On the 14th and 15th of June the VSAE organised the Orientation Days on behalf of the AEO students, who – in their second year – have to choose between the three tracks in AEO: Actuarial Sciences, Econometrics or Operations Research. On the first day, you could visit Willis Towers Watson for an orientation of the track Actuarial Sciences, followed by KPMG for the Econometrics track on the second day. In order to make a choice, the best way is to get a taste of your future career perspectives. With this in mind, I decided to apply for the second Orientation Day at KPMG.
We were welcomed by six cheerful employees of the company into a room where multiple laptops already lay prepared for us. After an introduction in which everyone was asked about their guilty pleasures, favorite music genres and next vacation destination, it was up to our enthusiastic guides to tell us about their personal careers, their experience at KPMG, and the organizational structure of KPMG itself. They talked passionately about the department to which they belonged, being either risk management or data analytics. They explained that although KPMG had a vertical structure with different departments, these departments also needed to work together. With this cooperation leading to horizontal relationships between them. To my astonishment, the average age of the employees was around 31 years old, which is quite young. On top of that, our guides also mentioned that each year they go on a skiing trip, together with about 500 of their co-workers at KPMG!
After this introduction, it was time to take a seat and put our knowledge to the test. We were appointed a virtual case about a Lending Club and our assignment was to find out the ways to determine whether or not an individual would be qualified to lend money from the Lending Club, by using programming skills in Python. As a first-year student this was not a simple task. Luckily, I could work together with two friendly second-year students (Thanks Bud and Emile!). Additionally, our six associates helped us out with all our questions regarding the case. Based on certain variables, such as the creditworthiness of individuals, FICO scores, payback periods, we deducted certain relationships. For example, non-creditworthy individuals will have higher interest rates since the risk of not getting back the borrowed money from them is higher. We also tested different variables by using methods like prediction decision trees and a random forest algorithm.
It quickly became 5 PM which meant it was time to go to the rooftop terrace were the weekly VrijMiBo (Friday afternoon drinks) took place. Thanks to the start of the World Cup, there was a barbecue, popcorn and even a room for laser gaming! (Besides the usual beer and wine of course). There were plenty of opportunities to talk to other employees at KPMG and ask questions. As expected, all of them were very friendly and interested.
In a nutshell, we got a nice and thorough firsthand experience from the people at KPMG and it was very refreshing to see how we could bring the theory we learned during our studies into practice in a professional environment. The orientation days are a perfect way to see what studying AEO is all about and what lies ahead of you after your studies. I definitely recommend everyone who reads this to apply for the next Orientation Days!