Kristina Fisher is a Product Manager at Farmers Insurance. Kris manages Farmers Specialty Property products (Manufactured Homes and Dwelling Fire Owner Occupied, Landlord and Vacant products) in 5 states (AK, WA, OR, PA and NY). This means she works with the actuarial group at Farmers to determine pricing to cover anticipated losses, develop product offerings based on the needs of Farmers' customers, and work with distribution teams to educate agents and claims adjusters on those products. Kris says that the best parts of her job are that she doesn't have a typical day, that she gets to interact with nearly every department in the organization, and that she gets to work with quite a few GVSU mathematics and statistics grads who also work at Farmers. After completing her bachelor's degree in mathematics in 2005, Kris went on to earn a Masters Degree in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
As part of her job Kris needs to be able to take data, come to a conclusion (of which there is no one right answer), and pitch her proposals to senior management in a clear and concise manner. This involves understanding very technical ideas, such as actuarial principals or the rating logic used in Farmers' premium processing system. Having a background in mathematics gave Kris the training to think through processes and help identify possible unwanted outcomes before they become a problem.
Kris identifies MTH 210 (Communicating in Mathematics) course as very helpful in her work. Although she doesn't write proofs as part of her job, she uses the same concepts to walk management through her thought processes when presenting proposals. Kris found the calculus sequence to be essential, and having at least a small background in statistics is also helpful.
According to Kris, companies are looking for smart people with either experience or a graduate degree. Taking a position in a company to get your foot in the door will help get you the experience and industry knowledge you need to advance. As an alternative, consider getting your graduate degree immediately after your finishing your undergraduate program, if possible. Find a way to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.
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