Alumni Spotlight: Heta Pokar – I am who I am today mostly because of SU
“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to venture into a career that involved applying Mathematics in the real world. I was not only good at Mathematics, but I loved and enjoyed it. Most people do not get excited about numbers and formulas as they see them as difficult concepts to understand. But it was easy-peasy for me!
After completing my secondary education, I began searching for courses that were in line with my dream. Studying Actuarial Science at Strathmore University was my destination. I enrolled in the year 2014, and graduated with a First Class Honors in Bachelor of Business Science, Actuarial Science in the year 2018.
Life as an Actuarial Science student
Actuarial Science is a course where one acquires the skill and knowledge to use mathematics, statistics and probability principles to evaluate risks and maintain the economic stability of insurance in anticipation of future events. It sounds technical, but it was amazing to see how this plays out in the professional world other than using case studies to grasp the concepts.
Even though the name may sound intimidating, it is not difficult to pursue and ace the examinations. “A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work”. Being an Actuarial Science student calls for commitment and dedication while pursuing it. Hours on end of continuous learning was not a joke but I knew my end goal. There were nights I would sleep late burning the midnight oil in order to catch up on my notes. I had to cancel enjoyment to put in extra study hours. It needed a lot of dedication and commitment to ace the examinations. Practice, practice makes perfect. It’s the only way the concepts stick, make sense and evolve. Keep in mind, nothing is impossible as the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much
“Group work.” A phrase that students often express sentiments that they do not look forward to when the lecturer hands out assignments and to desire to prioritize individuality over the group. It’s no secret that group assignments provide a unique opportunity for us to learn about teamwork, enhance our analytical abilities and help us develop interpersonal skills. However, on the flip side, group work can be tiring and unfair as some bandwagon only to reap off the good grades instead of actually participating in the assignment.
Throughout my journey, I surrounded myself with intelligent and diverse people who speak the same “math language,” and with whom we shared knowledge and learnt from each other through our interactions. Looking back, I am appreciative of my lecturers who encouraged us to do group work and as a result , I am able to interact with my colleagues and network with ease in my career field. “Being successful doesn’t necessarily make you great. What makes you great is when you reach back and help somebody else become great.” – Joel Osteen
Hard work betrays none/much effort equates to much prosperity
The journey to success was never easy… but there is always a satisfaction when the job done well has been recognized. In almost all semesters, my name appeared on the Dean’s list and this definitely pushed me to unlock my ultimate potential.
But what stood out the most for me was receiving the “Heart of Gold” award upon completion of my four-year journey from my fellow mates and lecturers. This just made me realize that I have touched many hearts by just being myself and doing the normal things. You never know when you make a difference to someone else’s life so keep spreading positivity in this journey called ‘Life’.
Pick up that brochure and learn!
Somewhat surprisingly, many university students question why they should attend a career fair. They would rather look for job opportunities online. Whilst that is a viable option, one misses out on the opportunity to network with your potential employer in your desired industry and also, attend free workshops. Strathmore University provided numerous opportunities where I met dozens of employers seeking to offer jobs. I am indebted to the Career Services for sending us career opportunities emails that kept us in the loop while we searched for a place to chart our path in achieving our goals and dreams.
Life after campus working at Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY)
My experience as an Actuarial Science student, along with being an actuary at the Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY), where I work as a senior Actuarial Risk Consultant, has helped fuel my love of Actuarial Science. EY, being a consulting firm, has given me a diversified experience not only in the technical actuarial space but in building my soft skills as well.
Entering into the professional world is a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs. I wouldn’t say that it was an easy cake walk but I learnt how to believe in my talents, abilities and more importantly, value time. Learning something new every day will become the norm of your life. My advice to anyone entering the professional world is to be prepared to grasp any knowledge opportunities that come your way and have an open mindset at all times as it will accelerate your growth in regards to your career journey. The network you build in your professional workspace will also make your journey much simpler.
Disconnect to reconnect
Reading books and novels were my escape when I needed a break from my actuarial science notebooks. I enjoy how books feed and arouse your curiosity, inviting you into their amazing world full of characters, places, and stories you have never dreamed of. They say reading a book is taking a trip without a passport. Through painting and art therapy, I was able to switch off from the stressful world.
Strathmore University has left a mark in my life that I am indebted to them forever. Funny thing is, you only realize the impact after you have left.
Values. Knowledge. Opportunities. You name it, many doors have been opened and I have experienced it all. I would like to thank the University for giving me a chance to grow. I will cherish that forever.
To you, reading this article…
Follow your dreams. Do not doubt yourself, because you got this! You’re capable of doing exceedingly well!
This article was written by Jemmy Kamau.
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