CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?
Saurabh: Mercer is a global consulting firm that focuses on risk and talent consulting. I was an actuarial intern in the retirement consulting department, so I worked with our consultants to help clients manage/forecast/de-risk their pension liabilities. Since I was the only intern in the department, I worked on a variety of projects ranging from government filings to different types of valuations, and I was able to do different things on the projects from gathering/validating data to actually creating client facing final products.
CCD: How did you find your internship?
Saurabh: The first round of the interview was done through campus recruiting, so I initially found and applied for the job through the BU CareerLink* and had my first interview on campus. After that I had 2 rounds of interviews at the company, with the final interview being a day with all of the Senior Associates in the department.
CCD: What was the best thing about the experience?
Saurabh: The best part of this internship was that it was very self-driven. Mercer hired 100+ interns for the summer across all of their offices in the US, but I was the only intern in my department in the Boston office. There were very regular national trainings and learning opportunities, but in terms of the work that I did in my office, it was up to me to reach out to consultants. It was my responsibility to make sure I had the skills I needed to successfully do valuations, whether it was through the national trainings or asking a consultant to walk me through the specifics of the project. This setup worked really well for me, because I was able to get through the training portion at my own pace, and then take on as many projects as I was comfortable.
CCD: What was the most challenging part of the internship?
Saurabh: The only part of the internship that was difficult for me was that the work is very technically specific, and it took a lot of training to learn how to do the types of valuations that we do. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just that I spent a decent chunk of my internship doing trainings instead of actuarial work.
CCD: What is one thing you’ve learned that will be most beneficial in your future?
Saurabh: This summer gave me a lot of practice in being self-sufficient in a professional setting. Mercer and my department provided me with the resources I needed, but it was my responsibility to make sure I completed the trainings, find projects that I was interested in, and do as much as possible. I was given a project overview and what objective I was trying to meet. From there, it was my responsibility to figure out how to do it. I think having worked in an environment like this is going to benefit me regardless of what I do in the future, because I know exactly how to guide myself through projects, to figure things out for myself first and ask for help when I need it.
CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of a summer experience?
Saurabh: I would tell students that it’s imperative to put your best foot forward in everything that you do. During a summer internship, it’s easy to think that it’s okay to coast through the project you’re doing, because it’s a summer internship and people don’t expect professional level work from you.
In my opinion, that’s the wrong way to think. No matter what you do, you should give 150% and make sure that what you do is the best representation of your abilities and talents. It doesn’t matter that you’re an intern. If you can do the same level of work as a first-year analyst, your chances of getting a return offer are significantly higher. It’s just important to always try your hardest and do the best work you can, because that’s how you get the most out of the experience. You can truly see if you enjoy the work and if it’s the right fit for you. Even if it’s not, you can still learn from the process.