Internships are an essential part of getting a job upon graduation in today’s world. They allow college students to get real life experience working in the field they want to enter. Companies like to see this on a resume because it shows their new hire will hopefully have a smaller learning curve as they become integrated into their role. Since I’ve been in college, I have had two internships and they have been the most rewarding and exciting times of my college career. If anything, my internship experience helped me feel confident in my decision to become an actuary because I loved the work I did.
My most recent internship took place this past summer (2015) and was by far my favorite. It all started when this company came to give a presentation at my college. We were told to prepare resumes to hand out since they were looking for a summer intern. After listening to the presentation and handing my future manager my resume, I received a follow up email about two days later announcing I was selected for a phone interview! I accepted the invitation which eventually led to an in person interview and finally an internship offer letter. The in person interview process consisted of three short thirty minute interviews with three different people. They asked me typical interview questions and went over my resume with me. After the process was over, I received an email the next day telling me I was selected for the actuarial internship!
Once my first day on the job arrived, I was feeling nervously excited about starting something new. I had a general idea of what I would be doing, but I didn’t know anyone and I was curious about how I would fit in at the company. They took me on a tour of the office and let me meet certain managers as well as the people I would be working primarily with. My desk was already set up with office supplies and a laptop for me to use so I could jump right into my work. I had five different projects assigned for me to complete within the ten week internship. This gave me the opportunity to work with various models and programs to achieve my goal. Specifically, I worked with their actuarial value, stop loss, and incurred but not paid (IBNP) models. Most of my work was done in Excel using formulas and linked worksheets. I learned a lot about the health and benefits field, what a pricing actuary does, and how their company flows in terms of completing work. Having an internship is such a valuable experience because they teach hands on skills that are impossible to learn sitting in a classroom. By the end of my internship I had completed my goal of five pricing projects, four extra assignments, and I gave a presentation on my last day about my internship experience.
My advice for anyone starting an internship is always go above and beyond what they ask you to do. If you are having a slow day, ask what you can do to help even if the assignment would be outside your department. Network with as many people as possible and learn to say yes to going out after hours even if you are tired. You will want to make the most of the time you have inside the company by absorbing as much information as you can. When going through the interview process, the most important piece of advice to remember is to be yourself. Companies want to make sure you will fit in with the “family” they have developed. Your resume will get you in the door, but the personality you convey helps you stay inside.