An internship is the best way to get a flavour of the industry, company, and the work you’re interested in. I knew early on that I wanted to apply my mathematics degree to an analytical and commercially oriented role, so from there it was a decision on what specific role and what industry. I wanted a career where I was able to use the technical knowledge I had been building up at University and I had a particular interest in statistics so it was natural that the actuarial profession would suit me. Next was to find the right industry.
A friend’s father told me “insurance might sound boring, but it isn’t for those who work in the sector” and this inspired me to investigate further. I quickly learnt that insurance is a complex and fast paced sector that I wanted to be a part of. Shortly after the internship ended I was offered a place on the Actuarial Development Scheme – the first steps to my actuarial career!
What was the application process like – any advice?
The first step was to complete an online application form. This consisted of questions relating to the position and company as well as my skills and responsibilities. I was then invited to complete some online assessments, assessing my numerical and comprehension skills. Next was a telephone interview, including competency-based questions, and the final stage of the process was an assessment centre. The assessment centre day included an interview and a case study, but also provided the opportunity to talk to recent actuarial graduates at the company. RSA provided thorough guidance throughout the day and were very welcoming.
Although assessment centres can be daunting, they provide the opportunity for good candidates to really showcase their abilities and for you to tell the company why you’re the ideal candidate for them. My advice is to come armed with your best examples for the key competency questions, drawing from all areas of your life, and to try not to apply the same example to more than two questions.
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
Working as a pricing analyst meant one of my jobs was to scrutinise data, this provided lots of opportunities to use different software and to increase the breadth of my coding knowledge.
To round up the internship we were tasked to create a presentation of our work and about our time at RSA which we presented to our fellow interns and their managers. This provided an opportunity to develop my presentation skills, which I’d had little practise of through studying mathematics, so it really helped to build my confidence and professionalism.
What were the most important things you learnt from the internship?
A key thing that helped me develop throughout the 8-weeks was to ask questions and be curious. So many of my colleagues had years of experience and were all so willing to share their knowledge. Another thing I learnt was to take and seek out every opportunity available to learn.
Specifically, I attended Lunch and Learns during my internship, which were organised presentations delivered by employees from all strands of RSA where they talk about their area of expertise. They helped me further broaden my knowledge of the insurance industry and RSA.