Ask an Actuary
Ask an Actuary
Alex Knights, FSA, EA, is a consulting actuary at Willis Towers Watson in Los Angeles, CA.
Q: When did you first decide to become an actuary?
Q: Who or what influenced your decision?
The Be An Actuary website.
Q: What is your educational background? Where did you attend college, and what was your major? Did you have any internships during college?
Actuarial Science Major at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica.
Q: What classes did you take in college that helped prepare you for the career? What class was most helpful? What non-quantitative classes were helpful?
It was an actuarial science major so all courses helped prepare for my career. Life contingency class was most helpful. Helpful non-quantitative class was Academic Writing.
Q: What was your first job in the profession? How did you get the job? Did you start as an intern or in an actuarial training program? What type of work did you perform in you first actuarial job?
Retirement Actuarial Analyst. Recruited during my final year in college. Started as a full time employee. Pension valuations, benefit calculations, coverage and nondiscrimination testing.
Q: Was the job like you expected? Did you have any second thoughts?
Didn't have much expectations but no second thoughts.
Q: When did you take your first exam? How long did it take for you to get through the exam process? Did you find studying for exams to be very helpful for your work?
First exam was May 2004. Seven years to complete. Only some exams were helpful for work.
Q: What was your career path from your first job to your current position?
Analyst → Senior Analyst → Consulting Actuary
Q: What type of work do you do on a day-to-day basis in your current position?
Client calls and communications, manage projects and teams, review work completed by analysts.
Q: How long have you been in the profession?
Q: What do you like best about your job?
Developing the client relationship.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are interested in becoming an actuary?
Try to talk to persons in the profession at varying levels of experience. Also, have an idea of where you want to be once exams are over.