How I Chose My Career in Actuarial Consulting #MyCareerStoryMonday

Name: Tony Maenhout

Class Year: 2019

Major: Actuarial Science

Position: Retirement Actuarial Analyst

Company: Willis Towers Watson

I started thinking about my Actuarial Consulting career when I was a freshmen in college. As is the case for many actuarial students, my career path began long before my first day working in the field. I started studying for my first actuarial exam the spring of my freshman year. Then in my sophomore year, despite my best efforts, I was unable to find an internship. Although discouraging, this motivated me to work even harder to make sure I could stay competitive. In January of my junior year I was given an opportunity to intern at Willis Towers Watson for the following summer in their Retirement line of business. My experience there completely exceeded all my expectations. I had found something I was truly passionate about. Now, I am preparing for my 4th actuarial exam and will begin working full-time at Willis Towers Watson upon graduation!

I became interested in an actuarial career when I met Emmy Roth. My interest in math goes back all the way to when I was a kid. My mom would get annoyed with how often I would just sit in the living room and count out loud to 100. She told me that ever since then she knew I’d end up doing something related to math when I grew up. Fast forwarding to college, however, I had never even heard of actuarial science. But as luck would have it, the head of our Actuarial Department (Emmy Roth) was also my First Year Seminar advisor. She helped me pick out my schedule freshman year and was excited at the fact that I was interested in math. She explained to me what an actuary was and it was exactly the kind of job I had envisioned for myself, I just didn’t know there was a name for it. So, in a way, actuarial science kind of found me.

I find the most rewarding aspect of my position is the consulting piece of it. The best part about being a consulting actuary (whether it be retirement, health and benefits, P&C, etc.) is that there is a really personal aspect to your job. I know math can be very black and white, but working in this field helps you realize that there is an art to being a consultant. It requires a wide array of cross-disciplinary knowledge, confidence, and people skills. Seeing progress in these areas, along with development in technical skills, makes for a rewarding experience that allows you to feel like a truly well-rounded individual.

I find the most challenging aspect of my position is work-life balance. I think every actuarial student will tell you this, but the most challenging aspect is finding a balance between work, studying for exams, and your personal life. It definitely takes a lot of time-management practice and finding the best ways to be efficient and productive with your time. Fortunately, many companies provide paid study time and exam support programs to ease this burden, but a lot of work is still required outside of the office. Nevertheless, if you find a routine that works for you, it’s totally manageable.

The most helpful advice I have for someone preparing for this career is to take control of your own career. Beyond the typical advice of studying hard for exams and such, be proactive and take initiative. And this is true of all fields, not just actuarial science. Employees that are the most valuable to their companies are the ones who are hungry to learn and eager to help out.

The Bentley specific resources I would recommend to someone pursuing this career are the rigorous courses offered for actuarial students. Of course taking as many exam prep courses as you can will be the most pertinent to you, but in particular, the Actuarial Practicum course (MA 402) with Liberty Mutual gave me my first taste of what it’s like to be an actuary and I think the lessons learned and experience gained through that course is unparalleled.

The person that was most helpful in getting me where I am today was my major coordinator. Emmy Roth has been hands down the most helpful and influential person with whom I’ve worked at Bentley. Not only did she provide assistance with scheduling and career planning advice, but also emotional support when classes got tough or when I was struggling to find an internship. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her motivating me to push the envelope and meet my potential.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career with Willis Towers Watson, or you’d like to learn more about the company click here. More specifically, if you are interested in their internship opportunities, here is some additional information. Also, be sure to connect with Tony on LinkedIn if you want to learn more from him!

By Rachel Linehan
Rachel Linehan CareerEdge Manager Rachel Linehan