There’s a lot more to the insurance industry than meets the eye. You may think of insurance as simply home, life, and automobile insurance, but in fact, there is property, liability, and many more specialty lines that companies, governments, and non-profits purchase, creating varied and exciting opportunities for grads. Not only is working in insurance fulfilling, but it is also a skill-developing, innovative and surprisingly creative industry. Find out more about the insurance industry in our previous article on trainee’s lives at Marsh.
Why choose Marsh over other insurance companies? We had the chance to talk to current graduate trainees at Marsh to answer that very question! Read on to find out what trainees’ days look like at Marsh and how their careers are being transformed as much as their professional skills.
Brett Smiley was born in Calgary, Alberta and recently graduated from the Haskayne School of Business specializing in Finance with Distinction from the University of Calgary. Brett discovered the position with Marsh in his third year of university. He was eager to get an early start but wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to pursue at that early stage in his career. He became interested in the Graduate Trainee position at Marsh because it seemed broad, rotation-based, and had offices in Calgary and across Canada. Marsh turned out to be just that and even more.
The Application Process and Why It Was Worth It
Marsh has a detailed application process which benefits both the applicant and the company. After Brett submitted his resume and cover letter, he recorded an online video interview, attended an in-person interview, and finally created a presentation on insurance broking and presented it to a panel of senior executives who challenged him with questions. Upon receiving an offer, Brett quickly accepted it and didn’t regret it. Going through all of the stages helped Brett reaffirm his decision to work for Marsh. At the same time, Marsh was able to find the perfect candidate in Brett.
Brett currently works within the Global Risk Management (GRM) department and regularly assists colleagues in Financial and Professional lines (FINPRO), corporate, and consumer departments. This exposure to various aspects of the company allows Brett to make plans for the future. “As I recently graduated with a degree majoring in Finance, FINPRO fits with my experience and schooling. I find the coverage really interesting and the little exposure I have had has made me more interested”, Brett says.
Bringing Skills to the Table
Brett contributes his success at Marsh to his exceptional organizational skills. “I structure my day by the hour and devote each hour to a particular task,” he comments. This is how he manages to work on a variety of projects – from drafting a report on bitcoin, conducting industry research, broking insurance placements, to sitting in on client meetings with executives, which sometimes includes the CEO. In addition to organization skills, Brett says that his business writing and communication skills have all significantly improved. Marsh is committed to helping their employees excel.
With all of the training and development support Marsh provides, Brett is confident in his future within the company. He recommends approaching the industry with an open mind.
Erin Krische grew up in a family that was always involved in the business world. Learning about business since childhood, she gravitated towards business classes in high school, and then naturally transitioned (with lots of hard work of course) into a Bachelor of Business Administration program at Wilfrid Laurier University. After graduating, she knew she needed a role that would allow her to shine and learn a lot simultaneously.
Mastering the Interview
Erin learned to face challenges starting from the interview process. Since technological tools were not permitted during the final stage of the interview process, she had to rely on her presentation skills to impress Marsh executives. By overcoming this obstacle, Erin impressed Marsh executives, proving that she was the employee Marsh needed to hire. Erin is currently completing her first rotation in Marsh’s Private Client Services (PCS) department.
Because Erin is involved with various departments (compliance, operations, and marketing) at Marsh, she has to be extremely reliable. Erin says that the amount of responsibility she is given has been a great opportunity to learn.
Similarly to Brett, Erin mentions that her job is far from being “old-school” and “boring”. She is involved in meetings that determine the firm’s focus and provides her with exposure to business leaders across the organization. This requires a great deal of interpersonal skills and relationship-based collaboration, both of which Erin is developing daily.
Working at Marsh motivates Erin to never stop learning. “Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) and Canadian Risk Management (CRM) insurance courses are strongly encouraged. As well, within Marsh, you have access to endless professional development opportunities, whether online or in-person.”
Erin’s positive impression of Marsh comes down to the people she gets to work with and the culture that Marsh creates. Erin even mentions that she believes working with the right people is more important than the projects she’s working on. “The role and company have exceeded every expectation I had prior to entering into the Graduate Trainee Program. Colleagues at Marsh are extremely approachable and never hesitate to assist with any questions you may have.”
Joseph Mellen grew up in London, Ontario and completed an Honours Business Administration degree from the Ivey Business School at Western University. He came across the Graduate Trainee opportunity with Marsh while he was still a student and showcased his proactive nature from the very beginning. “I admittedly knew very little about the company or the industry at the time. To gain a better understanding of what the job entailed, I reached out to a university alumnus who was in the role. I was intrigued by the accelerated nature of the program and the opportunity to work with a variety of clients,” Joseph comments.
Joseph highlights how dynamic insurance industry really is, which might not be obvious to many. “The risks our clients face are constantly evolving and therefore our knowledge and awareness must be industry leading.” Because the industry is ever-changing, so are the roles within the company. Even though Joseph knew that the program was designed to be accelerated, he was still pleasantly surprised to see how quickly opportunities to take the lead presented themselves. In exchange for this responsibility, Marsh always rewards ambition and hard work.
Joseph has already been involved with Integrated Broking team (now referred to as Placement) and moved to Financial and Professional Liability department a year ago. He’s grateful for the opportunity to work in multiple departments and gain invaluable experience along the way.
Joseph hopes to explore trade credit and transactional risk with Marsh in the future. He’s confident that the continuous learning he receives on the job will help him get there.
Learning from the Best
How does Marsh help the trainees learn? In addition to a selection of free online resources on virtually any subject, Marsh provides Graduate Trainees with an assigned mentor to work alongside them. Shadowing a seasoned employee is one of the best opportunities to learn the best practices.