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Essential actuarial survival skills

In this blog, Chloe Hung, Amazon best-selling author, describes some essential skills required to become an actuary.

During the journey to becoming an actuary, many students tend to focus on the academic aspect. But while passing the actuarial exams are important, these only make up a small part of your entire actuarial journey.

To be successful at work, you must know how to apply what you have learned to problem solving. You’ll also need good communications skills and a high level of professionalism and integrity. These are all essential skills when working in the actuarial world.

Good problem-solving skills are important because you will be required to analyse and solve problems for your company. If you truly want to become an actuary, being analytical is a must.

You have to be able to analyse the risks, possible outcomes, and costs associated with future events. This is a skill that can’t be learned through text books. You will only get better at it with time, experience and practice.

Communication skills are also equally important. Successful actuaries are people who can take a difficult subject and explain it in simple terms to a lay person. This is a skill that is best built through networking events, leadership roles, work experience or extra-curricular.

Being ethical is another essential component of being an actuary. Actuaries are always looking forward and making forecasts of future events. This is why it’s important to have a high degree of professionalism and integrity in your work as an actuary. Always validate your data before presenting your results to colleagues and management. Only advise people to the extent that your training, qualification and experience enables you to.

Since actuarial work involves analysing huge data sets, having good technical skills is very important. You’ll be using Excel every day so take some Excel courses to brush up on your technical skills. These will be very helpful when you’re applying for jobs.

The path to becoming successful within the actuarial profession ultimately comes down to passion. You’ll be less likely to succeed if you don’t have a passion or interest for what you’re doing. It may be possible to pass the actuarial exams and land a full time actuarial job without passion but will you ever truly enjoy it? Nearly all successful actuaries are passionate about what they do and truly believe their work contributes to a better society.