My name is Betty, and I am graduating from the University of Toronto this month. As I am setting out to leave the University and start a full-time position in personal line pricing with Economical Insurance, I think back to my internships that helped me get to where I am today. As many of you are preparing for your summer actuarial internships, I would like to share my internship experiences with you, and provide my tips on what to expect in your first actuarial internship and how to use the available resources around you.
I just finished my second actuarial P&C internship in corporate reserving with Northbridge Financial, a leading commercial P&C insurance management company in Canada. Above and beyond the regular monthly and quarterly reserving tasks of the intern student, I was also given the opportunity to be part of a few large projects, enriching my learning experience and giving me the chance to gain important technical skills. These opportunities really allow you to pick up the story behind the numbers and understand the numbers’ impact on the financial statement. My internship offered me an opportunity to glean the knowledge from my colleagues about the industry, something I truly value as I know this information will help me progress professionally.
If you are going to start your first actuarial internship in the summer, I think the biggest challenge is to quickly gain the working knowledge of the production process. Before you start, make sure that you really familiarize yourself with the company by doing extensive research on their website, even beyond the research you did to prepare for the interview. I would say having SAS and excel VBA knowledge would be useful as well; it is never too late to acquire certain programming knowledge.
On your first week, your team will definitely not give you the hardest work files for you to handle. Therefore, you can take the challenge to go through the excel production files and study the links and formulas. Check to see if there is documentation written by the previous interns or your colleagues stored on your computer. Take advantage of the resources within reach; often Google and Exam 5 materials could be your best friend. In addition, I suggest that you reach out to the most senior colleagues or the manager on your team to set up a daily meeting time to seek help and insights on the questions you have compiled. Pay extra attention in your weekly team meetings even though you may not understand a single word at the very beginning.
The first internship can really give you the chance to apply the knowledge you’ve obtained from your classes into the real world, and it is a milestone in your actuarial career. Working in the P&C industry is fun and challenging, and an internship will help you gain a better understanding of data both financially and statistically. I hope you can benefit from my tips this summer. Your upcoming internship experience will certainly be one of your most precious memories when you look back at your university career!