Mercer Grad 2010 AC

Mercer
#1

Hi all!

I have an AC coming up with Mercer and I wondered if anyone has alraedy been to one this year.

Any feedback on the day’s activities will be really appriciated!

Thanks in advance!

#2

What job and location have you applied for?

I’m waiting to get the date of my AC for a graduate actuarial role. I have been waitin months.

#3

What role and location have you applied for?

I am waiting on an AC date for a graduate actuarial role, I have been waiting months!

#4

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#5

Hey guys I found this website very useful, so would like to add my experience of Mercer’s FSG/Investment Consulting 1st round AC.

Telephone interview, more or less the same as what everyone else has mentioned. HOT TIP: Make sure you have answers to the following 3 competency questions prepared:

-Give an example of a time where you used numerical data to make a recommendation
-Give an example of a time where you explained a technical concept in a non-technical manner
-A time where you can up with a new idea for a group to use.

Ok now with regards to the AC, day is pretty intense, but chilled out at the same time. I think they recently changed the format, where they have taken out interviews and added in a business line task; so if you pass the AC then you get to have interviews at a later date.

The day usually goes as follows:

  1. Case study 2) Group discussion based on case study 3) Written tasks given, along with time for individual presentation 4) Lunch at around midday 5) after lunch individual presentations 6) Hand in written tasks at around 3.20 7) Verbal Reasoning test. 8) Go home and have one of the best nights of sleep you will ever have!

Now in more detail:

  1. & 2) A company wants you to analyse 3 new benefit schemes, based on the fact that their revenue is not great; and they want to create a culture that rewards individual performance.
    -The key thing to note is that you will all be given booklets with data on the proposed 3 new plans; but you will be given unique data in your own booklet which contains current data on the company. So one person might get the current benefit scheme, another will get employee performance data or earnings report.

    • This is on purpose, to force you to work as a team to come up with a suggestion, and provide each other with data. You are also challenged to write down what data you will need from the other participants to be able to make a decision.
      -Half way through the exercise, the instructor will give you data on the proposed costs for the bonus schemes.
      -At the end of the case study, you will need to figure out as a group the right scheme to implement, and then figure out who will present the argument to the assessor.
  2. The 3 written tasks are as follows:
    A) Reply to an e-mail complaint: where a client is very unhappy with the service provided by a colleague; it is your job to draft a response as your colleague is not available.
    B) A peer review document : this is where you need to reed through a document and correct grammatical and spelling errors; you also need to check the document for consistency.
    C) An investment consulting case study: This is probably the task most people find tough. You are asked the following :

    • Comment on the asset allocation within a pension scheme. I think the allocation is something like x% bonds y% uk equities and z% foreign equities; you are asked to comment on whether the asset allocation is suitable given the current economic climate.
    • You are given some information on the % of company employees within x years of retirement age, and then asked to suggest ways the company can lower their exposure.
    • Finally you are given a large table outlining asset allocation within a defined contribution scheme. It states how asset allocation is modified as employees approach retirement age. It has various assets such as :Cash, Inflation linked bonds, UK equities, UK bonds, Growth Funds, Developed Nation equities. The allocation changes as employees get within 5 years of retirement age. You are asked to comment on the suitability of the scheme and what changes you might suggest.
  3. Lunch :D, time for a quick breather.

  4. Individual presentation times are usually after lunch. In the presentation try to really get across the points for why you selected the plan; also think of any changes you might make, and really try to defend your plan. HOT TIP: Fgure out why you want to keep a pension scheme defined contribution or benefit, and whether you want to keep it like that in perpetuity.

  5. Make sure you leave enough time for the written tasks. Dont spend too long preparing for the presentation, it should be pretty straightforward; given the time you spent at the start on the case study and group discussion. The e-mail task is pretty straight-forward, as is the peer review; the investment consulting task is by far the hardest for most people. and takes the most time; so plan accordingly.
    7)Verbal Reasoning:
    WOW, that is all I can say. It is a non-standard test, and pretty damn fucking tough after such an intense day. I really dont know how you can prepare for this test…it really tests your vocabulary and how well you can relate passages to sentences. My advice would be to find online verbal reasoning tests that are synonym and critical reasoning based. Examples of questions in this test are:

  6. Which word best replaces xxxx on line 5. Then you have to choose one of 5 words.

  7. Which two sentences best summarise the passage?

  8. Who is the xxxx of the yyyy ?

  9. From the passage would you say xxxx are/is yyyy ?

I think for this test…you either have the ability to score well or you don’t…I think it is pretty damn impossible to prepare for without spending 50-100 hours vastly improving your vocabulary and practising verbal reasoning. I do suggest doing some preparation…but focus mostly on improving your knowledge of synonyms is my advice.

Don’t know if I have been progressed to the interview stage yet, but good luck guys!

#6

Hi, Zarar123. I found your post very detailed and very helpful. I will attend the AC next week with Mercer, I believe the structure is pretty similar as yours in 2011. Did you get to pass the AC? It seems the AC is pretty tough. Is the presentation topic based on the table outling asset allocation within a defined contribution scheme?

Thanks.