Manpreet Kaur Barker
Course: BSc Actuarial Science
Year of Graduation: 2015
Why did you choose to study your course?
Maths has always been a subject that I have been good at and thoroughly enjoyed, especially since a young age. My dad was able to teach me both long multiplication and division when I was in year 2 and that is where my passion for maths started!
I wanted to pursue a degree that incorporated maths but I didn’t want to study it solely at university. I wanted to know how maths was applied in a practical sense rather than being purely theoretical. I reached out to my tutor when I was studying for my A levels and he suggested looking into Actuarial Science. I googled it and clicked on the Wikipedia page and that was that!
What was the most memorable part of your university experience?
The most memorable part of my university experience was learning to be independent and make my own decisions as a young adult. I also loved living in London as a student! There is always something to do and activities to get involved in but I also met some really cool and intelligent people that I still keep in touch with.
What is your current job role and what does a typical day look like?
I am currently a Reserving Actuary at Flood Re. I carry out the quarterly reserving process from start to end. This includes data processing, performing judgement on our ultimate premium and claims and communicating our reserve results to the Board members.
In the quieter months, I use the space to develop my SQL skills by coming up with ways to improve our SQL reserving process and being creative with power bi dashboards to help inform the judgements that are made during the quarter close.
A typical day for me is waking up early and going to a gym class. Logging in early to get any urgent emails answered. Making a list of tasks in priority order and setting myself an achievable target for the day. Checking in with my manager if required and getting my tasks completed. I like to be productive during my day so that I can finish on time and enjoy my evenings!
What has your career journey been like since graduating?
As soon as I left university in July 2015, I started off as a graduate at Deloitte in September where I was there for five years before moving to Flood Re. I worked on a variety of projects, mostly reserving with a little bit of pricing work.
I learnt the softer skills as a consultant and built up the confidence to communicate clearly. I moved to industry to enhance my technical knowledge and gain exposure to a more traditional reserving role.
What skills and experience did you gain from your degree which have been particularly helpful in your career?
I really enjoyed being taught by different professors during my degree. It taught me how to adapt to different styles of teaching but also allowed me to differentiate what worked and what did not work for me when trying to learn.
During my course, we were given all sorts of tasks to complete which came in different formats such as coding, solving problems through calculations, quizzes, presenting etc. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and understand what my strengths and weaknesses were.
How did your university experience and degree help you to secure your job/jobs?
I was able to gain exemptions to the actuarial exams which was a huge advantage. It alleviated the pressure of studying whilst working. Studying for a degree that is preparing you for what to expect in the career you will be pursuing is a bonus and actuarial science did just that for me.
What advice would you give students who are thinking of studying at Bayes?
To take every opportunity that comes your way. Try to attend any workshops/talks that are set up by the university that you might find interesting, you never know what you will learn or who you will meet. It is so important to build relationships as soon as you start going to university.
Work hard but also have fun!
What is the one thing you can’t live without?