2nd Annual Midwest Actuarial Student Conference.


So last weekend, as I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I attended an actuarial student conference that was held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was a day conference, from 8:30am until 4:00pm, and students from various universities were present at the conference.

In short, it was a pretty good conference. The topics that were presented were interesting enough. I particularly like two of the sessions that were offered, namely the session on non-traditional actuarial career and the student to working actuary panel. The other sessions that was offered included a session about exam and other related actuarial information from both SOA and CAS, as well as a session on predictive modelling. After lunch, there was three concurrent sessions, in which participants could choose to attend, such as a graduate school info session, and interview & resume workshop, and an exam preparation session.

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The non-traditional actuarial career session appealed to me mainly because I never actually think of myself working as an actuary. I mean, yeah, I enjoy the classes, and it’s interesting, and I like doing what I do. I just never actually imagined myself as a real actuary. Perhaps this is because I’ve never really talked to a real life actuary about what they do and perhaps even tried shadowing an actuary to really understand the career (thus making it harder to actually imagine myself working as an actuary).

During this session, two non-traditional actuaries (Kara Clark and Laura Bennett) shared their experiences with the participants. Laura is the co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance, whereas Kara is at Walgreen’s. Their roles may not be as common as other actuaries (ie working in pension / retirement / consulting, etc), but they’re still utilizing their actuarial skills in other areas uncommon to actuaries, and that really helped me to think that there are other roles that I can do in the world after graduating, even if it’s not in the traditional actuarial industry.

The last session of the day was the student to working alumni panel, in which three ‘recent graduates’ shared their experiences about transitioning from being a full-time student to being a full-time working actuary. It was interesting to learn more about the different actuarial programs that other universities have, as well as their perspectives on how it’s different after you’ve started working and all. It’s also interesting to know how, according to one of the panels, ‘waking up early in the morning’ isn’t so bad once you’ve started working, as compared to being a full-time student (lol).

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So, yeah, I guess that’s basically it about the conference. I’m still waiting to see if I can get in touch with the speakers, since I wasn’t able to meet any of them after the conference. Oh, some companies were also present at the conference (though, again, since there were so many people around and the venue was a bit too small, it was too crowded and I wasn’t able to talk to anyone). I did, however, managed to score some formula sheets from CoachingActuaries, which would definitely come in handy for preparing for my exams later on.

After the conference ended, I went and toured some parts of UIUC’s campus with some friends, and spent almost the whole day on Sunday in Chicago with him. I’ll write about that in a different post, so until then, stay awesome!


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