Sam Weiss is an actuary for Votaire, where he enjoys helping individuals understand the confusing puzzle of retirement. He graduated from Ball State in 2015 with a degree in Actuarial Science, and minors in Computer Science and Business.
What brought you to Ball State?
I knew I wanted to be in the actuarial science program when I came to Ball State. I chose Ball State because I felt confident the course work would prepare me to complete the exams required to practice in the field. In my first year, the faculty took the time to help me wrap my head around the advanced program, courses, and preparation needed to take the actuarial exams. I was grateful for their investment in my education and had passed three exams by graduation.
What can students do to prepare themselves for the industry while they are here at Ball State?
As a freshman, I was encouraged to attend the Career Fair. That early opportunity offered me the advantage of seeing the different industry options and companies right from the start. I also joined the Ball State chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, the international fraternal organization for actuarial science, risk management, and insurance students, which encouraged me to get out there and become involved. I developed a network of friends and industry professionals. It also helped my leadership skills, and I became the chapter president of Gamma Iota Sigma my senior year. I would really encourage current students to do both those things.
How did your time at Ball State help set your career path?
With three exams, a degree, and the coursework under my belt, I felt prepared for the internships I had. Upon graduation, I went back to one of my internship companies, Nyhart, and started out consulting clients in the health care field. The confidence, skills, and education I gained from Ball State prepared me to take a chance and apply for a job on an internal project. Now I work with Votaire, a program that focuses on comprehensive financial wellness. Had I not been actively involved in Gamma Iota Sigma, learning to talk to others, network, and lead projects, then I would not have been as confident in my ability to be part of the new venture that Nyhart was starting.
At Votaire, we use the data to build algorithms that look at personal finance. Votaire operates much like a start-up, so I do actuary work, but I am also involved in marketing, business, and client development. My work with Votaire really opened my eyes to other professions out there and expanded my reach.
My training and education allows me the chance to study our problems from a different angle. I take my experience as an actuary and examine business development ideas or gauge success probability by applying data-driven solutions to problems and practices.
What advice do you have for future actuaries?
My biggest piece of advice for actuarial science students besides getting involved early is to raise your hand and take the next step. Jump in, learn something new, help people when they are looking for volunteers, and go the extra mile! Being comfortable, enough with myself to say, “I’ll do it” made a great difference in my time at Ball State as a student. It has also made a significant difference in my career. Do not be afraid to raise your hand and do the extra work!