A day in the life of an Actuarial Trainee

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Our next blog is courtesy of Stephen Robinson, one of our Actuarial Trainees, here at Grant Thornton. If you’d like to understand more about what Stephen’s role entails, then please keep reading!

My name is Stephen and I joined Grant Thornton just over a year ago as an actuarial trainee. Here is an insight into what a typical day might look like for an actuarial trainee in their first year.

The first thing I do every morning is get a piece of fruit from the fruit box and then boot up my laptop. Next, I check my emails to see if anything has come in overnight or early in the morning which I need to address urgently, then I get on with my work day.

Typically most of my day is spent building models in Excel, writing reports, reviewing calculations or helping out with some of the team’s business development. At the moment I am doing a lot of derivative valuations which means I use a financial data programme called Bloomberg to value the contracts, as well as building some bespoke valuation models when Bloomberg can’t be used.

Because Grant Thornton as a company is involved in a lot of company audits, we work closely with the audit teams to review the specialist aspects of a company’s accounts, such as the pension liabilities or the derivatives valuations. This means I spend time on the phone and contacting the auditors by email to fully understand their needs and how our contributions help with company audits.

Although a fair amount of work is sent our way from the audit teams, the actuarial team at Grant Thornton is also autonomous. We work in the pensions, life insurance, non-life insurance and risk sectors, which means there is plenty of opportunity to gain experience in a wide variety of actuarial disciplines. In my first year I have done work in each of those disciplines which has helped me decide where I want to specialise in the future. I know when I was applying for actuarial trainee places the majority of job opportunities required you to specialise from the outset. Given that I hadn’t worked as an actuary before, I felt pretty clueless! Having experience in each sector has proven to be invaluable.

 It is also common to have a couple of meetings a day with the team, to pick up where we are on projects or to plan what we will be doing next. There are also plenty of opportunities for client contact very early on. I found myself working on a client site within the first couple of months of joining and I know the others in my cohort have had similar experiences.

At the end of the day I may do some revision for my actuarial exams. There are a total of 15 exams to complete in order to qualify as an actuary and Grant Thornton provide a comprehensive study package for each of the exams The volume of content for the exams is large so studying early and effectively is a must. Everyone here recognises the importance of studying and qualifying as an actuary which means the team are supportive around exam time and do all they can to help.

The social aspect at Grant Thornton is also great. We have regular team socials and grabbing a pint after work is certainly not a rare occurrence. The team is friendly and chatty, which means you get to know everyone beyond just the projects you work on. The senior leadership also sit within the team and are approachable if you need to ask them a question or just want a chat, there’s no-one who you feel uncomfortable talking to.

Overall I’ve enjoyed my first year here, the working environment is great and I’ve gained invaluable experience into many different sectors which isn’t as common in some other companies. Good luck with the application process and I hope to see you next September!  

 

 

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