Leon Abonye

Leon Abonye

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

When I came to Leeds for an open day, I just loved the University and the city as a whole. The primary reason I chose Leeds was because of what it had to offer in terms of my course. The course outline looked very interesting and after speaking to some students and getting good feedback on the open day, I knew this was going to be the university for me.

The university of Leeds being part of the Russell group of Universities in the UK was also another aspect that influenced my decision to study here. Also, I was looking forward to getting into a lot of extra curricular activities and after seeing what the student union had to offer in terms of clubs and societies, I was intrigued. In addition, Leeds had the reputation of having the best student life in the UK in terms of interesting things to do and places to go.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

The best part of studying Actuarial Mathematics has been the immense knowledge I have acquired since I started. It has been really fascinating to see how simple maths or algebra and statistics I learnt in high school and even now at University can be applicable in real life.

The mixture of maths and business modules have been very enjoyable. I have been able to have an insight into other professions like accounting and auditing though doing a maths degree, all thanks to the structure of my course. The university Leeds has a vast variety of different schools; two of which I’m part of with the school of maths being my favourite.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

The most exciting project I have done so far is my third-year maths project or dissertation. My project was in portfolio risk management and optimisation. I had to download real stock price data from Yahoo Finance and model them in a portfolio from which I calculated the risk of making a loss given a certain confidence level using a statistical coding language called R.

I learnt about the different types of risks financial institutions faced and some past events that led to the emergence of risk management. Before taking on this project, I had little or no knowledge about the risk market but after researching and with the help of my supervisor, I can say now that I have a fair understanding of what types of risk companies face and how they can identify and manage them.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds to me is the best city for a student in the UK. There is always something going on in Leeds city. Whatever you fancy, I’m sure you will find in Leeds, be it flexible part time jobs that suit your time table to very nice but affordable restaurants. Life in Leeds in general is cheaper compared to other cities with an excellent night life.

Being a student and with the tendency to spend as little as possible, Leeds has you covered. They are many shops like Sainsburys, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Aldi (which is most students’ favourite) dotted all over the city. Moreover, student areas like Hyde park and Headingley have a lot of very affordable houses and flats to live in after first year and even after you graduate.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I have always wanted to be an actuary hence why I chose my course. I would very much love to pursue my dream and become a qualified actuary as soon as possible.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

I have learnt a lot from when I just came to University. I would say I have improved in many aspects of my life like time management, setting priorities, thinking out of the box, multitasking etc. Also, Leeds is a very multicultural city, I have learnt to relate with different people from different works of life and backgrounds. All these are skills that I have enhanced from studying actuarial mathematics and being a student ambassador as well as my part time job of being a catering assistant and I know they will be very useful in my future career.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

To anyone coming to do my course I would say go for it. I have enjoyed absolutely every bit of my course though its been challenging at times, but like the saying goes “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” right? They will be days where you would feel like you chose the wrong course but don’t worry about it because it will all work out for your good in the long run.

My advice to anyone coming in to this course would be that they should be hardworking from the beginning as it’s a continuous learning process. Leaving work or revision till a few weeks before exams is not going to do you any good. Also, don’t crumble during difficult and challenging times because others like me have been there and pulled through. Besides the school of Maths has a lot of support for students when the going gets tough. So, feel free to reach out to your lecturers and personal tutor as they are there to help you make the most of your time and make learning as conducive as possible.