Sam Cosgriff discusses working for a consulting firm
Initially I started my career working for a New Zealand based health insurer, but have since moved to an actuarial and analytical consulting firm based in New Zealand and Australia. On a daily basis I find the work engaging and challenging. I enjoy playing a key role in supporting organisations in meeting their objectives. Consulting work is often varied, and below I share some examples of projects which I have worked on.
♦ Being engaged by a NZ based insurer to understand the purchasing behaviour of their existing customer base and identifying and scoring customers based on their likelihood to take up an offer that the business was looking to launch. This formed the basis of a target campaign approach which was then successfully rolled out by the business.
♦ Being engaged by a party to value an existing life insurance distribution network. This involved building models with the aim to understanding future cash-flows which formed a key foundation in determining a value of the business.
Sam’s view of the skills required to be an actuarial student
My experience so far in my career is that the skill set required to have a successful actuarial career is varied and develops over time. At its core is a strong foundation in a quantitative area – traditionally in New Zealand this has seen students completing either mathematical, statistical or engineering degrees. Complementing this would be some exposure to some business focused areas of study – accounting, finance or economics. Exposure to a computer programming language (R, SQL, SAS) will also be advantageous, but not a necessity.
An increasing focus is being placed on the importance that “soft skills” have. Actuarial work by its nature is technical and as such can be difficult to understand for those without actuarial backgrounds, yet they may rely on actuarial advice in order to make decisions. An ability to explain clearly and concisely, both written and verbally, is therefore vitally important.