Alumni Spotlight

Hope Morrison

Major/Emphasis: Applied Statistics and Analytics
Current Position Title: Loan Orgination Software Consultant
Company Name: GOLDPoint Systems

Why she picked his major:

It well prepared me for multiple possible career paths since I wasn't certain what work I wanted to do.

How schooling helped prepare her for her current position:

It taught me to be resourceful. If I didn't understand a concept, I learned how to seek help as well as how to do my own research into the problem. School taught me how to work hard and to work smart. This has set me apart as a job candidate and has helped me exceed expecations during the training phase. 

Her advice to those currently studying:

Ask questions. Network! It's as easy as sending an email or initiaing a conversation with a professor. Utlilize academic advisement. Ask more questions. Join or host study groups. Teaching what you're learing will solidify your understanding of the concept.

Other information or suggestions:

Be confident! Take good care of not just your mind, but your body and spirit. Don't sweat the small stuff... enjoy this part of life. If you have a family, embrace your "and"... your multiple roles have the potential of enriching one another.

David A. Quinn, ASA, MAAA

Major/Emphasis: Actuarial Science
Current Position Title: Associate - Actuary
Company Name: Mercer (Government Human Services Consulting)

Why he picked his major:

When I was a junior in high school I took an AP Statistics course and enjoyed it. I asked the teacher what you could do with statistics other than being a statistician. They mentioned that there were professionals, called actuaries, that had to know a combination of stats, economics, and accounting. That was great news! At the time I couldn't decide if I wanted to be a statistician, economist, or an accountant, so a combo package was appealing. It was also the coolest job title I had ever heard.

How schooling helped prepare him for his current position:

Any classes applicable to SOA exams were a high priority. Classes that used SAS, Excel VBA, and R were important for learning problem solving, data management, and coding skills. Technical writing classes did not add much value to my college experience but were more valuable once I had a consulting job.

His advice to those currently studying:

  • Read Cal Newport's book, Deep Work, and follow his blog, Study Hacks.
  • Studying should be 75% active recall and practice problems (at exam difficulty), 25% reading/watching material and reviewing notes.
  • For learning facts and details use spaced repetition software (e.g. Anki). For practice exams, I like Coaching Actuaries or past exams released by the SOA. Be sure to simulate exam conditions, for example; use a #2 pencil, remove the back of your calculator (TI-30XS MultiView is a must), time yourself.

Other information or suggestions: 

  • Protect your sleep, do not give into the fear of missing out.
  • Mindfulness meditation and a minimalist lifestyle are great tools against stress.
  • Internships and networking are more powerful than resumes when it comes to landing a job. Also, know the tools of the company you want to work for. For example, I get resumes from BYU students with great R skills, but weak in Excel, and Excel is the main tool for our sector.