• Role: Actuarial Trainee
  • University: Southampton
  • Degree: BSc Mathematics with Actuarial Science
  • Organisation: Punter Southall

James Duggan

I did my internship at Punter Southall’s Wokingham office in the summer of 2009 before beginning my final year at university. I found it to be a great experience for me as it gave me a real insight into what being an Actuary would entail on a day-to-day basis without having to take the plunge of getting the job first – the fact it was paid was a bonus!

The people I worked with

Throughout my internship I sat with one of the actuarial teams. I was made to feel part of the team and had the opportunity to work with a complete mixture of actuaries in terms of their experience and roles within the company. I really liked the way the actuarial teams were structured as it enabled me to work with, and ask questions to, a variety of people and really gauge what I could expect from life working as an Actuary.

Typical work I was involved with

I experienced a lot of different areas of actuarial work in the form of client work, I undertook such tasks as:

  • Calculating transfer values for individual members
  • Working on each stage of the process for modelling the funding position of a Pension Scheme
  • Creating and updating spreadsheets for various tasks.

In the form of non-client work I got to:

  • Calculate a mock actuarial valuation to give me an idea of the whole picture of an Actuary’s bread and butter work
  • Work on a project as part of a team where we produced a written report and then had to prepare and give a presentation
  • Increase my knowledge of pensions through the use of educational computer programs.

Social life

I found out that life as an Actuary was not all work and no play. I was invited to join in many socials and I took full advantage, including playing in the weekly 5-a-side football, trips to the cinema, meals out and going for a drink at the local pubs.

Internships can lead to more…

The whole experience was both enjoyable and interesting and this helped me to make up my mind that a career as an Actuary was for me. I now work full time as a Trainee Actuary at Punter Southall and I think that a lot of that is down to me doing an internship there. Even if I had not got a job at the end of it, I would still have found it a worthwhile experience and an internship always looks good on the CV!

Summary

Looking back on it, I see my internship almost as an extended interview process that works both ways – I got to spend time working in the actuarial environment, getting a taste for the work and the sort of people I could expect to work with, and Punter Southall got to see if they thought I would be up to the challenge of working as an Actuary. Thankfully it would seem that they did.

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