Christopher is in his third year, studying for a BSc in Actuarial Science.
What attracted you to studying at Kent?
The Actuarial Science programme at the University of Kent is one of the best in the country because it currently offers eight exemptions from the professional papers. Kent has a huge campus, a vibrant student community and excellent facilities.
How is your course going?
I enjoy solving problems and dealing with numbers. In the first year, the modules were very numerical, very analytical, which I enjoy. I like applying mathematics to solve a problem.
How would you describe your lecturers?
They are very friendly and approachable and have office hours when you can go and ask them how to solve a problem. The lecturers have different teaching techniques. The lecturers at Kent are mostly qualified actuaries, so they include their own practical experiences in their teaching, which is very useful.
What do you think about the level of support in your studies?
The lecturers are supportive and have revision classes towards the exam period and go through exercises with us. The VALUE Programme offers extra help towards exams, too.
Which modules have you enjoyed the most, and why?
In my first year I really enjoyed Financial Mathematics, because it involves a lot of numerical and analytical thinking. You have to look at a situation and think how to approach that problem and come up with formulas to solve it. For example, if premiums are paid every month, quarterly or half-yearly you have to work out cost formulas from the numbers, which I enjoy doing. In the second year, I enjoyed Contingencies, which is similar to Financial Mathematics but is more of a survival model.
How would you describe your fellow students?
They are friendly and supportive. There are a lot of international students here, and it’s good to get to know people from around the world. It was my first time away from home and at first it was quite challenging, but with friendly students around it made it easier to cope with the new lifestyle.
What are the facilities like on campus?
One of the main reasons I chose Kent was because of the facilities. I enjoy playing football; there are three football pitches here and the gym facilities are much more affordable than in London. The University has refurbished the equipment in the gym, so it’s even better now. I also like the library, which has a café so, if you want to take a break or get something to eat, you don’t even have to leave the building.
What sort of things do you do in your spare time?
I am more active in societies this year; the Malaysian Society held an event that involved performing activities reflecting our culture and I took part in a dance. As a mathematics student you don’t often get a chance to perform like this in front of a crowd, so it was a chance to do something different.
What kind of career do you hope to follow when you leave, and why?
It is my dream to be an actuary because there are many different fields you can go into: pensions, insurance, investment banking, risk management… but it’s a very competitive field. A good thing about the degree at Kent is that it offers you a chance to do a placement year and work in a company between your second and third year.
I got a summer internship with Santander, working in the risk department. I would like to work in Britain because the actuarial industry is more established here and you get more hands-on experience. Later, I hope to return to Malaysia to work.
What advice would you give to other students coming to Kent?
I would say don’t procrastinate over your revision! Enjoy the first year, ease yourself into university life, find your feet and make friends… it’s important to make friends with the right people because they are a positive influence in your studies.