While I don’t think of myself as a trainer, I keep getting feedback that people have learned a lot from working with me. Some of this has just resulted from on the job coaching, some of it from internal training and presentations where I try to make difficult concepts simple and accessible.
While at University in 1985-86 I was employed by my college to run maths “supervisions” (tutorials with just two students) for six first year natural scientists. Four of the six got firsts in the maths module that year.
After qualifying in 1991, I marked correspondence course tests for the Institute of Actuaries Education Service for three or four years. This was in the days when a student would have the same marker throughout a course. Over that period eight students wrote to me at the end of the course thanking me for all my help.
While at PwC (2000-06) my presentation skills developed significantly. Details of all my conference presentations can be found here. But I also gave countless internal presentations, training the whole life actuarial practice on derivatives, market consistent valuation and stochastic modelling. My assertion that the most important thing to know about ESGs is that ESGs are like mince is something that people still remember. When I finally left PwC, a young student dragged me to one side to thank me for all that he’d learned from me and presented me with a CD for an artist that we were both big fans of.
My best internal presentation was one in which I needed to introduce a roomful of non-actuaries to real world stochastic modelling. I started by talking about Yahtzee and how someone had devised an optimal strategy for it. I wondered out loud how he’d tested the strategy. Did he hire a warehouse full of people to play countless games while making decisions according to a thick manual; that detailed the strategy? Or did he get the computer to do this for him? I went on to give an example of how someone might be interested in an extreme percentile of the distribution of possible scores and how this related to the calculation of risk based capital. A senior partner told me afterwards that this was the best presentation he’d ever seen.
At the FSA/PRA (2010-13) I was approached by a non-life actuary for career advice. We had a number of conversations and I found myself developing into a mentor. On my last day at the PRA, he dropped by to thank me and present me with a bottle of wine.
At the FCA:
• I put together and presented to the supervisors a training presentation on the annual return.
• Along with one of the supervisors, I helped the training department develop a course on financial analysis by writing up a case study based around a real life firm that we had worked on together. We attended all the training courses to provide support to the trainer in the more technical areas.
In both cases the training received positive feedback.