Student Spotlight | Ace Mfoafo-McCarthy, Actuarial Science with a Year in Industry – BSc (Hons)

Ace shares his experiences studying BSc Actuarial Science with a Year in Industry at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

Why did you choose to study actuarial science?
I chose to study actuarial science because when I was younger I enjoyed doing mathematics and not just pure mathematics but statistics too. Additionally, I am a keen sportsman and often the statistics in the sports such as Formula One, athletics would often intrigue and interest me as within the sport there can be various strategies involved which all use mathematical methods to try and come out with the best outcome (A win). This combined with talking to teachers and family evaluating my strengths and weaknesses I concluded that being an actuary is the career path that I would like to embark on. Furthermore, after additional research I realised that doing an actuarial science degree will kick start my journey of becoming a fully qualified actuary due to the exemptions given when you study the degree.

What appealed to you about the course at Kent?
I think one of the things that appealed to me about Kent was the placement programme. Being offered the opportunity to work in a financial sector was one I did not want to miss out on. Additionally, the studying and learning material from experienced actuaries made the course too great to simply ignore and not take on. Further to this, the University of Kent offers the joint highest number of exemptions at undergraduate level, so it was another incentive that drew me to the course.

What have you particularly enjoyed about your programme?
One thing I have particularly enjoyed about the programme are the students. I have met new people and forming friendships with other people on the course. As well as working together to solve difficult problems, whether it may be in class or part of revision. Being able to work with so many highly skilled people on the course was something that I enjoyed greatly and believe that such experiences will also help me in the future with regards to future jobs and endeavours. Furthermore, my highlight of the programme was going on placement as I was able to apply some of my knowledge that I had gained from university into the real world. This was an exciting experience and helped give me a fresh perspective about working in an office environment as well as actuarial work.

Where did you do your year in industry?
I did my placement at the Pension Protection Fund in London, Croydon where I was an actuarial intern for the levy and policy team.

What did you do during your placement?
My role in the levy and policy team was mainly to assist with the forecasting of the current years’ levy (2019-2020 at the time) and helping with the estimating of the total levy in consequent levy years. Additionally, my responsibilities included aiding in analysis, figures and commentary for board papers and external publications. The compilation of this information is important because it can help the board shape or plan any future strategies, inform decision-making, and impact future levy collections.

How has your placement helped you in your final year?
Placement helped me with my final year as it brought a sense of order into my day-to-day life as on placement I worked consistently from 9 to 5, and I had a set routine which brought an order to my life that at university, is quite difficult to enforce. However, after this experience I was able to bring this over into my final year which helped a great deal as there are a lot of things to do in final year from studying to stay on top of subjects to applying to graduate roles and preparing for interviews and assessment centres. Being able to apportion my time and work consistently as a result of this I believe contributed to my final year being a success.

What do you do outside of your studies?
Outside my studies I like to play and watch all kinds of sports including rugby, football, basketball and others. I enjoy going out with friends, keeping in good shape by going to the gym and having good nights out with everyone.

What are your future plans?
I have been able to get an actuarial graduate role in a consultancy in London, so I plan to progress well in the job looking to seize opportunities to grow and develop myself. I aim to progress through the actuarial exams and get through them as quickly as possible and become a fully qualified actuary in the future.

What advice would you give to other students about coming to Kent?
Make the most of these 3 years. Try to really integrate yourself into the university life by making friends in your course and other courses as there may be times you may need to learn new skills from your friends which can help you and your friends develop as people. If you do not understand anything ask people on your course and your lecturers and try not to let coursework’s bunch up, as if that happens it can cause a lot of stress at times. Also, do enjoy yourself at university do embrace what Canterbury and Kent as a whole has to offer.

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