2nd year

Katherine Barker

Katherine, from Perthshire in Scotland, is studying Mathematical, Statistical and Actuarial Sciences in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences.

What appealed to you most about Heriot-Watt University?

I first visited Heriot-Watt when I was 16. I instantly loved the campus and layout, but also the department. It is a very friendly university. All lecturers are very open and encourage you to meet them during office hours if you are having any issues. 

Do you feel your degree is preparing you well for a career?

Yes. There is a lot of help offered within the department for careers, internships and placements. There is a talk nearly weekly from different companies and their employees. I find this very helpful as it demonstrates exactly what they look for.

What impresses you about your learning experience at Heriot-Watt?

The consistency. Each lecturer expects the same thing from you and no one expects you to sacrifice time on one subject for another. They don’t set deadlines the same as other subjects so you don’t get stressed. 

What do you like most about studying at Heriot-Watt?

You are driven to work in groups. I like that not everything has to be solo work and that you can ‘bounce’ ideas off you friends and discuss how to solve questions. As I go into 3rd year, I get a lot of choice in my degree in relation to elective subjects. I like that you are also mixed in with pure mathematics students and pure actuarial students.

What are your hopes for your career? How will the knowledge and techniques you are learning at Heriot-Watt help you to achieve your goals?

At the moment I am still deciding whether to pursue becoming an Actuary. I am 50/50. If I choose to do so, the degree programme I am on allows me to complete some of my actuarial exams which is great. As an actuary you have to work with others and Heriot-Watt Is constantly getting you to work as groups with people you may or may not know, which is good practise for after university or during placements.

What would you say to prospective students considering studying at Heriot-Watt?

Heriot-Watt offers the best of both worlds in regards to location. You’re on a campus university so everything is very close together, yet you are 20/30 minutes from the middle of Edinburgh.

Everyone is really helpful and nice. If you have a problem, you don’t have to look hard for someone who can help you. The societies are great. I am part of the Student Actuarial Society and as well as lots of industry talks, they have lots of social events.