I Got Hired: Trainee Actuarial Consultant

Posted on: 6 October 2022 by Samantha Riella in Graduate stories

Class of 2021 Chemistry with Research in Industry graduate Alice Hopper, talks about stepping away from her degree and moving into a new industry.

What is your job title and the organisation you work for?

Trainee Actuarial Consultant at Hymans Robertson.

How did you hear about the role?

I knew I wanted to go into a career that involved maths and had a good work life balance. Towards the end of my second of four years at uni, I started to do some research into the kind of things I could do. I signed up to ‘Bright Network’ and a couple of months later they emailed me about an actuarial summer internship opening. I then did a bit more research into the career and decided to go for it!

How did you get to where you are now?

I applied to roughly 5 firms’ actuarial summer internship programs and was successful in securing an 8 week internship with Hymans Robertson in their Edinburgh office. I loved the work involved and so when I received a graduate offer at the end of the 8 weeks I immediately accepted! I’ve now been in the role for almost exactly 1 year and am making good progress with the professional exams.

What is your favourite experience as part of your role?

Passing my first two actuarial exams. There’s 13 exams in total so I’ve still got a long way to go but my firm is really social so we all went out to celebrate everyone’s exam passes after work. It’s easy to think that these corporate companies don’t care about their employees but that couldn’t be further from the truth! My firm organise regular socials and offer lots of flexible benefits too.

What was the most challenging part of your graduate journey?

Honestly the most challenging part was actually trying to find the right career path for me! I studied chemistry at uni and through doing a year in industry, decided I wanted a more office-based maths role. With so many roles that fit into this criteria it took me a while to settle on being an actuary. Doing a summer internship in an actuarial firm definitely made my decision easier.

What are your top three tips for other students?

1. Don’t be afraid to step away from your degree subject! Most people in my industry did a maths degree so joining it with a Chemistry background was daunting but I’m so glad I went for it.

2. If you’ve still got time at uni, get some work experience! My year in industry showed me I didn’t want to go into chemistry and that was just as valuable as my summer internship confirming I wanted to be an actuary.

3. Apply early! Lots of graduate and internship positions open in the September the year before the position starts so avoid missing out on these!