What is it like on a summer internship at Redington? Hui Lyu tells us about her time at Redington and offers her advice to those interested…
Why did you choose to do an internship?
I was keen to fill my time usefully during the super long 4-month summer holiday. I wanted to use this window to get some relevant work experience and see how the theoretical actuarial models learnt at University are used in industry to create real value and client income. I also hoped that it would give me an advantage when seeking opportunities after graduation. The pay also helped to support the costs associated with University.
How did it tie in with your overall career plans?
At high school, I had decided that I wanted to be an actuary, and this was confirmed once I started studying for BSc Actuarial Science. However, I wasn’t sure which area I wanted to specialise in, there are many to choose from e.g. life insurance, general insurance, pension liabilities, investment, risk and so on. I was confused about the different options and had little knowledge of them.
Financial investment interested me the most, so I felt an internship at Redington could be a good start as it provides exposure to the entire business cycle, all asset classes and whole portfolios. I explored more about the investment consultancy industry for institutional investors with liability requirements such as pension funds, insurance companies and wealth managers. My Redington internship experience helped me understand that asset liability management modelling is where I could make a significant difference to people’s lives. Asset liability modelling is the use of advanced quantitative modelling techniques to analyse risk and how assets could be allocated to meet the liability requirement.
I have recently returned to Redington on their graduate programme, where I benefit from a generous study package, which includes up to 40 days annual study leave, tutorials, paid exam fees and support from peers. Together with my actuarial exemptions from LSE, I aim to pass the rest of the exams and get qualified in the following 2 to 3 years.
What was the application process like – any advice?
There were various stages;
Online application to pitch yourself – learn more about yourself, know how you differentiate from others well, ask others for advice and revision, proof read for non-native speakers.
Online test – prepare, do sample tests, get used to types of questions and generalise techniques to improve speed and accuracy, perform the best out of your ability.
Video interview – do research, collect as much information as you can to show interest (also important for later stages), dress properly and try to relax!
Interview – both technical and behavioural – practice typical questions such as self-introduction and motivation questions, do mock interviews with peers and get feedback, network with alumni/friends who work there to get a feel of the business and culture.
What attracted you to your role?
There were lots of things that attracted me to the role, to name a few;
There was encouragement and support to learn the whole ecosystem of how the team works from scratch, from reconciliation to reports, underlying simulation methodology and risk measurement.
The exposure to a variety of asset classes, ranging from traditional equity and fixed income to alternative private equity and infrastructure and so on, which helps to build a well-rounded understanding of the entire investment industry.
The interaction with other parties in the investment consultancy sector, such as pension liability actuaries and asset managers.
The opportunity to propose new ideas or suggestions to anything! From the formulae used in the ALM team or even the company structure. The flat structure and culture here means that everyone’s voice is heard and listened to.
The office is located in the City of London which is full of fun places to go after work including boutique cafes and galleries as well as historical places of interest. The flexible working hours are great too.
What were your main duties?
I assisted in producing quarterly risk reports for clients, I was involved in the development of an online system for asset value tracking and visualisation, and I summarised statistics of clients’ funds. I researched the concept of self-managed teams with my Intern cohort and prepared a presentation back to the firm.
I also helped organise some activities with Redington’s financial education charity RedSTART.
What were the most important things you learnt from the internship?
I gained a better understanding of the industry, which in turn helped me with my studies – it put the theory into context. More importantly, it helped me to make a better career decision instead of knowing nothing until starting to work. It helped me to decide to complete a masters’ degree before working – I was keen to build a solid academic background.
It’s good to get the idea of what the working life, as an employee, is really like – it’s not scaring at all – but it was filled with sense of achievement after completing tasks and sense of belonging when meeting and getting to know interesting people both during work and at work social events.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
Talk to people, learn more about the industry from a diverse portal of information, choose what you want the most and make an informed decision. Perhaps start with your favourite sector/position. An internship is not like permanent work, as a student you can explore and try, so don’t be afraid to go for some “risky” options!
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
I gained an understanding of the overall financial services industry and how my studies apply to real life. I acquired financial knowledge and modelling techniques. The most valuable experience was collaboration. I hadn’t been involved much in group work before my internship but afterwards I realised the importance of team work. Everyone understands problems differently and contributes to projects in different ways – this brings innovative ideas and solutions.