During the summer of 2017, I worked as an Actuarial Intern for Nationwide Financial here in Columbus. Working on the Asset/Liability Management Team, I received hands on experience of actuarial work and had to a chance to thoroughly apply many of the concepts and theories learned throughout my academic career at Ohio State.
The practical application of actuarial concepts diverges from the academic theories, since in academic courses, heavy assumptions are made regarding economic conditions, risk appetite, capital requirements and availability, and problems are presented on much smaller scales. This experience really showed me the differences between theory and practice, particularly how to assess, analyze, and manage aggregate business needs rather than individual needs. I also developed leadership and public speaking skills through leading projects, meetings, and presentations.
Primarily, I led a large investment project to determine the structure of a portfolio that best balanced investment earnings and risk appetite for a particular line of business. Individual policies have to be treated differently than business products as a whole, and aggregation allows for different investment opportunities. Running sensitivities on our assumptions provides a wholistic view of the investment to ensure that our decisions aren’t too dependent certain assumptions. This broadened my understanding of actuarial work and showed the breadth of business decisions that need to be made based on models.
Another project that I had the opportunity to work on related to credit risk, a concept that is mentioned often in actuarial courses and exams. However, the analysis or management of this risk is never discussed in academics as it related heavily to risk appetite, and this summer I learned about the many different issues in the actuarial workplace that still need to be solved, or improved, or added. I kept finding amazing projects and opportunities to work on, and that made me really excited about my career outlook in this field.
Lastly, I developed strong relationships with leaders at Nationwide and had the opportunity to learn about their work and their perspectives on many different issues across the company and the industry. This not only broadened my understanding, but also gave me insight into what leadership skills and abilities are needed to be a successful. In additional, leading projects, project meetings, and presenting project work and findings to multiple different groups over the course of the internship helped me develop both my leadership and my public speaking skills.
I believe this experience provided me with a better understanding of my career, while also developing my leadership and public speaking skills. I understand the actuarial work much better now than I did before this internship, since I had the opportunity to lead multiple projects in real world applications rather than academic theories. I also think I am a much stronger public speaker. All of these changes will make me a much stronger worker, which would provide me with endless professional and leadership opportunities. This is highly valuable since a strong career can lead to success in many different dimensions of wellness, such as financial, career, social, intellectual, and creative.