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A Math and Finance double major has become a very successful actuary

When I entered WVU, I was solely a Mathematics major. I was convinced that my destiny was to calculate statistics for ESPN. However, I graduated high school in the post-Great Recession world, and I watched as ESPN laid employees off. I realized this was not a very financially stable dream. Soon after starting school, I declared finance as my backup major. It turns out that the two majors complemented themselves quite well.

As I was searching for a career path, one of my finance professors told me that I should become an actuary. Like most people, I had to Google what an Actuary was. After a little bit of research, I thought it sounded perfect – a career that combined probability, statistics, calculus, and finance? Count me in! It was also an opportune time for me to pursue this path, as WVU’s Finance and Mathematics departments were actively working together to create an actuarial curriculum. I began taking the actuarial classes that the mathematics department offered, and I passed one actuarial exam while in school.

Upon graduation, I did not take a traditional actuarial route – I went into commercial banking. I worked on stress testing capital levels, and more recently have analyzed the frequency and severity of loan losses to calculate the bank’s reserve. My employer has been incredibly supportive of my actuarial career. I studied for and passed the remaining preliminary Actuary exams while in the workforce and became an Associate Actuary in the Society of Actuaries (SOA) and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) in April 2018. I’m currently pursuing a fellowship in the SOA in Quantitative Finance and Investments.

There are also benefits to taking the road less traveled. I wrote an article for the AAA magazine about what it’s like being an Actuary in a non-traditional role. Because of this article, I was asked to speak at a banking seminar sponsored by multiple actuarial organizations. This has really expanded my network and reinforced my decisions to not only become an Actuary, but to enter banking as well.