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  #31  
Old 07-06-2018, 10:48 AM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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I applaud your effort to catch up, and to seek advice in a sincere way (despite the click-bait-ish title and the casually thrown out "Harvard and MIT" in the first post).

With that being said, I hope what I say next won't offend you.

I know a person who would always spend a long time planning out how he/she would study for every fellowship exam.

It took her 10+ years to get his/her fellowship. and you remind me of that person.

A golden rule I follow in life is: 80/20, I think this is especially important if you want to pass actuarial exams because it all comes down to relative performance: you only need to be slightly better than 60% of other candidates in every department to pass. you already appear to be better than 95% of people in terms of planning.
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  #32  
Old 07-06-2018, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by nonlnear View Post

linear algebra is probably the most important content area to master as deeply as possible for a career in analytics. Absolutely everything a computer does is algebra. It is only by approximation that it relates to the continuous constructs of real analysis. The important thing is to learn enough analysis that you can see the bridge between the two for what it is (numerical analysis, approximation theory, etc.)
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Originally Posted by Vorian Atreides View Post
From a practice stand point, I agree with nonlnear that linear algebra is the most important content to master.

However, numerical analysis has its support from real analysis. That is, real analysis gives the theoretical support of why it's fine to find an answer to an "acceptable error" value within numerical approximation techniques.
This is good to know, I might switch my schedule around from taking LA in the summer to a regular semester course.

Here's what I'm putting together from all the feedback.
  • Put serious grad school consideration on the backburner for a year or so
  • Start working on Analysis, course if I can or self-study/tutoring (Aug 18' - May 19')
  • Study LA in as much depth as possible starting with my coursework in Summer or Fall 19'
  • Revisit grad school considerations if all goes well

Does that sound appropriate?

I'll do some searching but do you have any recommendations for a good LA text to pick up? I have Linear Algebra (Dover Books on Mathematics) but its thin.
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  #33  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:02 AM
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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
Why? Why not take one right now? Every attempt doesn't have to be a guaranteed success

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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.
How will you use this leverage? I don't think this will (directly) help you get accepted.

What it may do is help you get a meeting with someone who works in that program, you can ask them what it takes to get accepted, what it takes to succeed, etc etc etc
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  #34  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Pension.Mathematics View Post
I applaud your effort to catch up, and to seek advice in a sincere way (despite the click-bait-ish title and the casually thrown out "Harvard and MIT" in the first post).

With that being said, I hope what I say next won't offend you.

I know a person who would always spend a long time planning out how he/she would study for every fellowship exam.

It took her 10+ years to get his/her fellowship. and you remind me of that person.

A golden rule I follow in life is: 80/20, I think this is especially important if you want to pass actuarial exams because it all comes down to relative performance: you only need to be slightly better than 60% of other candidates in every department to pass. you already appear to be better than 95% of people in terms of planning.
I appreciate that and it is something I've struggled with before. Overthinking, underacting? Sometimes I catch myself and have to remember to focus on the task at hand, it helps to have others point it out as well. I think nonlinear hit the nail on with the feeling of making up for lost time.

I didn't mean to imply that I can just walk into Harvard or MIT, sorry if I came off that way. Previously I had basically resigned to not attending grad school at all, but the more I've thought about how those schools are at least physically in reach, and the cost isn't an issue, I think, why not try those schools? I'm not really keen on putting in the effort required to attend grad school if it were another university, as Riley said I can put that energy into actuarial.

Thanks for being honest, no offense taken.
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  #35  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:25 AM
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Why? Why not take one right now? Every attempt doesn't have to be a guaranteed success
Mostly because I'm not sure how that would help me more now than it would later. The next 3 semesters for me will be stats/prob courses and I'm planning on taking P after learning the fundamentals in those subjects. I've looked at the first few chapters of some of the ACTEX manuals/books (free samples on the website) and at the time most of what I saw was over my head. I was just starting calc 1 though so maybe today working through them would be more feasible.

One reason I didn't go that route is even if I did self-study and do it sooner I still need to finish my degree before I can get an actuarial job. I just want to have two exams finished by graduation so I can hopefully transfer internally at that point. I decided earning my CPCU and focusing on coursework would be more beneficial in the long run, starting up actuarial exams once I have the mathematical background to approach them.

Also, completion of the CPCU includes a bonus that I plan on using to pay for my actuarial exams, at least the first one. Since I'm not in the actuarial department they'll be on my own dime. I've spoken with the head actuary and HR, they said once I pass an exam to come see them so maybe they'll do something for me but I won't know until that time.

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Originally Posted by Woodrow View Post
How will you use this leverage? I don't think this will (directly) help you get accepted.

What it may do is help you get a meeting with someone who works in that program, you can ask them what it takes to get accepted, what it takes to succeed, etc etc etc
Yeah that's essentially what I was thinking, some good networking and advising opportunities.
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  #36  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:27 AM
Pension.Mathematics Pension.Mathematics is offline
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I appreciate that and it is something I've struggled with before. Overthinking, underacting? Sometimes I catch myself and have to remember to focus on the task at hand, it helps to have others point it out as well.
then just take all of the good advice you have gotten so far with you, make some actual progress and report back after you pass your first actuarial exam.

at this point the continued discussion isn't generating much value for you anyway and is simply a waste of time.
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  #37  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:39 AM
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then just take all of the good advice you have gotten so far with you, make some actual progress and report back after you pass your first actuarial exam.

at this point the continued discussion isn't generating much value for you anyway and is simply a waste of time.
Well, I think it's been valuable and I do intend to do just that. Similar to my post last year; I'm getting advice, making progress, and I guess checking in with new questions.

Maybe I'm being hard headed but I'm pretty set on when I'm planning to take the exams, given that timeline the grad school prep will likely have to come first.
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  #38  
Old 07-06-2018, 12:26 PM
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Maybe I'm being hard headed but I'm pretty set on when I'm planning to take the exams, given that timeline the grad school prep will likely have to come first.
You planned for your first actuarial exam to take place at the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019 according to the following comment made on 07-25-2017, as Exam P is offered in November, January and march, I would assume March 25th, 2019 at the latest.

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Here is my question. Exam P is around 1.5 years away.
So are you saying that you, as someone who has 3.5 years of undergraduate studies left, HAVE TO start preparing for grad school (at MIT or Harvard) within the next 8 months and 20 days?
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  #39  
Old 07-06-2018, 01:20 PM
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You planned for your first actuarial exam to take place at the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019 according to the following comment made on 07-25-2017, as Exam P is offered in November, January and march, I would assume March 25th, 2019 at the latest.
Yeah at the time that was the plan, I started at this company on 7/5/17 so I was just beginning my planning after learning about the tuition reimbursement. Along the way I also learned about the CPCU, was admitted into BU and once I started working with their advisors it made more sense to move things around a bit. Specifically, I had originally planned to take the calculus series, 1, 2, 3, diff eq, then go right into their probability course 581. It requires multivariate as a prereq and covers the calculus-based probability I think is going to show up on exam P. On that timeline I would be ready to start exam P prep after this fall or 1.5 years from when I made that post.

If you look at the plan now which I've worked with the advisors, my employer, etc, on over the last year this seems to be the best and I'm really happy with it. Instead of jumping right into a graduate level probability course to take exam P as soon as possible I'm taking two undergrad courses leading into it. So the exam is pushed back, but this gives me time to do the CPCU now, which I've started and at this point don't want to stop. Also, exam P doesn't do anything for me until after I've graduated anyways. The way I see it as long as it's done by graduation it's all the same.

Also, I want to point out that it's not like my planning has put anything on pause or slowed my progress. Sure the exam is pushed back but in terms of progress towards my degree I'm still taking courses, I'm not wasting credits or anything like that, I'm fine-tuning things as I go. Considering graduate school, and starting the preparations early are part of that fine-tuning.

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So are you saying that you, as someone who has 3.5 years of undergraduate studies left, HAVE TO start preparing for grad school (at MIT or Harvard) within the next 8 months and 20 days?
I don't Have to, but if I'm going to prep for grad school, especially to go to either of those institutions I think the sooner the better. I get that I'm late to the party but I think it's really common for people who want to go to those schools to plan years in advance, whether they're in high school or undergrad and wanting to transfer for graduate studies. I'm reading Weapons of Math Destruction at the moment and the author discusses entire industries built around preparing people to have the best chances of admission to those schools. People pay big money for that preparation, I don't think what I'm doing here is really all that bad. Is it a bit premature, maybe, but I'm laying the foundation. Just like my post last year, I had a foundation I built on as I went, this is the same.

I'm here to figure out if going is worth it, and if it is, then I'll start taking action when the time is appropriate.

Maybe I'm not communicating why made the post well. I'm under the impression that the main reason most actuaries advise not to pursue graduate studies is because the cost vs. salary increase / career benefits isn't a good trade-off. Why spend all that money and time when you could take exams and advance your career quicker without having the debt. Further, the primary factor in hiring entry level is exams so the graduate degre doesn't serve much of a purpose there either.

In my situation, the cost isn't an issue (with the exception of time), in addition, I already have a job, albeit not an actuarial position I don't think I'll be looked at in the same way as other entry-level candidates. By the time I graduate I'll have 4 years of industry experience, a CPCU, and 2 exams, If I can go entry level with that and get a graduate degree maybe that would add more value then just taking more exams, I'm trying to figure that out.
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  #40  
Old 07-06-2018, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Algebruh View Post
This is good to know, I might switch my schedule around from taking LA in the summer to a regular semester course.

Here's what I'm putting together from all the feedback.
  • Put serious grad school consideration on the backburner for a year or so
  • Start working on Analysis, course if I can or self-study/tutoring (Aug 18' - May 19')
  • Study LA in as much depth as possible starting with my coursework in Summer or Fall 19'
  • Revisit grad school considerations if all goes well

Does that sound appropriate?

I'll do some searching but do you have any recommendations for a good LA text to pick up? I have Linear Algebra (Dover Books on Mathematics) but its thin.
I would not advise doing Analysis before Linear Algebra. I recommend the Linear Algebra text by Lay, or the Intro to Linear Algebra text by Strang, and you should aim to cover the entirety of the text.

Analysis is really, really tough to learn on your own, and it's one of those things that you can't learn without adequate feedback. If you can take a class for this with a good professor, I would recommend you do so.
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