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  • Name: Dean Woodward
  • Job Title: Actuarial Analyst
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • University: Heriot-Watt
  • Degree: PhD Mathematics and BSc Mathematical, Statistical and Actuarial Sciences
APR - Dean Woodward - Actuarial Analyst

My ambition to pursue the lucrative career of being an Actuary required me to depart to the lovely city of Edinburgh straight out of Sixth Form.

What is your current role?

APR is a well-respected consultancy firm within the Actuarial world, after six weeks of in-house training, I started working on a migration project. There are many stages in this project, I was responsible for translating scripts from one programming language to another and testing that the outputs match as well as completing the supporting documentation. More recently, I’ve been working with a different team in the Reconciliation environment making sure that the scripts reconcile with up to date data. The fluency in the profession and shift of teams is something I have really come to value as it has allowed me to be more fluid within different teams.

How did it tie in with your overall career plans?

During conversations amongst fellow Analysts within APR, the goals for joining were to enter the Actuarial world, gain experience and learn about the profession for a few years before tackling the exams required by the Institute and Facility of Actuaries (IFoA) to be a qualified actuary. What personally attracted me to this path was to do with the values and principles that the job requires and develops. A few of these include critical thinking, attention to detail and response to change. All of which are transferrable to my personal life, which I really have noticed, as well as across professions. I am working towards becoming a qualified actuary over the coming years.

Useful Skills:

Without a doubt, the single most used skill across all aspects of the actuarial and finance profession is Excel. The power of this tool is great for data analysis and modelling among many other functions.

There are other skills that I utilise during my day to day work including:

  • Concept of Programming, this allows you to use multiple languages. However, if you have extensive knowledge of one, this should be pretty natural to you
  • Knowledge of technical requirements and regulations
  • Documentation
  • Project Management/Processes

The list of programming languages we all have available to us would be pages long and each one of these have their own pros and cons. If you do have enough time, I’d definitely recommend putting some time into learning one.

How does the school leaver programme work?

With the APR Actuarial Analyst program, you get dedicated days to study. APR offer a set amount of time, roughly every 6 months, which you can decide when and how you use it. I have enjoyed the flexibility as it has allowed me to tailor my learning experience to what I have found works for me over the years. The flexibility has allowed me to tackle my first exams with confidence.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?

The most important piece of advice I can give to anyone looking to enter any profession would be to make sure that you are passionate about the industry. I would encourage you to dive deeper. Research different parts of the actuarial world and find something that makes you want to continue reading. Coming back to the Actuarial profession, it will be important that you are committed to sitting exams. Read, educate yourself and get excited!

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