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Thread: Should I quit my job for an internship?

  1. #1
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
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    Should I quit my job for an internship?

    To start, I'm a career-changer, non-actuary, been with my current company for 9 years. I have a wife and two kids, and I'm just over a year away from graduating with a degree in actuarial science. I've passed FM and am scheduled to sit for P in a few weeks.

    I finally got a call back for a summer internship, and have an interview this Tuesday. The problem is that the HR person who set up the interview said point-blank that they are cutting back their hiring this year, so it's pretty much 100% that if I take the internship, they will not consider extending the internship into the school year or hiring me any time before I graduate.

    How important is the internship experience for getting that first entry-level job after graduation? I'm dedicated to becoming an actuary, but I'm not a normal student. I have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Will the internship help me enough in my search after graduation that it would be worth it to face unemployment during the last 6-8 months of finishing my degree? (not to mention the post-graduation unemployment)

    I have a decent resume, even though I don't have a degree yet- management experience, & lots of experience problem-solving with excel, VBA, and SQL. (I was actually sent a denial letter for the internship because there was some confusion about whether I was overqualified.) But its not related to actuarial work or the insurance field at all.

    I guess maybe it comes down to this: which is more important on my resume, the "real" work experience I have or the internship experience I could have?

    I know I'm just being a worry-wart right now, considering I haven't even gotten an offer, but this is something I've been wondering for a while anyway.

  2. #2
    You spam? I ban! Irish Blues's Avatar
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    Can you afford to take quit your job and take the internship?

    Better question: if you quit your job and take the internship, when it's done how quickly can you find a job that's as good as [or better than] the one you left for the internship?

    The internship is not a make-or-break thing, IMO. My company will have six (6) internships for this summer, and without really soliciting other than at a couple career fairs on campus, we still had over 200 resumes submitted. Needless to say, not all of those people are going to get an internship from us - and I'd say a chunk of them won't get an internship this summer at all. I would much rather someone take care of their family first and work on getting into the actuarial career from there than throw all caution to the wind hoping to get into the field. One of those demonstrates maturity, responsibility, and the ability to see the big picture and know what's really important; the other looks impulsive, short-sighted, and high-risk.

    As a side note: I did the "work full-time, school full-time" thing as well; it took 4 years of doing both [and adding another 3 kids to the family along the way] and then another 15 months of interviewing to finally land the first job, but I did it ... and I did it without an internship. Where you may need to improve on what I did [I had 1/P and 2/FM when I got hired] is that you probably need to nail down one or both parts of MFE/MLC or MFE/3L; both would be better.

    Also see the [URL="http://www.actuary.com/actuarial-discussion-forum/showthread.php?863"]"how to interview" thread[/URL] for what to say [and not say]. A lot of otherwise well-qualified candidates can talk their way out of a job during an interview, and some candidates who might otherwise be passed over can talk their way into an on-site interview and a job.
    "You better get to living, because dying's a pain in the ***." - Frank Sinatra

    [url]http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blogger_archive.php?blogger_id=174[/url] - where I talk about the Blues and the NHL.

  3. #3
    Actuary.com - Newbie Poster
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    Thanks for your response, it really helped.

    I went to the interview, and it was a great experience. I likely won't accept the offer if it comes, but I really clicked with the VP I interviewed with. He answered a lot of questions I had about being an actuary and hinted that even if I didn't come to work for his company during the summer that I would be a great fit in a year or so when they might have an opening. He even offered to meet for lunch sometime down the road when I have more questions about my career. I was so nervous based on the horror stories I've read about job interviews on this message board, I was totally blown away by how pleasant the whole experience was.

    I actually came straight home and applied for another internship I wasn't planning on applying for, just for the chance to have another interview opportunity. Couldn't hurt to keep meeting people in the field, I figure.

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