My name is Joost Wilbers. After finishing my master’s degree in Groningen in 2015 (with focus on Actuarial Studies) I moved to Amsterdam to start working as a risk consultant at Willis Towers Watson, a global actuarial consultancy firm. During my time in Groningen, I gained an interest in the actuarial side of econometrics and started looking into possible career paths in this field. As I was particularly interested in the overlap between actuarial science and communicating results of analyses to non-econometricians, consultancy was an obvious choice.
At Willis Towers Watson I work at the Risk Consultancy and Software department. This department focuses on the insurance market and the work varies between valuations for M&A’s, strategy consulting, risk modelling and reviews. The insurance world is a world in which small margins can play big roles and knowledge is key to outwit your competitors. Most of the projects that you work on take place in the Netherlands, but as a global company, you also have the opportunity to work abroad on projects. You will be involved in the projects from the very start and face clients to discuss your analyses. All of these projects have two things in common: you need to have sufficient analytical skills to analyze the problems and come up with a solution. The second characteristic, which is probably equally important to become a good consultant, are your social skills. As a consultant you will need to be able to communicate with all layers in a company, that also means explaining the importance of ‘the mathematics’ to people with completely different backgrounds.
As I started working not too long ago, I can still recall the nerves for the first job applications of your professional career. Here is some advice, which might seem obvious in some cases, but which may prove useful if you want to apply as a consultant for example. First of all, your diploma and possible assessments tell something about your knowledge and skills, so during the actual interview(s) the focus will be more on who you are as a person. In most cases they would not have invited you for the job interview if you were not sufficiently educated. My second advice is to be yourself and be honest, the person in front of you wants to know what kind of person you are and whether you will fit in the team. Do not hide your weaknesses, but talk about them and say what you want to improve, eventually they will get to know you and thus get to know them anyway. Colleagues are important, because you will have to work with them every day. So during an interview do not only ask questions about the work you are going to do, but also about the team you are going to work with. Eventually chose the job which you like the most, this includes both the kind of work you will be doing and the people you will be working with.
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