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Math Actuary Career Questions

  1. Mar 27, 2016 #1
    1) Assuming one has a good GPA, some intern experience, at least 2 exams passed and is willing to re-locate would it be very difficult to break into an entry level job in the field?

    2) Any advice for job interviews? How can I prepare for them in advance? I'm a little awkward sometimes but I'm overall warm, professional and good with people.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2016 #2


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    There's stacks of info available about interview techniques and questions to be prepared for. Things like:
    - what is your greatest weakness
    - describe a situation in which you had to work with somebody you didn't like, to achieve a common goal
    - where do you see yourself in five years' time
    Ask around your peers about what tricky questions they've been asked in interviews, and try to prepare for them and others you can think of.

    But don't worry about it. Although it's not uncommon for interviewers to ask 'out of the box' questions to try to test out the candidate's ability to think on their feet, they're not out to make you fail. It's as important for them to find someone to fill their position as it is to you to find a job. When done properly, interviews are a cooperative endeavour between interviewer and interviewee to explore mutual compatibility.

    One very useful prep is to research the company you're going to - what they do and a few things about their industry and environment, so you can show interest and knowledge about that, rather than just 'I've got an actuarial degree and heard you employ actuaries'. It's good to have a few questions to ask them that demonstrate that interest, as often people ask 'do you have any questions for us' at the end and, while it's good to ask about crucial things like pay, working conds and benefits, it helps to also show curiosity about how the company sets about achieving its goals and what obstacles it faces. Things like 'does such and such a market trend or new regulation have an impact on your company's operations' are good.
  4. Mar 28, 2016 #3
    It depends. That's a pretty good starting spot in the US, though I'd try for a third exam.

    In Canada, you're way behind the curve, and it will be tough to get an actuarial position.

    Sounds like many actuaries I know. Try just being that. And, of course, don't say anything negative about anything in the interview.
  5. Mar 29, 2016 #4


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    Locrian, could you clarify your statement above? I am aware that many people in Canada graduate from actuarial programs and have several exams under their belt prior to getting an actuarial position, but I have known people who have graduated from other programs who were able to secure actuarial positions.
  6. Mar 29, 2016 #5
    So do I, but my statement is still true. This is well known within both the actuarial and recruiting circles.
  7. Mar 29, 2016 #6
    While Actuaries are growing far faster than the national average career, it is also true that the standards have gotten tougher over the years. 10 years ago, I've heard it was fairly common for companies to take someone in who only has 1 exam under their belt and then pay them while they study for their next few exams.

    Nowadays, I've read that you need at least 2 before you're even taken seriously. And at least 3 is recommended.
  8. Mar 29, 2016 #7
    You're just more likely to get hired with more exams. You can still get a job with fewer. There's no reason not to start sending out resumes as soon as you can start.

    I realize that sounds obvious, but it's pretty common to run into people who are waiting to look for work until they have X number of exams, or such things.
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