This summer, I worked with Nick, an Actuarial Science major from Maryville University, at my internship outside of St. Louis. He helped me tremendously throughout my internship because he started working at RGA about six weeks before I did, and without him I’m not sure how I would have figured much of anything out! He agreed to chat with me about his experience with Actuarial Science and at Maryville.
I know I’ve said this before, but it’s always interesting for me to hear about differences between Actuarial Science programs at various universities. Maryville stands out to me because it is a great option for an Actuarial Science program at a small school, which is somewhat rare – most programs are at relatively large schools. Enough of my thoughts though – enjoy Nick’s College Candid!
Why did you choose to go to Maryville University?
I liked that it was close to home – I’m from O’Fallon, Missouri, which is about 25 minutes away. I also chose Maryville for the Actuarial Science program, which isn’t a common program in Missouri.
What is one of your favorite and least favorite things about Maryville?
I really like that it’s a small school and has that classic small school feeling. I recognize a lot of people on the campus and know most people in the Actuarial Science program.
My least favorite thing about Maryville is that on-campus housing is really expensive.
What organizations are you involved in?
One organization that I’m involved in is the Actuarial Science Club. The club gives students networking opportunities to increase their chances of getting internships. We have events like company information nights, career fairs, and alumni events. The alumni events are really cool because we do fun things like bowling and demo ball with alumni from the Actuarial Science program at Maryville.
I’m also on the Maryville club baseball team. It’s very laid back and we have one practice a week. You don’t have to go to all of the games, so it’s good for people who want to keep playing beyond high school but are fairly busy with school and other priorities.
Do you have an internship?
Yes, I currently have an internship with RGA, which is an insurance company about 10 minutes from Maryville. It’s been great because it gives me an advantage to try and find full-time jobs, at RGA and at other companies because of my job experience. I’m able to work part-time during the school year and full-time over the summer.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
I like Global Quesadilla – after 8pm, there’s a discount. They deliver to campus which is really cool.
What do you like and dislike about Maryville’s location?
I like that it’s about 20-30 minutes away from everything. I can be at a Cardinals game in about half an hour, there’s shopping close by, and a variety of restaurants. You never have to travel an hour to get anywhere. Chesterfield is probably the closest big town, which is where RGA is, but there’s a city ordinance that requires all businesses (even Walmart and fast food places) to close early. Even gas stations close. It’s a really good area, which is cool, but it also means that the cost of living is high so apartments can get expensive.
Is there anything else people should know about Maryville?
It’s a beautiful campus. The quads are nice places to hang out, and there are a lot of building renovations going on. It’s also a very tech driven university – there are Apple TV’s in every classroom, and all students receive an iPad when they start college.
Switching to talk about your major, what made you choose Actuarial Science?
One of my high school teachers mentioned that I should look into it. I didn’t want to do engineering, and I wasn’t sure about finance. I knew I liked probability and statistics, so it seemed like a good fit for me.
What is unique about Actuarial Science at Maryville?
The program is an Actuarial Science major in the College of Arts and Sciences, which is unique in Missouri. Some other schools in the state just have Actuarial Science concentrations or minors instead of an actual degree. Also, we have a professor, Abe Gootzeit, who was an actuary for 30+ years and was an important member of the Society of Actuaries. He teaches classes like Topics in Actuarial Science, which is really cool because he really knows what he’s talking about. Maryville’s program also offers electives for classes like SQL, R, and machine learning – they’re optional but available if students want to take advantage of them.
What courses have you liked and disliked?
I really liked a class called Topics Within Actuarial Science. The professor I mentioned earlier, Abe, taught it and brought in 5 or 6 different guest speakers from different companies to talk about the industry. It was nice to get exposure to the different speakers and listen to important people talk about their work.
I disliked Linear Algebra. It doesn’t feel necessary to spend an entire semester on the material.
How do you feel the Actuarial Science program has helped you with your future career?
It has helped me make connections with local companies – like I said, I have an internship at RGA. There are also companies in St. Louis, like Towers Watson, that we network with as well. The professors in the program are incredibly willing to take time and meet with students to go over anything we don’t understand, which is awesome. The prep classes for the Actuarial Exams are definitely helpful, but they’re once a week for 2 hours and 45 minutes, which is obviously not always easy to completely pay attention through.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I’d like to be an actuary in the St. Louis area, but I’m not against moving away. If I did move, I’d probably go the East Coast. I probably won’t go to graduate school because it isn’t a necessity for actuaries – it’s more important to get credentials. I’ll probably work toward my FSA because I really enjoy the actuarial work I’ve done.
Interested in sharing your college story in a College Candid? Send me an email at JessicaAckley7@gmail.com with your university and major!