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Graduate Spotlight: Lucille Oluoch – A growth-propelling Strathmore experience


“When I was asked why I chose Actuarial Science at my oral entrance exam, I simply said “I love Math” (cue eye roll). I always knew that I wanted to pursue something Math and logic oriented at university, hence I gravitated toward the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (SIMS) when I chose my degree. Actuarial Science ended up being the best fit because of its dynamic nature; most people think ‘insurance’ when this course is mentioned in a discussion, but it is such a versatile field that graduates could end up in most industries.

I would describe my experience as intense, growth-propelling and expansive. I had an opportunity to learn a lot from many disciplines; it was like I was not just an actuarial science student. I discovered an interest in philosophy, got more extensive training in football, engaged in community service in Mauritius and visited new places. Moreover, I learned to shoulder my struggles instead of complaining about them. I learned to think more critically and I grew spiritually. The course was not easy; workload was overwhelming on some days and responsibilities in my life were accumulating. No joke, I lost weight looking at calculus equations.

My best memory at Strathmore would be the Actuarial Convention I attended in 2019. I gobbled up enough food for two full days; I was exceptionally hungry on that day. Anyway, I truly enjoyed hearing the different insightful talks from individuals and corporations shaping the insurance industry as well as the actuarial career. I was also graced with the beautiful voices of my friends performing acapella and one of my lecturers, Mr. Khosla, rapping during the event. I also loved taking part in club activities in and out of campus.

I also recall my experience in Mauritius; it really kicked me out of my comfort zone. I went hiking with friends, made many trips to the beach and met very interesting individuals who inspired me in many ways. I got to immerse myself in a very vibrant and rich culture with history.

I was a member of the Strathmore Actuarial Student’s Society (SASS), which I joined in second year. I had some great experiences while part of the club, for example the excursion at Ololosokuan. I also joined the Strathmore Women’s football team when it was formed during my third year of studies. It was a challenge juggling between football training and games, evening classes for a professional paper and trying to keep up with my studies in what I considered the toughest year of all. Nevertheless, I loved the competitions, the dedication the coach and members put into training, and the support we gave each other as a team.

While doing the degree, I enjoyed most of the modelling units. They provided the mental engagement and challenges I sought in a course and some liberty in providing unique solutions to each problem given. As a degree in Strathmore specifically, I loved the diversity of concepts and topics covered from finance to philosophy. I personally loved studying the electives. They were a break from the overload of mind-grueling financial and mathematical units.

Meanwhile, the challenges I faced were quite a number. It was hard juggling many demanding units with everyday life. It forced me to discover my work style, those that did and did not work for me. Constantly battling the fear of failure, perfectionistic tendencies and bouts of impostor syndrome was among the greatest of challenges. Nevertheless, positive self-talk, conversations with loved ones and reminding myself that failure is in not trying would help me get through those moments.

My lecturers had such a positive impact on me in different ways. Mr. Oleche made it easy for us to approach him and patient with us when it came to the challenges we faced with his units. Another honorable mention would be Ms. Kimundi; she simplified seemingly difficult topics. On the other hand, I admired and was inspired by Mr. Kimemia for the passion he exuded in accounting.

I managed to pick up analytical, critical thinking, modelling, presentation, reporting skills and soft skills throughout my course. With these, I intend to work on the actuarial papers and develop new projects and skills among other plans. I’ve always liked the idea of working in various industries, all in the name of maximizing experience. But I would say it would be nice to work for the UN someday.

I believe that through this degree, Strathmore has prepared me for majority of the professional papers I intend to do in the future. Having mentors for professional guidance has been of utmost benefit. The careers office was helpful in finding internship opportunities as well as discovering more about different companies through various career fairs.

Doing a course in Strathmore University is what I would call a heat experience. You will need effective stress relievers and healthy doses of escapism, whether it be immersing yourself in hobbies such as sports, purposefully attending counselling sessions provided at Strathmore University Medical Centre, heart-to-hearts with friends and family or meditation and prayer. Find out which work for you.

If I were to advise anyone interested in Actuarial Science, I would tell them that the course can be demanding when it wants to be, but it is doable. Take care of your mental and physical health during the experience to avoid burnout. Stay up to date with industry expectations and trends. Develop a wide range of skills and accumulate as many experiences as you can outside the classroom. Try to connect with a mentor who will guide you in your professional ventures. Most of all, always remember that the degree is only a part of you and working in the insurance sector is not your only option. Yes, the world really is your oyster.”

Lucille Oluoch, Actuarial Science, First Class Honours, Class of 2021.


This article was written by Cheryl Wambugu.       


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