At the age of 17 I first heard about the actuarial profession when my brother brought home some information from his school careers fair. When I subsequently started my mathematics degree at University College London I was already planning to become an actuary and in my third year chose to study a number of actuarial science options in UCL’s statistics department.
Following two summer placements with the pension’s actuarial team in Barnett Waddingham’s London office, I was lucky enough to have a good idea of what actuarial consultancy work involved by the time I joined the firm as a graduate.
The actuarial exams
Studying for the actuarial exams alongside a full-time job can be tough, but by staying motivated and making effective use of study time, the chances of passing can be much improved. I have an assigned study mentor whom I meet with a few times each year to discuss my exam choices for the exam sittings in April and September.
So far, I’ve managed to complete the Core Technical series of exams (obtaining the Diploma in Actuarial Techniques) as well as the CA3 communications exam. I’m also currently working towards becoming eligible for the ‘Associate’ status of the Institute of Actuaries, which recognises those students who have been able to complete the Core Applications series of examinations as well as the Core Technical series.
Maintaining a balance between work and leisure has always been important to me and that did not have to change when I joined the actuarial profession.
In my spare time I like to play table tennis and I’ve been involved in the sport for around 20 years. At junior level I won the English Junior Girls Championships and was part of the England team that won a bronze medal at the World Student Games in Israel in 1995. Whilst at university, I captained the UCL team to win the British Universities team title and also shared the title of UCL sportswoman of the year in 2002/3. When I first joined the actuarial profession I competed regularly on the national senior circuit and was part of the team (‘London Progress’) that won the Women’s British League on two occasions.
At Barnett Waddingham there’s a keen culture of inter-office events, so I’ve been lucky enough to keep up with all the sports I enjoy at the annual table tennis, netball and 6-a-side football events. We’re also fortunate to be able to meet up with people from all of our seven offices at the Christmas party every year, which provides no end of entertainment!