Saidmukhammad Bakiev read Economics, Government and Politics, Mathematics and Psychology at Portland Place Sixth Form between 2013-15. He is currently studying a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science at Cass Business School in London.
How did you end up in the Actuarial Science field?
Choosing this direction was sort of a gamble for me. Initially I was applying for Accounting and Finance degrees at university, but thanks to UCAS Clearing I got a spot on Cass Business School’s Actuarial Science course. At the point of applying to the course, I did not have a clear or deep understanding of what an Actuarial career path would look like. But I knew for sure that this field is extremely challenging and that it would ensure constant self-development.
How did Portland Place help you get into City University?
I could not have found myself a good place at university without the school, which was very supportive. Thanks to Portland Place, I had my UCAS application, personal statement and teachers’ references clear and ready. The advice given by staff at the school was helpful as well.
What's your fondest memory of your time at school?
My participation in the United Nations Geneva trip that was organized by the History Department in Autumn 2014. The trip consisted of a week of participation in global organizations’ conferences, such as those of UNICEF and Médecins Sans Frontières. The experience was good to put on my personal statements and internship applications.
Apart from the academic and professional advantages, there were personal ones. I met many people from different countries during the trip.
The School organized the experience itself at no extra cost for the participating students. Participants from other academic institutions had to search and apply for it themselves. It should be said that the Portland Place is very good at organizing extra-curricular activities.
What advice do you have for current students there?
Portland Place is by no means a place where you will be pressured. The atmosphere there is very relaxed and unstrained, when it comes to A-Levels. You should not fall into the trap of thinking that everything will be fine, because it will not, if you don’t work. Especially when it comes to learning and preparing for exams. If you have enough “hardcore” practice in each subject, you will get the grades. It’s as simple as that.
Where do you hope your career will take you?
I hope to become a professional in the financial and investment industries. And my motivation here is not to make money. It’s to be involved in risk and uncertainty. These fields are closely connected to gains and losses. And, of course, I want to progress further on an individual level; to build myself by constantly bearing down my fears, laziness and inertia. You live only once, so why not choose the level “hard”?
How do you stay in touch with Portland Place alumni?
Thanks to modern social media and instant messaging services, I maintain connections with several of my former classmates and we meet up from time to time. Even though I spent only two years at Portland Place, I still feel those people have become my family.
Also, I will never forget my teachers. I can always ask them for advice, both on professional and personal matters. I spoke with my former Economics teacher last summer. Most of my tutors now work at different schools, but there are still quite a few members of staff whom I remember. Perhaps I will pay a visit to my former Mathematics teacher as soon as the university exam period ends. He is a cool guy.