Actuarial Analyst at Willis Towers Watson
Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics with minors in Actuarial Science and Statistics in 2014
I transferred to Truman State my sophomore year as an Accounting major but I kept taking Math classes that were not necessary for my major at the time. During the second semester of my sophomore year I made the transition to Math and decided to become an aspiring actuary.
I currently work as an actuarial analyst at a consulting firm “Willis Towers Watson” (former “Towers Watson”) in its retirement line of business.
When I first joined Truman I had to idea that I’d end up where I am now. I started off as an Accounting major but kept taking math classes on the side. A semester later, I decided to switch to Math completely without a clear plan for after-graduation. Actuarial science was the track of choice for me because of its interdisciplinary nature and job security.
Every year a couple of actuarial firms visit Truman. Make an effort to attend these as that’s how I landed my internship with then Towers Watson. I interned in the office I currently work the summer before my senior year. Remember that an internship is a 2-month long interview where you are also interviewing the firm and profession in general. My first internship happened to be a great fit for my personality and I accepted the full-time offer the same summer.
How I use math in my job:
As an actuarial student I take actuarial exams which require an extensive knowledge of Math. Although some exams are more focused on other subjects such as Finance and Econ, Math skills are heavily tested in each exam.
At work most of the math calculations have been automatized by in-house actuarial software for efficiency. That being said, it is always stressed that actuarial analysts are able to perform checks on the work produced by software tools rather than blindly trusting the output. Input errors happen all the time. Thus, you’d frequently find me checking my work with a calculator.
Advice to Truman students getting ready to hit the job market:
Network. Create a LinkedIn account (professional looking photo is important) and start networking with people. Find alumni that are doing what you would like to do in the future and start asking them questions. From my personal experience, candidates that have done their research about the field, company, and position stand out from the crowd of other applicants. Ask your professors about alumni contacts as well. They are a great resource and will point you in the right direction.
Utilize the University Career Center. They can help you with two main parts of landing a job: resume and interview. They can help you eloquently describe your previous work experiences, activities at school, and make them relevant to the job you are applying for. Ask your friends/professors to look through your resume. This is the only thing that employers will see, it’s important that it doesn’t have any typos. Mock interviews offered at the Career Center are another great resource each student should utilize while at school. Just stop by the Career Center to sign up for one. Prepare for the interview as if it were a real one. At the end of each interview the mock interviewer goes over areas for improvement. You can take these as many times as you want. I had 4 mock interviews while I was at Truman, and I mock interviewed students myself as part of my job at the Career Center.
The Career Center is a great resource for those getting ready to start graduate school after Truman as well. They hold mock interviews for graduate school admission, and the professional staff offers assistance with writing personal statements. Again, I’d highly recommend stopping by the Career Center and just inquiring about the services offered.