Actuarial Analyst, Commercial Finance at AXA
Application Advice: Be passionate in your application, an employer will be impressed by a strong desire to work in this field. Also, research what actuaries do on a day to day basis. How you'll answer this question and what you'll actually end up doing are likely to be completely different, but an employer will want to see you've done your research.
I'd recommend trying to get an understanding of the basics of actuarial calculations. For example, if you were looking at calculating health insurance prices over the next 10 years for customers, what considerations would need to be made? An employer wouldn't expect you to be able to give them the price of health insurance in 10 years time, however they may expect you to show you would consider relevant information (for example, the risk of getting some disease, or inflation rates etc.). There is often a lot of information available in the news about these types of things (I heard on the radio last week that insurance companies pay out more on motor claims than they charge), show that you take an interest in the market.
Interview Advice: In my experience, after an initial interview, you'll be called into an assessment day. In the actuarial world, this often consists of the following:
Individual and/or group presentation.
A team exercise
A written test
A maths test
The individual interviews are usually pretty standard and practice questions can be found online. Make sure you've done your research on the company and the market.
Presentations and team exercises may expect you to have some knowledge of the market or the company, but usually these look at your leadership skills, reasoning skills and team work. Organise your team or it runs the risk of falling apart when it comes to presenting to the group. You will be marked on your preparation and presentation. You may be given a choice of situations which you have to persuade your manager to go with. There is no wrong choice, provided you can back it up and explain your choice over the others.
The written test may be to test your knowledge or application of the available information, it will also look at how you time yourself to complete the questions and your writing skills. The maths test may test your knowledge of actuarial maths. The ones I've done test discounting and compounding (look this up if it hasn't been covered in your degree). I didn't have a maths test at AXA as we were all from actuarial, mathematical or related backgrounds.
Industry: Banking and Finance, Financial Services Operations