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  #1  
Old 12-24-2018, 05:47 PM
IacceptTheTerms IacceptTheTerms is offline
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Default Is it possible to have a good career without finishing the exams?

From your experience at your office, are there any people that don't have at least ASA or ACAS that ended up having manager roles or becoming directors? What about people who decided to switch fields? Will you be shown the door if you stop passing the exams?
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Old 12-24-2018, 06:14 PM
Kalium Kalium is offline
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I've known a number who stopped taking exams, but then did really well in their careers.

At an insurer, someone stopped at associate level and switched out of actuarial into something like business planning. But with an actuarial background she knew so much more than her new colleagues that she got 2 quick promotions.

In consultancy quite a few. Someone who failed all their exams, but had some prior useful business knowledge and made director. Others who switched to IT / software pre-associate, and did well. And one who never reached associate, but became CEO!

If you add value to your employer, then no matter what your exam level you can do well.
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Old 12-24-2018, 06:31 PM
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El Actuario El Actuario is offline
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Within actuarial, no. We don’t have any pre-ASAs in leadership positions. Some transferred out and found success in other departments.

If you want an actuarial career, you should become an Actuary.
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Old 12-24-2018, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IacceptTheTerms View Post
1. From your experience at your office, are there any people that don't have at least ASA or ACAS that ended up having manager roles or becoming directors?
2. What about people who decided to switch fields?
3. Will you be shown the door if you stop passing the exams?
I numbered your questions for clarity.

1. There are a bunch of people at my office who don't have at least ASA/ACAS who are managers, directors, or officers. Believe it or not, some of the leaders, even senior leaders, have never passed, or in some cases even taken, an actuarial exam!

2. I know people who have switched fields into insurance who are managers/officers at my office, and others who have switched from insurance to another field who were successful in their new field. Some of them had some actuarial exams, others have not.

3. I stopped passing exams about a decade ago and no one has shown me the door yet. Granted, there were no more exams in my track to take, so....
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Old 12-24-2018, 08:05 PM
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764dak 764dak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalium View Post
I've known a number who stopped taking exams, but then did really well in their careers.

At an insurer, someone stopped at associate level and switched out of actuarial into something like business planning. But with an actuarial background she knew so much more than her new colleagues that she got 2 quick promotions.

In consultancy quite a few. Someone who failed all their exams, but had some prior useful business knowledge and made director. Others who switched to IT / software pre-associate, and did well. And one who never reached associate, but became CEO!

If you add value to your employer, then no matter what your exam level you can do well.
Can you explain how an actuarial background helps with business planning?
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:09 PM
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Not a winning strategy if you want to stay in actuarial imo. If exams are holding you back from some other plan to make tons of money, by all means quit and pursue that instead.

But if you're quitting because the exams are hard and you still want to pursue the traditional actuarial path, you're gonna have a hard time.
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Old 12-25-2018, 09:13 PM
hjacjswo hjacjswo is offline
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I feel like you asked this question a while ago.
Honestly, in this generation of actuaries who are finishing up exams in 5-7 years, it's probably not a good idea to stay in actuarial without getting at least the associateship.
People who are directors and managers now without the actuarial credentials started their careers in a different generation.
I've seen many people leave the actuarial roles for analytics roles or underwriting roles. Actually a few of them ARE managers. But, they are at a big company (F100) and are lifers there. Not sure how transferable they are to other companies.
As somebody with plenty of friends making above 100K, I know there are ways to make decent money without going through these exams. So, it's perfectly fine to decide the exams are not worth it and leave.
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:01 AM
almost_there almost_there is offline
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I've known a number who stopped taking exams, but then did really well in their careers.
Let's be more accurate - most who can't progress in the exams find it a major ceiling imposed on their careers. Held back and have to make big sacrifices to get into something else as well as a lot of luck. IFoA won't release statistics on drop-out rates. Failing exams adds pressure to many people as employers become reluctant to fund their resits or allow them study leave as they used to. It is not at all easy to move from actuarial to something else as outside actuarial people don't know or care about your exams passes, the chances of ending up with a broken career are higher than people want to admit.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:55 AM
Fracktuary Fracktuary is offline
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Let's be more accurate - most who can't progress in the exams find it a major ceiling imposed on their careers. Held back and have to make big sacrifices to get into something else as well as a lot of luck. IFoA won't release statistics on drop-out rates. Failing exams adds pressure to many people as employers become reluctant to fund their resits or allow them study leave as they used to. It is not at all easy to move from actuarial to something else as outside actuarial people don't know or care about your exams passes, the chances of ending up with a broken career are higher than people want to admit.
It's pretty easy to switch within an insurance company/industry. If passing exams is truly the only deficiency, someone should be able to move to an analyst role in another department pretty easily. Often, these people find it easy to rise to a manager position.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalium View Post
I've known a number who stopped taking exams, but then did really well in their careers.

At an insurer, someone stopped at associate level and switched out of actuarial into something like business planning. But with an actuarial background she knew so much more than her new colleagues that she got 2 quick promotions.

In consultancy quite a few. Someone who failed all their exams, but had some prior useful business knowledge and made director. Others who switched to IT / software pre-associate, and did well. And one who never reached associate, but became CEO!

If you add value to your employer, then no matter what your exam level you can do well.
This doesn't really happen in the UK. If you want to advance as an Actuary now, you need to be qualified. No ifs or buts about it. Talking about outliers does not do wonders for making a credible argument.
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