Working at a health insurance company does not just mean taking calls from customers or processing bills from hospitals and other healthcare providers. It can mean a variety of different things, including utilizing a technical skillset to analyze data and guarantee insurance products are properly and fairly priced.
Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with a mentor from my internship last summer, John Dean. John is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (FSA) and has been working at Aetna, a CVS Health Company in the actuarial division for about 5 years.
Background, Education, and Work Experience
John graduated from UConn in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Actuarial Science. Before starting at Aetna in their Actuarial Leadership Development Program, he worked at Liberty Mutual as an Actuarial Intern and also completed a Co-Op with the Connecticut Insurance Department. He has worked in areas such as Plan Sponsor Insights and Commercial Business and is currently a manager working in Medicaid actuarial.
Trying New Things
I asked John some questions about how he decided on the Actuarial Science career path and how he ended up in his current role. The underlying theme of his answers was trial and error. In college, John took classes in Actuarial Science and Engineering to figure out what type of coursework he enjoyed more, which ultimately led him down the Actuarial Science path. At Aetna, rotating through different areas allowed him to find his interests and develop his skills. Overall, even if you know what field you want to go into, being open-minded and exploring different areas of that field is certainly valuable.
Being Proactive as a Recipe for Success
Another aspect of career development that John mentioned repeatedly throughout the interview was making opportunities for yourself. Whether that entails joining a committee, volunteering to take on more work, or simply being transparent with your manager about your goals, taking ownership of your own development in a proactive manner will help you obtain promotions or otherwise bring your career to the next level. It will also help you build relationships with others and build your personal brand as a strong, dependable employee.
Advice for Current Students
For any student considering Actuarial Science or a related field, John recommends taking at least one intermediate level statistics class to gauge your interest in analytically focused work. Additionally, from a networking perspective, it is good to talk to people currently in any field(s) of interest to ask about what a day in the life looks like for them and gain other important insight. Lastly, he advises students to take advantage of online resources to acquire knowledge quickly.
Conducting an informational interview is a great way to learn about any industry. Hearing about someone’s personal experience will allow you to more easily determine if a certain path may be for you, while building your network at the same time. Utilizing LinkedIn or HuskyLink would be a great place to start scheduling your next informational interview!