Actuary internships are a bit different from most other types of internship. These are highly technical jobs, requiring a lot of detailed work, and employers need motivated, talented people who will fit in well with their business models.
You will find that actuarial internships include excellent working conditions and amenities, including in some cases free transport to and from work, partially subsidized housing and other benefits, depending on the employer. Actuaries are very much in demand in the finance sector, and comparatively small numbers of graduates have created an environment where recruiters are competing for talent.
Finding an internship
Actuaries are relatively few in numbers in the US, and businesses actively recruit graduates and students from colleges. The insurance industry, as the main employer, is particularly active in seeking interns. It's easy to find internships, but the nature of actuarial work tends to be specialize in particular industries, so aspiring interns will need to check employer websites for information.
An actuarial internship can help start your career. It's advisable to target specific employers, when looking for an actuarial internship. Some major corporations offer excellent opportunities for internships, and some of the internships do lead to offers of employment.
The most common actuary internship is the summer internship. This is a 3 month paid internship which is both a job and a training experience including practical work. Interns should be familiar with the employer's industry and business. Researching the employer is a particularly good idea, because some internship programs also entitle interns to apply for full time actuarial trainee programs.
Important: Actuarial work is very heavily oriented to academic achievements. Grades matter in getting these internships, and clear indicators of particular areas of skills can be major positives for applicants. Some employers set as a minimum requirement passing at least one Society of Actuaries exam.
Actuary internship interview preparation
The internship job is based on many important skills and a good knowledge of actuarial processes. Although this is a "training" job, there's a required level of knowledge and skills. The bar is therefore set high for interviewees, and preparation is particularly important.
Primary knowledge base issues in actuary interviews are:
- Data collection and management
- Analysis techniques
- Knowledge of statistics practices
- Undergraduate studies (Usually finance, economics, or business)
- Actuarial science program studies
- Actuarial software modeling and related skills, sometimes including programming
Employers naturally require interns who are well prepared in their line of business. These are all baseline skills for which most actuary students are trained, but the next level can be much more complex. Depending on the industry and the employer, there will be specialist knowledge and skills involved:
The skills issue is particularly important. Demonstrated skills requirements include:
Strong analytical skills: To demonstrate analytical skills, you will need to give examples of situations and cases of analyses, either practical or academic. Use examples which are clearly relevant to the internship role, and show practical examples of knowledge.
Communications skills: These are important skills for actuaries, who have to act as technical advisers in their professional role. Make sure you express yourself clearly, using a structured format to answer interview questions.
Sample cover letter for Internship position at Munich RE
Dear Munich Re Recruiting Team,
As a motivated and passionate junior student at the University of Missouri Columbia, I love to take the next step into the business world. I love mathematics and economics and I always enjoy discovering on how I can apply my mathematics skill in Social and Business area and that’s why and how I find actuarial career where you apply mathematics and statistics on social-business problems. I have passed P/1 with the intention of taking exams FM and MFE this spring 2015. I also have gained valuable professional experience through my internships with Julius Baer Bank in Singapore and Prudential Life Assurance, Indonesia. I worked on special project regarding to Lapse Movement summary analysis and monthly IBNR report in Valuation and Business Actuary team in Prudential Life Assurance and Designed Option Products Sales material In Julius Baer Bank.
In addition to my experience related to core knowledge about actuarial science, I also love to explore, learn about new things and get out from my comfort zone. I used to be very shy and not talkative as a person when I was in high school. During the college, I am as an international student involve in a lot of Group activity and volunteer. As an example, I Joined Alternative Spring Break 2013 to Pilsen-Chicago where I was one of the Internationals students among other 10 students. Besides that, in term of learning I have been using Coursera (one of Massive Open Online Courses) to explore a lot of other discipline like Social Psychology, Behavioral Economics, Gamification, and Game and learning. I love to explore new things and socialize with people now which can give more diversity on Munich Re Actuarial Team perspective.
In closing, I would like to discuss my background with you in person and have enclosed a resume for your review. I look forward to learning more about the position and discussing my qualifications in an interview. Thank you very much for your consideration.
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