Current Employer/Organisation Name
Exeter Friendly Society (“The Exeter”)
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
I took the professional exams required for me to qualify as an actuary. I have worked at different life offices and a pensions consultancy doing various actuarial roles but mainly in financial reporting since I qualified. I have become increasingly senior in each role. I now report to the Finance Director and am responsible for reporting the company’s solvency to the regulator. I also have a With Profits Actuary practising certificate.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I chose an actuarial career as an interesting use of the applied mathematics that I studied in my degree. It is a well-respected and well-paid profession. I have quarterly and annual regulatory reporting responsibilities and I work closely with the Head of Finance, the Finance Director and Chief Actuary. I prepare figures for the annual report and accounts and submissions to the PRA to demonstrate financial strength of the company. A typical day involves using spreadsheets and other modelling, drafting reports to the Board, communicating with colleagues and problem solving. I love that every day is different and that I am intellectually challenged and constantly learning.
Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?
I was a member of the Out Of Doors Society. We went on a hike in the Devon or Dorset on Saturdays. I also played badminton and did aerobics classes (it was the 1980s).
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
It was an enjoyable application of mathematics and I was able to study some actuarial mathematics that was relevant for my future career.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
The campus was beautiful and close to the city centre and the sea and moors were a short journey. I liked it so much I moved back here 4 years ago.
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
I chose Exeter because it was one of only two or three places that offered the degree course I wanted to study. Exeter is a wonderful city and it felt an exciting but safe place to be.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
The applied mathematics in my degree course has been directly relevant. I learned to be independent of my parents and never went back to live with them. Good communication skills are important as it is necessary to explain complex financial information to the board.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
To achieve a 2:1 or 1st degree in a mathematical subject, although two of the five actuarial students in my team have a Physics degree. The (about) 15 exams required to qualify will require some commitment outside work hours. Also try to get a summer job at an office that employs actuaries.
What are your plans for the future?
I am happy at my current employer and have reduced my hours to a 4 day week this year. I want to continue to make a valuable contribution to the business for the next few years until I retire.