Sidharth DeepchandActuarial Science BSc (Hons)
Sid has taken full advantage of career development opportunities related to his course in Actuarial Science.
What has been your greatest experience at City so far?
My greatest experience has been meeting the CEO of The Coca-Cola Company (Cass alumnus Muhtar Kent) through the Coca-Cola Foundation Scholarship scheme. Just being around such a personality is very inspiring and learning about how his effort brought him to the top was priceless.
What is your dream job once you graduate?
I would like to become an actuarial consultant helping businesses increase profits by analysing their current financial conditions and making recommendations for future decisions and actions. I think consulting would suit my personality because I like to meet new people and consulting is a very client-facing profession. It is also a good way of gaining exposure on different cases which would broaden my way of thinking and I can also derive an international exposure while working as an actuarial consultant. Before joining the consultancy profession, I would like to have gained experience in the different insurance firms just to have a good overview of the functioning of different firms. I have done an internship in a life insurance firm and I am planning to have insights into different companies with my final goal to get into consultancy.
What appeals to you most about this profession?
I would like to become an actuary due to their high standards in the financial and insurance profession. They are well respected and they have good principles such as integrity and impartiality. They combine their analytical, problem-solving skills and business awareness to tackle various problems in a variety of business areas. Their work is dynamic and you have a variety of choice in what areas you can work with. Every large organisation needs risk management and an actuary can help solve this problem. Actuaries also have a say in most big financial decisions and they are the only ones familiar to life tables and pension calculations. The profession is also intellectually satisfying and has a good life balance compared to investment banking or other financial work and still provides similar influence in the market. It is also a rewarding role, both in an intellectual way and in salaries and benefit packages.
Can you tell us about your internships?
I have carried out two internships. My first one was in AXYS Capital Management, Mauritius and this experience increased my awareness of the hierarchy of that firm, how accountants liaise with analysts, how research analysts provide information to asset managers and how asset managers feed the information in a simple way to investors and shareholders. This experience also exposed me to the different risks involved in investments and how analysts try to minimise this.
My other internship was at British American Insurance in Mauritius and I was an actuarial trainee in the Valuation team. I worked with the senior actuarial analyst, understanding the importance of monthly reconciliations and valuations. I also had an opportunity to work with the Actuarial Technical Services Team and this taught me how to communicate with clients and it also involved producing explanation letters and projections for clients. During that internship I also learnt how a life insurance operates.
These internships gave me an exposure to the working culture of the profession and taught me the importance of corporate awareness.
Are there any other key skills you need to succeed in this profession?
Another ability that actuaries need is to able to communicate difficult topics to non-specialists and this is also part of the code of conduct of actuaries. I was the winner of the National Public Speaking contest in Mauritius and also represented Mauritius in the International Public Speaking contest. I am also a regular member of Toastmasters. In January of last year I joined a Toastmasters Club and I have just completed my Competent Communicators Manual which consists of ten different projects that you have to prepare for and deliver speeches on. It requires a lot of time management and also channelling effort in giving a good speech with great content and connecting with the audience. Parallel to this manual, I am also working on my competent leadership manual.
I am also a student ambassador and a course representative. As a course representative, I communicate student feedback to academic staff, which involves structuring feedback in a constructive manner. I feel that these experiences will help me communicate effectively to people in the future.
How has City helped you towards achieving this goal?
My course is very well structured and it does not only have core technical modules related to the exams but it also has modules giving me an outlook on the profession such as Actuarial methods in the first year and Actuarial practicality in the second year. Both these modules introduce the terminology in the actuarial work and the history of the profession. They are very important to me as they provided me with the different types of components of actuarial work and in my second year I have had a few trips to places related to the actuarial profession such as Staple Inn and Lloyd's of London. These trips are informative but they also strengthen your ambition to qualify as an actuary and embrace the profession.
The Actuarial science degree also provides you with eight exemptions from the Actuarial professional examinations, which accelerates the process of qualifying as an actuary.
City's careers service has provided enormous help by helping me to organise my CV and they provided valuable advice on interviews and psychometric tests for applications. I have also been part of the Snapshot scheme of the careers service which provided insights to students about their respective field and through that scheme I have met a few actuaries who have given me great advice.