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Philosophy undergraduate doesn't know what to do with life. Watch

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    (Original post by Jelkin)
    I don't think anyone here can really help you. Firstly, everyone will just suggest "typical" arts grads jobs like teaching, academia, advertising, which are fine but not all you are limited to. In the UK, with a degree you have a lot of options ahead of you and you needn't do something directly relevant to your degree subject. Secondly, no one can know what you'll be into.

    This won't be what you want to hear but really, you need to do a LOT of research. Think about doing some unpaid work experience after uni if you can afford it, to scope out some areas you might be interested in.

    I did an English Literature and an MA and I'm going to be an actuary. I spent ages applying to "arty" jobs because people seemed to think I should, and because people told me I'd really struggle to get an actuarial job after my arts degrees, but none of them really felt "right", and in the end I decided to focus on the career that appealed to me the most and I managed to get what looks to be a great job.

    I know no one can tell me EXACTLY what I want to do. Like I said, I am looking for inspiration of something slightly different. You have offered just that! Would you mind me asking how you got into actuarial science after your MA? Your MA was in English I'm assuming? I ask purely out of interest not because I want to copy you or anything Thanks.
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    (Original post by 69Crazyfists)
    Ah I see, fair enough. I don't have a huge science interest if any at all. But that's mainly confined to phonetics and neurolinguistics. I could easily see myself going into translation or language teaching - but if that's not what you're good at then dw.

    TBH, most of the degrees are setup so you can do pretty much ANY subject you like in first year. You could still do a minimal selection of linguistics modules just in the subjects you're interested in and not have to recognise it in the title of your degree. Just make sure you do the right amount of modules so you can get into honours in whatever other subject you fancy.
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    (Original post by Ludwig Wittgenstein)
    I know no one can tell me EXACTLY what I want to do. Like I said, I am looking for inspiration of something slightly different. You have offered just that! Would you mind me asking how you got into actuarial science after your MA? Your MA was in English I'm assuming? I ask purely out of interest not because I want to copy you or anything Thanks.
    Yep, it was in English literature! Do you mean how did I get interested in actuarial science, or how did I go about getting a job in it?
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    (Original post by Jelkin)
    Yep, it was in English literature! Do you mean how did I get interested in actuarial science, or how did I go about getting a job in it?
    The latter.
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    (Original post by Ludwig Wittgenstein)
    The latter.
    Hmmm. Well I suppose that since I had a little over the minimum requirement of the Institute of Actuaries to become an actuary, but not much, it was mostly about showing a) my commitment to the career and b) what great soft skills I had. At uni I was one of those keenos who had every position of responsibility under the sun, so I had a variety of competency answers (which was useful as they asked three in the paper application, two in the phone interview and another three or so at the assessment centre!). As for commitment to the career, I was studying to take one of the professional exams independently - this is probably not something a lot of candidates were doing. (It's not that well publicised.) I also mentioned that I'd started reading the profession's journal, and on forms which asked questions about related issues I had pretty good answers. The form I filled out for the job I got asked me about a pensions-related issue and I think my answer was (inadvertently) quite different from the usual things people would talk about. At interview they said it was interesting.

    At the assessment centre I noticed a few people had quite obvious strategies that they'd had in mind before going - taking all the notes, keeping all the time, making sure they spoke a lot, etc. I chilled out a bit and just got along with people. I didn't say anything unless there was something to say, though I made sure I was involved. In my feedback they said I was friendly but professional so I guess it worked out! (In a previous AC I'd been the scribe because no one else was doing it, and I was criticised because it made me less involved in the main group tasks. It was suggested I could have swapped with someone halfway through, but then, this would have disrupted our progess. Take from that what you will.) There was also a short written report thing and apparently my degree background helped me there as it was structured and written well.

    Finally, I prepared a lot - I thought I hadn't done enough, but they didn't actually expect me to know as much as I'd thought so I came across as quite clued up. I'd filled in so many forms that my competencies were generally pretty good examples, and I knew quite a bit beyond the typical "what does an actuary do" questions - for example, about pensions-related issues. I'd read relevant articles in the business and money sections of papers and a bit of The Actuary. I also knew about the company itself.

    Overall, I think the company that offered me the job liked a bit of diversity and were interested by my "different" background - I fielded questions about this quite well, but it wasn't difficult because I could just be honest. The feedback focused on the fact that they liked me; I may not have the technical skills of many others, but I got along with everyone and relaxed and this was considered important as it's a consultancy and I'll be dealing with clients a lot. I'm still a bit shocked that I did so well to be honest! It's really hard to relax at these things but I was lucky, especially at interview, where it was a two-way thing. More of a conversation than a question-and-answer session. I personally find this makes all the difference; I perform quite badly where the interviewer's face is a blank and they just write down everything I'm saying.

    Hmmm. I'm kind of waffling on here. Does that help at all? I think being committed, obviously well-informed and having evidence of softer skills were what helped me. There was an actuary there who had a Geography degree, so I guess it happens!

    EDIT: By the way, I failed the professional exam, and I told them this at interview, but they still wanted me. I guess it just goes to show how useful all the other stuff is!
 
 
 
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