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Name: Siobhan Mudie
Degree: BSc Hons Mathematics
Graduation: 2011
Employer: Prudential plc
Job title: Trainee Actuary


About my time in Dundee

I graduated in 2011 with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics. The highlights of time in Dundee were Freshers week, the annual maths ball, and on a personal level winning the School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics prize.

What I do now

I am a Graduate actuarial trainee working for Prudential plc. The responsibilities associated with the job are quite varied. I recently rotated from Financial Reporting to Deterministic Modelling where I am currently working on a project to model our newly established Polish business on one of our financial models. My job involves a lot of problem solving and finding out how things work for yourself which gives you a great sense of achievement. Working within a team of experienced qualified actuaries and technicians allows you to pick up new skills and develop professionally.

Mathematical ideas are a fundamental part of the job, no matter which area of the department you are working in. A solid mathematical background is also imperative for success in the actuarial profession's examinations if you want to become a qualified actuary. In my company the majority of trainees studied Actuarial Science at Heriot Watt University. This allows them to gain exemptions from some of the profession's exams. You can also do a one year postgraduate degree to gain exemptions which could save you around 2 to 4 years of studying whilst working, however I was unaware of this at the time I was applying for the job. Everyone in my department has some sort of maths related degree.

How I got the job

The first thing I did in my job hunt was to update my CV which I then took to the University's careers service who helped me to fine tune it. I then made a list of all the companies I wanted to apply to along with their closing dates for applications and worked my way through each of their application processes. I was invited to an interview with one company but was unsuccessful however this was great experience for my subsequent assessment day.

For the job that I have now, I originally saw it advertised on the company's webiste - I applied through their 2012 Actuarial Graduate Programme. I initially applied for the job online by sending in my CV along with my answers to a few routine questions on their website. The next stage was to complete a couple of online tests. I was then asked to do a phone interview which subsequently resulted in being asked to attend their assessment centre. One thing that I believe played a big part in me getting my job was that I was granted a Vacation Scholarship from the Carnegie Trust between my third and fourth year of University. I also had a part time job throughout University which I think helped to demonstrate my ability to balance work and study.

Advice for current students

In my opinion it's vital that you get some relevant experience at least between your third and fourth years of study - if not before - whether it be paid or unpaid. I only started to think about careers at the beginning of my final year of University however I would recommend starting earlier since by that time some companies had already stopped accepting applications for the following year's graduate intake. My advice would be to start thinking about your career aspirations as soon as possible so that you are able to seek out relevant opportunities to gain experience. This will also allow you to ensure that the job is all you expect it to be. The job market is highly competitive so anything that can set you apart from the competition could significantly improve your chances of realising your chosen career.

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