Howie Timothy, a Trainee Actuarial Consultant at Hymans Robertson, tells us why he chose this career path and what it is like to start out in the actuarial sector.

From music to maths, microphones to mortality assumptions, acoustic consultancy to actuarial science. A rather angular move on the career path I’ll grant you, but my decision was measured and two months in it’s proving to be the best one I’ve made since university. I have a BSc degree in Music Technology from Birmingham Conservatoire, where I specialised in Acoustics.

Like many others, I don’t think I knew what I wanted from a career when I left for uni, I enjoyed maths and I enjoyed music and therefore opting for a degree in Music Technology seemed like a pretty good idea… and it was! I studied audio electronics, digital signal processing, speaker design and lots of maths based modules. After I graduated I spent a while working out what I wanted from a career, whether I had already found it in acoustics consultancy or whether I should continue searching. In the end I put together a list of career ideals to help me decide. They were as follows: 1.) an opportunity to continue furthering myself intellectually through work, study or both, 2.) the ability to place myself in situations where I would be pushed out of my comfort zone, and 3.) to be in a line of work where social interaction is integral.

I enjoy meeting new people so this last point was important to me. I had a friend that was two years into a role as an actuarial trainee up in Leeds and so I spent many an evening grilling him on everything I could think of to make sure I knew what I should expect from work (and study). Once satisfied I began researching firms to apply to and selected a small handful that I thought would suit me. In the infancy of this process I was sure that without a degree in Maths from the right university I wouldn’t stand a chance.

Perhaps if I had applied to other firms I would’ve been proven right, but this wasn’t my experience and certainly wasn’t the case with Hymans Robertson. If anything my alternative route to finding actuarial science benefited my application. A capacity to comprehend and undertake the maths is of course essential, and you will need that, but so too is the ability to communicate and interact with your clientele and colleagues.

Hymans Robertson definitely gets this, and it shows in how friendly their workforce is. I’ve definitely made the right choice in Hymans Robertson and I’m happy I made the decision to pursue actuarial science. My family is convinced I’ve only done it because I love having jobs that they find impossible to explain. It’s an added bonus.

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