Interview with Nicholas Kallis - Qualified Actuary
Interview with Nicholas Kallis, FSA, MAAA
Ques 1: Why did you choose Actuarial Science as a career?
Answer: I recall my last year of high school graduation, pondering and deliberating on what a suitable career would be. My mathematics teacher introduced me to the world of actuarial science by bringing some magazines and periodicals to read about this profession. My teacher that way planted the seed and from that point on, further research and meeting a successful practicing actuary solidified this goal and path for me to pursue.
Ques 2: How is it like to work in USA and Cyprus. What will be the difference you observe in both insurance markets?
Answer: I must say, always from my point of view, the differences are significant. At the same time one has to fairly and reasonably compare the two countries and respective markets. The USA of course is quite advanced, offers tremendous opportunity in terms of credentialing, continuous development, remuneration and other aspects, as the demand for actuaries is strong. Cyprus on the other hand is a smaller country, the demand for credentialed professionals is not quite high but a driven hard-working individual may still have the chance and opportunity to prosper and grow.
Ques 3: What are your roles and responsibilities in your current role so that our readers will know what type of work they will do once qualified.
Answer: Prior to joining Milliman, I worked as an Actuary for Anthem, Inc. in Atlanta, United States, a leading health benefits company serving more than 40 million within its family of health plans. Throughout my experience I have been involved in various activities concerning model development, implementation and testing. I have worked on:
· Rate calculations and regulatory filings
· Risk management assignments
· Underwriting support
· Benefit pricing
· Mergers and Acquisitions assignments
· Trend Analytics
Ques 4: If you want to hire a college graduate, what type of skills are you looking for in a candidate?
Answer: Of course skills have to be relevant to the particular job you are trying to fill. Skills that I think are essential for a college graduate are problem-solving skills, excel and some basic programming competency and communication skills. In addition during the interview process I would try to figure out the candidate’s drive, motivation, what their goals/aspirations are and how well they would fit with the team.
Ques 5: How did you manage your work-life-study balance while giving exams? What are the tips you can give to actuarial aspirants?
Answer: During exam taking, significant sacrifices need to be made, unfortunately. Exams require time, devotion and perseverance. For some the exam process can be more difficult than for others. My advice is again perseverance, stay motivated and find ways to improve your exam taking techniques and skills. Solutions and answers in various areas of the process are not one-size-fits-all.
Ques 6: What’s your view on learning programming languages for actuarial students? Which one is your favourite and why?
Answer: Learning programming languages is quite vital, for the typical actuarial analyst and consultant. It is an essential skill for data extraction, analysis and visualization, which requires continuous development. R is my personal favourite for various reasons. It is a robust statistical language and it is not there just to help in the technical fields/aspects but it can be of great help in the business overall.
Ques 7: What kept you motivated throughout your actuarial journey and getting credentials i.e. FSA and MAAA?
Answer: I would confidently say never really forgetting my initial goal and then my family and kids drove that underlying motivation to keep going and getting up after a failure.
Ques 8: Now that you have cleared your actuarial exams. What do you do in your free time?
Answer: Certainly spending that much needed time with family. At the same time the consulting environment can be quite demanding in terms of work and hours and it is a big relief not to worry about setting time aside for studying.
Ques 9: What will be the future of actuaries in the upcoming 5-10 years according to you?
Answer: I believe that the future for actuaries is promising. The actuarial profession has the ability to grow stronger. However, actuaries collectively need to work to champion our profession and highlight the quality work that we do on numerous areas. Our opportunities will only grow as we adapt to new technology, refine our business acumen, enhance our ability to communicate results and partner with other growing specialties.
Note: If you are a qualified actuary and want to share your views. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org