Year in Industry stories: Georgia Ashley

Georgia standing in front of 'Sainsbury's' sign

Georgia tells all about her year at Sainsbury’s for her Actuarial Science degree.

Where did you do you year in industry?

I spent a year as a Data Analyst for Sainsbury’s, I was based in the headquarters in Holborn, London

How did you get it?

I was really lucky with my Year in Industry as it was the first one I applied for and the only job I interviewed for. However, the role was posted into the year in industry page set up by the placements team, I applied on the company’s job site and all I had to do was upload my cv and answer some questions. The second round was a maths test and then the final round was an assessment centre consisting of a standard interview with competency based questions, a technical test and a presentation I had to prepare beforehand.

I did apply for a couple others whilst waiting for the reply from Sainsbury’s and I found a lot of those on RateMyPlacement.


What does Actuarial Science look like in a company like Sainsbury’s?

I chose the placement as I wanted to push myself out of my maths/actuarial science comfort zone and try something slightly new. However, a lot of what I have learnt at uni was applicable to this position. We used a lot of statistical testing in my team to understand if results fit our pre-decided hypotheses, so the many statistics lectures were put to good use!

I also learnt how to code in SQL and Python, different companies use different coding languages but having grounding in two popular languages is applicable across tech and finance. I also got some experience in machine learning which is used throughout the actuarial profession to build and understand predictions.


How has it helped you with your studies?

Throughout the year I gained a greater sense of organisation and time management, working a 9-5 and having multiple staggered deadlines meant I had to keep on top of my schedule and have a sense of self discipline in order to finish all my tasks. This has helped in my return to university as I get all my work done during the day rather than working late nights as I value my evenings much more now!

Learning how to code was a personal accomplishment for me as I never knew this was an avenue I could take. This year we have modules that include R and having this previous coding knowledge, not only of the languages but how we turn statistical tests into code has helped me in my Survival Analysis and Stochastic Processes modules so far.


How has it set you up for life after university?

My year in industry was one of the best years of my life, I learnt so much about myself and developed many skills I can use in the future. The biggest change was my confidence. I went to placement absolutely refusing to give presentations as I was terrified of public speaking and now I absolutely love it! Having given a presentation to 200 people whilst on placement, my presentation skills became part of my personal brand and it was what I was known for around the company.

I could list all of the skills I developed but I would be here for hours, I left placement a very different person to how I went in and I am so grateful for the opportunity. I found a career I love and a workplace I thrive in, it is a slightly different plan to when I started but I couldn’t be happier and I look forward to my future as a data analyst. I was also offered a position as a data analyst once I graduate from university!