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  #1  
Old 11-27-2017, 10:18 PM
tunafish tunafish is offline
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Question Help me choose an internship?

Hey everyone,

I'm a sophomore in college, and I'll be taking my first exam in January, but I'm very committed to an actuarial career. I received an actuarial internship offer from a mid-size life insurance company, where I'll be working mostly with Excel. I'll be assigned to one specific department (either valuation, pricing, or modeling). The other offer I'm considering is with UnitedHealth Group, but with their tech branch, not insurance branch. I'll be working with databases and improving my knowledge of SQL (which I don't have much of an opportunity to study in school). The pay is higher and the internship is much closer to home, but that's not a big concern.

It seems like a no-brainer that I should go with the actuarial internship, but my career counselor told me that working with SQL could help me stand out, since everyone knows Excel these days. I'm also doing a co-op/internship in the fall of my junior year, so either way I'll have some actuarial experience before my junior summer internship. What should I do? I'm terrible at making decisions
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Old 11-27-2017, 11:03 PM
Yamamay Yamamay is offline
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I'd think most actuaries didn't know Excel before their first internship.

SQL is easy. Go actuarial.
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Old 11-27-2017, 11:24 PM
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Colonel Smoothie Colonel Smoothie is online now
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How are the locations? If one of them is some place fun, I'd pick the fun location.

Otherwise, the actuarial internship will make it easier for you to get an actuarial job. Being able to talk about what you've accomplished and learned from an actuarial standpoint will carry more weight than trying to play up your technical skills when you're interviewing for a full time job. Furthermore, it's not hard to find a use case for SQL as long as you're in an environment with data, which should be the case with the actuarial internship. It's also not hard to teach it to yourself independently.

The UHC internship looks pretty good too, and it still counts as relevant experience. You may end up learning a lot from that one as well. It's a big company and it will look good on your resume.

It's your call, but if I were in your shoes I think I'd pick the actuarial one so I can be sure knock out that requirement. Next year, if I felt like expanding my experiences to other areas I would explore internships in another industry or department.
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Old 11-28-2017, 11:11 AM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is online now
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Meh.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:54 PM
royevans royevans is offline
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If you're doing a co-op, I'd recommend taking the UHG internship because SQL might get you far. It will also seem relevant to your other actuarial internships because UHG hires lots of actuaries so hiring mangers will associate your internship with that. You can probably land a pretty good junior year internship anyway with 2 previous internships.

Also, consider location, pay, and what field of insurance you want to take a look at.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:22 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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Originally Posted by Colonel Smoothie View Post
Otherwise, the actuarial internship will make it easier for you to get an actuarial job.
Not sure I agree here. He's a sophomore that hasn't passed any exams, and has managed to get an internship offer. Whether that's because of his amazing talent or school, I'm not sure, but probably doesn't matter. People getting internship offers as sophomores aren't really going to have a problem getting another one next year and an offer when they graduate.

OP: Don't overthink this, trust your gut, pretty sure you're in a can't-miss situation. For myself, I would tell 20-yo Westley to do the non-actuarial as it would have broadened his horizons a bit.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:44 PM
Knoath Knoath is offline
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SQL is easy but finding an opportunity to use it with real data is hard. I say take the SQL position, especially since you'll be getting an actuarial internship later on.

Not only will SQL skills make you stand out as an EL candidate, but you will also be more likely to be given more interesting work to do both as an intern and at EL because you will have a readily usable skill that most ELs don't have.
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:05 PM
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OP: Don't overthink this, trust your gut, pretty sure you're in a can't-miss situation. For myself, I would tell 20-yo Westley to do the non-actuarial as it would have broadened his horizons a bit.
100% agree. Don't overthink this.

If you're a smart individual, then choose whichever internship gives you the higher learning opportunity. Or quite honestly, just choose the one that sounds the most fun. You'll learn something anyways.

If you're not a smart individual, don't worry about the skills you could learn in each of the internships, but instead on the title of the position, as that holds more value of perception when you have no other skills to sell.

-Riley
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:05 PM
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I'd say take the job that will challenge you with real work.
Honestly most internships are pretty crappy. You don't get real work, since managers know you will be there for only a couple months.
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Old 11-28-2017, 03:52 PM
nin01001 nin01001 is offline
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If you think you want to work at UHG in actuarial, I'd take the actuarial internship and then apply to the UHG internship program in your next year. Unless your UHG manager knows the right people they won't be much help getting you an Actuarial internship the next year and UHG does the majority of it's entry level hiring from the pool of the prior summers interns.
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