I graduated with a B.S. in statistics earlier this year and have been working as an actuary for the past two months. In all honesty, I'm not very happy with the job position in the little amount of time I've been working at it. I am very close to becoming a credentialed actuary (ASA for those of you who have heard of it) and anticipate making a decision on whether or not I should leave later this year.

My dream is to become an actuarial science professor. I am really wondering whether I should pursue graduate school in statistics or just stick it out until I get a decade or so of experience (as every other actuarial professor I've seen has done).

I do realize that the Actuarial Outpost exists, but typically, actuaries tend to discourage people who want to pursue Ph.D. degrees.


Definitely stay long enough to get the accreditation.

And think very carefully before leaving. In particular, look at why actuarial professors stayed a decade.

Maybe their employer paid for their PhD. (some will shun PhDs, others will welcome them. Guess which you want)

And maybe being in industry gave them access to data that they couldn't possibly have got if they'd been outside industry. Access to lots of data should mean lots of papers. Lots of papers means furthering your academic career.

But don't just stay in industry letting your skills rot and your knowledge become outdated. Be a researcher, while in industry. Maybe do some lecturing or in-house training too.

  • None of the actuarial professors I know have both an actuarial credential and a Ph.D. As I mentioned, actuaries discourage Ph.D.s - this is because they (actuaries) fear that Ph.D.s could go to academia and leave their company (if the Ph.D. is currently working with actuaries) if they wanted to. Jul 24 '14 at 1:09

The work experience would be helpful in an academic career. But it doesn't have to be one decade. More like one to two years.

Many people stay with accounting firms for 1-2 years just to get their CPA. You could benefit from the ASA. So stick around long enough to get it, then start looking to leave when you do.

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