Alastair Mason is a one year placement intern at Pacific Life Re which began in September 2019. Pacific Life Re is a life reinsurer offering a comprehensive range of reinsurance services and support to insurance clients. Ali studies Economics with Politics at the University of Bath and is considering a career as an Actuary. Here he speaks about his experience on an actuarial placement.
Why did you choose to do an internship?
I study Economics at University, which looks at the different trends in the financial services market and is quite a technical and numerate course that requires a year-long professional placement. I’ve always been interested in exploring the Actuarial career path and the internship at Pacific Life Re felt like the perfect opportunity to gain some hands- on experience.
How did the internship tie-in with your overall career plans?
I’ve always struggled with deciding what I want to do with my career, at the moment I’m trying to take in as much information as I can and find out what paths are open to me. I feel that studying Economics has opened up a whole world of opportunities for me, as it combines a lot of key disciplines that provide you with a transferable skillset that you can utilise across a lot of
What was the application process like? – any advice for future applicants?
To start with, we had to submit a few application questions along with our CV. This was a good research and preparation exercise that helped me understand a bit more about the role. This was followed by an assessment day where I felt the recruiters were trying to gauge a better understanding of our technical skills rather than expertise. I’d advise prospective interns to relax and focus on being able to show how well you can collaborate with others as well as demonstrating your numerical thinking and capability.
What attracted you to your role?
The role seemed like good exposure to a numerate and technical field. Actuaries work with complex data and reporting systems on a daily basis which sounded like a beneficial skill to pick up. The role seemed to have quite a lot of variety in terms of the skills and areas I would be learning and picking up on a day-to day basis.
What were your main duties?
In Actuarial valuation, your bread and butter is the quarterly reporting which I was involved with every quarter. This involves valuing our treaties every quarter and calculating different sets of data. I’ve also had the chance to get involved with treaty implementations and calculation of collateral on an ongoing basis.
What were the most important things you learnt from the internship?
I think the most important thing I’ve taken away is just the professional experience itself. This is my first work experience in a professional environment, so I’ve really appreciated getting an understanding of office dynamics, learning a diverse variety of computer programs and systems and getting to work in a team.
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
I managed to improve my time management and communication skills during the internship. These are aspects I felt I lacked before I started with the company. I have regular conversations with my line manager where we discuss my objectives and any challenges that I need help with, this has really helped me feel supported in my development.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
I think it is important to research the potential fields and career paths that you could take after University first and see which appeals to you most. I did a lot of research into the Actuarial field before I applied at Pacific Life Re, I wanted to make sure that the skills and knowledge I picked up during my time here would benefit me in the future.