Meet Actuarial Science Graduate Refilwe

Graduate Refilwe Modise

We caught up with BSc (Hons) Actuarial Science with a Year in Industry student Refilwe Modise chatted to us about her experiences on her degree, her placement year and student societies!


Why did you choose to study at Kent?

Well, a number of reasons to be honest. Firstly, I was interested in Actuarial Science, and my research revealed Kent as one of the top-rated institutions for the course in the UK. I also found out that the university was also accredited to offer the core technical professional exemptions, and since I was (am) looking for the quickest route towards qualifying as an actuary, this made Kent considerably appealing. Also taking into consideration the quiet, green, countryside nature of this buzzing student city in contrast to London, the number of Batswana and international students in the city, and the reputation the university had for supporting its students, Kent was the natural choice for a good transition.

What was the highlight of your degree?

It would definitely have to be the end of my degree; the part where I got to see the fruits of my labour. It’s definitely been a long laborious journey, so to know I managed to cross to the other side with a first-class degree, in a very draining pandemic, is magnificent to say the least.

What do you think of the teaching and support available?

Fantastic. I was very happy with the teaching and support I got most of the time I’ve spent in the University of Kent. First year definitely had the right amount of support for a student just transitioning from school, and the tutorials, example and PC classes throughout the years have all been quite valuable. My lecturers were all quite helpful, as well as my academic advisor who was always very quick to respond to me and provide assistance. Covid-19 made both providing and receiving support quite harder for everyone over a PC, which is quite understandable, but they did considerably well.

Could you tell us about your experiences on your Year in Industry?

I did a 13-month work experience as an Actuarial Intern at the Pension Protection Fund. Now that I think about it, that actually might be the highlight of my degree. To start with, I got the placement on my first application/interview! I spent 13 months living and working in Croydon, and it was quite an interesting experience. I got exposed to so much at work, had a wonderful work life balance, great support, work that challenged me and had me learning my entire time there, and, various other activities such as volunteering, out of work dinners and parties, and the fun stuff such as boxercise with the managers!

I worked in two departments over the period: risk and financial management. From an actuarial point of view, attending regular monthly CPD meetings and keeping up to date with a lot of actuarial news was quite educational. I got to do quite a range of types of actuarial work and use some actuarial models, managed my own small projects during my time there, and learnt a lot of programming. My excel and data manipulation skills have quite improved since I worked there. The lovely friendly atmosphere in the open plan office and regular trips to the state-of-the-art coffee machine also quite made my days.

Have you been involved with any student societies at Kent?

Yes, quite a few. In my first year, I was a member and secretary of the Kent Maths Society, and a member of a few societies: Kent Invest, Southern African Society, Enactus Kent and more. In my second year, I continued on with the Maths Society as President, and took on Treasurer of the Southern African Society. Aside from that, I was also student representative throughout my time.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m looking forward to completing my MSc in Actuarial Management at City, the University of London, starting this fall. I’ll hear what the job market has for me after that!

Refilwe Modise