Placement student profiles
Some of our current students tell you about their experiences so far on placements and with the Frontrunners scheme.
Stefan Stoican, summer placement at AXA
"As a summer placement student at the AXA Insurance offices in Ipswich, I was part of the Actuarial Reserving Team. The team’s overall goal
was to estimate the reserve funds required to pay existing and future claims – even in the event of a catastrophe! This mainly involved identifying
trends within past data and carrying out various statistical processes based on the subsequent assumptions.
I assisted with regular tasks while developing my own project from scratch – a set of reporting tools that would manipulate large databases.
Its objectives were to compute, compare and output important results in an organised manner. This has improved my project and time management skills,
along with my proficiency in VBA for Excel, ResQ and SAS – which are the core Actuarial Reserving software packages.
My communication and teamwork skills have also increased while supporting my colleagues. This served me well towards gathering their feedback in order
to enhance the reporting tool’s user-friendliness.
On a broader scale, I also gained some valuable insight into the Actuarial profession – most notably about its branches and the qualifications required,
plus some of the statistics that are used. I was pleased to find a very friendly atmosphere in the office. The team was well-knit and we would
regularly go out for lunch or for an after work chat. We even took part in the lottery! Unfortunately, for a bunch of people dealing with numbers on an everyday
basis, the numbers on the tickets sure hated us…"
Brenda Maleco, Social Media and Publicity Frontrunner
Brenda Maleco, Social Media and Publicity frontrunner for Mathematical Sciences explains her typical day as a Frontrunner at Essex:
"I really enjoy what I do and time seems to fly while I'm doing it.
When I get into work I tend to go to my supervisor’s office to discuss the tasks she has for me for the current week. I get along really well with my supervisor -
she is awesome. She treats me as an employee and not a student on a placement. When we have our meetings we discuss ways to improve the publicity
of the department and ideas are brain-stormed. I get the freedom to also come up with ideas that I think would work and the occasions to give my opinion
on the ideas that I think will not work.
I get the pleasure of having to speak to lecturers on topics that concern students of the department. I get to go to talks which occur in
the university and write up articles on them. I remember the first time I wrote an article I was so nervous to give it in. I spent hours reading it
over and over before I handed it in to my supervisor. When I did I got so much great feedback I was so glad I took the opportunity.
During this experience I have developed my typing speed which I am very grateful for. I have become a better communicator orally and in writing.
I have developed my research skills and I have also developed the knowledge of how to cater for my audience better.
Overall I am having a brilliant time as a Frontrunner. I am enjoying the experience and I wake up looking forward to coming into work. I have a smile on my face
every time I step into my office. I really hope when I do start working after university, I enjoy it as much as I am enjoying the Frontrunner placement."