Life as a 'new' grad in Edinburgh
08 Jun 2020 - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Starting a new job in a new city can be daunting, but joining the Hymans Edinburgh office as a graduate in September was anything but. From the beginning of my first day I felt welcome to the office and to the team, which was wholly unsurprising given how friendly everyone at Hymans had been throughout my application process.
The majority of the first week was spent at graduate induction in the Glasgow office. This was a great experience – spending a couple of days with the other new grads getting to know each other and a wide variety of people from all levels in Hymans. It was a steep learning curve, trying to learn everything we would need to know to hit the ground running in our roles.
The HR team had planned the sessions carefully, with a good mix of team building, soft skills sessions and technical training. The passion of all of the Hymans staff really stood out to me in these first couple of days – it was stark how genuinely happy to work at Hymans everybody seemed, and the enthusiasm proved to be infectious!
I joined the Life & Financial Services (“LFS”) team – a growing team of around 40 people who work across the Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London offices. We work with insurers and reinsurers providing advice in four areas of focus – product development, risk and capital management, investment and asset liability management, and longevity management. The work we do in the LFS team is very project-based, which keeps my role exciting as no two days are the same. From the word go I’ve been able to get involved with client work, with my time split between client projects and supporting the team with client meetings and propositions.
I was lucky that the month I joined the Edinburgh team coincided with the office’s 10th birthday. The “birthday celebrations” provided a great opportunity to meet a lot of my new colleagues and form some lasting friendships. I also joined the office social committee and have since helped to plan a number of social events, including a wine and cheese evening and the office Christmas party. It is fantastic being part of sociable office and having good friends in the office is really important; particularly in my case as when I moved to Edinburgh I didn’t know many people in the city.
There are 13 exams that have to be passed to qualify as an actuary and Hymans provides excellent study support to help the grads through these. Fortunately, I left university with exemptions for six of these exams, meaning I only have seven to go to qualify. All of the study materials needed are provided by Hymans and they put you through tutorials for the exams you plan on sitting, as well as giving you one day a week of study leave. Every grad is also given a study mentor – a senior student or a recently qualified actuary – who will give advice on which exams to sit and how to most effectively use your study time. I found all of the support immensely helpful for my exam sitting in April, particularly having someone to talk to when the going got tough just before my exam!
Hymans has a great flexible working framework in place and it was really put to the test with spread of COVID-19. Even before the UK-wide lockdown officially began, all of our offices were closed and we were all successfully working from home. Maintaining business as usual during such unprecedented times shows how adaptable we are as a firm. The LFS team have been amazing at keeping morale up – we have a weekly quiz, and a Friday lunchtime arts challenge where we have to draw an animal in 2 minutes (which has, perhaps tragically, very quickly become the highlight of my week – good to keep the creative juices flowing!). We were also quick to move all of our internal calls to video chats, meaning I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the office craic too much!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed starting out as a grad at Hymans. I feel fortunate to work for a firm that genuinely wants to see me succeed in my career, and most importantly to enjoy coming to work each day – whether that’s in the office or at home!