Pako Lekoko

Actuarial Science with a Year in Industry

My work ethic has greatly improved. The year gave me an idea of what I want to focus on when I graduate.

Why did you choose to study actuarial science?

Actuarial science is a bridge between a lot of different subjects that I like: mathematics, finance, economics and business studies. It was a no-brainer when I found out about actuarial science.

What appealed to you about the course at Kent?

I’m on a Top Achiever Scholarship from the government of Botswana and they wanted us to go to top-tier universities. Beyond that, what drove me to Kent was the year in industry option, that and it’s a bit warmer here than at some of the universities up north!

What have you particularly enjoyed about your programme?

I am really enjoying my final year. My year in industry gave me a fresh perspective on what I’m doing here. Three highlights from my final year are learning about Enterprise Risk Management, Portfolio Theory and Asset Pricing and using Prophet.

Where did you do your year in industry?

My placement was at Deloitte. I did eight months with them in Botswana, one week in South Africa and two months in Leeds.

What did you do during your placement?

In Botswana, I worked across different service lines within Consulting, including Data Analytics, Corporate Finance, Human Capital and Strategy & Operations.

I also headed a social responsibility initiative to supply refurbished IT equipment to Tloaneng Primary School in Botswana. We raised the money required and refurbished the equipment in time for a Leavers’ Victory Celebration, attended by Ministry of Education delegates. That project improved my planning and networking skills.

The Botswana office organised for me to go on the vacation work programme in Johannesburg, so I could meet the actuarial team there.

Then, with encouragement from the team in Botswana, I applied for and got a summer internship at Deloitte UK, within the pensions team in the Leeds office.

How has your placement helped you in your final year?

I now approach university work with a “can do” attitude. I also learned ways to find help when I need it. My work ethic has greatly improved. The year gave me an idea of what I want to focus on when I graduate.

What do you do outside of your studies?

I run three businesses in Botswana. One is called Zaidi, which is a Swahili word that means more, abundance. We source handbags from outside Botswana and bring them into the country, keeping them really exclusive.

The other company is called Optimus Medical Group. I’m a shareholder and director with two other gentlemen. At the moment we’re building capital.

The third is an investment consortium, Gradient Wealth, that I started with a group of friends.

I’m also building a charitable organisation. It’s a mentorship programme for students from Botswana who want to study in other countries across the world. In conjunction with other Batswana in different countries, we want to use our experience as international students to guide other students who wish to do the same, as well as provide other services. We aim to be the bridge between dreamers and their dreams.

What are your future plans?

My plan is to be a billionaire philanthropist actuary with multiple businesses! But the first step is doing the KBS MSc Business Analytics programme and getting back into the Consulting industry, at least part time for now, and continuing to work on my different projects to make them successes.

I would also like to begin my journey toward becoming a Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary (CERA) soon.

What advice would you give to other international students about coming to Kent?

First of all, it’s ok to feel like things are out of control and it’s ok to seek the help that you need. Reach out to people around you. Make friends. Use the support systems that the university has in place, they’re there for a reason. Don’t be shy to be that person who asks a bunch of questions. Speak out. Because if you keep quiet then it’s really not going to help you. Most importantly, don’t forget your “Why?”. Hold on to the reason you started; it will help you reach the end