Updating Results

Finity Consulting

  • 100 - 500 employees

Richard Lam

As an actuarial analyst, I spend a large part of my time in data cleansing and processing, drawing high-level insights from the data, and updating models.

What's your job about?

Finity is a leading consultancy in the actuarial/analytics space, and my role mainly involves data cleansing/processing, model building/maintenance, and assisting project managers in delivering solutions for our clients.

At a dynamic consulting firm like Finity, as there is a wide variety of projects that you work on at one time, it can be hard to describe a typical day. It is probably easier to elaborate on the progression of a typical project (in a very broad sense):

Usually, when a project begins, it would start off with a kick-off meeting, where members of the team get together and discuss the needs and wants from the client, and the “plan of attack” to be adopted. This involves identifying what needs to be done, the timeframe for the project and allocation of tasks within the team.

As an actuarial analyst, I spend a large part of my time in data cleansing and processing (so that the data is in ideal shape to be analysed further), drawing high-level insights from the data, and updating models. Occasionally, I might need to build models from scratch, or conduct more detailed analysis where required.

Over the course of the project, there will be a lot of communication within the team on matters such as progress updates and changes in strategy.

Once we have formulated our solution, careful checks for reasonableness and technical reviews would be carried out to ensure a high level of accuracy in our results before they are sent out.

What's your background?

I grew up in Hong Kong, and moved to Australia at the age of 12.

List the most important stages of your life!

  1. Moving to Australia – new language, culture and social circle
  2. Starting university – transitioning from supervised learning in high school to independent/self-learning in university; starting to build experience (part-time work / co-curricular involvements) to become a more well-rounded individual
  3. Starting full-time work – different lifestyle; importance of balancing work, study commitment and social life

How did you get to your current job position and for how long have you being doing it already?

I have built a strong resume through my active extracurricular involvement at university, decent academic record, and both part-time and professional work experience. I believe this has helped a long way during the graduate role application at Finity Consulting, as it was definitely a rigorous process.

Actuarial Studies was actually not on my radar at the time I received my higher school certificate result. That was mainly because there was not enough information flowing around about this occupation. I was aware of the degree but did not give it too much thought. It was until I attended university open days, where I got the opportunity to talk to experienced academics and students, and learnt that actuarial science aligns very well with my interest (which was applying mathematics in the financial area). I guess the lesson here is to put yourself out there and meet and talk to as many people as possible.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes and no. I believe graduates from a strong quantitative background can definitely excel on the job after familiarising with some actuarial related concepts. That being said, it would be a longer journey for non-actuarial graduates to become a fully qualified actuary, as they need to start their actuarial exams from scratch (graduates with an actuarial degree typically gets exemption for parts of the actuarial exams).

Which kind of characteristics or other skills one should have when it comes to your job!

  • Quantitative mindset
  • Attention to detail
  • Eager learner
  • Team player

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I really enjoy the variety of projects I get to work on in my job, which stimulate my thinking and encourage my learnings.

Being able to work (and see) through a project from the start till the very end is definitely what I appreciate the most in my job – it really is rewarding and valuable to understand clients’ needs and how everything fits together as a graduate!

Furthermore, being able to suggest improvements and see them being implemented in the project is another reason I feel grateful to do what I do.

What are the limitations of your job?

The level of responsibility you bear would be dependent on your experience, and also how active your involvement is. We don’t need to work on weekends and it is definitely not a physically demanding role (I guess that is why actuary has consistently been rated as one of the best jobs in the world).

I believe one of the biggest limitation for graduates would be to balance work and study, as the actuarial exams are notably difficult.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Get involved! Be a mentor, join a student society where you work in a team to make something meaningful happen, be a student representative, etc. Whatever it is, just put yourself out there and be active, and I am sure you will gain a lot while building a strong candidate profile.
  • Study hard: there is a common misconception that you don’t need to study too hard in university, and scraping passes and graduating on time would be enough to secure a good graduate job. This is definitely not true. Not only you would be losing out to your more academically focused peers when applying for a job, you are also missing out in learning the fundamentals in your university degree that could potentially prepare you well for your future job.
  • Get some professional experience where possible: look out for part-time, casual, and internship positions that are related to the field you would like to get into, even if you are just a first year student. It is never too early to start thinking about building your professional experience.