Actuary Internship Tips
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.