STEP Reflection: Education Abroad and Internship in Hong Kong

My STEP project was a Summer Global Internship Program in Hong Kong, which was supported by the Global Business Office in Fisher. This program placed me in an insurance company called Generali to help actuaries work for different projects for eight weeks. I got a deeper understanding of actuarial science and built a strong network during this internship.

After completed my STEP Signature Project, I think I have a deeper understanding of what Actuarial Science is like in a real business environment. As I only learned two easy Actuarial Science major classes before I went to my company, I knew nothing about life contingencies in my first day. However, after the two-month internship, I not only learned huge amount of terminologies for life contingencies, but also got some real business skills as an actuary in a life insurance company, for example, how to understand the pricing report, what is a reporting cycle, how to do basic data analyses in excel, and so on. Those knowledge and skills were basic but very important and could only get from the internship. Also, before I applied for this program, I was confused about whether Actuarial Science was really what I like, and after my internship, I found that my major was very amazing and I was very interested in my major and things for life insurance and would like to contribute more on those fantastic stuffs. Last but not least, my colleagues’ hard work and their love and seriousness of their work really influenced my point of views: in order to be a specialist in your area, those merits are very important.

The company I worked for was an Asia Regional Office of Generali in Hong Kong, so our Actuarial Science team would read a large number of reports from all branches in Asia, product reports, pricing reports, tariff reports and so on and our team also needed to compare hundreds of data from different excels to find which product was better or was the best in different branches. As I was the assistant for my mentor, my mentor would first let me read some of the materials and summarize out all important parts for him, so that he could finish the rest of the work more efficiently. My mentor would also ask me to compare data in excels to find out logics for some parts he was confused and use math functions to show the logics. From those projects, I learned plenty of terminologies for life contingencies, the logics between those terms, the way to do data analyses and some very important skills for excel.

Generali is a life insurance company. It has so many kinds of life insurance products for all types of people. During my two-month internship, my mentor helped me to get familiar with most of the company’s products and also asked me to search for and compare with competitors’ products. Those activities helped me to have a deeper understanding of what a life insurance company and a life insurance product are like.

My mentor and the HR team were really good to me and we also had a group of interns in the company. So, I could always have lunch or dinner with my mentor, people from the HR team, and other interns. During these times, we would talk about our internships, our universities, and our lives in Hong Kong. I and other interns were all surprised and influenced by our colleagues’ hard work and their love of their jobs. During my internship, I also met a lot of friends who would work in similar areas as me in the future and built a long-lasting relationship with several of them.

My STEP Signature Project is not only an Education Abroad program but also a very valuable internship program. After this internship, I learned so many skills for excel and applications for life contingencies in real business environment. These advantages will help me to understand my major courses and my Actuarial Science exams next semester more easily. I also find the importance of programming, especially the importance of macro in excel, for a professional actuary. This internship raises my passion of exploring those areas that I’ve never thought about before. Moreover, this internship also helps me to set up my future goals and plans. It tells me that I can get along well with people in a business environment, I am really interested in being an actuary, and I really love this job. In a word, I really spent a wonderful and meaningful time in Hong Kong, which would influence me a lot in my future.

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