From Mathematics Graduate to Actuarial Consultant at Barnett Waddingham

Posted on: 30 September 2020 in Graduate stories

Sophie studied Mathematics at the University of Liverpool and graduated in 2015. She is currently working as an Actuarial Consultant at Barnett Waddingham.


What was your best experience while studying your course at the University of Liverpool and why?

I liked that the University campus was in the middle of a great city, and I really enjoyed the events (AU nights were definitely a highlight!)


While you were at university, what were the beneficial things outside of your course that helped you to get ready to begin your career?

I joined the hockey team, was the treasurer of the maths society, and also worked at the Guild.  All of these things gave me a variety of examples that I could use for the competency-based questions in interviews and on application forms.


In which ways did your course help you to prepare for your current role?

My course gave me a strong grounding in statistics and mathematical finance.  This was extremely useful when I started my career as an actuary and meant that a reasonable amount of the content of the actuarial exams was familiar from my studies at University.


Can you please share an insight into your current role, what do you enjoy the most?

I am training to be an Actuary in the Barnett Waddingham Liverpool office and have been working in the pensions consultancy team for five years now.  The work I do is extremely varied and no two days are the same, but it all comes down to using my actuarial skills and knowledge of the industry to advise my clients to help them make decisions about their pension schemes and help them to solve problems.  This involves carrying out the actuarial calculations, thinking about the implication of the results on the problem, and communicating these results in a way that is easy to understand.  My favourite part of the job is the relationships that I have built up with my clients, and being able to use my knowledge to help them solve complex problems.


What challenges did you face as a recent graduate in a new workplace? How did you overcome these?

The biggest challenge I faced when I started was how steep the learning curve was.  Although I was provided with extensive training, there was a lot of information to take in and it was hard to remember everything.  Everybody on my team was really friendly and helpful, and I quickly learnt that it was OK to ask questions about anything, even if I felt that the question was stupid.


Do you have any top tips to share with future and current students? (in terms of preparing for work?) 

Make the most of any opportunity you get at University – get a part-time job, join societies and sports clubs.  These opportunities enable you to make your application form stand out.  When everyone else is saying that they demonstrated team work when they did their group project at University, you can say that you worked well in a team when your football team won the league, or when you worked as a team when you were volunteering.  The more interesting your application form is, the more interested in interviewing you the company are likely to be!