• Role: Graduate Actuarial Associate
  • Location: London
  • University: Warwick
  • Degree: BSc Physics

Joseph Barnett

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What’s it like working at APR?
APR is very different from most of the other companies I applied to. We provide interim actuarial support to companies (mostly insurers). As an employee of APR, that means working on-site at our clients’ offices, which might well involve being away from your London or Edinburgh base during the week. In such cases, the company is keen to accommodate your travel and accommodation preferences.

APR’s students have a high pass rate in the actuarial exams and this fosters a culture of friendly competition in which we’re all keen to progress quickly. I’ve been lucky enough to tick all the CT exams off the list in three sittings.

My career so far
I’ve worked on four client projects since I started here about two years ago, and I’ve spent a couple of months in-house as well. Over that period I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of work, and I feel I’ve accrued experience much quicker than I would have done in other actuarial companies.

I’ve worked in Edinburgh, Dublin, Southampton and now Surrey. My first two projects focused on building data management applications in VB/VBA; my project in Southampton was focused on developing product illustration models; and my most recent project has me involved in modelling of lifetime mortgages. This project has been by far the most challenging from a technical standpoint – I have to use much of the theory that I picked up studying for the CT8 exam. I will be bringing my knowledge and experience in this area back to APR, to the benefit of both us and our clients.

What are the most important skills to have?
In terms of “hard” skills, you’ll mostly pick up the ones you need studying for the actuarial exams – don’t underestimate how much of it can become relevant in work. This is perhaps more applicable to APR than most, as you never know what you’ll have to use in your job. Besides the actuarial stuff, Excel and coding skills (particularly VBA) go a very long way to impressing employers and clients if you have a solid grasp of the basics – APR invests a lot of time training graduates in these skills from the off.

The so called “soft skills” are just as important day-to-day. Being able to communicate clearly, prioritising tasks, having commercial awareness to identify opportunities to grow the wider business, and just generally being able to get things done to a high standard in a timely fashion are all invaluable.

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