The Cass Actuarial Science experience
I previously completed an undergraduate degree in Financial Mathematics in the UK and after working in risk management during my placement year I decided to become an Actuary. With this blog, I hope to share with you many of my wonderful and sometimes challenging experiences at Cass.
For this first blog I think it is fitting that I talk about my first few weeks at Cass. Now I am sure you have heard of the expression “the calm before the storm” and looking back I think this best describes how the first few weeks unfolded.
The first two weeks of the master’s degree are set aside for induction which consists of various learning courses and social events. I was very anxious before starting the course as it had been almost three years since I started my undergraduate studies and have had to go through the process of meeting complete strangers and making new friends at university. However, the anxiety and nervousness quickly disappeared as I must say everyone on my course was particularly social and very easy to talk to.
A lot of credit is due to the Actuarial Science department at Cass for arranging an excellent itinerary, during our first few weeks on the course, maximising the opportunity to meet new people, from many different backgrounds. Here we are at one such event. I am the second to last guy on the right if you are curious!
There are many events that the student unions hold providing great opportunities to meet people outside of the course and have enjoyable night outs.
After inductions are over, it is time to face the music! There is a lot to cover on the MSc Actuarial Science and so there is no soothing transition as one might be accustomed to from undergraduate studies. The lectures have a very brief introduction, the course begins almost immediately and there are online tests as early as week three of lectures. I was one of the people who made the mistake of taking it a little bit easy in my first week of lectures and so I would definitely urge others not to make the same mistake, especially if you are doing all four Core Technicals (CTs) in the first term as I was.
However, the lecturers at Cass are particularly helpful and there are office hours as well as tutorials that help greatly with much of the work. The content of the first two to three weeks of the master’s degree is also slightly easier compared to the rest so this definitely helps to transition into the course.
Besides lectures, there was always one thing at the back of my mind – other than the numerous online coursework and laborious tests – jobs! Typically most graduate roles at some of the top companies in the UK close their applications by November, despite the difficulty finding time, the applications had to be submitted.
I want to point out the outstanding support I received from the Careers Team at Cass. They helped and guided me from the very first week whether it was to help me with my CV and cover letter or with online tests and assessment centres. The careers interphase, CCO, is also particularly helpful in finding roles suitable for my course. All of this is not to say that it will be too late to apply for jobs in the second term. I am writing this blog in March and there are plenty of roles available to apply for!
My second term
Fast forward six months and I am now towards the end of my second term marvelling at the time gone. I thought the first term of the course was very difficult having done four Core Technical subjects; the second term is relatively challenging and I am only doing two Core Technical subjects! There really is no room for slacking in the second term as the amount of content covered every week is enormous. The difficulty of each CT is also tenfold compared to the first term.
During the second term there was also the task of choosing electives or research projects for the third term. I chose to do all five electives as it is very helpful in providing real life experiences within the actuarial field. There is also the added bonus of finishing by mid July. Even though I am thinking of the holidays, exams are already here and the pressure is definitely on! Wish me luck…
To sum it all up, I would say the first month of the master’s degree is fun but challenging. There are plenty of new people to meet and events to enjoy but it is also important to enter with the right mind-set right from the very start, when it comes to lectures, as time flies by very quickly! Before you know it, you will be seven months into the course and getting ready for exams in April!
Kartik Vyas, MSc Actuarial Science (2018)