Tag: job search

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)

 

Landing a job in China

Joining a student society: my experience in the Cass Chinese Career Society (CCS)

As an MSc Business Analytics student, I’ve found being a Co-President of a student society one of the most rewarding experiences of my studies, as I’ve allowed to practise some of the skills I learned in the events we host. One of the greatest things about joining a student society is that you get to surround yourself with amazing people. They are your peers, alumni or guests that you may never have had the opportunity to know if you hadn’t decided to click on that event link. They all shine in a way or another and may inspire you at some point in your life when you are least expected to be inspired but need it the most.

In a career-focused society like the Cass Chinese Career Society (CCCS), we are all working hard towards the same goal so you can find the support you need to pull you through the sometimes inevitable difficult times when you are overwhelmed by the interviews and tests that you need to get prepared for while carrying the burden of your coursework piling up. 

Landing a job in China

The ‘Landing a job in China – International Banks’ webinar was the second in the series of employability webinars hosted by Cass Chinese Career Society (CCCS). For students who are considering a banking career, this webinar was particularly useful as it invited three Cass alumni who now work in HSBC and Standard Charted in China and are at different stages of their professional life.

Attending the webinar

As a quick response to the unprecedented change starting in March due to the pandemic, CCCS introduced a series of employability webinars that focus specifically on exploring job options in China. Each webinar was generally divided into two parts: a discussion of the alumni’s daily work life, their career advice and tips, followed by a Q&A session. With an economic outlook that may worry some students, at CCCS, we felt organising these webinars could help our current students gain insight from alumni to prepare for the future.

105 students joined the Wechat group chat for the International Bank webinar while 45 students joined live on Cisco Webex platform. This webinar was very well received by our participants. The group chat was filled with gratitude when the webinar ended with a few students commented it gave them a lot more confidence in job-hunting during this difficult time.

Top tips to securing a job in China

Aside from key skillsets such as communication, leadership, analytical skills and teamwork, graduate schemes for foreign banks in China pay great attention to whether the candidate presents a good match with the company culture. For example, HSBC’s culture is ‘Open, Dependable and Connected’, so it can be very useful to think before the interview about how one’s experience and the way you behave can show these key values. For Standard Chartered in China, the company prefers candidates with a more proactive personality and who show great potential for business expansion. Despite the positions being based in China, English will be used mostly throughout the application process.

Another great piece of advice we get from the alumnus is about application strategy. To better manage risk in the process, it is advised to divide the applications into top, medium and low levels of difficulty of being selected. If you are interested in a career in finance, you can try applying for positions in different sub-sections a bit more widely such as securities, private equity, venture capital, trust fund etc. and then compare the offers.

Learning more about the banking industry in China

In general, banks have a very clear career path such as ‘Analyst – Associate – Associate Director – Director – Managing Director’ while the name of the positions may vary across banks. People are usually promoted every 2-5 years depending on own performance. Graduates in international banks have overall good credibility in the job market and therefore more choices in their following career development.

The alumni also talked about the responsibility, challenges and benefits of different job positions they have been in such as front desk roles, credit analyst and graduate role in detail. A detailed summary of the webinar content can be found in this article in Mandarin.

Iris Wang, MSc 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)

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)

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