Case study

Actuarial analyst — Michael Wood

Completing a mathematical modeling internship in an economics consultancy gave Michael relevant experience and boosted his chance of job success

How did you get your job as an actuarial analyst?

I did an internship with an economics consultancy in Belfast before travelling overseas. Upon my return I started to work for my current company.

I used many recruitment websites to find the role including agencies in Manchester, my preferred location. The most useful site was the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, which provided a directory of companies.

The diverse range of work and numerous clients we work with makes it a very varied role

What's a typical day like?

My day is made up of work on lots of small projects. For example, calculating transfer values for an individual member of a pension scheme and other related calculations.

I have also been involved in assisting qualified and experienced actuaries in putting together a presentation on pensions for members of a defined scheme.

I am engaged in a mix of corporate work, which involves advising businesses and member work, where I advise on the transfer values of pensions and investments.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The diverse range of work and clients that we work with makes it a very varied role. It's also nice to work in a well-respected profession.

What are the most challenging parts?

Some parts of the job are incredibly technical and difficult to understand. For example, changes in legislation and the rules governing pensions make the job quite challenging.

Preparing members statements involves clearly writing down options. You need to learn the legal aspects yourself in some depth before explaining this to clients.

The job involves a very high proportion of working with statistics and using Excel to make calculations.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My actuarial science and mathematics degree was very relevant as it gave me the necessary background knowledge and skills to work in this area.

It has been very helpful for the work I am doing.

How has your role developed?

I have only been in the role for 11 months but already feel I have learned a lot. There is a lot to take in and it can be quite daunting at the start.

I aim to qualify as an actuary within five years and make further progress through the firm beyond that. I have already passed two of the required professional examinations. If I remain with this company there are opportunities to work overseas in New York.

How can I become an actuarial analyst?

If you're struggling to find work I'd suggest sitting the CTI Actuarial exam as a non-member or the Certified Actuarial Analyst (CAA) exams, both available without having a relevant job. This shows you're keen to work in the industry.

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