The Coaching Actuaries team loves to connect face to face with actuaries. One of the downsides to a web-based business is the lack of face to face contact. That is why we attempt to meet as many actuaries as we can. Erika, Kelly, & I just got back from a two-day trip to Illinois. We got to visit Bradley University on Monday and the University of Illinois on Tuesday. Pictures have been posted to Facebook for those interested.
What is the benefit of these trips? First, I got a chance to speak on how to become a successful actuary. I shared 27 tips and tricks that I have learned in my 28 years experience. I guess if I added one more tip I would average one idea a year! I would consider it a success if two or three of the tips had an impact on a student. I think any one of them could be a life changer.
What other benefits resulted from the road trip? As mentioned, connecting with students is key. We thoroughly enjoy asking actuaries about their stories of how they decided to pursue becoming an actuary. More importantly, where they hope their career will lead.
It is helpful to get feedback from customers on our products. I had three different students approach me to share how Adapt made a difference in passing a recent exam. I always ask what difference did Adapt make. Interesting enough, all 3 gave different answers. Not only were all 3 answers different, but none of the answers stated the primary benefit of Adapt: The earned level that provides questions at your difficulty level.
The first student had just passed MFE. He stated that the MFE formula sheet gave him the edge he needed to pass the exam. He stated that they were just the right formulas for him.
The second person shared how the topic quiz feature in Adapt gave her the edge she needed to pass MFE. She said the feedback on the topics was humbling because some of the topics had a poor score. However, this gave her important feedback on what to improve. Credit goes to her as she worked on her weak areas by taking more quizzes on those topics. She stated that was the difference for her to be to pass.
The third student has recently passed both FM/2 and P/1. He stated the key for his success was the video solutions. Whenever he got stuck on a problem, he would watch the video solution and that gave him the insight needed to understand the solution.
I was encouraged by both schools. Bradley was particularly encouraging. Despite not having an actuary on staff, the students were proactively improving the program and taking initiative. In the long run, this type of engagement will only enhance their careers. Students at Bradley are definitely going places. The actuarial program at the University of Illinois is certainly in strong position. They have a large number of actuaries and have a system for developing their skills.
As you continue to pursue your actuarial career, make sure you invest time connecting with people. Networking with other actuaries usually provides valuable dividends in the long term.