Interview with an Actuary
Excerpt taken from http://www.financejobs.ie/
What skills/aptitude would you identify as being key/beneficial to a career in actuary?
The obvious one is an aptitude for mathematics although I think the importance of this can be overstated. There isn’t all that much maths involved in actuarial work anymore – computers have taken away a lot of the hard sums! It’s important to have a logical brain and a good ability for problem solving. Communication skills are becoming increasingly important. These days people are less inclined to accept a fact simply because an actuary says it (definitely a positive development!) and it is important to be able to explain actuarial issues to those who don’t have a similar qualification.
What aspects of the job do you like most?
I enjoy working on new developments, particularly new products or systems. It’s great to be part of a team when there’s a sense of excitement and when everyone is focused on the same goal. I enjoy getting involved in broader issues beyond the strict actuarial scope, being out with the Royal Liver sales force, meeting our customers and seeing the different issues that arise from different parts of the business.
What aspects of the job do you like least?
I suppose I dislike the boring stuff – doesn’t everyone! Mundane tasks that simply have to be repeated on a regular basis aren’t the most exciting aspect of any job but have to be done.
Where would you see yourself in five years? What is your goal in actuary? How do you define success in actuary?
Five years is a long time! Actuaries in life insurance tend to work towards one of two goals – they either follow the strict actuarial road with the ultimate aim of becoming appointed actuary of a life company or they move into a more general management role and move away from simply actuarial work. So far I’m following the second route and enjoying it. As part of the Royal Liver management team I am acquiring a boarder knowledge of other departments and general operations which is very enjoyable. I wouldn’t rule out a return to the actuarial route at some stage but my priority for the moment is to get more general management experience.
What advice would you give to others who might like a career in actuary?
There’s a number of different ways of entering the profession and it’s important to talk to people and research the various alternatives. There’s no doubt that choosing a degree that receives exemptions from some of the actuarial exams speeds up what can be a long slow process. Everyone who wants to be an actuary needs to be prepared to put their head down and slog away for a couple of years, which I suppose is the case with a lot of professions nowadays.