Career Crossroad: Actuary Vs Quant

Hi all,

I'm writing this post because I just had my annual review and promoted to Senior Actuarial Analyst and currently trying to weigh my options. My TC went from 80k to around 100k and I have 2 YOE. For those who know the actuarial space, I am 1 exam away from ASA and pretty confident I can get it around this year.

Earlier this year, I had the idea of leaving actuarial and going for a quant job (trader or research). For this, I applied and was accepted to an average Canadian University (top 10 but not UBC, McGill, Waterloo, UofT) for a MSc of Mathematics & Statistics.

My profile: Education; Graduated top 5% of no-name university in actuarial science, almost ASA, tutor for calc I and II. Work exp; no quant internships but 2 actuarial internships and 2 years as a actuarial analyst in retirement consulting (working on a lot of predictive analytics and stochastic modelling).

Projects; a few good ranking in kaggle competitons / puzzle solving. Technical skills; pretty good at Python, R (for data analysis and statistical learning) and average at C++, Java, VBA.

What I need advice / mentorship is to answer this: is it worth it to try going for quant through MSc or PhD? Or am I better to stay as an actuary? I am not looking for advantages vs disadvantages of both careers, I've done research on both and I like the perspectives of both. I want to know if it's possible to get into a good buy-side quant with my profile and grad school at an average Canadian Uni / if it's worth going for given my compensation and current career as an actuary.

Comments (9)

quantmonkey13, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I may be quant monkey, but I can tell you that from what I've heard and seen being a quant trader sucks ass and just involves a bunch of research to get ur phd or whatever. One of my friends had a buddy who literally started seeing ants on the walls after being a quant trader.

  • 1
asdfasdfahsdfh, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Genuinely asking, are you stupid?

  • 1
asdfasdfahsdfh, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Go to linkedin and look up your grad school + any of the firms you want to work at. If there are few/none alumni there, then it's not worth it. If it was top 10 in the US, definitely. But I don't know enough about Canada school ranking/reputation, hence the advice.

pangobo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There are literally 0, but I'm thinking of YOLOing it. There's about 10 from a school similar to mine in close geographical location.

  • Intern in HF - RelVal

Maybe you could try applying to some US MFE's. The top ones tend to place pretty well into quant trading firms or quant hedge funds

  • 1
horse9118, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm also a former actuary and now works in a Front Office role. I'm not in a quant role but I interact with them a lot. I would say it's definitely doable coming from a no name school but you going to need to network like hell.

pangobo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Any tips for networking? I've added a few quant traders / researchers on LinkedIn but idk what to say to them.

212_212, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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