Sumit Ramani is an independent consultant with a strong focus on InsurTechs and non-traditional areas. Based in India, he has actively stepped out from his comfort zone from childhood, through graduating as an engineer and later switching professions and qualifying as an actuary, to starting on his own as an actuarial consultant as well as recently launching another venture that aims at helping customers identify their insurance needs. In his personal journey, Sumit shares the four key ingredients that have worked for him so far:
“I realised at a very young age that I have a thing for numbers and puzzles. I can vividly remember the morning walk when I was 6 and my dad, who is a medical doctor, introduced me to the concept of the time value of money. Since the earliest moments I can recall, he has been pushing the envelope. Hence, I believe that moving out of one’s comfort zone is possibly something that I have inherited. It also happens to one of the key ingredients of my success.
The second ingredient is taking charge of one’s life (and of course career!), which I first learnt the hard way during my formative years. Up until age 8, I was everything but meticulous. Every day after school, I would throw down my school bag and go out to play with my friends without even changing from my school uniform. Doing homework was out of the question and hence the mornings were the most painful part of my day. I would beg my mother to do my homework and she would agree after a lot of persuasion and my false promises to do better next time. But one particular day, she chose to turn down my request... Naturally, I was reprimanded at school. However, since then I have been taking care of my own work and have never blamed anyone else for anything that was my responsibility!
Perseverance and Personal Branding are the remaining two ingredients that have been helpful in my career. Let me talk about these and the first two ingredients as I share my life journey.
Natasha Naidoo is the Chief Risk Officer (CRO) for a UK subsidiary of an international insurer. She has consciously and deliberately managed her career since her early roles as an actuarial student, through qualifying as an actuary, and completing her Executive MBA at London Business School, and has worked for insurers directly as well as a consultant. In these reflections on her career, she shares three elements fundamental to her career success so far:
“I realised relatively early in my career that I had a strong interest in risk management. I entered a risk role in my second year of work, and have performed risk-related roles for most of my career since. I also have the view that most of the benefit of risk professionals is when they are seen as a key decision-maker, effectively supporting and steering business decisions. As a result I have had, at times, an almost singular focus on managing my career path towards an executive risk role.
There were three elements that were common in the approach I took as I transitioned different career stages towards an executive position: (i) profile exposure, (ii) mentorship and (iii) sponsorship. Before I describe how I actively managed these elements in my career, a brief interlude on foundations in my education that I was fortunate enough to benefit from. In those formative years, the systems at school and university provided me with a blend of the three elements without me having to put in additional effort… Those experiences did highlight to me, however, their importance for me to manage in my post-qualification years.
Trevor John (previously Trevor Black) is an England-based polymath with experience and interests spanning areas as diverse as investment management, art, yoga, writing (on social media platforms and his blog) and reading. Driven by curiosity and an eagerness to learn about the world around him, Trevor has spent years building an enduring income engine so that he now has the freedom to spend his time on creative and personal projects and on building a global community of like-minded champions. This is his career journey to financial security:
Mind the Gap Years
I took the gap because I had two brothers studying already (making family finances tight) and I hadn’t narrowed down what I wanted to study (ignorant is a self-teasy way of saying always curious to learn). I went to the United Kingdom for the first time on a 2-year work-travel visa.