• Role: Trainee Actuary
  • University: Birmingham
  • Degree: MSc Physics
  • Organisation: Hymans Robertson

Chris Lilley

How did you get your job at Hymans Robertson?

I came to the decision that I wanted to train to become an actuary quite late on in my final year at university, and started looking at what opportunities were out there. I was looking for an employer that offered a friendly environment in which to work whilst putting a strong emphasis on the development of their employees, both professionally and personally, and found that Hymans Robertson fitted the bill perfectly.

I participated in the graduate recruitment process and was delighted to accept their offer, and I joined the Birmingham office last year.

What was the interview process like?

As soon as I arrived for the assessment day in the Birmingham office I was made to feel really comfortable. The interview process was really varied, with a chance to demonstrate you have all the skills needed when working as an actuarial consultant, including written and mathematical exercises, presenting and team working tasks and of course the dreaded individual interview.
Throughout the whole process, everybody involved was really friendly, welcoming and genuinely interested in me as a person. By the end of the day I knew that working at Hymans Robertson would provide me with the opportunities and challenges I wanted and most importantly that I would enjoy being here.

What is a typical day like for you?

During a typical day, I get involved in a variety of work, ranging from technical calculations and data analysis, to client and Scheme member communications. I work with colleagues at all levels within the firm, from fellow trainees through to partners in the firm, all of whom are very encouraging and supportive and always have time to offer advice and help with any piece of work.

I have also had many opportunities to have training in lots of different aspects of the job, from gaining technical knowledge to developing the ‘soft skills’ needed as a consultant.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I have found the most enjoyable part of my job is that I am always being challenged.

The varied nature of the work means I am regularly given projects that I have never met before and am allowed to have a go at it (after a little background training of course). I have also enjoyed the opportunity to take on specialist roles within the team which will help me develop myself further whilst providing an important function for the team.

What are the most stressful parts about the job?

The most stressful part about the job is fitting study for the professional exams around your work, as it will require you to put in extra hours outside of the office.

Hymans Robertson provides a support package which includes paying for study materials and tutorials, a bank of study days and a study mentor who is there to guide you through your first few exams.

Is there a work/life balance?

I have found that Hymans Robertson place a strong emphasis on a good work/life balance. To encourage this each office has a social committee who organise various social events throughout the year for everyone to get involved with, from quizzes and cinema trips to five-a-side football and a range of other sporting activities.

You are also encouraged to get involved in charitable activities either on your own or with the help of the company’s charity committee ‘Helping Hands’. All these activities are a great way to get to know your colleagues better, to have fun relax and unwind after work, and to give back to the local community.

Any advice for the interview process?

Be prepared, be engaged and be yourself. You will have to show you have the ability to do the job well and to pass the exams, but if you satisfy the minimum requirements for the position this should be no problem. You should be able to demonstrate that you have at least a basic understanding of the pensions industry and the firm and that you are aware of some of the work you’ll be doing if you get the job.

Whilst demonstrating your skills and ability is an important part of the interview process, it is not all you are assessed on. A big part of it is assessing whether or not you will fit in with the culture of the firm and the office, so be engaged, ask questions to people you meet around the office, be interested in their replies, and be yourself, you’ll feel much more comfortable.

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