Unabashedly and unapologetically in love with numbers


In this blog, Shubhanjali Gupta, fellow actuary, talks about her journey into the profession and some of the challenges she’s faced.

I am an actuary.

Unabashedly and unapologetically in love with numbers.

I am an actuary, and I am proud!

But who is an actuary? What do they do? Is it all Maths? Do you study all the time?

These are a handful of the questions I get when I tell someone I am an actuary.

Well, yes, Actuaries do study a lot. This is what makes us good at what we do. The 15 exam papers we undertake are one of the reasons why companies place so much trust in our advice. We are ‘required’ to be good at this, a lot hinges on our advice. So Yes, we do study a lot not because it is just a means to an end, but more importantly because it makes us who we are and makes us capable of giving advice.

But what do we do? An actuary is truly someone who quantifies risk. Be it the expected value of pensions to be paid out, expected movements in value of investments, claims from a policy written 15 years back, claims expected 15 years from the day a policy was written - we quantify risk. And then further on, we help you manage that risk.

I never started out thinking I wanted to be an actuary. I didn’t even know of this profession until much later on. But I knew I loved mathematics and statistics and that was where I wanted to go.

After my high school exams, getting into BSc Statistics was a natural choice for me. It was a course highly oriented towards the practical side of theories. I had subjects like Differentiation, Integration, Statistical Distributions, Inference and I was a happy kid!

I was lucky to have teachers who recognised my potential and encouraged me to do more and fed my enthusiasm. One of them advised me to look into actuarial science.

I googled ‘actuarial science’ and was rewarded with a number of hits, one of the top ones being www.actuaries.org.uk. And so it began! I read about the profession, the testimonials, the routes to qualifying and I was hooked. I looked into the papers I was supposed to take and read through the syllabus. Post this I made a list of what papers I already knew bits of. Being a Statistics student my first choice was to go with CT-3. In addition I decided to take CT1 and CT6. This was my first attempt and the beginning of my journey towards FIA.

This was a long journey full of tears, self-doubt, lost and then regained confidence, lots of mock exams, lots of past papers, lots of wins and a lot of FAs but most, most importantly, a long journey of so much learning and development.  And immense realisation that despite the tears, despite the work if I was ever given a do-over would I be anywhere else?

Well I wouldn’t because this is all worth it!

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please email blogs@actuaries.org.uk 

If you would like to find out more about becoming an actuary, visit our website at https://www.actuaries.org.uk/becoming-actuary