Tag: careers

Career advice for insurance and risk management students

Join a student society to network and learn

As an MSc Insurance and Risk Management student, I jumped at the opportunity to join the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk, and Quants Society (AIR-Q) as one of the Co-Presidents. Joining AIR-Q Society has been an excellent way to build my network and to delve deeper into the field I want to pursue a career in by speaking to alumni working in the sector.

How to break into the insurance industry

As a soon-to-be MSc Insurance and Risk Management alumnus, it is crucial to understand what to expect in the future which is why it was incredibly rewarding to work on hosting a webinar in May with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Insurance Institute of London (IIL) and AIR-Q. The session was specifically aimed at master’s students interested in following a career in the insurance industry.

We had more than 30 attendees join the forum with questions for our panel of six, including three alumni, led by Vivine Cameron. I am very grateful to the six panellists who shared their career advice and professional trajectories. They were:

  • Vivine Cameron: Education Partnerships Manager
  • Afsar Ali: Cyber Analyst at Guy Carpenter (alumnus)
  • Amanda Yek: Actuarial Placement Analyst at Markel International
  • Irem Yerdelen: Client & Business Development Director, Corporate Risk & Broking segment, Willis Towers Watson (alumnus)
  • Louise Healy: Recruitment Consultant at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
  • Stephanie Nightingale: Head of Risk Reporting and Underwriting Risk Oversight at Chaucer Syndicates

 

The different career paths in insurance

There are plenty of roles involved in the insurance businesses, such as underwriting, claims, brokering and loss adjustment among others. Which path you decide to pursue will depend on your abilities, your interests and which path is most dynamic when you are graduating. During my master’s studies, I gained a better understanding and deep insights into the industry. Topics like insurtech, digitalisation and startups are trending in the insurance industry.  There is a lot of space for innovation and many companies are developing new tech and generating brand new products that are more transparent, are easier to understand and are increasingly accessible to existing or unique customers, which makes it a very exciting time to enter the industry.

A fast-track to being awarded CII professional certifications

One of the benefits of studying the MSc Insurance and Risk Management at Cass is the possibility to study modules which award credits towards the professional CII certifications. Thanks to Vivine, we were able to understand the advanced benefits we will have towards our CII qualifications. She provided us with unique guidance on which insurance roles exist. Asfar Ali, Cyber Analyst at Guy Carpenter shared valuable tips into which  next steps we need to take to be awarded the CII diploma and spoke about company sponsorship to receive the qualifications.

Career advice from our panellists: enjoy the process

Each future graduates is different. We have unique skill sets and distinctive ambitions in short-term and long-term.  The majority of us are concerned as to which career path we might follow now and in the near months. Irem Yerdelen, an alumna and the Client & Business Development Director, Corporate Risk & Broking segment at Willis Tower Watson is a fellow graduate of the MSc Insurance and Risk Management. Irem was able to tell the online attendees how the course benefitted her career. Her professional journey started in Istanbul and after pursuing her master’s degree, she decided to stay in London to pursue her career. Irem gave an important message: “doing a master’s is a great step for your career. When looking for a job, think about which option is the best for you but don’t forget to enjoy the process!”

Job-searching online

Due to the significant changes the insurance sector and many dependent sectors are facing, job-searching is going to be completely different from what it used to be. Most recruitment processes and interviews will be fully online. Louise Healy, Recruitment Consultant at Allianz, talked about her experience in the recruitment sector and gave us some valuable insights. Louise highlighted how candidates need to demonstrate their soft skills and suggested we show our genuine personality, saying, “Be natural, show who you really are.”

Thank you!

Myself and my fellow Co-Presidents of AIR-Q Society (Rocio Plasencia, Evangelos Santas, Lucy Nondi, David Flanigan, Adam Upenieks, and Peter Vodička) would like to deliver a special thanks to guest speakers for a great session and for answering all the audience questions.

Juan Sebastián de la Torre, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020)

 

Will AI replace actuaries?

What is data science and how is it related to actuaries?

That is the main question that Mr Dimitrios Velmachos and Mr Michael Tripp, our keynote speakers aimed to answer in the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants Society’s latest forum.

As an MSc Actuarial Management student, I’ve greatly benefitted from being part of the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants Society (AIR-Q) as Co-President. Meeting key industry leaders and discussing developments in the sector has enhanced what I’ve learned in my studies.

Students and alumni who attended were eager to understand what trending topic of AI means for their future careers.

Mr Velmachos wears many hats: he is an entrepreneur, an Insurance Executive and an actuary. He has extensive international experience in the fields of finance, insurance and reinsurance. His main area of focus is utilising his technological skills in advising his clients on how to deliver value to the insurance industry.

As the first presenter for the forum, Dimitrios discussed how data analytics are transforming the insurance industry. He talked about the algorithms currently in use for risk assessment, claims handling and policy administration. One of the best illustrations he gave was how technology is being used in China to determine the morbidity rate applicable to a policyholder seeking out an income protection policy. By using AI, the insurer can know information such as the client’s lifestyle, health status and even the age without the need of filling out the proposal form. This trend has thus helped curb the uncertainty involved in determining the appropriate cover to be charged.

Mr Velmachos further explained how the data ecosystem has changed when it comes to pricing and reserving in general insurance. Insurers are now investing in advanced systems that can accommodate more data points, unlike ten years ago when actuaries had to rely on Excel as the primary data storage tool. As a result, more data groupings can be accommodated by this modern software which has resulted in better pricing of insurance products.

The speaker also highlighted how the use of telematics has improved policyholder behaviour in motor insurance, thus reducing the number of claims significantly. The use of Google Maps in property insurance has also helped mitigate fraudulent claims arising from such cover. By using such examples, Mr Velmachos concluded that data science is a significant contributor to the digitisation of the world of insurance.

Data Science and the IfoA

Our final speaker Mr Tripp talked about how the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) have started embracing data science by offering courses and assessment to its current members in partnership with the Royal Statistical Society. Being a general insurance actuary with over 40 years of experience in the insurance industry, Michael can comfortably say he has been part of the transformation. Being part of the data science steering committee in the IFoA council, he has helped push forward this transformation.

 

Michael emphasised that the council aims to reposition the actuarial profession by enhancing members’ experience based on what is currently happening in international markets. It is for this reason that the team considered it wise to include elements of programming to some of the professional papers offered by the body to build skills and maintain professional competence.

In his concluding speech, Michael also agreed with Mr Velmachos by stating how artificial intelligence has aided time series prediction, data analysis and modelling and optimising logistics. Thus, by applying these features, AI has been able to use cognitive reasoning in the decision-making process.

What Does the Future Hold for Actuaries?

So, what does this mean for the actuarial profession? Will AI surpass human intelligence in such a way that fewer actuaries will be needed in the future? These, among other questions, were discussed at length during the panel session led by Dr Zoltan Butt, a senior lecturer at Cass Business School and our event moderator for the Cass AIR-Q Actuarial Forum.

 

 

Both speakers disagreed with this notion as actuaries will stay play a big role in making data science a success. It is apparent most systems require some form of human interaction to execute a job. Thus, AI will help make work easier for the role that actuaries play in the insurance and finance market. Dimitrios also stated that although it is not a requirement for excelling in the profession, it would be advantageous for student members to learn some element of programming language.

Michael highlighted that the decision between needing humans or machines is more a philosophical debate. The answer will depend on how you see intelligence: is intelligence natural or artificial?

Thanks to AIR-Q and Cass!

The Cass AIR-Q Actuarial Forum was an eye-opener for the attendees as they were given a chance to interact with the speakers during the networking session that followed the panel discussion. The society aims to bridge the knowledge gap between our student members and the industry— and I can say the forum did justice to this goal.

Myself and the fellow Co-Presidents of AIR-Q Society (Rocio Plasencia, Juan Sebastian De La Torre, Evangelos Santas, Lucy Nondi, David Flanigan, Adam Upenieks and Peter Vodička) would like to deliver special thanks to our speakers, our moderator, and the entire Cass Business School events team. We would also like to congratulate the audience who participated in making the event an engaging one.

The AIR-Q Society will also like to thank the LSE Actuarial Society representatives that came to offer their support. We are looking forward to meeting you in the next academic year but in the meantime, stay safe and follow the regulation of the government towards fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Lucy Nondi, MSc Actuarial Management (2020)

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)

From Football to Finance

Why study finance?

Why study finance? For the buzz, of course! My interest within this area was largely driven by my neighbour at the age of 16. He introduced me to penny stocks— BIG mistake. The adrenaline rush had me hooked immediately. It was that excitement and the feeling of sickness in your stomach that drew me in. That feeling was the only thing that came remotely close to the feeling I got on the field as a professional footballer. From that moment onwards, I began building the foundation to explore a career within the stock market should football come to end, whether that be at retirement (so I hoped) or through injury. Unfortunately, neither became true.

Josef Jackson on the field

At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with leukaemia and my world fell apart. This was an incredibly tough time for me, but looking back I wouldn’t change it for the world. I feel lucky to have a level of appreciation, perspective and an ambition to succeed in life different to my peers. Cancer changed my life for the better. After a year of chemotherapy, I was chomping at the bit to get my life back on track and begin chasing my other dream of becoming a Morgan Stanley trader. I decided to take on a financial mathematics degree. My A-levels were taken alongside professional football, which was tough trying to balance the two and consequently my grades suffered. Frustratingly, this stopped me from attending a Russell Group university which was a setback for sure, but I was more determined than ever. If I could make it as a professional footballer, then I knew I could make it in the finance world. For my graduate application to have any weight, I needed proof that I could compete at that level. After two and a half years of hard work and dedication, I had put myself in a position to stand a chance of being accepted into some of the top universities.

Which university do I pick? 

 After further research on rankings, the diversity of the university and the opportunities to network, I was adamant that Cass was the place for me. I sent off applications to all universities that I was rejected from to study my undergraduate degrees as backups, but Cass was the one I wanted. To my delight, I received offers for all of my applications, but more importantly I got in the place I wanted!

Joe graduates

What’s it like when you first start at Cass?

 My Cass journey on the MSc Finance started with gentle ice-breakers and social events which exposed me to the international diversity of my cohort. We created WhatsApp groups with people from at least 15 nationalities. If you want to learn about culture, come to Cass! Through this network of international friends, I now have a sofa to crash on in most countries across the globe! In fact, they should really create a Cass Air BnB!

However, graduate application deadlines hit me hard, as well as some of the most difficult academic challenges I’ve ever faced. It’s difficult to juggle all these applications and exams after only being there for six weeks. No-one is superhuman, though, so that’s where Cass come in and support you. Their Careers Team is phenomenal; without their guidance, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.

Joe and his cohort

Looking forward

 In October I began the application process for the Sales and Trading internship at Morgan Stanley. Here at Cass you are not only taught theory, but how this applies in practice which was incredibly invaluable for the technical aspects of the interview process, and will be for my career going forward. My success in all the other aspects of the interviewing process was thanks to the constant help of the careers team. I did practice aptitude tests, practice phone interviews and at least five practice interviews… what more can you ask for?

It was December, a final assessment centre stood between me and a job at Morgan Stanley. Getting to the final stage wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more. This was my moment to show that the impossible can be done, and I nailed it. A dream come true!

So what sets Cass apart from the rest?

 For me, one of the biggest benefits of Cass is the people you meet. Both from a social side and an academic point of view. If you want to find out your competition for the best jobs in the world, then look no further than here. I have never met such a dedicated group of people in my life, if you can compete in this circle then you can compete anywhere. That’s not to say that we are all competing at Cass, the complete opposite in fact. People here realise the importance of building relationships and a network they may not need right now, but what they will need in the future. This level of maturity is what sets this University apart in my opinion.

Another benefit of studying at Cass is the trips, which are unbelievable! In February we travelled to Frankfurt as a group. We had insight into the perspective of some of the biggest banks in the world, we had culture thrown in the mix and also the chance to taste every German beer under the sun.  But on this unique occasion, I was immersed from start to finish. Being able to travel and study abroad as part of my degree is an incredible experience that I feel humbled to be a part of. The only thing missing was the sun, but you can’t have everything, right?

Josef Jackson, MSc Finance (2019)

4 Ways Business Analytics Transformed My Life

1. I became a business and data analyst

I could have never imagined that I would have developed so many skills from one master’s degree. It’s true, the MSc Business Analytics course is really challenging. But with hard work and dedication, everything is possible. My undergraduate course was based on finance and accounting; therefore, I did not know a lot about data analysis. Now, I am a confident coder in Python and R, I gained skills in machine learning techniques, and I know how to visualise data. There is a long list of skills that I developed because of this course, and I believe I will utilise each single one as a professional in the industry.

2. I gained friends from all over the world

The first thing that was apparent to me as I walked into the introduction lecture, is the diversity within the cohort. Most students were international, from all parts of the world. Thanks to the course’s focus on group coursework and Cass events, it was very easy to get to know everyone. I met exceptional people and learned about so many different cultures. I made new friends, and even learned to make margaritas with a Mexican friend! These people are potential leaders of the future and being friends and former classmates with them is going to be very helpful in the industry.

3. I became a Londoner

I never understood how different life would be in London. Yes, it’s busy, it’s expensive but it’s also wonderful. By living in London, I understood big city life is for me, and why. You can be free and independent, even if you are around so many people. Everything is so close to reach. You can do everything, from dining at the best restaurant in the world to going to a walk in the park. You meet people from all over the world. This master’s is the reason I moved to London and understood that this is where I want to start my career.

4. I secured the job of my dreams

I know everyone always says, go to the Careers Fair and go to the Careers Events, but no one really believes that anything good is going to come from this. Well, you should all go. If it wasn’t for the Cass Careers Fair, I would never have gotten an amazing job as a technology consultant in the data department of a multinational corporation. It was a dream come true for me. Everyone in my course wanted to get into this industry, and I thought it would be impossible because of the competition. But, I went to the careers fair in September, put on a smile and got as much information from as many representatives I could. I met the representatives and applied to the jobs that suited me best. And this was it. Next year I might even be the representative of the company talking to the new students. I am extremely grateful for Cass, and the careers team for helping me secure this job.

Dorina Constantinou, MSc Business Analytics (2019)

Keep Calm & Trust Cass Careers

After one long year of brainstorming, I finally decided to quit my Senior Actuarial Analyst job at AXA XL Catlin in New Delhi and begin an MSc in Actuarial Management at Cass Business School.

Like most of my peers, I aspire to work in the UK and I’m keen to explore the various routes to employment here.

Two weeks into the course, Cass gave us an opportunity to meet more than 60 employers under one roof at the Cass Careers Fair. Here, we could network with an array of leading companies: Aviva, KPMG, Deloitte and many more.

Before the Careers Fair, we were given access to online sessions and workshops on how to make the most of the event. Looking back, it really helped me understand the application process of the companies that interested me.

The Cass Careers Service organises weekly sessions to enhance our employability. In those sessions, they address various topics like the preparation of CVs, covering letters, interview skills and sessions on industry-specific knowledge.

I made sure I attended each session at least once and they turned out to be very helpful in the application process. Moreover, the Cass Careers website has a real-time update on graduate jobs in different industries in the UK market, making it easier for us to keep track of opportunities.

I was invited to a telephone interview with KPMG. Afterwards, I had to record a series of answers and send them back by the end of the day. I had classes until 3pm that day, so I went to Cass Careers immediately afterwards. Although I’d not booked an appointment beforehand, they assigned an expert who helped me refine my answers until they were perfect and ready to be sent off.

As of today, I’ve been invited to five video interviews (stage three of the applications process for many companies). I’ve made it this far thanks to the Cass Careers Service. The detailed guidance and feedback at every stage– from drafting application answers to psychometric tests – really makes it easier.

The Cass Careers Service employ experts who have worked in the industry for more than 10 years, so they understand better than anyone else what makes your application stand out from a pool of thousands of other applications. Soliciting their advice throughout the different stages of the application process is really helpful.

So, if you enrol to Cass, then you can be confident and trust their Careers Service.

Sambhav Jain,  MSc in Actuarial Management (2019)

If you have any questions for Sambhav or any of our other student ambassadors about the student experience, visit our Ask a Student page. 

Embracing priceless opportunities at Cass

I am a MSc International Accounting and Finance student at Cass Business School and I’ll admit when I arrived to London, I was scared. I didn’t know anyone and I was plagued by nervous thoughts: ‘Will I find it hard to make new friends? Will this year help me understand what I would like to do in my future career?’

These are only some of the questions I had before starting my course.

A new beginning

Since the beginning of the course, I have found the answers to most of these questions. I’m not saying that everything has always been easy and straightforward, but every day I feel stronger, more confident, more integrated and, more importantly, I feel that I am continuously learning new and exciting things!

Community support

I found a friendly and inclusive environment where teachers are always willing to help. The small number of students on my course enables each one of us to have direct, one-to-one contact with them. Apart from the high-quality of the courses and lecturers, what makes me enthusiastic about studying at Cass is the amount of activities and opportunities it offers. The careers centre is constantly helping us out: from developing our CVs, to preparing us for interviews. Personally, since I don’t have any work experience, I didn’t even know where to start to look for a job. But after participating in career’s workshops and having had a couple of appointments with the careers team, I am much more aware of what I want to do after this Masters. I started actively looking for a job thanks to the advice I received. I also joined an extracurricular course, ‘Coding for Girls’. I always wanted to learn programming but I had never had the opportunity. Besides having fun, I am also learning some useful things that I might need in the future.

A priceless opportunity

Being at Cass has given me a priceless opportunity to meet people from literally all over the world. This means I have made many friends who speak many languages. Every day I discover something that I didn’t know before: I learn new words, try new food, listen to different music, visit new places, and every day I can see the world with new eyes. And in the last few weeks, I’ve also enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere that fills every street of this magical city!

Daphne Mazzocco, MSc International Accounting and Finance (2019)

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