Iowa Actuaries Club

Leo BirdI was excited to go to the Iowa Actuaries Club for the second time. I first heard about the club when it came up in a google search for a social networking site for actuaries. After passing the FM exam, I was admitted into the club by my academic adviser from college.

The first time I went to the club, it was awkward to find someone to sit with since I didn’t know anyone there. This second time was better and I was able to network as there were more breaks and the meeting was longer. Since the lectures take up most of the time, I had planned to get there early so I could network. I got there 40 minutes early, too early, so I killed time by walking around Drake University. I read online that it is better to start a conversation with someone who isn’t talking than to join a conversation, and I thought that strategy worked well. I met one of my mentor’s coworkers who said Transamerica was restructuring so they would have openings soon. I also ran into my academic adviser from college, other independents (not yet affiliated with an actuarial company), and a few people from Nationwide who I met at the previous session. If I attended the club long enough, I could meet the same people repeatedly and gain new friends and allies. I handed out my business cards to a few people and asked if this was normal practice. Someone say no but that it wouldn’t hurt to do it. Most people encouraged me by saying I could pass the P exam at a level 6.

There was one lecture at lunch and three different presentations to choose from during three periods. The lectures were pretty interesting. Although I didn’t understand all of it, it was good to get more familiar with the terminology used. But I did wish I knew enough so I could have asked questions in order to have learned more and shown my respect for the speaker and interest in the topic. One speaker gave a printout of his slides, which helped a lot. Another speaker lectured via the internet because his flight was cancelled. Some topics discussed were The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP), Statistics, and iCAS. The movie Moneyball was mentioned because of the role statistics played in it.

The food was rather good. We were served sweet bread, fruits, and juice for breakfast. For lunch, we had wild rice, tacos, and enchiladas. Seconds were allowed!

Not knowing how much time the club would take, I had taken the whole day off. But the club finished at 2:30. So I called a recruiter that I didn’t have time to call before, then I drove to work. One of my bosses was excited to see me at the office because the work load was heavy that day.

Joining the Iowa Actuaries Club is worth the time and money. You will have fun and you will meet many people who will tell you about opportunities in the actuarial field!