3/16/10

I am a junior at a non-target majoring in Math with a previous career goal of becoming an actuary and working as an actuarial consultant after graduation at PwC, Towers Watson, or Deloitte. Since my freshman year I have held 2 insurance internships (one at Travelers as an underwriter, the other at Aetna as an actuary) and this upcoming summer I have accepted an offer to work at PwC as an actuarial consultant.

However, I have grown interest in investment banking and although its too late for a summer internship in banking, I was curious of my chances of getting a full time offer after I graduate. It is my understanding that most BBs, after their deep cuts, are rebuilding, and may look outside their internship class (a little more than in the past) for FT offers. I was just curious of my chances since I'm coming from a quantitative background but do have decent knowledge of markets, valuations, etc

Any feedback on my current position or suggestions to help make myself more marketable during my final year of undergrad are greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Comments (9)

3/16/10

Make sure you keep an extremely high GPA and network like crazy.

Investment Banking Interview Course

3/16/10

I've actually heard that an actuary is one of the highest satisfaction jobs out there. Pretty decent pay and awesome hours.

3/16/10

It is, but I ultimately want to go get an MBA and I feel that 3-5 years in banking is the best work experience. I just want to position myself to have the best chance to get accepted into a top 10 MBA program.

3/17/10

Dude, don't change all your plans because you want an MBA. I'm sure you can still get in a good MBA program after 4-5 years as an Actuary. As long as you have decent GPA, GMAT, and worked at large well known companies like Towers, PwC, D, etc. Be it, I am also looking to get into B-school in the future and do not have MBA. I do have friends that worked at F 500 and consulting at Columbia, Northwestern, and U Chicago and another applying to Wharton, from Oliver Wyman background.

I personally think sticking with what you are good at and like doing is a better option than trying to do a career switch in Junior year cause you've heard a few rumors that banking gets you into good B-school. You will also be competing against all the other bankers as everyone (almost) to get MBA. Maybe people in B-school or have MBA can share some breakdown of their class makeup. I personally think an Actuary will give you a pretty good shot as long as you pass the 11 exams and go to a well known company.

I was watching this documentary (about a year ago) and they interviewed a couple at HBS. The guy was a Army Captain and I think the girl was in the military as well. Both went to Top 25 undergrad if I remember correctly.

Hug It Out

3/17/10

Dude, don't change all your plans because you want an MBA. I'm sure you can still get in a good MBA program after 4-5 years as an Actuary. As long as you have decent GPA, GMAT, and worked at large well known companies like Towers, PwC, D, etc. Be it, I am also looking to get into B-school in the future and do not have MBA. I do have friends that worked at F 500, consulting, 2 years of Peace Corps and F 500 are now at Columbia, Northwestern, and U Chicago and another applying to Wharton, from Oliver Wyman background.

I personally think sticking with what you are good at and like doing is a better option than trying to do a career switch in Junior year cause you've heard a few rumors that banking gets you into good B-school. You will also be competing against all the other bankers as everyone (majority) plan to get an MBA. Maybe people in B-school or have MBA can share some breakdown of their class makeup. I personally think an Actuary will give you a pretty good shot as long as you pass the 11 exams and go to a well known company.

I was watching this documentary (about a year ago) and they interviewed a couple at HBS. The guy was a Army Captain and I think the girl was in the military as well. Both went to Top 25 undergrad if I remember correctly.

Hug It Out

3/17/10

I completely agree with the bulk of what Ari said. It is one thing to change careers because you have suddenly realized a passion for career X and lost your interest in career Y - that is fine. It is something else entirely to go for career X just because you think it might give you a bit of a better shot at an MBA. B schools really want to see that you've made an impact at your employer, have grown as a person and a professional, and are smart and capable (leadership, etc is bonus of course). That said, while banking does turn out many MBAs to many top schools, it is often because the analyst is absolutely and completely done with anyone even resembling banking and needs a promising exit out.

Often these are people who liked banking or have known that they wanted to be in banking for a while - not deciding on a whim. Banking is an incredibly demanding profession that often fails to exceed or even meet the visions and ideas that students have for it when coming in. While you could very well go into banking, do well, and then attend B school, you can also get into a good B school after working as an actuary or countless other professions. If you hate your job, you are not going to perform as well as you should, and if you don't perform well, don't grow, don't step up, it's going to be that much harder to get into a good B school.

Can you get into banking - it's possible - you'll need a really strong GPA, you'll need to network a lot, you'll need to brush up on some basics in accounting and finance and you'll need to have a good reason for why banking and not the path you've been preparing for since the beginning of college. The big questions here, however, isn't whether you can, it's whether you should. You need to really figure out if you want to go through the several years in banking to go to B school or not.

3/17/10

I would first like to thank you all for your responses especially Ari_Gold & BankonBanking .... I would like to clarify that I did at first want to be in banking and finance but due to the market instability I figured the actuarial career path would be safer. I think I do have decent knowledge of markets and have even started an amateur investment fund using capital from friends at school with returns of 45.9% profit over 5 months with total capital of $20K+.

I feel that I would like and thrive in both actuarial and banking professions and my long term goal is to get into a top 10 Business school, and all I want to do now is position myself so that I stand the best chance of getting accepted.

It is just my understanding that banking/finance work experience is so much more respected and I wasn't sure if I could actually get in from an actuarial background.

Any further comments are greatly appreciated! Thanks again!

3/17/10

In that case, you need to learn what investment banking actually is. Running an investment fund is nothing like investment banking, and if you really enjoy the experience you've had doing that in school then there's a very good chance that you would not like investment banking. Investment banking is a sales business -- it's not investing -- and the junior roles are about supporting the transaction process. You're time isn't going to be spent analyzing investments and movements in the markets.

The most important thing to do if you want to go to a top business school is pick a job that you will be successful in -- that you'll progress in and grow to the point of taking on responsibilities for managing other employees. Banking is a great filter for business school too, because it's incredibly demanding and most people in the business are very smart. But you shouldn't choose a career path based on how well you think it will set you up for business school.

3/17/10
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