Internships will answer “What does an Actuary actually do?”

I remember the first time I heard of the Actuarial profession. I was a junior in high school when a family friend told me that I had the technical, analytical, and communication skills necessary to succeed in a career as an Actuary. When I asked him what an Actuary does, the answer was less than satisfying and looked something like this:20150912_181930-2-1

  • “Risk management for insurance companies.”
  • “Using math or statistics to calculate when people will die.”
  • “You know, Ben Stiller’s character in Along Came Polly.”

Four years later as a sophomore Actuarial Science major with two exams passed, I knew more about the career but still had not yet wrapped my head around what an Actuary actually does on a day-to-day basis. It was not until I obtained my first Actuarial Internship that I got a comprehensive idea of the type of work that actuaries actually do.

Internships are a great way to explore the various career opportunities for actuaries, whether that be in Consulting, Health Insurance, Property and Casualty Insurance, or Life Insurance. Recruiting season is in full swing for students pursuing Actuarial Internships for Summer 2016. The time of Career Fairs, resume editing, on-campus interviews, HR screening, business casual dinners, and all-day interviews are upon us, and it can sometimes seem overwhelming. But when it is all said and done, the hope is to have obtained an actuarial internship that will provide meaningful experience and serve as affirmation to keep chugging in the exam process.

Last summer, I had a great experience interning for a Life Insurance company in Wisconsin. I worked in the Disability Income Pricing area of the Actuarial Department and was trusted right away with associate-level work that included projects such as: annual loss ratio filing, settlement calculations, model office work for new product pricing, and other ad hoc projects.

Working on these projects, attending luncheons with company executives, meeting one-on-one with my mentor, and asking as many questions as possible all contributed to my positive experience last summer and educated me to finally understand what an actuary actually does.