AMA : Actuary to Big4 Consulting to CorpDev, at age 30

Crymeariver's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 32

A year ago I promised to do an AMA when I complete my first deal so here we are.
This is Asia experience so may not be applicable to North America, but why not?

Education: International student went to a Midwest non-target undergraduate program (BigTen but not Michigan/Northwestern)

Career: Returned to Asia, started off as an actuary (aka statistician/accountant in an insurance company).
Then joined Big 4 Consulting, not TS or CF so more like risk consulting, clients are still all insurance companies. Involved in 3-4 insurance M&A deals (DD phase only, not even client facing, 2-3 completed transactions including a USD 1b cross-border deal).
At age 30, with 8 years working exp, joined the CorpDev team in an insurance company. 95% of work is cross-border M&A. Leading a small M&A team including an ex-IBD analyst and a financial analyst. Another 5% of work is on research, thought leadership, with a research analyst.

After a year of work, finally completed my first deal from end to end (sourcing - DD - negotiation - sign SPA). This is also the first cross-border deal the company has ever made.

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Comments (4)

Sep 14, 2017

I worked in an insurance sales role. Brutal stuff. Do you feel like that experience just needs the proper spin?
Thanks and Congratulations

"The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and i am no quite sure that i know that." Socrates

Sep 14, 2017

I feel that there are 2 areas to consider in career development, 1) Industry Exp and 2) skills. It is hard to switch to a new industry with completely different skill set. But you can change either one a little bit each time.

E.g. you may try to switch to insurance Business Development role, risk management, FP&A first.
Or you can use your sales skill to spin into a sales role in another industry, e.g. private bank, corporate bank RM,

And then from there you can move a little step forward each time. So I am planning my next move into PE or CD in a broader industry (Bank, Asset Man, TMT, Real Estate).

Age is also a concern, I felt that at 30 that was really my last chance to switch field. Had I waited any longer I will be stuck in actuary role for life. If it is early in your career it wouldn't hurt to start over in an entry level role but in an industry you want to work for (e.g. bank, IB, funds or even Big 4). You may take a pay cut but in the long run you are better off. Of course if you already have a family or other commitment that's another story.

Sep 15, 2017

What does career progression and compensation look like at your company?

Sep 14, 2017
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