Andrew joined AXA Australia in 2004 as a Graduate Actuary – you might remember him from this video. Today, he’s Regional Manager at AXA Asia. We caught up with him to find out more about his experience and how his career has evolved at AXA.
I joined AXA as a fresh-faced graduate looking for a stimulating role. My career has developed hugely over the years and gone from working in the actuarial function, then risk management to business management. I moved from Melbourne to the Paris Head Office, and now I’m here in Hong Kong in a management position. It’s been a varied, challenging journey and the experience and skills I acquired on the program have helped me to grow. Here are the four key things that I learnt as a graduate, which have been crucial to me building a rewarding career.
1. My personal development plan
In the early stages of your career, you’ll naturally find yourself thinking ‘where do I want to go?’ or ‘where will I be in a year from now?’. Here at AXA, you have a personal development plan right from the start of your career, which provides direction and helps you structure your pathway. Of course, it’s a plan and things can change. However, it’s something I’ve found hugely valuable as a platform for development and I still maintain my plan to this day.
2. The training and learning opportunities
You receive excellent training at AXA. As a Graduate Actuary, I was fully supported with professional examinations and qualifications – not just financially but in terms of learning too. I attended knowledge sharing sessions given by experienced actuaries and study sessions which were very useful. You’re also taught valuable softer skills. One of the first courses I had was on Personal Effectiveness and Leadership where I learnt that in order to lead others well, you first need to understand who you are, how you operate and how you connect with others. This knowledge has been hugely valuable, especially working in an organisation as large, global and diverse as AXA.
3. Having a dedicated mentor and access to senior management
From the moment you join the Global Graduate Program, a manager is allocated as your mentor. They’re great to go to for advice and guidance. I’ve found mentoring fundamental to my continued development and I still have one now – a CFO here in AXA Asia. When I took on my latest role, I went and asked ‘what challenges might I face?’ and we explored what would make me as successful as possible in the role.
4. The rotations and networking
When I was on the program, I had a variety of different rotations where I worked on some very exciting projects with some hugely talented people. A key part of my current role is to support the relationship between AXA Asia and our Paris Head Office so it’s useful having worked there before as I know people there and how things work.
Having such broad exposure on the graduate program means you don’t have to follow a set career path. Moving into a more strategic and leadership role as a Regional Manager hasn’t been massively daunting as I had already experienced working across countries and functions. Now, I’m putting everything I’ve learnt to good use by helping to develop future leaders. And I am recruiting a talented graduate to join our team in Hong Kong soon!
If you’re a graduate interested in a truly global career in an open and challenging environment, then apply for our Global Graduate Program today.