How I Chose My Career in Product Management #MyCareerStoryMonday

This summer, Stephanie (2nd from the left) got to experience the Travelers Golf Championship!

Name: Stephanie Crudele

Class Year: Senior (2018)

Internship: Product Management Development Program (PMDP) Intern

Full-Time: Product Pricing Development Program (PPDP) Pricing Analyst

Company: Travelers Insurance

I’m currently a senior, so my career story is only just beginning! I suppose it technically started the summer after my sophomore year when I interned at Stanley Black & Decker as a product management intern for industrial automotive tools. When I’d applied for the job, I knew more about automotive tools (which was not much), than I did about what product management actually was. I ended up loving both my position at Stanley and the role of product management. I think internships are great because it’s one of the only times in your career that is designed to expose you to many new and different things. So, when I went to apply for jobs for the next Summer and saw that Travelers had a product management program, I decided to give it a shot!

I’m a Finance major so I’ve always loved finance, but I have never loved a lot of the math that can sometimes be involved. My strengths really lie within the quantitative analysis of financial data. What I loved about product management is that I got to do just that. I would receive data from the actuaries or from agencies and would then try to match results to current market trends. Once those correlations were made, they were used to create goals towards achieving profitable growth. Insurance is also heavily regulatory, and I want to eventually run for office, so it was interesting to get to delve into the nuances of each state and what policies were different across the country.

Fun at the office with the rest of the interns!

One of the most rewarding aspects of my intern experience was the relationships I made. All of the interns in my program became very close and we still talk every day. We’re all very excited because we’ve all decided to return to PPDP full-time post-graduation and cannot wait to all be back together with our boss, Ryan.  Everyone at Travelers is very willing and excited to meet with each other, especially interns. Over the summer I had a ton of one-on-ones with people from all over the business, so I got to hear and learn about things I didn’t work with on a daily basis; thus increasing my awareness of a variety of business practices.

As for the challenging aspects of the internship, at first it was tough to transition from the manufacturing mindset to the insurance mindset.Insurance is interesting because it’s the only product where you don’t know your cost of goods sold at the point of purchase. Coming from a manufacturing company, this was a hard concept to grasp. I like having a plan and knowing the plan will work, which isn’t always the case in insurance. However, this has pushed me to think outside the box for creative ways to make my plans work, or to have a creative back up plan.

If you are preparing for a career in product management or insurance, here are a few pieces of advice. First off, I would say to embrace insurance with an open mind.  It isn’t the stuffy industry it sometimes gets the reputation of being.  It’s estimated that about 1/3 of employees currently in the industry are scheduled to retire within the next 10 years, meaning that there will be a lot of opportunities for upcoming college graduates to get into the industry. Given this expected change, I think it’s really cool that the whole insurance world is likely to make some great innovations throughout this transitional time! As far as Bentley courses go, honestly the most helpful classes for this program have been IT 101 and GB 320. In GB 320, we had to solve a business problem as a team, and that’s sort of what pricing analysts do on a daily basis—we take the given information and come up with a plan! Of course, my finance classes have also given me the analytical background I need.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career with Travelers, or you’d like to learn more about the company click here. More specifically, if you are interested in their Project Pricing Development Program, here is some additional information. Also, be sure to connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn if you want to learn more from her!

By Caroline Gervais
Caroline Gervais Student Director, CareerEdge & Event Planning Team Caroline Gervais