Student Success: Justin Kammer’s AIG Internship and Job Offer

Justin-Kammer

Submitted by Amanda Austin, Career Services Advisor

What inspired you to choose the particular internship opportunity?
I found myself searching through the HPU Connect site and company career pages, looking for opportunities to pursue in the spring or summer term. One field I was interested in was banking and wealth management. Unfortunately, the companies I was interested in interning with (Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan) had quite competitive and time-sensitive programs.

I have a family friend working in the insurance industry. After a discussion with this person on how greatly insurance relates to finance — through risk management, data science, investments, and underwriting — I sent in an application to AIG, one of the largest insurance companies in North America. After applying in February for AIG’s internship program in Commercial Underwriting, I received an invitation to attend an April Superday in their Los Angeles office. (A Superday is a day of several interviews with management and is common with large companies operating in the finance sector.)

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Superday due to midterms occurring at HPU. However, AIG did agree to a phone interview. A month later, I received a call-back offering me a position to join their internship program in Los Angeles. I would have the opportunity to live and work in Los Angeles for the summer, attend a paid training and networking event in the New York City headquarters with other interns placed around the world, and have the chance to meet with management and executives within the insurance industry.

At the time, I knew very little about insurance. I thought I would be getting into a sales-type gig, which I did not want to do. After attending training with over 250 fellow interns in the AIG New York City headquarters, I knew I would be enjoying it more than I had expected. Within the insurance industry exist many career paths to consider including: brokerage, science, technology, underwriting, audit, legal, and investments. It is a very social industry with immense room for growth.

I chose this opportunity because it was related to what I have been studying at HPU, and I knew an internship would help me decide what career I may consider after college. I believe this internship accomplished just that.

What two learning outcomes added to your career readiness in this field?
· One struggle I had at the beginning of my summer with AIG was I felt that I was in the way. I had so many questions, and I felt like I knew nothing. I’ve learned that my peers, colleagues, and managers have not only been in my shoes, but they don’t expect me to know everything. I’ve learned that questions are okay, and by being curious, you will only improve work ethic and show colleagues and management that you care and are interested in learning.

· This internship was essentially a 10-week long interview that could affect my future. I would like to think I made the impression I wanted to, as I was offered a full-time analyst position, returning to AIG in July after graduation. I’ve learned that it’s necessary to always carry yourself professionally, be honest, show colleagues and management what you bring to a team, and finally, be present. You should make it known that you’re happy where you are at, as this can open doors.

What advice do you have for other students considering an internship?
Internships are the best opportunity to get an insight into an industry before you graduate. It can open doors for you within a company, and it could lead you into a career path you had not considered before interning. My greatest advice is to be aggressive in finding something — it may not be glamorous, it may not pay well (or at all for that) — but it is the experience you need that will set you apart from your competition after graduation. Once your internship finishes, you have a better understanding of yourself and what you may consider in your future career. If you love what you did during your internship, that’s fantastic. You may want to consider a career with that company or within that field. If not, that’s also great. You now know you’re interested in something different, and that’s perfectly okay.

Is there a particular service from the Career Services Center you've found most beneficial?
The most beneficial services I took advantage of was résumé and cover letter review and the HPU Connect job/internship website.

Check out the Career Services Center’s offerings for HPU students and alumni at www.hpu.edu/careerservices