Imagine beginning your senior year of college with a full-time job waiting for you on the other side of graduation.
For Shannon Goetz ’15, Detroit Lakes, Minn., and Karina Skar ’15, Minnetonka, Minn., this dream is a reality.
Goetz, a mathematical finance major, and Skar, who double majors in mathematics and Spanish, worked as actuarial interns at Allianz Life, a North American life insurance company, this summer. In August, they were offered full-time positions with the company.
The math department and Offutt School of Business offer courses that prepare students for the field, even though Concordia does not offer an actuarial science program.
“That hasn’t stopped students in the past,” says Dr. John Reber, associate professor of math.
Actuarial science uses mathematical functions to assess risk in different situations. For example, a professional actuary might work with property, life or health insurance.
“It is fundamentally assessing risk,” says Reber.
Goetz’s internship gave her a glimpse of Allianz and she liked what she saw.
“I felt like I kind of belonged there,” she says. “I really loved it.”
Tom Dukatz ’16, Eagan, Minn., also worked at Allianz as an actuarial intern. At the end of the summer, he too was offered a job with the company after he graduates.
During his time at Allianz, Dukatz worked in the corporate risk management department.
“It isn’t the traditional work you’d think a math major would be in,” he says.
Skar worked in product development, using actuarial science to model annuities and price various products.
The three students echo a similar sentiment: Concordia’s liberal arts education was integral in preparing them for their work at Allianz.
“It felt like the Concordia students there were really ahead,” Dukatz says.
Goetz agrees, adding that the liberal arts education helped her and will continue to help her as she begins her professional career with Allianz.
“I had the experience of working through very detailed, complex things (at Concordia),” she says. “But I can do more than just math. I think that set me apart.”
Goetz and Skar start their work as Allianz actuarial assistants this summer.
Going into actuarial science is not an easy task. Anyone on this career path is required to take multiple professional exams, which, Reber explains, are very challenging.
Goetz has one exam under her belt and plans to take the second one in the near future.
“I’m placing a lot of priority on setting aside time to study for exams,” she says. “It kind of shifts my focus.”
Reber has had Goetz, Skar and Dukatz in multiple classes.
“What all three have in common is a great work ethic, a great ability to think,” he says.
Reber is proud that all three received Allianz’s highest accolades.
“You see (students) every day, but that external validation lets us know that we’re all on the right track,” he says.