Case study

Actuarial analyst — Masha

Masha gained entry to the actuarial profession by completing both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in mathematics

How did you get your job as an actuarial analyst?

During my PhD I was working part time as a teaching assistant at my university. Following completion of my degree, I was offered a teaching fellowship post and lectured both undergraduate and postgraduate actuarial science students. I worked mostly on statistical subjects and modules, including CT3.

I left my teaching job to start at my current company as an actuarial analyst.

What's a typical day like?

I work in a systems development team and my role mostly involves coding in actuarial software such as Moses, which is based on C++. I frequently use spreadsheets in Excel and VBA.

Much of my work is reconfiguring systems and software so that members of other teams, such as pricing, valuation or analysis, can use the updated configurations.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I really enjoy working within a team of such enthusiastic people. I'm exposed to lots of different projects and this gives me the opportunity to see how other teams work.

I also enjoy the boundaries of my regular working hours, which I didn't get in my academic job.

What are the challenges?

Understanding what users of the software require can be difficult. I have to break every problem down into blocks and then figure out how to implement with coding.

How relevant is your degree in mathematics?

Both my undergraduate mathematics degree and my PhD in mathematics were highly relevant; my studies in this area helped me to obtain my role.

What are your career ambitions?

I would like to take all the actuarial exams and become qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries in the near future.

What advice can you give to others?

Be persistent when you are trying to get into this field of work. Also, be aware that time management is a skill you will need to learn, in order to cope with studying for exams while you work full time. It's not like university when you have a lot more time to fit everything in.

Go and talk to actuarial analysts and actuaries about the role and what they do on a day-to-day basis, as every role is different.

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