While You Are Still a Student
The best way to find out what an actuary’s job is like is to try it! Every year many actuarial students obtain internships from local companies with help from the Department of Mathematics or the Career Development Center (located at 350 Murray-HerrickCampusCenter, 651-962-6761). Internships allow you to work full-time or part-time during the summer and/or the school year.
In addition, the department sponsors a series of colloquia, some of which are given by actuarial professionals. The schedule may be viewed here.
The Math and Actuarial Science Club provides another source for contacts and information about actuarial professions. The club’s website can be located through the menu on the left.
You may also start to take professional examinations offered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society during your college years.
Resume/Interview Session(late September or early October)
Prepare your resume and sharpen your interview skills to help land a summer internship and/or a permanent position.
Career and Internship Fair at the University of Minnesota
The goal of this event is to create networking opportunities for actuarial students with the business community. About 15 companies attend looking for student for full-time opportunities, internship opportunities, and to share information about actuarial careers. Check out the UMN Actuary Club here.
Study sessions for Exam P (Beginning in late February)
These study session are offered from 12:00-1:00 p.m. weekly, on either Tuesday or Thursday, during spring semester.
What Does It Take To Get There?
Becoming an actuary requires good mathematical aptitude but you don’t have to be a genius in theoretical mathematics. As a business executive you’ll deal with real-life problems—not just theoretical ones. You need to have an inquisitive mind—and the ability to think both logically and creatively—along with sound judgment and strong communication skills. The importance of strong communication skills, both written and verbal, cannot be overemphasized.
How much can an actuary earn? Ultimately that’s up to the individual, but there is a strong correlation between salary increases and completion of the actuarial exams. In 2005, typical starting salaries for graduates who have completed at least one professional exam were $50,000 and up. (For updates on salary figures, see here.) How far can an actuary go? Broad knowledge of the insurance, pension and employee benefits fields often leads actuaries to top administrative and executive positions.
Today, many major insurance companies in the Twin Cities and throughout the country are headed by actuaries. In a recent, nationwide survey of 100 actuaries, almost half were vice presidents, presidents and directors of the corporations for which they worked.