The Value of Actuarial Internships

By Emily Allen
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The diverse number of career paths that an actuarial student can consider after college can seem daunting.  A student must first weigh consulting versus company work and then consider whether Property & Casualty, Health, Life, or Pension work is right for them.

I’m frequently asked “How is consulting different from working at an insurance company? Which would be a better fit for me?”  The list of pros and cons with each seem to vary dramatically by individual.  A great way to determine which is right for you is to give them each shot!  An internship will allow you experience each path without a long term commitment.

The same idea applies to the decision between Property & Casualty, Health, Life, and Pension actuarial work.  I was fortunate to get two internships during college – one with a property & casualty consulting firm and one with a health insurance company.  Having both experiences gave me confidence that when I chose my first full time job, it was the right one.

Speaking of a full time job – many internships turn into full time work.  Imagine your senior year without the stress of working on your resume and interviewing!  I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again that it’s critical to find a company that you like, not just one that likes you.  I always struggled with this advice.  “How am I supposed to decide if I’ll like it here after an hour long interview with a select number of staff?!”  Internships are a great way to get to know a company and identify workplace attributes that are important to you.

A couple of last bonus benefits – many actuarial internships are paid and are a great way to give a new city a test drive without a long term commitment!

Emily Allen, FCAS, MAAA is a consulting actuary at Milliman in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

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