The internship promoted a culture of being practically driven, but closely supported by technical training, which appealed to me as I am a firm believer that direct practice is the best way to learn new techniques.
I was aware of PwC’s strong reputation within the finance sector and in particular the quality training they offer employees. I felt that this would ensure that the internship would be highly insightful and provide a real learning opportunity.
Another strong point for me was PwC’s expertise across the four main branches of actuarial work; namely pensions, investment, life insurance and general insurance. This was an ideal opportunity for me to gain experience in each to help generate inspiration as to which area I may wish to specialise in further down the line.
On my first day I received detailed training about the firm, its policies and IT software, which was a very useful start to prepare me for the rest of my time. After a warm introduction to the team, I received some actuarial training, introducing me to terminology, theory and formulae that proved to be invaluable throughout my internship and will be useful in my future career.
I was then immersed into real client work, performing duties that would be completed by an actuarial graduate. This has allowed me to experience first-hand the types of work the profession entails and how the examination syllabus issued by the Institute and Faculties of Actuaries relates to the different duties. The work has been positively varied; I have completed mainstream actuarial work such as valuations of both pension schemes and insurance policies, but also more secluded tasks such as the valuation of personal losses in adversities and valuation of cash flows. It has made me realise how varied the profession can be and that no two days are the same - a career attribute I find desirable.
I’m currently studying for a degree in mathematics and the internship has given me the opportunity to apply the content learnt at university to the actuarial profession, introducing me to actuarial notation and techniques. I now have a greater appreciation of the bond between mathematical theory and its execution in practice.
I have used Microsoft Excel for a large proportion of the work I’ve completed. Whilst I’ve had some previous experience with the software, I have significantly developed my skills with the introduction of more complex formulae and functions. Also, it has been fascinating to discover the sheer impact that tools such as macro and data tables can have in enhancing speed and accuracy in the calculation of different results.
Communication and organisation have been the most important transferable skills I have developed. Being able to explain difficult and complex procedures to non-specialists is a key responsibility of an actuary and its consequences should not be underestimated. Similarly, the need to be organised in order to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances has been intrinsic, actuaries are constantly presented with newer and more detailed information and it's important to modify data models accordingly.
The office atmosphere was extremely positive; the actuarial team were always on hand to assist me with my allocated tasks and answer my queries. PwC promotes an inquisitive culture and encourages you to ask questions, this has allowed me to learn a great deal about the firm and actuarial profession.
Socially staff across all areas of the firm always took time to get to know me and learn about my background. I’ve enjoyed frequent lunches and social drinks, which have helped make me feel part of the team.
Aside from learning a lot about the applications of mathematics, the biggest lesson that I’ve learnt is that a career as an actuary is the path I wish to pursue upon graduation!
Combining the experience and insight I have gained during the internship with my own research and study path, I believe that a career as an actuary will provide the academic challenge I desire in a fast-paced and dynamic working environment.
I’m very grateful to PwC for offering me a place on this years internship programme and for the unprecedented levels of insight that it has provided me with. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone considering a career as an actuary.
"Aside from learning a lot about the applications of mathematics, the biggest lesson that I’ve learnt is that a career as an actuary is the path I wish to pursue upon graduation!"