Do you think Luke would be the one with the force without his mentor? NO WAY!!!
Do you think Danie Larusso would be able to deliver the “Crane” kick without Mr. Miyagi? NO WAY!!!
If only there was a Level 35 actuarial ninja that could mentor you, my fellow White Belt actuarial aprentice!!! WELL, THERE ARE PLENTY OF THOSE!!!
If only you could just look up Obi Wan Kenobi in the White Pages… Oh wait, YES YOU CAN!!!
Almost every actuarial society has a members directory! Check out this link https://www.actuarialdirectory.org/, which is the Actuarial Directory at the American Society of Actuaries. Play around with the search – you can find all actuarial members in the directory so look for someone who works in the industry you want to enter, or for someone who works in the area you know nothing about. The directory is your oyster!
Now what? Step 1:
Time to fire up that favourite email client of yours, make yourself a cup of tea and get ready to write the most eloquent and elegant email of your life. Take your time to write an email. DO NOT just blurt out that you want an actuarial mentor.
“Dear so and so. I obtained your contact information from the Actuarial Directory at the so and so Actuarial Society. I am so and so and am looking to become so and so in the near future. I would like to invite you for a quick lunch or coffee and pick your brain about so and so. Would you have some time?”
Needless to say, expand!!! Also, do everyone a favor, do not copy and paste! If you do, make sure that your fonts and colors match – otherwise you will forever lose this contact and their respect.
Now what? Step 2:
Time to browse the interwebs for everything you can find about that person. Read their articles, bios, company webpage. You need to be able to think on your feet at the interview and ask intelligent questions. No, “Do you get casual Fridays” is not one of them!
Now what? Step 3:
Be on time for the meeting. It will most likely be a half an hour chat at the local coffee shop (pay for the coffee, although most of the times they will offer to pay for it). Prepare to ask the following questions:
- How long did it take you to learn the force?
- What was your career path? Did you first work at the Jedi Library as a mailman and then got picked by Chief Actuary for your skills with the lightsaber?
- Ask them if you can occasionally email them for advice.
- Tell them your story, your exam progression, your work experience.
- Tell them what you want to be and ask for advice about the best way to get there.
Have something that differentiates you to tell them. Most of all you want them to remember you!
Best point about having an actuarial mentor – IT’S FREE!!! You get to practice your communication skills and learn about industry developments at the same time. You would be surprised that the most senior people at the local regulator met with me for a coffee.
Now what? Step 4:
The next day send them a follow up email, thanking and such. In a month or so, send them another follow up, telling your progress to date et cetera. Add them to your Holidays card list. Ensure you touch base periodically, but not more often than once every two or so months – you don’t want to annoy them but rather want to build a lasting relationship.
A few cautionary tips here – if you are set at working for a particular company, do not look for an actuarial mentor there. Also, if you already have a job/internship, do not seek a mentor at the same company. You want to be honest and unafraid to show that you know nothing.