Sigma Chapter Intern Testimonials

Brenna Horan
Actuarial Science
Spring 2017

Mercer
Norwalk, CT

Provide a General Description of the Internship. Include daily tasks completed, the company and its employees, and any other information.
A typical work day started at 9 am. For about 2 weeks of my internship, I was working on a data audit for a large client. This required me looking into the raw data from the client and the data that we had previously on the client and comparing the two to make sure that all data such as DOB, SSN, Name, etc were correct as they would be needed for our pension valuation. I worked on roughly 2 benefit calculations per week. These popped up randomly throughout the week and needed to be completed within the day and the next. If I ever had a day that was slow, the company offered modules for their interns and new hires that could be completed when time permitted. This modules included information on life contingencies, interest theory, data reconciliation, and retirement in general. I also worked on an intern project doing market research for new business for the company, creating a presentation that would be given at the end of the internship. We had a half hour for lunch each day and the typical end of day time was5:30pm.

Did you have a mentor?
Yes

If so, how did he/she help you during your internship?
My mentor was awesome. She checked in on us every morning to make sure that we were on schedule for the things we were working on, or to ask us if our work load was light and she could pass something off. She sat down with us many times throughout the semester to talk about how the internship was going and if we had any comments or concerns. In those meetings, she would also give us advice and ask us our opinions about how the summer was going.

Did you feel your RMI/AS classes better prepared you for the internship?
I think they provided a solid foundation for a lot of the work I did. The things I learned in the classroom helped with my understanding of calculating accrued benefits. We did have templates that were formatted to calculate the benefits, but in special cases, which was a lot of the benefits we did, some manipulation of the tool was needed, so it was good to know how to do it by hand so that you could break the formulas down and figure out what was actually needed fora particular calculation.

Interviewing/Hiring Process Comments:
I went to the Career Reception and within the few days that followed received an email for an onsite interview. At my onsite interview, I was asked which 3 places I wouldn't mind working, since my resume said "willing to relocate." I was called by the Norwalk office in mid November about coming to the office for an onsite interview. My interview was on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I met with about 10 people throughout my day at Mercer. I spent about 30 minutes with each person and they asked me basic interview questions and also asked me about my interests outside the classroom. I received my offer the next day and had a week to let them know my decision

Were you assigned any special projects? If so please describe.
I was assigned to work on an experience study for one of our clients. In this study, I analyzed retirement and turnover for the company from the previous year. We also looked at form of payment, lump sum, and payment analysis. Each analysis was done to check against the assumptions that we had made for the company and how close the actual results were. From that information, we could make our recommendations to the company regarding their retirement and turnover and what they could expect of their workforce over the next year.

What were the supplemental benefits besides the pay? (Internship Lunches, Housing, Sports Games, Happy Hours, etc.)
I received a stipend at the beginning of the summer that helped me pay for my housing. We were not allowed to have paid study time, but we were allowed to come in early or stay late after work to do so. There were only 2 happy hours and we went to the company softball game once at the end of the summer.

Describe the company's internship program(atmosphere, work load, work, housing, outside work activities, etc.).
It was a very collaborative atmosphere. Everyone sat at cubicles, but if you needed to ask someone a question or tell them something, they were within talking distance. Mercer offered modules for the interns and their new hires that covered basic retirement information and practices, life contingencies, interest theory, data reconciliation, and more. I complete about 4 before my internship was over. They were very involved and detailed and were really applicable to the work I was doing during my internship. My work load was steady. There was always at least one big project we were working on and we were able to helpful with smaller ones here and there as well. We also had a speaker series and a town hall series. The speaker series featured many colleagues across the country in the company and the town halls were specific to the actuarial interns

Was the internship what you expected after the interviewing/hiring process?
Yes

Were you provided time off besides the weekend?
We had holidays such as the 4th of July off and also had a Friday where we only had a half day. They were very lenient if we needed to take a day off throughout the summer. We just needed to let out supervisor know in advance the day we would not be there

If you had to relocate, describe the process of adapting to a new city.
It was tough relocating at first. The other intern in the office lived about an hour outside of Norwalk and she commuted everyday, so down time was very lonely and boring sometimes. I did enjoy exploring Norwalk and seeing its sights. Norwalk is about an hour train ride outside NYC, so I also spent a few Saturdays in New York being a tourist.

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