What have you done after graduating from Bryn Mawr?
After Bryn Mawr I entered a 2.5-year management training program at Munich Re in Princeton, N.J. During this time, the class of analysts rotated through the company spending 80 percent of time in practical project rotations and 20 percent of the time in classroom training. The program also featured two international training summits at our global headquarters in Munich, Germany. Following the program, I entered an actuarial pricing role in our primary insurance unit, where I spent two years. About a year and eight months ago, I moved into the more strategic position where I am now. My title now is marketing intelligence analyst, which is about half market research and analysis and half then translating the findings into actionable strategy for our business unit.
How does math connect with your current occupation?
While my prior role focused more on quantitative analysis, my current position is much more qualitative but focuses on analysis nonetheless. The overarching theme that has carried on from my last role to this one is being able to use data to find the story it is telling.
How did your math experience at Bryn Mawr prepare you for your current position and life after Bryn Mawr?
My ability to break complex problems into smaller tasks and to use logic to work through them has been immensely helpful. The insurance industry is very data-driven and most jobs within the industry have a significant quantitative focus, whether it be by managing a portfolio as an underwriter, calculating our loss reserves as an actuary, or understanding and adjusting our losses as a claims specialist. The industry is unique in that it is one of a few where you don't know what the true cost of your product is until after you sell it. Projections, portfolio metrics and capital management are critical. Quantitative skills are in high demand and I think my background and mathematical approach to problem solving is well-suited to a number of careers in insurance as well as finance and business more broadly.
Which aspects of the math major did you enjoy or find particularly useful?
Tutoring and TAing were hugely advantageous in that they gave me experiences explaining technical or complex processes and solutions to others. This was a skill I highlighted while interviewing and was something that resonated with the interviewers in every case.
Do you have any memories of the Bryn Mawr Math Department that you would like to share with current students and/or prospective students?
Part of my getting my first job was as a result of an interaction with a BMC math alum at a career panel. There was an alum who was an actuary and I attended the panel she spoke on as well as the dinner reception that followed the event. After chatting with her, I forwarded her my resume and I asked for both feedback as well as any connections she might be able to make for me. She sent my resume to seven or eight contacts she had across several companies, and one of those was contacts worked at Munich Re. I had already applied to the company on my own by this time, but the recipient of my resume at Munich Re was the actuary who became my actuarial pricing boss. She and the Bryn Mawr alum had worked together at a prior company. Had I not gone to the math department panel or attended dinner, I may not have come across this alum and I still don't know whether my resume got looked at because of my independent application or my resume having been received by the right person and mutual contacts.
Do you have any advice for current math majors?
Take classes that are interdisciplinary such as Discrete Math in both the math and computer science departments. Being able to link two disciplines is a unique skill that not everyone can speak to. I'd also recommend taking a course at Haverford. There are some very cool electives there and while I was nervous about taking a course at Haverford in a subject where I so often attended TA sessions, which I knew would be more effort to attend on the other campus, it was worth the extra effort in travel to take the applied elective.