Actuarial Boot Camp, a program developed by CT IFS, encourages high-performing math students to consider a career as an actuary and prepares them to join the actuarial workforce in the Insurance Capital of the World.
The concept was developed 11 years ago and has hosted 15 sessions with more than 300 Boot Camp alumni. “The industry recognized that actuaries are a vital part of the insurance industry and decided to develop a strategy to grow its own future workforce,” explains Susan Winkler, Vice President, MetroHartford Alliance and Executive Director of CT IFS.
Actuarial Boot Camp is geared toward students who excel in math. It was designed to attract high school juniors and seniors before they enter college to introduce them to the idea of becoming an actuary and to tell them about jobs and internships available in Connecticut when they finish school.
“Math teachers and career counselors encourage high-performing math students to participate in Actuarial Boot Camp,” explains Winkler. “Sometimes students have a family member who’s an actuary and thinks, based on the student’s high scores in math, they may enjoy the career, too.”
She adds, “Most of the students enjoy math—but they know they don’t want to become math teachers. Actuarial Boot Camp shows them there are other opportunities and career paths available.”
One participant from this year’s Camp provided this feedback: “I have a clearer idea of the path I want to take to become an actuary. I understand a lot more about my options so I can make better decisions in my future career.”
During Actuarial Boot Camp, students spend a week learning technical skills like negotiation, math, and probability and soft skills, such as communication, writing, and public speaking.
“At the beginning of the week, most of the students don’t even know what an actuary does,” acknowledges Winkler. “By the end of the week, 90% if not more of the students have a better understanding of the career opportunities available in the insurance industry,” she adds.
“Actuarial Boot Camp was informative and enjoyable,” says a recent participant. “Because of the knowledge I gained this week, I’m excited to pursue an actuarial profession.”
Another student declared, “Actuarial Boot Camp solidified that this is what I want to do with my life.”
After this year’s program, CT IFS realized that the students really enjoyed learning about the sense of community in the industry. “They were introduced to another side of insurance,” says Winkler. “They saw how Hartford insurance companies give back to the community and touch the community in many different ways.”
The first day of Actuarial Boot Camp starts with a “What Is an Actuary?” track. The program continues with tracks focusing on elements of career planning, SOA/CAS Probability Exam preparation, and actuarial options and opportunities to provide students with a complete idea of what an actuary does.
Guest speakers are executive leaders from Hartford-area insurance companies. They’re introducing students to all elements of insurance, from property and casualty to life and health insurance.
“I loved meeting actuaries from all different fields stages in their careers,” notes a recent student.
“The variety of people who came in and spoke helped create a clear picture of how truly diverse the actuary profession is,” another student said.
Hosted by Lincoln Financial, this year’s Actuarial Boot Camp featured about 20 presenters including The Hartford, MassMutual, Nassau Re, Prudential, Travelers, and Voya Financial. There is so much interest in the program, CT IFS has already booked Hartford-area insurance companies to host the annual Actuarial Boot Camp through 2021. “They’re excited to have an opportunity to recruit these best and brightest kids into their actuarial program,” says Winkler.
Students who participate in the Actuarial Boot Camp are presented lucrative opportunities afterward. Since the program’s inception, alumi have participated in 40 internships and found employment with more than 26 full-time jobs.
Students are also introduced to the concept of networking and forming lifelines with presenting actuaries.
“Every student who goes through Actuarial Boot Camp receives contact information from the host and participating companies. They’re encouraged to reach out to an actuary who they met through Boot Camp to ask for guidance on their career pathways or find out about available internships and jobs. There’s an immediate and long-lasting connection,” emphasizes Winkler.
“Actuarial Boot Camp will give me a leg up when applying for internships and ultimately trying to get a job,” a recent participant noted.
Another student summed up the experience saying, “This camp was incredibly valuable. Anyone considering actuarial science would benefit from this camp.”