Applying Previous Internship Experiences to the Actuarial Field

Anthony Van DykeWritten by Anthony Van Dyke

I started my professional career with an internship in the IT department at Amway, a direct selling manufacturing company. When I accepted the position, I envisioned a career in IT and business. However, exposure to the actuarial sciences at college gave me newfound interest in a career pathway I had never considered. After researching more into the field I realized that as an actuary I could focus on the things I looked forward to doing in the business/ IT field: ‘crunching the numbers’. After realizing that becoming an actuary was more fitting for my interests, I began to map out what I needed to pursue it as a career. While I was obviously deficient in some key areas (mainly due to not having taken any exams), I was pleasantly surprised to have found myself much more prepared than originally thought. I had already learned many of the technical skills needed to be an actuary such as proficiency in Microsoft Excel due to my internship at Amway. Also, my internship at Amway also provided me with communication skills such as how to lead and how to work with others to achieve a common goal. Often, actuaries that specialize in consulting value the ability to communicate clearly to a client as much as they value the mathematical expertise.

Simply because you have not had an actuarial internship does not mean that you have not already learned some of the skills needed to be an actuary. To be a good actuary you need to be able to do more than have proficiency in mathematics and pass the actuarial exams. There are tons of students that are good in math, but in order to differentiate yourself from the masses you must be able to demonstrate how you have the capabilities to not only do your work well but also explain to non-actuaries what it is you are doing. My internship at Amway has provided me with many opportunities to learn communicative and technical skills that I believe will be very useful as I pursue my career as an actuary. So even though you may be a little late in the game like I was to be an actuary, other internships and work experience may have prepared you more than you think.