When and why did you choose an actuarial career?
The main reason I decided to become an actuary was because of the work I’d been involved with on my placement year. My university course offered me the chance to have a year in industry, which was a great opportunity.
I worked for Lloyds Banking Group in the predictive customer modelling team, which involved building, editing and monitoring the statistical models used to predict customer behavior. I really enjoyed using the statistical software and developing my own code to optimise solutions.
When I went back to studying accountancy I didn’t find the content as interesting, and came to the realisation accounting wasn’t for me. I was keen to gain another qualification after leaving university and wanted it to be in a similar field of work to what I was doing with Lloyds.
I did some research and discovered that actuarial work sounded quite similar and the qualification offered was very highly regarded. So going into my final year of university I started applying to actuarial roles and was offered a position by Legal & General.
Briefly explain what your work involves
I am currently based in the Saving Solvency II team which is responsible for preparing L&G for the impact of Solvency II. This involves trying to find solutions to the Solvency II directives for when they’re implemented, and ensuring L&G meet all the capital and risk requirements that the EU directive sets out.
Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
Good technical skills are important as there is a lot of work using spreadsheets and models. However, more generic skills are also vital. This includes being able to communicate effectively to make sure you understand what is being asked of you and having the confidence to ask questions.
Having self discipline is also very important as you need to ensure that you are able to meet both work and study commitments throughout the year.
What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy the variety of work that I am given as it gives me opportunities to develop different skill sets and to gain a broad knowledge of the area I work in. A lot of the work that is being carried out in my team looks at designing and implementing completely new processes which will be used by the wider business in the future.
I work in the Surrey countryside so my commute to and from work is a relaxed train journey, which is much nicer than the occasions when I have to brave central London during rush hour. There is a lot of green space surrounding the office so you can go for a walk or run at lunch time and even play tennis, badminton or go swimming with the facilities that are available on site.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
Being an actuarial student it is more like a work/life/study balance! I’ve discovered that I study most effectively first thing in the morning, so I try to get into work early to ensure I can fit in about an hour and a half before work everyday.
This means I can work as long as I need to and then have the evenings completely free to relax without the worry of needing to study.
It also helps if there is something to look forward to in the evenings that you can see as a reward for all the work and study you’ve been doing throughout the day!
In career terms I would like to qualify as an actuary in less than five years, but I realise that is easier said than done. The most important thing is to develop myself, not only in my career but in other aspects of my life.
On a more personal level I would also like to have a golf handicap, be able to speak Spanish and have the opportunity to travel.