AMERICAN ACADEM Y OF AC TUARIES 2 0 1 8 A C T U A R I A L J O B S E E K E R | 15
This also speaks to adaptability. “As a consultant
you really have to have the ability to adapt and understand quickly the client’s culture and infrastructure,”
said Thomas A. Campbell, secretary-treasurer of the
Academy and senior consulting actuary for Actuarial
Resources Corp., who became an actuarial consultant
after working 30 years for a life insurance company.
That includes quickly figuring out the best go-to
person and locating information, he added.
Because consultants are “parachuted into” a client’s
unique organizational structure and culture, Modlin
said, they need to immerse themselves in it. Having a
natural curiosity also helps tease out the presenting
issues from the actual business problem.
And because consulting firms tend to be relatively flat, consultants must be comfortable working
both autonomously and with a team, she said. While
consulting firms support some training, “There is an
expectation that your development would be
somewhat self-driven,” she added.
Consulting requires greater technical proficiency
as well, because as consultants move up the ladder,
they become the last line of defense before a product
is submitted to a client, Mosley said. Correspondingly,
a solid reputation, built on quality work and meeting
deadlines, also is critical. “Honestly, having no reputa-
tion is better than having a bad one,” Mosley said. “I’ve
seen some people get bad reputations, and that can be
the end of a consulting career.”
The ability to clearly communicate, both interper-
sonally and through the written word, also is critical.
People drawn to objective quantifying careers “want
the math to speak for them,” Modlin said. However, the
consultant’s role is to produce the actuarial work and
specific actionable insights to help enact change. “You
are being engaged to transform the client, not simply to
produce the analysis,” she noted.
“You have to be an actual problem-solver and
communicator, and most people are not built that
way—especially actuaries,” Rabin said. “If a consultant
cannot connect with the client, then all of the hard
work is lost. This is especially true when trying to
present complex analytical work to a non-actuary,” she
added. Clear communication requires being able to see
information through the eyes of the client, Mosley said.
“You need the ability to take off your actuary hat and
put on your client’s hat,” he added.
Consulting actuaries also should be willing and able
to help promote and market their firms through social
media and websites, said Don Mango, adjunct professor
at Columbia University who started his own consulting
firm, Innovensure Advisory Solutions.
Fortunately, there are ways to build on necessary
skills. Recognizing that extroverted behavior helps
develop ongoing client relationships, Rabin, who also
is an industrial organizational psychologist, challenged
herself to improve in this area. Her methods include
taking an improv class and spending time near the
refreshment area at networking events.
to “self-monitor” behaviors “to be
what your client wants you to be.”