• Name: James McConnell
  • Job Title: Actuarial Associate
  • Location: Dublin
  • University: Queen’s Belfast
  • Degree: Actuarial Science
APR - James McConnell - Actuarial Associate

What attracted me to APR?

I was in my final year of an Actuarial Science degree at Queen’s University Belfast, so I was keen to obtain a graduate role that would give me a good footing to continue on the path to qualification. With my exemptions I had a good start, but APR’s study package really appealed to me as a fantastic way to tackle the long road ahead, while picking up invaluable experience from project work to help with the process.

I had completed a placement year at a general insurance company in Dublin, on the reserving team. By the end of my time there, I had gotten quite used to the three-month cycle of work and wanted something a bit more variable. APR represented the perfect way to break through to the other industries associated with actuarial work, giving me a broad range of experience.

I was hired as the first member of staff through the APR Dublin office. The “new normal” of remote working has really benefitted me, allowing me to stay in close contact with APR staff in other offices, and work on projects and opportunities that I mightn’t have been exposed to had everything been in person.

Working at APR?

One aspect of APR I have found myself deeply involved in is the in-house work. I have implemented a number of automation tools developed by APR’s Technology Team into our graduate recruitment process. I have found this a very engaging task, as it is not usually an area of work that actuarial staff would get involved in. Over time I have also started marking online tests and taking phone interviews, which has really helped me understand the stages of our recruitment process and how they engage our applicants.

As mentioned previously, professional study was a difficult prospect for me after graduating, but APR’s attitude towards it has really helped me get used to it. My manager always treats my study as a priority, making it much easier for me to focus on the study itself. The internal team has always been very responsive to my study needs as well e.g. booking exams, ordering study materials, and I think I would struggle a lot more with studying if I didn’t have this support.

Early responsibilities?

One fantastic (if a little daunting) opportunity offered by working for APR is the ability to take on a lot of responsibility early on. On my first project we started as a team of 3 APR staff members, developing a model for a client. I got a lot of hands-on experience developing this model, and often would participate in detailed discussions with the client. The support from the other APR staff ensured I never felt out of my depth, and we developed a high-quality model the client was very impressed with.

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