How I became an actuary

Marjorie Ngwenya, an actuary based in London
As a young girl, I was good at maths and knew I would pursue a career in sciences. I was squeamish about doing a medical degree and opted to follow the lesser known actuarial science route. I completed my A Levels in Harare and move to the UK begin an actuarial science degree at The London School of Economics. Due to currency problems in Zimbabwe, I had to leave my studies during my first year believing that I would return to complete them. Shortly afterwards, I started working as a tax associate and had good fortune with an internal transfer to an actuarial role. I started taking the professional exams while I was working and there came a time when returning to my original BSc Actuarial Science degree was no longer worthwhile. I qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries after 5 years of exams.
 
During my career I have been fortunate enough to live abroad, in the Netherlands and Canada, to work with international clients, to teach in a number of countries and to offer my time to the service of my profession. Qualifying was not an easy feat by any means and the hard work has paid off in many ways.
 
I specialised in insurance and risk management and have worked with many great organisations. I am now taking a short career break and pursuing an MSc at the London Business School on the Sloan programme in Leadership and Strategy. Things have almost come full circle and I am now enjoying the experience of studying a subject area that very much interests me.
 
I am grateful to my family, friends and colleagues for their support and for enriching my experiences along the way. Having a support network is an essential element for navigating life’s challenges. There will be many obstacles to overcome; stay optimistic and keep your eyes on the prize.
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