Tag: business analytics

My top 3 tips for acing your job-search

I am Iris Wang, a MSc Business Analytics student at Cass.

As one of the Presidents of Cass Chinese Careers Society, I manage the society’s public relations. Through our events with top recruiters and companies and the support of the Careers Team, I have learned many things about how to ace your job search and become more confident at networking.

Here are my top three tips:

1. Getting all the help you can get! Smartly use resources

One piece of enlightening advice can really make a difference in your job application and who knows, it may help you secure a job offer. As students at Cass, we have access to various careers resources. It is useful to get professional guidance by checking out different workshops, company presentations and 1:1 appointments with the Careers team and resources on Cass Careers Online. Going to careers society events (such as Cass Chinese Careers Society) is also a great way to seek extra help and to network and get invaluable personal advice from people who have already been through the process.

If you have interests or query about a certain sector/company/position, proactively asking professionals on LinkedIn and inviting them for a coffee chat can help you obtain more useful insights and potentially expand your professional network.

2. Focus – learn more about yourself and what you want

Choosing a career path can be very overwhelming. But instead of applying to every position available, it is more efficient if one can analyse own personal strengths and personality and then consider their compatibility with the position. A good understanding of that compatibility can help the candidates to better convince the recruiters and therefore makes them more likely to succeed. To be able to deepen this understanding, it is always useful to learn more about a particular career path through networking and explore different activities to increase self-awareness.

3. Maintaining a positive attitude – strike a good balance in life

Getting a job is usually not a straightforward process for most people. There will be ups and downs and sometimes, a lot of downs… and it is perfectly normal.

When experiencing that, it is important to surround yourself with like-minded aspiring people who can give you support to keep you going. You should also make your own effort to strike a better balance in life by improving your planning and time management skills and actively think about how to improve yourself by learning from past experience. Don’t give up! And try not to be too hard on yourself. If any of you who are reading this blog happens to be going through difficulties, believe me I understand your frustration. It is always important to improve your skills to get an offer, but honestly, it also needs a bit of luck sometimes. Good luck!

Iris Xuan Wang, MSc Business Analytics (2020)

The Future of Actuaries

Choosing Cass

I studied pure mathematics in my undergraduate degree but was already interested pursuing a career as an actuary. I became an intern in a life insurance company as an actuary and later became a full-time employee after graduation.

In my experience, life insurance products tend to have complex and long policy terms, which become a challenge for actuaries to quantify the risks and calculate the optimum premium and reserves. I found this challenging yet fun because the problem could vary every time and the products themselves are getting more innovative, which brings a whole new level of calculation complexity. These are the reasons I wanted to pursue my career as an actuary in the life insurance industry.

I decided to continue learning by studying the Cass MSc Actuarial Science. I wanted to increase my mathematical and statistical skills, with a focusing on the actuarial field, as well as broaden my knowledge of the applications of actuarial science.

Cass is well-known for its MSc Actuarial Science programme. The School offers broad and varied accredited actuarial science modules which allows students up to six actuarial exam exemptions. The assessment in most modules are a real-life application and are carried out using essential software such as R, VBA and Excel. In addition, there are also options for student to take business analytics modules which is really what got me really interested in the first place and helped me decide where to study.

The Future of Actuaries

The ever-growing trend of business digitalisation is pushing a lot of companies to require people with technical skills related to big data platforms and automation. Companies will need more people with the ability to analyse large amounts of raw data, manipulate it, and create an algorithm to transform it into something functional for the company to then visualise the result. That is where a business analyst plays an important role.

While it is true that business analysts are needed in every sector, in the financial sector and the insurance and investment industries, business analysts require a combination of strong data analysis skills as well as the ability to quantify future risks. In these cases, an actuary can fulfil these requirements.

Combining actuarial science and business analytics: preparing for my future career

What I think will be the most useful technique of business analysis for my career is machine learning. As an actuary, I will be dealing with a lot of data to make some assumptions out of it to predict future risks. It became a much more challenging thing in life insurance where actuaries were required to predict long-term future risks based on historical data. Machine learning could help clean the data by predicting missing values or even predict new variables using unsupervised techniques.

Frequent analysis of the data is also common for actuaries, whether it is to calculate monthly reserve, performance monitoring, or premium re-calculation for Yearly Renewable products. Machine learning could speed up the process by fitting all of the analysis models and validate the result much quicker.

Muhammad Alhavif, MSc Actuarial Science (2020)

*From September 2020, Cass Business School will be launching the MSc in Actuarial Science with Business Analytics pathway, which prepares students for the non-traditional actuarial field of business analytics.

How I’m preparing for a career as a modern actuary

Choosing Cass 

I am an MSc Actuarial Science student at Cass Business School. I aspire to pursue a career in the non-traditional actuarial field of business analytics.

Prior to studying at Cass, I studied BSc Mathematics at the University of Birmingham. After graduating from my bachelor’s, I wanted to learn more about actuarial science in insurance, finance and investment. I knew that actuarial studies would be the ideal combination of mathematical and probabilistic techniques and analysis of business and would allow me to combine my greatest passions.

Based in the City of London, Cass is in an ideal location for finding a job post-graduation. In addition, our excellent lecturers have deep industry knowledge and understanding of current affairs and offer us the knowledge we need to learn.

All these factors motivated me to study the MSc in Actuarial Science at Cass.

Actuaries: the future of business analytics

By following the new curriculum of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, Cass offers a detailed study of actuarial computer-based applications in R and Python programming and VBA. Given the excellent skill set acquired via these, I am developing my knowledge of analytics methods for business and machine learning, all of which are being adopted across actuarial practice areas.

I like this course structure, not only because it delivers the fundamentals of actuarial science, but also offers computer-based applications and modules on analytics methods for business and machine learning. These tools are very useful for my career path. I want to become a non-traditional actuary equipped with strong technical skills.

Help from the Careers Team

With the support of Cass Careers Team, I have already attended many workshops and I have booked numerous 1:1 appointments to help me apply for jobs in the UK. I feel more confident in answering competency questions and doing video interviews. I really appreciate the careers coaches because they have helped me gain confidence and realise where my personal strengths lie.

Studying at Cass Business School has enriched my understanding of actuarial science and improved my commercial awareness. I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

Yiqi Chang, MSc Actuarial Science (2020)

 If you’d like to find out more about Yiqi’s experience or have any general questions about studying on a master’s degree at Cass, contact her on our Ask a student platform.

*From September 2020, Cass Business School will be launching the MSc in Actuarial Science with Business Analytics pathway, which prepares students for the non-traditional actuarial field of business analytics.

Finding work in China and the UK with a student society

Cass Chinese Careers Society

I am the Co-President of the Cass Chinese Careers Society (CCCS), along with Wendy Zhang and Yilun Fu, two master’s students at Cass. While the three of us manage the whole society together, I specialise in Public Relations and lead a team of my own to establish and maintain relationships with guest speakers, alumni and external organisations such as companies and societies.

CCCS is a student-led society working together with the Careers team, aiming to support Chinese postgraduates in achieving their professional aspirations. CCCS not only helps enhance the job-searching skills of Chinese students by holding practical job-related presentations and workshops, but also serves as a useful information-sharing and networking platform for its members to pursue their dream jobs in both the UK and in China.

There are three major divisions within CCCS: Marketing, Events and Public Relations. The Marketing team produces weekly job-related insights on our main social media platform WeChat, sharing job opportunities and application preparation tips. They also share events they feel will be relevant to students and offer information on specific companies and industries.

Our events

In our first semester, we held two major events and facilitated two additional events organised by Cass Careers Office:

  • Alumni Panel Event – Getting a job in the UK
  • Christmas networking event at Devonshire Terrace
  • Standard Charted Company Presentation
  • Financial Friends Online Conference – Job application tips on financial services in mainland China

All events were very well received by our students. For example, in the Christmas networking event, the venue was fully booked with 60 attendees— both students and alumni. Over 120 students attended Standard Charted presentation!

Alumni panel event

At our alumni panel event, we had eight guest speakers from four sectors that students are most interested in: banking, consulting, auditing and insurance. Our speakers are employees from high-profile companies (HSBC, Barclays, KPMG, PwC, Accenture and Aviva).

After a short introduction, the panel coordinators asked questions tailored to current applicants’ key concerns. After guest graduates shared their experiences and tips, there was also a Q&A and networking session. The topics of the questions cover the guests’ typical day/week, challenges and opportunities, reasons for choosing this role and company, specific applications tips and advice about the job-searching process as a whole. We had excellent feedback with some of my fellow students calling thing event ‘insightful’ and ‘very practical’.

What I have gained from being part of CCCS

Being a part of CCCS has been a great experience of mine!

CCCS provides excellent networking opportunities for its members. As the president responsible for Public Relations, holding society events gives me a great opportunity to build connections with not only a strong community of aspiring students, but also with experienced professionals such as Cass alumni, company representatives and even Shanghai Free Trade Zone delegates. By talking with experienced professionals and listening to their personal stories, I gained helpful insights about different job markets and received valuable guidance on exploring career options and further progression. During my busy application period, our community also offered me great encouragement and support which was just what I needed then for even better performance.

From a more personal perspective, the president role helped me enhance my leadership and communication skills by giving me an excellent opportunity to lead and manage a team of my own, which I believe will definitely benefit me in my future career and more generally in life.

Aside from skills development, the thought of making positive impacts within the Chinese student community always keeps me motivated. I deeply understand the difficulty and various struggles of finding an ideal job for Chinese students, so the feeling of being able to offer help and support makes my society duties a lot more enjoyable.

Iris Xuan Wang, MSc Business Analytics (2020)

Choosing to study MSc Business Analytics

 Business analytics is a combines statistics, coding and business. This combination allows business analysts to narrow the gap between management and technology.

I have strong interests in data and technology and their application in real life to help businesses grow. I am always curious about how important data analytics for business is in modern society, so being able to work on making data-driven business decisions really energises me.

In my MSc Business Analytics studies, I have been learning everything from coding to data visualisation, network analysis to Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. All these new skills will help me smoothly adapt to the digital business world and are the building blocks for my future career.

My career aspirations

During my undergraduate years, despite majoring in economics, I took four elective courses about energy, learning all about the industrial chain — from exploration to sale — and found great fun in this industry.

Now, during such a time of energy transformation, I believe the trend of energy transition can lead to both cyclical but structural changes in the global energy market. I feel passionate about this and would like to develop my career in the energy industry.

In the short term, I aim to become a business analyst in an international energy company by using the skills and strengths that I am learning on the MSc in Business Analytics. In the long-term, I aspire to become an expert in this area and actively compete for a leading role to make a lasting mark and as many contributions as I can to this industry.

A greater need for women in the field of tech and business analytics

Many companies are encouraging women to get more involved in roles about technology. Some companies have  set up projects and platforms to help women develop their leadership in tech roles.

More and more women are encouraged to step into this field, which is definitely a good trend for women who want to become business analysts and deal with data and technology in the future.

With half of my class being female, it shows there is a desire on the part of women to pierce into male-dominated fields. In order to do so, I applied to the Global Women’s Leadership Programme (GWLP) scholarship and was lucky enough to receive it.

The Global Women’s Leadership Programme

 As part of GWLP, I joined the Executive Board. We have regular Executive Board meetings to discuss the progress of events held by subcommittees. In the meetings, we share our experiences and exchange opinions with each other. The board will also offers evaluations and suggestions of past activities, so I learn something new and hear new ideas in each meeting.

The Programme hosts events such as “Influence Techniques for Professional Women” and most recently, “A fireside chat with Sir Philip Hampton and Denise Wilson OBE”. These knowledge exchange events helping women at Cass to find more possibilities in their careers.

How the scholarship and GWLP Board has impacted my experience at Cass

This programme provides me opportunities to work with other ambitious women and exchange ideas. For example, alongside fellow undergraduate and master’s Scholars, we organised a panel event and invited female leaders to share their experiences and take part in a Q&A session on their career paths in November. The event received good feedback. I am very proud to organise these kinds of events because I not only learn a lot from our board members, but I am also able to give back by providing further help and encouragement for other women at Cass.

 

Mengjia Hang, MSc Business Analytics (2020)

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