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Case Study: Tom Petrie

Personal details
Degree:Mathematics & Statistics Profile picture
School(s): School of Mathematics and Statistics
Year of Graduation:Jun-2009
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: EY
Job title: Life Insurance Actuary
Occupational Sector: Actuary
What has been your route to getting your current position?
I completed a summer internship at an actuarial consultancy in London between the third and fourth years of my degree. This gave me an idea of what actuarial work involves. During my final year at St. Andrews, I applied to the Life Actuarial team of EY, based in Edinburgh, and started work there a couple of months after graduating. I have remained with EY and, after qualifying as an actuary, became a Manager.
What does your job involve ?
Applying mathematics, statistics, economics and business knowledge to solve clients’ (life insurers’) issues. The projects I have been involved in have been focused on ensuring clients’ compliance with UK and EU regulation, helping clients to optimise their balance sheets (in order to free up capital), performing due diligence on proposed M&As involving life insurers, and auditing clients’ processes and controls and reported results. My role involves interacting with a variety of professionals including accountants and project managers. Key requirements of my role are the ability to communicate technical concepts in clear, succinct language and managing the expectations of different stakeholders.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Being challenged with a variety of interesting projects on a regular basis.
Why were you successful?
I did a lot of internet research into what being an actuary involves and what the ‘hot topics’ for actuaries were. I also spoke to an actuary to find out more. The internship I did provided me with some useful examples to draw upon in competency-based questions I was asked in my EY interview. I think the most important thing is to demonstrate that you are enthusiastic about being an actuary.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
My degree provided me with a good foundation in mathematics and statistics that helped me through the more technical actuarial exams. More generally, my degree has helped me to apply a logical approach to my work.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Research the profession and speak to as many actuaries as you can. This will give you a good sense of what the job involves. Although not essential, an internship/placement provides you with some useful examples to use in competency-based interviews. It is important to show your enthusiasm and commitment to the role.