• Role: Actuarial Trainee
  • Location: Birmingham
  • University: Exeter
  • Degree: Mathematics and Management
  • Organisation: Hymans Robertson

Emma Foster

I chose to pursue a career as an actuary whilst I was at university. I studied Maths and Management and decided I wanted to continue to use the skills and mathematical knowledge I had learnt at university in my career. I looked into careers that heavily involved maths and this led me too the actuarial field.

What are your main duties/roles?

My role varies quite a lot as I am involved with different types of work. On a day to day basis, I mainly get involved with member calculations, drafting reports and advice and providing general support to clients. I am involved in both Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution and also investment work. I work on about five clients, so my time is split between these teams, although some of my clients are busier than others.

How did you get your job at Hymans Robertson?

I applied for a summer internship at Hymans Robertson following my second year at university. After completing the eight week internship in the summer of 2016, I was offered a graduate job for the year after I finished university.

What skills are useful in this profession?

  • Mathematical/analytical skills are necessary for performing and checking calculations. Some of the work we do can be very complex and thus it is important to understand the maths behind it. Mathematical skills are also important to help pass the professional exams.
  • Communication skills are just as important as technical skills in this field. Much of our time is spent drafting reports and papers and providing advice to clients either face to face or over the phone or email. These skills become more important as you progress through your career and begin to attend client meetings and are involved with more client interaction.
  • Teamwork is another key skill to have. Most of the work carried out is done in client or project teams which include a range of individuals with different levels of experience. It is crucial that you are able to work with others of varying experience.
  • IT skills are also useful as much of our work is done using programmes such as excel – although this is a skill you can develop on the job!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I enjoy most is the people I work with and the variety of work I can get involved with. There are so many opportunities to get involved with different pieces of work and projects which means I am always learning new things and working with different people. It is also satisfying to know that the work we have done has a positive impact on our clients. My colleagues are very supportive and encouraging and are always willing to help out with any questions I may have.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?

My advice would be to do some research into the industry and the background of the job to ensure that it is something you will enjoy, it’s important to be aware of the time that needs to be dedicated to studying, as it is not always easy!

I would highly recommend applying for internships following the penultimate year at university. Internships are a great opportunity to find out more about the profession and whether it is a career that would suit you in the long run. It is also a great experience that can be used in future job interviews, especially if you do decide to pursue an actuarial career.

Before attending any interviews I would recommend researching the firm and their values/key areas of business as well as the industry to find out any latest updates or interesting news stories. This will help demonstrate your interest in both the firm and the career during your interview and give you something to talk or ask questions about.

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