Name: Laura LaBrosse
Class Year: 2017
Major: Actuarial Science and Business Studies
Position: Actuarial Associate, Actuarial Development Program (ADP)
Company: John Hancock
Can you describe your career path for me? (This may include HS jobs, internships, etc.)
I started off as a Finance major and had my first internship at The Hartford in their Enterprise Risk Management group working on the trading floor after my sophomore year of college. I worked for actuaries in that position and learned more about the field through them. The following summer I worked for Travelers Insurance as an intern in the Actuarial Development Program. Although I enjoyed working for both Travelers and the Hartford, they were both in Hartford and I was hoping to stay in the Boston area when I graduated. I applied to the position in John Hancock’s Actuarial Development Program and have been working for the company for just over 2 years.
How did you become interested in this career?
I first became introduced to the field through Professor Emmy Roth who was my Calc II professor and advisor freshman year. Emmy is the head of the Actuarial Program at Bentley and recommended that I look into the field. Although I was skeptical of the number of exams the field requires, I liked how actuaries are able to use their math skills and business acumen to solve complex problems.
What aspects of your position do you find most rewarding?
Feeling as though I have made an impact towards the company’s growth and success is very rewarding. I’ve been able to work on projects and contribute to some of John Hancock’s biggest initiatives and that has been very exciting.
What aspects do you find most challenging?
Balancing working, studying, and having a social life has been most challenging. To become an actuary, you are required to pass a series of 10 exams. I am currently studying for my 6th exam and it can be difficult at times to find the time to study. However, John Hancock offers great support including paid study hours which helps a lot.
What advice do you have for someone preparing to enter this career?
The exams are worth it. The exam process was definitely one of the most daunting parts for me as I entered the career. However, being an actuary has so much to offer. You have job security, make great pay, and have a great work life balance (when you aren’t studying). I love my job and would encourage anyone who is starting to take exams to see it through.
Are there any Bentley specific courses or resources you would recommend to help someone pursue this career?
Taking advantage of the exam prep courses is a must. Those classes really helped me to prepare for the exams without requiring as much studying outside of classroom. It also helps to go to as many info sessions, networking events, and to talk to as many actuaries as possible to make sure this career path is right for you before taking exams. Networking with actuaries also helps to get your foot in the door with different companies. Emmy Roth is a great resource and can connect you actuaries who currently work in the field.
Who is one person at Bentley that helped you get where you are today?
Emmy Roth was definitely someone who helped me get to where I am today in the actuarial field. She introduced me to the career and I probably would not be an actuary if she hadn’t been my first-year advisor. Thanks Emmy!
I was also very involved with the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Center on campus and holding that job throughout college definitely helped me develop some of the soft skills that are just as important in this career. Thank you to the Service-Learning staff especially Jeannette for helping me see the importance of helping others! I make that a priority in my job every day.