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Ciara Russell


My decision to study Actuarial Science and Risk Management at Queen’s was an easy choice. The course has a great balance of maths and finance modules, which was where my strengths and interest lay. Although initially nervous at being in the first cohort of Queen’s Actuarial graduates, it was an excellent experience to learn more about the profession alongside the faculty.


My favourite element of the course was the placement component, which I carried out at Allstate.  Following first year, I completed a twelve week internship at Allstate’s home office in Chicago with six classmates.  Living and working abroad was a lot of fun, allowing me to develop independence and make many friends.

The internship and fifteen month placement in Allstate’s Belfast office provided a valuable insight into the work of an actuary and the profession. I enjoyed learning outside of the classroom and putting module theory into practice. I was awarded the City and Guilds Licentiateship Award for the skills developed from the experience.

Queen’s is a brilliant place to study. The facilities and resources at the new McClay library are outstanding. I was particularly impressed with the services provided by the management school placement office and the careers office, which helped with CV building and interview techniques. Being in a small class enabled everyone to make friends easily and we had good interaction with our lecturers. The Management school organised various talks allowing me to network with actuaries and discuss their careers. Additionally, the Actuarial Society and Business Club offered enjoyable events.

Living in Belfast has been amazing and there was always plenty to do in my spare time. I regularly went to the gym at Queens PEC and enjoyed any chance I got for a night out in the Students’ Union and a variety of Belfast bars.


Living with fellow students has strengthened my independence and provided me with great preparation for moving to London in September. I have secured an Actuarial graduate position with Barnett Waddingham. My Queen’s experience, exemptions gained and skills acquired have been the perfect foundation to build a successful actuarial career.