While studying for the Probability exam in the spring like other actuarial students, I had high hopes of earning the opportunity to join a strong company as an actuarial intern. Many know that competition is very stiff when it comes to applying and interviewing for the few competitive positions in the insurance world. I was worried that I would not be able to secure an internship for the summer because I was only a sophomore at the time and I hadn’t even attempted an exam. As an actuarial student, exams have always been important to me because I believe exams are at the base of any actuarial student. With that said, I decided to concentrate on doing my best to pass the all-important exam. When the exam was over, I saw a hard-earned “Congratulations!” remark and knew that it was all worth it.
The key to success in the pursuit of an actuarial internship is primarily based on the following three components: credentials, a great interview, and a loose application of the law of large numbers. Persistence is also paramount!
One must be open-minded in searching for where to intern, whether it be Property & Casualty, Life & Health, Reinsurance, or Consulting. Even if offered an internship in an insurance field that is not your ideal type, take it! The opportunity can be important in shaping your views and opinions on what type of job you would eventually like to land, and getting your foot in the door is crucial to landing a full-time in the future. This is where my loose application of the law of large numbers kicks – in fellow future actuaries! Simply put, APPLY EVERYWHERE! Chances are that you will likely to get at least one to respond. I suggest that you send at least fifty applications over the course of a school year along with a countless number of follow-up emails.
It is also crucial to make updates and changes to your resume to improve your candidacy – because resumes should be updated and professional. Consider also tweaking your resume for each application if necessary. For example, if a student is a member of an Insurance honors society, a finance society, and a math club – chances are that it cannot all fit on one resume so consider tailoring to the most relevant achievements depending on the type of firm being applied for.
Currently, as an intern at a reinsurance company in the Northeast, I have learned a lot in matters associated with actuarial applications to real world reinsurance treaties. The education at a company is very different compared to daily textbook reading or going through an Adapt practice exam. In my day-to-day job, I work very closely with Microsoft Excel and processing loss triangles and models. Though it is different from what I learned in actuarial classes and practice exams, I have applied the knowledge gained from those studies in my job.
Now that I am approaching the end of my internship in a couple of weeks and resting on the feeling of having an exam passed, I must get back into the grind of things by studying. I plan to pursue Financial Mathematics and soon I will begin the process of sending out the countless applications for internship season next summer.
Ultimately, your academic and professional career is what you make of it, and it is essential to keep your eyes on the prize whether that be the FCAS, FSA, or the intellectual challenge that is certain in the pursuit of it all.