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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

One year later

A year on and we are already beginning to
carve out our separate careers in different
actuarial areas. As we piece this article
together we sit at Cass Business School, but
this time as alumni. The following articles
convey our experiences over the past year
during our transition from interns to fulltime

Priya S Shah
Coopers LLP, executive
reward, HR analytics

‘This is it! It’s not work experience or internship
anymore. I am going to be doing this for
the next 30, 40 or even 50 years if they move
retirement age to 70!’ This was my frame of
mind on my way to the graduate induction
last year. The graduate induction was pleasantly
informal and concentrated mainly on
team building and business skills, giving us a
great opportunity to get to know other graduates
we would be working with. The two
weeks of classroom-type training after the initial
induction was a great kick-off as it provided
us with the basics that we needed to
start working on client projects.
Since starting, my learning curve has been a
steep one. Each new assignment and client
meeting I go to provides new ‘seeds’ for my
fertile mind. Working in Executive Reward
mainly involves advising on remuneration,
particularly long-term incentives for CEOs and
senior executives of companies, many of
which are in the FTSE 100. I have mainly been
involved in stochastic modelling, fair value
calculations, testing performance conditions,
assessing appropriateness of remuneration
arrangements via total remuneration benchmarking,
and determining potential pay-outs
etc. It is a multidisciplinary team consisting of
compensation, tax, legal and actuarial experts.
There is also the opportunity to work on the
more tax technical side. Everyone is helpful
and I am encouraged to ask for types of work
in which I have most interest.
With the graduate role comes the task of sitting
the actuarial exams. Balancing work,
study and a social life is quite a challenge, but
if disciplined it becomes second nature.
My team is currently relatively small but is
growing rapidly and providing us with more
and more opportunities to do a variety of work
for different clients. I am thoroughly enjoying
the work and look forward to my future here.

Syed Nasir Shah
Deloitte, actuarial
& insurance solutions
(A&IS), general

Having enjoyed working in an insurance company
in the summer of 2005, at the end of my
degree I moved over to the ‘other side’ by
joining a vibrant, growing consultancy the
general insurance department of the A&IS
service line at Deloitte.
My induction was well structured and exciting.
It involved bringing together all the new
joiners from various service lines and giving us
an insight into our new world while enabling
us to meet and greet our new colleagues. Training
in our specific service lines and introduction
to our departments followed.
While working in an insurance company I
saw the focus on one type of work, capital
modelling. Working in a consultancy I have
experienced a variety of projects from day one,
ranging from statutory statement of actuarial
opinion to expert witness work. I have also
had the opportunity to visit Istanbul while
working on a due diligence for a transaction.
These varied projects also allowed me to
meet and work with different people from all
walks of life, not only from A&IS but from
other parts of Deloitte. Making friends has
been easy owing to the many opportunities of
socials, raising money for charity (eg cricket
tournaments), and beating other departments
at football!
A graduate role can involve modelling claims
and premiums, analysing trends, data management,
report writing, VBA programming,
and research, among many others. Your training
and development is always emphasised by
management by giving you more responsibility
and ensuring you are constantly challenged.
This support is not limited to the work
itself, but also the studies you are involved in.
Admittedly before I began I thought that
the studying aspect would lead me to become
a social recluse for a few years. ‘Use your study
days wisely,’ were the words of a director. Following
this advice and applying effective time
management can allow a very good balance
of work, studying, and other commitments. It
is up to us

Jinita Dhanani
Lane Clark & Peacock
LLP, insurance and risk

I have been involved in a variety of work over
the past year. This has involved projects on
reserving, pricing, reinsurance and capital
assessments. Apart from these traditional actuarial
areas, I have also worked on other jobs
such as employee share plans. The clients I
have worked on vary from Lloyd’s syndicates
to non-UK based insurers and government
agencies. The peak seasons of these jobs differ
which means we are on our toes throughout
the year.
The team’s medium size, structure and the
way jobs have been assigned to me have given
me an opportunity to work with almost everyone
in the team. The expertise of each team
member has enabled me to enhance my skills
in all areas. In addition, the ongoing training
in both technical and non-technical areas
broadens my knowledge of the insurance
industry. I have already presented a few times
on various subjects to different audiences
within the firm, and my communication skills
are growing. This skill is a key ingredient in
the recipe for what makes a good consultant.
The workstudy balance can be tricky, but it
is easier to know after the first exam sitting
what works best for you. For me it is all about
spreading out my work over the months preceding
the exams, and you can never practise
enough past questions. I am pleasantly surprised
at the partners’ insistence that we leave
work on time in the weeks leading up to exams.

Janki Tanna
Mercer Human
Resource Consulting
Limited, investment
consulting business

Mercer graduates are all given the same training,
with the programmes in the first six
months covering the services Mercer offer, our
core values, and general business awareness.
The training in the second half of the year
aims to build up our consulting and relationship
The programme involved spending several
days every few months at locations around the
country with other Mercer graduates. This,
combined with specific investment consulting
training and general on-the-job learning has
helped me build up technical skills and gain
confidence in my consulting skills. The different
types of training have given me and my
fellow graduates an opportunity to get to
know each other, as well as watch each others’
development as we become better consultants.
Performance monitoring of pension fund
assets formed a significant part of my workload
as an intern and remains so as a graduate. However,
over the year I have spent an increasing
amount of my time liaising with external
advisers and clients. I have also had the opportunity
to take part in rebalancing work and
manager selection projects, which has been
interesting. Looking back I feel my internship
gave me an accurate insight into working life
at Mercer and a useful head start to my career.
As the year comes to an end and the ‘circle
of life’ continues, I’ll bear in mind that it is
now my responsibility to help the new graduates
abide by my favourite Mercer core value,
‘having fun’.