Written by Kristin Shaffer:
Being an aspiring actuary can be stressful at times, especially when exam season comes around. However, exams are not the only thing that an aspiring actuary worries about. In college, I found that I also became overly stressed by internship and full-time job decisions. I was always worried that I would make the wrong choice or that I would not get a job offer at all.
My best advice to my former self is to start early and have an open mind. Just because you are a college freshman does not mean that you can’t get an internship. Begin interviewing as soon as you possibly can. Even if you don’t end up with an internship, you will at least have had a year’s worth of experience interviewing before trying again sophomore year.
When it comes to interviewing, practice really does make perfect. The more you interview, the more comfortable you will become talking to interviewees. You will begin to recognize frequently asked questions and will have a better sense of what types of questions you’d like to ask about the company. The important thing to remember is to try to be the best version of yourself. Do not try to be someone you’re not.
Another piece of advice is to be open-minded about which companies you interview with. There is no reason to be too selective when you’re first starting out. Try to be open to anything and everything. Even if you think you won’t like a particular type of work, you will never really know until you try it for yourself. Internships are the best opportunity to try new things, so take advantage of that. Also, if you have the privilege of partaking in multiple internships, I would recommend doing them in completely different areas. For example, if you have an internship in property and casualty insurance one year, maybe consider a health consulting company the following year.
As far as full-time job offers go, remember that it is not a life or death decision. Yes it may be harder to move around once you enter the working world, but the first company you work for will probably not be the only company you work for in your lifetime. Pick the offer that you think will suit you best for now. No matter what company you end up working for, you will gain valuable experience that will only help you throughout your actuarial career.