Degree: Chemistry and Management Studies, 2.2, Nottingham University
Year of graduation: 2003
Occupation: Graduate trainee, property investors unit within Royal and SunAlliance
What do you do in your job?
I price up the insurance for property investors. They will own various properties around the country and will need to insure them. I will look at different aspects of construction, such as when it was built, its history of losses, and so on. I will then work out the premium. This involves dealing with an insurance broker in the London market rather than with the client directly.
What was your motivation in applying?
As part of my degree I studied some insurance and risk management modules, which were taught by enthusiastic lecturers. This got me interested in the area. Initially I applied to Royal and SunAlliance, but didn’t immediately get onto its graduate programme – I was rejected in the first instance because of my 2.2 degree. So I got some experience with a small consultancy, applied again, and got in the second time – persistence prevailed.
What did the application process involve?
There was a fairly standard online application form. I got through the initial assessment, and was invited to do a numerical test online. Then I had a telephone interview. Following that, I was invited to an assessment centre. It lasted for a day-and-a-half. We arrived in the evening and had dinner with some current graduates, plus representatives from HR who were running the next day’s assessment. We were up early and had a full assessment, which included numerical testing, psychometric tests, group exercises, an individual interview, and a presentation.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The opportunities I get here for training and development. Having worked for a small company before, I am very aware how good the support we get at Royal and SunAlliance is. We have a central representative, and throughout the programme we have four placements. I am now in my third. The graduate programme gives you a lot of opportunities to see the business and learn about it.
Most challenging part of your job?
The amount that there is to know. Insurance is intertwined with society, and we are always looking at new and emerging risks. There is a lot to learn, and you have to keep on top of it. But it’s a good challenge, and you’re never standing still.
I am studying for an advanced diploma in insurance through the Chartered Insurance Institute. The course is really useful. It gives you a good background into what goes on, and it’s applicable to day-to-day work.
Advice to readers considering a career in your field:
You need to realise that insurance is a really good area to apply into. Don’t apply to just accountancy firms or investment banks – insurance offers lots of opportunities, but not enough people know about it. It’s not as boring as it sounds. Also, it’s not just finance – there are huge opportunities in areas such as marketing and HR.