As it is one of the oldest and most established industries, you may think you’re familiar with the insurance industry. But the truth is, there is much more to a career in insurance than you might initially imagine. It’s been referred to as a ‘hidden gem’ of an industry, with limitless professional opportunities for ambitious individuals looking for an exciting and challenging career.
Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and risk management, is committed to supporting young talent in discovering the outstanding career opportunities available to them within this field. Marsh Canada’s Graduate Trainee Program is one example of how Marsh is investing in new graduates and potential future industry leaders.
- Two year program featuring multiple rotational assignments
- Mentored by rotation managers and senior management throughout program
- Exposed to both client-facing and market-facing roles
- Participate in a US/Canada Rotation Week for additional training and workshops
- Upon completion, graduates transition into permanent positions at the firm
Marsh’s two-year rotational program provides successful candidates with opportunities to leverage their strengths and interests, accelerate their development, and ultimately establish themselves as valuable contributors. Marsh’s Graduate Trainee program is like no other, so it’s no surprise that it appeals to high achievers with high potential and ambition.
Unlike many other industries, insurance is open to students and grads from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, academic degrees, and work experiences. If you come equipped with a willingness to learn and a commitment to excellence, you are sure to find a fit at Marsh!
But don’t just take our word for it – to get the inside scoop, we reached out to three alumni of Marsh’s Graduate Trainee Program to find out what a career at Marsh is truly all about.
Mining the ‘Hidden Gem’
When asked about her early impressions of the insurance industry, Jaclyn Tong, a client representative at Marsh, recalls a conversation she had with a senior leader during the final stages of her interview: “He described the insurance industry as a ‘hidden gem’ because it really isn’t talked about or promoted in many career fairs, but the fact is it’s huge and there is a ton of opportunity and different types of roles within the industry.”
Though Jaclyn now works in Marsh’s Mining and Forestry unit, she describes that while completing her Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University and beginning her career search, it was the variability of the training program that most appealed to her.
“It’s hard when you’re coming out of business school if you’re not completely focused on, say, the accounting route, or investment banking,” she says. “Marsh’s variability gives you the opportunity to work at the company, learn what they actually do, see if it fits with your own interests, and finally, exposes you to a variety of roles available within the firm.”
Jaclyn admits to knowing little about commercial insurance coming into the job, but, like all accepted candidates, she was required to obtain a provincial broker’s license.
After receiving her license, she says most of her learning came from immersing herself in the professional development opportunities that Marsh provides. For instance, Marsh often hosts “Lunch and Learns,” informal meet-ups held on specific topics and hosted by subject matter experts. Jaclyn continues to rely on the vast knowledge of her Marsh colleagues, who are always willing and eager to help familiarize trainees with both the organization and the industry.
In fact, it is the people-driven culture that Graduate Trainees frequently cite as being one of the best aspects of working for a company like Marsh. Graduate Trainees are required to rotate through different units, and, as a result, Jaclyn found that she often interacted with senior leadership from a variety of areas of the business, who were eager to engage her in contributing to their clients’ needs.
“It helps to have worked with so many people so when you need to ask for things in the future, you’re not just a name in an email, people know who you are. Everyone in the office knows everyone” she says.
A People-Oriented Perspective
Audrey Leduc, too, was a stranger to the insurance industry when applying to the Graduate Trainee program at Marsh. With a Bachelor of Commerce from Concordia University, her previous internships and work experience had primarily been in tech-based companies, where she held positions in marketing coordination.
However, Audrey came to the realization that she wanted a role that would allow her to be more client-facing. As she began her search for her first post-graduate role, she found that the Marsh Graduate Trainee program offered an opportunity of this nature, and one that greatly appealed to her as a recent grad. Once accepted into the program in 2015, Audrey was delighted to find herself working with clients within her first month.
Early on, it felt like almost every day she was exposed to a different side of the insurance industry, combining client-facing interactions with market-facing research and analysis work, where she would prepare reports for managers or clients to help them understand the risks and coverages.
“People think it’s boring,” says Audrey. “But the truth is, there are so many different tasks and it involves a lot of variety. From Law to Finance to Public Relations and Client Management, it’s a really well-rounded industry.”
Although Marsh has high expectations of Graduate Trainees, Audrey says that strong support is offered from senior staff. For example, as part of the Graduate Trainee program, Audrey has been actively participating in bi-weekly speaker series calls that allow the Grads to listen to senior leaders speak to a specific topic and ask relevant questions.
“The mentoring is one of the best things about the program,” she says. “Marsh gives its Trainees a lot of responsibilities really fast, but also plenty of opportunities as well.”
Today, Audrey continues to work towards completing the Graduate Trainee program, and credits it with giving her confidence to prepare her for a broad variety of roles once she completes the program. She encourages other students and to apply: “If you’re curious, and are looking for work that is people-oriented and always different, this is one of the best ways to grow professionally and personally.”
Building A Professional Reputation
Gaurav Kapoor graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He describes stumbling upon the industry almost by accident, and he was immediately impressed by both the opportunities a career in insurance could yield and how well it aligned with his own personal interests.
As part of the Wilfred Laurier co-op program, Gaurav was exposed to several industries and internships prior to discovering insurance. He recalls, “Initially I had planned to go into accounting, but I ended up completing co-op placements in investment banking, sales, and finally insurance Underwriting.”
Until his final placement, Gaurav acknowledges that he really hadn’t seriously considered insurance; however the experience opened his eyes to the great opportunities the industry offered to young professionals. Eager to launch a successful career in this often overlooked industry, Gaurav took advantage of his third and fourth year at university to specialize in insurance Risk and Risk Management. In his final year, Gaurav attended a Marsh Canada on-campus information session about the Graduate Trainee Program, and the rest is history. Gaurav was thrilled to join the program after graduating in 2015.
As part of a previous version of the Graduate Trainee Program, Gaurav benefitted from brief rotations and mentorships within mining & energy, global risk management, construction, and risk consulting departments. He elected to spend his final rotation year doing a placement in construction, an industry he had long admired due to his own appreciation for design and architecture.
However, Gaurav emphasizes it’s both the people that he interacts with on a daily basis and the diversity of the projects that he enjoys most about his career with Marsh, combined with the fact that no day is typical.
“It’s rare that I’m at my desk for a whole day. I’m usually with clients or in meetings with colleagues. It’s very interactive. It’s not a 9-5 punch in punch out. It’s up and dealing with people on a daily basis and I like that perspective of it.”
Gaurav also acknowledges that the ability to build relationships with clients comes with additional perks, like visits to job sites, going out to lunches or dinners, even attending sporting events.
And it is the projects Gaurav is involved with that ensure that his in-office responsibilities are similarly diverse and exciting, as he tracks the needs, progress, and risks of various infrastructures – such as bridges, subway tunnels, or commercial and residential buildings — from cradle to grave.
Gaurav also believes that the rotational element of the program was especially useful in understanding the scope of the industry:
“Trainees enter different industry groups and learn different things. The rotation allows you to see all the different aspects of insurance, so when you come out of it, you’re not silo-ed into one product line or one specialty, you have a holistic view of everything.”
Marsh also values the fresh perspectives that Graduate Trainees can offer to the established industry, encouraging Trainees to be creative in their problem solving. Gaurav recalls how, a year into the program, he was given the opportunity to attend a session in the United States. He got to collaborate with his peers on a project that would help better the company itself. “It was cool because we’re presenting to people who have been with the company 10-15 years, and we’re telling them a different approach on how to do something,” he says.
In addition to the program being a superb way to learn the industry, Gaurav acknowledges the level of autonomy Graduate Trainees enjoy at the firm and the trust Marsh places in their abilities. He describes being engaged on critical projects early on, which required a level of responsibility he had not expected, but welcomed as an opportunity to both demonstrate his eagerness and prove his value.
Since beginning his career with Marsh almost four years ago as a Graduate Trainee, Gaurav has been promoted to Assistant Vice President in the Toronto construction team. He credits his rapid professional achievements to a combination of hard work, opportunities provided by the Graduate Trainee Program, and finally to Marsh itself.
“I’ve had the experience to complete co-op placements in three different industries, and this is probably the best opportunity coming out of university; just from the experience you can get, the opportunities you’re presented with, and the people you can meet.”
As an organization, Marsh credits the blending of business practice with the needs of both its clients and colleagues as key to the firm’s success.
If you are interested in accelerating your career with the Graduate Trainee Program, Marsh starts accepting applications in September. To find out more about what the program entails, click here!