Why did you choose to do a Summer Internship in Actuarial with PwC?
Since I was young I’ve always had a passion for maths and statistics and so I studied maths at Durham University. When searching through possible careers I came across the actuarial profession. It seemed to suit exactly what I was interested in and would give me an opportunity to apply my degree and skills in the real world. I applied for an internship with PwC during my second year.
How did it tie in with your overall career plans?
After researching what an actuary did before the application process I liked the idea of pursuing this as a career path. Doing an internship was a really good opportunity to further ensure that this was what I wanted to do. I was offered a graduate position at the end of my internship and I’ve now been working full time for around eight months, so the internship fitted really well into my general career plans!
What was the application process like – any advice for other students?
The process started with an application form followed by online tests, a telephone interview with a member of the recruitment team, an assessment centre and finally an interview with a director in the pensions team. Each stage of the process is really challenging and requires lots of preparation but I also found it very rewarding. PwC recruit on a rolling basis so you’re not competing against other people to progress to the next stage, if you demonstrate at the various stages of the process that you have the required skills, then you’ll progress.
What attracted you to your role?
After deciding that I wanted to be an actuary, the choice was between applying for an internship with an insurance company or with a consultancy firm. I liked the idea of the latter as I’ve always had an interest in business so helping clients solve their complicated problems seemed a really relevant and useful way to apply my skills.
What were your main duties during the internship?
I work in the Pensions team at PwC which advises clients on how to manage the risks associated with their defined benefit pension scheme. I undertook a number of tasks on my internship and these included:
- Working out assumptions for companies to value their pension liabilities
- Using PwC’s online valuation ‘Skyval’ to determine a pension scheme’s liabilities
- Drafting client reports to summarise the results of work I had been doing in the client team.
What were the most important things you learned from the internship?
I learned a huge amount about the pensions industry and also about the difference between working for a consultancy firm and an insurance company. I didn’t know anything about what the roles of a junior actuary entailed so it was really useful to get experience and see first-hand the type of things they do. I also learned a lot about the actuarial exams process and was able to speak to current students regarding how they managed to balance their work and study commitments.
Do you have any advice for someone seeking an internship?
The best advice I would have to someone seeking an internship would be to really take time to complete the application process and do lots of work for each stage as the process is very competitive. Also, if you’re lucky enough to get to the later stages of the process make sure you ask lots of questions at interview. You won’t be expected to be an expert but it will be important to whoever is interviewing you that you come across as a well-rounded person who has done their research and will fit well into the team.
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
I acquired a number of technical skills and the work I did was challenging and really made me think. I also developed other important softer skills, such as the ability to work with people who had varying work styles, communication skills and working in a diverse team.