• Role: Actuarial Analyst
  • Location: London
  • University: Warwick
  • Degree: BSc MORSE
  • Organisation: AXA

Mallika Natarajan

Be empowered to take your career where you want to go

At AXA, you’re empowered to flourish and take your career where you want it to go. You’re given an amazing level of responsibility, which I just don’t think you’d find in many graduate roles. Being exposed to the Finance Director and Head Underwriters of a global, market-leading organisation is very exciting and a great opportunity to learn and develop your skills. You feel like you’re constantly growing.

Support and career encouragement, friendships and lovely lunches

It’s a great environment to work in too. It’s professional, but not what you might typically expect from a financial company. There’s a lot of encouragement and the support network is huge – from senior managers and mentors to other graduates going through the same experience as you. You’re surrounded by key stakeholders which gives you an in-depth understanding of everything that’s going on.

I’m finding the work incredibly interesting. I’ve been working on the Reserve Review, looking after the projection of long term general insurance claims. It’s a key project. The review is produced quarterly and vital to all insurance companies.

We’re working to tight deadlines and there can be quite a lot of pressure, but the environment doesn’t make it feel stressful. We’re always commended for our work and we even get taken out to lunch as a thank you, which is lovely!

AXA have been hugely supportive with my actuarial exams too. Not just financially, but they’ve also given me plenty of study days throughout the year and these are topped up as the exams get harder.

Lots of other people here have taken the exams, so it’s nice to be able to speak to them and get a little bit of advice. It’s hard work, but it’s actually a nice step up from university as you’re still learning but also enjoying a great career. I’ve made lots of friends and we study together which really helps.

I’m from India and it’s really nice to be working for a global organisation. There are opportunities for secondments across the world which is such an exciting prospect. I really do love my job. My CEO is a real inspiration and I can see a great future here.

How did you get your job at AXA?

I applied for my role through the graduate scheme while still completing my final year.

What was the application process like – do you have any advice?

The application process was similar to most other actuarial companies: there was a competency based application process, followed by an initial online numerical and logical reasoning test. This is usually nice and straightforward for budding actuaries. If you’re successful in the numerical test, it is followed by an interview and assessment centre. My advice for assessment centres would be to just be yourself.

Why did you choose a job in the actuarial profession?

As a MORSE graduate from the University of Warwick I had the opportunity to attend seminars held by actuaries. This gave me the opportunity to learn more about the career and the paths open to me through pursuing the profession. The prestige of being a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries opens doors, allowing me to practice across the world.

The qualification path takes blood sweat and tears with exams twice a year, but being an academically strong and competitive candidate makes you push on!

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?

As the qualification process is long and requires a great amount of dedication, ensure that you are comfortable with giving up your social life for large chunks of the year! There are plenty of students with most companies so there is always someone to have study sessions with.

What skills are useful in the actuarial profession?

This might sound obvious, but a good mathematical mind is a must. I would also recommend working on your communication skills, as a great part of the role is explaining results and methods to non-actuaries.

Is it a 9-5 job?

The great part of working with AXA is that there are times when one needs to work a little bit extra, but most days are 9-5. This is definitely a big plus when you compare it with roles in banking and trading.

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