad program quite yet, but the desire is understandable.

But to your point, I agree that the OP should stop thinking about grad school for at least a year and focus on doing the hardest math content that he can do well at. The standard stream of undergrad courses at most schools really doesn’t get you where you need to be conceptually for any decent mathematical graduate program. And the only thing worse than not being prepared for a good math program would be ending up in a softball grad program that just wastes your time. And there’s a lot of softball masters degree programs out there designed specifically to avoid making students face the fact that their mathematical knowledge is lacking.

So maybe the OP needs to tweak his course stream to hit some specific content points, sit in on some grad classes, or find a grad student who will tutor him on analysis etc. There are ways to fill in the gaps even if the default course plan has content holes. It's definitely not as good as having a rigorous undergraduate course stream from day 1, but if the OP can get this far from being a dropout, he's going to figure out how to make it work if it's at all possible.

Last edited by nonlnear; 07-06-2018 at 12:08 AM..
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