Taking calculated risks in your career whilst still studying for professional actuarial exams
This is an adaptation of a talk I first presented at the Young Actuaries Conference on the 29 May 2018 in Sydney.
Today I’m going to talk about my story and the three areas I found useful in how I’ve moved directionally in my career so you can find some ideas and adjust them accordingly for your next steps in your career.
I graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Commerce (my majors were Actuarial Studies and Finance) and started my career as a graduate at Zurich. I spent a couple of years in pricing and a couple of years in reserving. At the same time I was sitting exams and I was building my character by failing and subsequently passing exams.
The exams were quite consuming to my headspace. I developed this pattern, habit and vortex of intensely studying for 3 months, the rhetoric I’d often think was “I’ll postpone it to after the exam or when I qualify”. And then reality set in — qualifying was not going to be as straight forward as I thought. So it led me to this really big question — Why should Iwait until I qualify to try something different?
The next steps were how to think about it, and what exactly I would like to do. Here are just 3 examples — I’ve categorised them in order from feeling nervous to paralysing fear. In hindsight, they weren’t that bad, but at the time they were a really big deal for me!
- Volunteering for the Actuaries Magazine. I thought it would be a really good way to stay across current issues and trends in the industry and maco environment. My experience as an analyst at the time was a lot of number crunching, and I’d get a little involved in the writing of the half yearly pricing review or the annual ILVR…