Jan07

Phil Dixon

Results, End of Year and New Year Resolutions…

Posted by Phil Dixon at 08:16 AM

Exams
 
I managed to pass one exam and fail the other. However, I was very close to the pass mark so I am not too disheartened about doing the module again. With a bit more effort, I am sure, I should be able to do well when I decide to sit again. All in all a relatively successful year exam wise as I have now passed 3 exams; only 12 more modules to pass till I am qualified, easy!
 
Once again I am about to start studying for my next modules. The two I am taking have some cross over from previous modules and relate to the projects I am currently working on. This makes them a bit more interesting and therefore I am looking forward to studying them with more vigour than previous exams.
 
At Direct Line Group
 
Since writing my last blog I have been on a couple of pricing specific training courses to help improve my overall pricing and actuarial knowledge. I have also had more involvement in pricing and analytical work in the price optimisation team, lately, including the testing process. The testing process ensures the pricing changes we have proposed will alter the customers’ prices correctly; this work has allowed me to learn exactly how the algorithms involved in getting the final prices for customers work.
 
First Full Year Completed
 
I have just completed my first full year at DLG and this means year-end review time. In this we discuss performance over the past year and the objectives and personal development plans that I want to achieve in the coming year.
 
One of the things I find most constructive to develop in my role is good quality feedback about performance. In the review detailed above your Line Manager and yourself talk about what you want to achieve in the year (there are also monthly 1-2-1’s and quarterly sessions). This conversation generally starts at a fairly high level, but it then gets broken down into more detailed and specific areas of work and performance. I am sure all the graduates or interns reading this will be familiar with the SMART system of setting targets and when putting forward your ideas. It is good to stick to this as performance against your objectives plays a big part in determining your chances for promotion and bonuses. So you should be able to demonstrate how you have fulfilled them.
 
The conversation I had with my line manager was structured around my career aspirations and what type of roles I would like to do in the future. I have so far been in two different roles at DLG; my first 11 months was in international reserving and my current role is in price optimisation. As my current project is scheduled for completion by the end of March I have to decide if I want to rotate to a different team to continue my development or gain more experience in my current role on a new project; I guess this is where my resolution comes in as I need to decide and push for the role I want.
 
I note from experience that moving teams can be a bit daunting as there is always a steep learning curve at the start. But once you have achieved the initial learning the experience can be very rewarding both in terms of enhanced actuarial knowhow and domain knowledge.

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