My Top Tips for Success


By Simon Curtis, FCIA

When I was asked to write an article for the new column Thoughts for Today—and Tomorrow, my mind immediately turned to one of the questions that I’ve been asked most frequently by younger actuaries—which is advice on what I did to achieve success in my career that they could apply to their own careers. Over the years, my answer to this question has remained quite consistent, and is still the advice I give today when asked this question.

First off, I think it’s important to realize that there is no such thing as a sure path to success—there are a lot of strong actuaries and professionals out there with similar skills and potential looking for opportunities to develop their careers, and like it or not, good fortune and chance do play a role in how our careers develop. It’s important that we always stay humble enough to realize this. And it’s important to realize that not everyone has the same career trajectory goals—the times I am usually asked this question are when individuals want to accelerate/progress their careers as strongly as they can, but this is not everyone’s goal.

So, with those thoughts, what do I recommend for individuals who want to push onward and upward as much as they can?

Finally, I would offer a word on networking. Networking is very beneficial, as it’s a way to build bridges outside of your immediate work environment, but again, networking is a complement to everything above, not a substitute.

Good luck to all of you, especially the younger actuaries embarking on their careers, and I hope you find a fulfilling career path that meets your own goals.

Simon Curtis, FCIA, is chief actuary, central life reserving at Munich Re, and was CIA President in 2012–2013.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires