Monday, November 28, 2005

No Man is an Island

John Donne was right. It took me some time to realize this since I used to believe that I am capable of withstanding any winds by myself when it came to my career.

It all started with an email I received last week. It came from a student in U of Waterloo, who is a career changer. Bachelors degree in Applied Math from Moscow State University does not do much here in Canada. Heck, it is even useless if you get it from any local university. She is taking graduate studies in act. sci. at Waterloo. So she found my blog and emailed me with a question about the study manuals for Exam FM.

I was quite flattered that someone was asking me for advice, even though it was about study manuals. This also coincided with my puzzlement about what I want to do. On the one hand, I started actuarial exams and don't plan to give up on that. On the other hand, working in an insurance company does not appeal to me that much. Finance and investments is a much more attractive field to me, now that I have been exposed to it at my internship.

Actuaries in Finance and Investments is not a new concept, but I can't clearly see the transition between the two fields. Yes, actuaries have the quantitative skills, but applied to insurance, reinsurance and risk. How does this translate to the world of finance?

Powered by my favorite search engine of the Society of Actuaries Members Directory, I decided to look for a mentor. I selected the qualifications that I though were applicable for an actuary working in finance and investments and sent 18 emails. Took me half and hour.

Guess what, I now have three gentlemen, a Portfolio Manager, an Investment Advisor and a Vice President, who agreed to meet and talk to me.

I will keep you posted on the result of the conversations, but for now, go get a mentor.