Midwest Actuarial Student Conference

Written by Erika Yang & Edwin Tan: 10687956_973199412696937_4007227217274381366_o

As part of the Coaching Actuaries team, we would like to thank the Midwest Actuarial Student Conference committees for inviting us to participate in the second annual conference held last Saturday in Champaign, Illinois. We enjoyed the time meeting with the speakers, event sponsors, professionals and of course, the actuarial students from all over the Midwest. There were various topics shared by the guest speakers, and we’ll briefly share about the non-traditional actuarial roles and some resume workshop tips that we found interesting and helpful.

Traditionally, actuaries worked in the areas of retirement benefits, health benefits, property and casualty, etc. The guest speaker on the other hand, took on a different path in a non-traditional actuarial job, particularly in pet insurance. When designing a pet insurance product, the nature of the insurance is placed under the property and casualty field, but it also involves the life aspects of the insurance as well since pets are ‘living’ creatures. An interesting fact is that the behavior of the pet owner is also taken as a factor when pricing the insurance just like auto insurance; car as the pet, the driver as the owner. In short, the field may pose a challenge to entry-level actuaries who do not have traditional actuarial background but with the help of experienced actuaries, it may be a very rewarding learning experience.

Another session entailed tips for building a good resume. Here are what we found helpful to include in the resume, in no particular order:

  1. Listing the software that you have experience in is great, but it does not illustrate how you utilized the software. Instead, include examples of what you have accomplished using that software.
  2. Instead of listing job responsibilities, describe the roles you played beyond the expectations and the outcome from your effort. (In what way did my role add value to the team/company?)
  3. Include the actuarial exams you have passed (if relevant, with dates/grades) as well as the exam you are sitting for the next. Also, do not forget to include the VEE credits if you have completed any. This gives the interviewer a hint that you have a plan set for your career.
  4. Five must-haves: Grade-Point Average and Honors, Actuarial examination progress, Professional Experiences, Business/Communication/Leadership skills and Technical skills.

In summary, as college graduates, it was interesting to see how different our perspectives have become, as compared to when we were in college. What we heard as students and what we understand now as graduates are different even when the topic may be the same.

As college students, we had undermined the importance of the business side of the experience, as well as communication skills. As working actuaries, we value such experiences and skills as must-have qualities in the working environment!

We look forward to the opportunity to meet more students and learn together at next year’s annual conference in Michigan.