A week with Coaching Actuaries / SALT Solutions

Written by Anthony Ashbridge: photo

As I began my college career, I knew I wanted to study mathematics but never really thought farther into the future other than my major. As I took some math classes, a professor in the math department at Simpson College, Rick Spellerberg, mentioned the actuarial science program. The more I learned about the program, the more interested I became in becoming an actuary. I decided to take a class where students go out into the real world and job shadow a company of their choice for 40 hours. I asked Professor Spellerberg if he knew of anyone in the Des Moines area that would be willing to have me job shadow. He then connected me with the SALT Solutions team. I was very excited to have a job shadow in my field of study but it was also a little overwhelming at first. It was almost as if I was telling myself, “Hey, congrats on your first year of college! Now that you’ve had your fun there, here’s what the real world is like and what you could possibly be doing for the majority of your life.”

Once I arrived, I was comforted in the fact that I was the first student to job shadow the company for a whole week. This was comforting because we would all be in the learning process at the same time and it was a new experience for everyone. I began by meeting most of the employees and learning what each of them do. As I was doing this, I started to make the connections of how each employee impacts the work of another and how they all work together to accomplish a task. I also quickly learned the intricacies of the company, how the company generally operates, and what services and products SALT Solutions has to offer. It was very interesting to not only learn about what the actuarial side of the company, but also what the Coaching Actuaries side does and how they help students prepare for the several difficult exams it takes to become an actuary.

Shadowing the IT department was also a very rewarding experience because it really linked everything together for me and allowed me to better understand how the company operates. Once I began to understand the several computer programs that were being used and how one affects another, I felt more confident that I knew what was happening within the company.

Shadowing for a whole week presented me with the opportunity to become more hands on with the operations of SALT Solutions. The first task I completed was some real actuarial work that some of the actuaries do when consulting with other major insurance companies. This was a great learning experience as to what actuaries do and it was also a confidence booster as I found that I was actually doing it correctly being that I had just learned the skill ten minutes prior.

I also had the opportunity to sit in on several meetings and conference calls with the president of SALT Solutions, Dave Kester, and several clients that utilize the services and products of SALT Solutions and potential clients that are looking to use their services. These meetings were also extremely rewarding because they allowed me to see how business is conducted and how they sell their services to potential clients.

Being so deeply involved and seeing the several aspects of the company definitely exceeded my expectations of job shadowing and I could not be happier that I chose to job shadow at SALT Solutions. I would personally recommend shadowing at SALT Solutions because one can experience many aspects of a business in very little time.

There are many skills and lessons that I have experience in that I will be able to take with me wherever I choose to go in life such as the importance of communication and organization. This experience has enforced my desire to become involved in the actuarial career field and has motivated me to learn more about the technology that is used in the actuarial world.

I would like to thank Rick Spellerberg for helping me obtain the job shadowing position and the entirety of SALT Solutions for the amazing and rewarding experience of job shadowing.