by Kristin M. Distel
Hannah Clouser, a senior studying actuarial science, completed a summer internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in New York City and has been offered a full-time position with the firm. Clouser, whose interest in actuarial science focuses on calculating risk for corporations, will begin working full-time for PwC following her upcoming graduation. “I interned at PwC for nine weeks, from early June 2016 through August,” Clouser explains.
“Landing an internship with PwC was a remarkably competitive process,” she notes, “especially for positions in the New York office. PwC is a Big Four accounting firm that focuses on the consulting side of actuarial science.” Clouser was one of four interns chosen to work at PwC over the summer, securing the coveted position over several other highly qualified candidates, including Ivy League undergraduates.
Like many actuarial students, Clouser was considering two distinct career paths: consulting and insurance. “The traditional actuarial path is to go into insurance. I was originally going to intern for an insurance company and had already interviewed when I heard about this opportunity with PwC,” she recalls. “I was ready to accept an offer in Cincinnati.”
However, Clouser’s networking skills—and a chance encounter with an OHIO alum—helped her secure an interview for the PwC internship.
A Chance Encounter with an OHIO Alum
“I was in the Student Senate office here on campus and an alum came in during homecoming week; he had been in Student Senate when he was an undergraduate, too. I started talking to him and asked him what he does.” It turned out, Clouser explains, he was on campus to interview interns, and he was a partner at PwC. After speaking about Clouser’s career goals and the type of work PwC does, the alum arranged for Clouser to be interviewed for an internship.
Clouser traveled to New York City for the interview. “Once they made the offer,” she recalls, “I knew I wanted to live in a big city and work for a Big Four company.”
Gaining First-Hand Experience, Teaching Senior Partners
One benefit of the internship, Clouser states, is learning first-hand the differences between working in insurance versus consulting. “Working for a Big Four company is different when you’re an actuary,” she says. “It’s more specialized, and there is more client contact in consulting work than in accounting. I was also able to assist the firm’s associates with their projects. One of my tasks was to do a model validation project for an insurance company that was switching to a new model of calculating reserves.”
The lessons Clouser learned during her internship ranged from honing her technical skills, such as working with Microsoft Excel, to working with senior partners. “We did lots of work with Excel; I already knew the basics but I learned to use Excel in much more depth. I became more familiar with how to create nested formulas and how to code,” she notes. Clouser also learned how to navigate her role as a team player among the other interns while also standing out and making herself an essential part of the PwC team.
Perhaps one of the most difficult tasks Clouser faced during her internship, she recalls, was gaining the confidence to present her work to senior partners in the firm. “All interns had to give a presentation on a subject related to life insurance in front of the staff and senior partners,” she states. “Managers, directors, and lots of other personnel attended the presentations. They said to the interns, ‘Teach us something we don’t yet know about insurance.’ I had to demonstrate confidence in my education and in my presentation skills.”
Learning Needed Skills at OHIO
Several professional development opportunities at OHIO prepared Clouser to work in a corporate environment. She credits OHIO’s Career and Leadership Development Center for helping teach her business etiquette and professionalism. Clouser also notes that her role on the Student Alumni Board has been beneficial. “I have attended many professional networking panels and learned how to network, how to make connections, and how to talk to professionals,” she notes.
In the future, Clouser may go on to graduate school. “Eventually, I may want to teach actuarial science because there are so few professors who specialize in this area.” In the meantime, though, Clouser will move to New York City and begin her full-time career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in September.