Over the years, I have spoken to actuaries from analyst level up to chief actuary across a range of areas and disciplines. There are lots of ways to become a successful actuary. Whatever your benchmark is, here are some of the things that the best actuaries do to be successful for the long-term.
Build your professional network: The actuarial profession is small and tightly knit (particularly in the London Market). It's important to build a professional network of contacts and stay up to date with what's going on. You would be surprised at how many opportunities come out of WHO you know and not WHAT you know.
Be able to talk to different people with different levels of understanding. The best actuaries in the market can understand and solve complicated problems, but it's also vitally important to communicate this in a way that others understand quickly and effectively. Underwriters sometimes just want to know the gist so that fast decisions can be made. The best actuary knows how to talk to different stakeholders and can summarise effectively when needed.
Develop 'real' analytical skills: I've lost count of how many times I have had a hiring manager turn someone down because they don't get deep enough with analysis or understand what it means to their team/business. Try to avoid simply turning the handle and show an active interest in understanding 'the why' behind the analysis and what it means for the insurer. The most successful actuaries in the market push past what is in their job description and make meaningful suggestions/observations.
Stay current: The actuarial profession is constantly changing and so is the toolkit that's needed. It's important to stay current with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. Read industry publications, watch videos, attend conferences, and participate in continuing education courses to stay up-to-date where possible.
Of course, there are lots of ways to define success, but doing these four things will make a massive impact in you getting the opportunity to get what you want out of your career.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you would like a confidential discussion about the market or your next opportunity. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org