Ciara Fitzpatrick shares her experiences of an actuarial career in our Insurance sector at EY Financial Services. If you are considering a career with EY, read Ciara’s story and watch her short video at this end of this post.
Everyone is mathematical in my family. My dad’s an engineer, my mum is from a family of engineers, I have brothers who are engineers, and I was always particularly interested in a STEM career.
I had my sights set on medicine throughout school – until my mother, very sensibly, arranged a day in the life for me in my final year. A family friend brought me to the hospital they worked in. Suddenly I realised that I am very squeamish, and therefore medicine wasn’t the right career for me!
That caused a little bit of panic until my maths teacher stepped in suggesting actuarial as a potential fit. I did some research, liked the sound of it, and applied for an apprenticeship with Irish Life. At the time, there was a lack of accredited actuarial degrees, and an apprenticeship was the route into the profession. I thought if I didn’t like it, I would apply for something else – maybe maths or physics the following year. But I absolutely loved it.
I worked in industry for just under five years with Irish Life, before I made the move to EY and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve seen significant changes in my time with the firm. The advisory practice has increased more than ten-fold, which is really exciting and that growth story is continuing apace.
The role of the actuary is about bringing a mathematical solution to business problems. We use mathematical techniques to project and understand risks. Some models will be very data-driven, some will be more judgement based, but the job is to help clients understand the drivers of and manage their risks.
Because of that, actuaries traditionally operate in the insurance domain, but during my time with the firm I have worked with banking clients too. I enjoy the work I do with my clients and the great diversity of challenge that consulting brings. I am currently working on a large IFRS 17 implementation project, with a multi-disciplinary team of technical specialists covering finance, actuarial and technology, and performance improvement colleagues to manage the overall change agenda.
Collaboration is very much at the heart of what we do; not just locally, but globally too. We’re in a very privileged position in Advisory where we work with clients in times of great change or challenge and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly and enthusiastically people from all over the globe will respond to requests for consultation. It makes the work really dynamic and actually quite fun.