This summer, I worked as an intern at The Hartford Insurance Group at their field office in Lake Mary. It started with a search on Knight Connect. I wanted a paid internship that would keep me in Orlando while giving me insurance in an unfamiliar industry.
Then, I found the Hartford. Honestly, I had never heard of the company, despite the fact that it is a Fortune 500 company that has been around for over 200 years. I wasn’t going to pass it by because of that, though. I am willing to admit, there are plenty of things I don’t know. So, I did some research, explored the website and decided that it could be a good match.
After finding the Hartford, I entered into a whirlwind of activity. After a series of phone interviews and then an in person interview, I was offered a position and quickly accepted. Then, about two weeks later, they flew every intern from around the country to their home office in Hartford, Connecticut. They set us up in a fancy hotel with delicious food and introduced us to the company. We were thrown headfirst into the culture of the Hartford; you could feel it at every turn. These people have a passion for doing what’s right by people, but more insistently, returning them to a restored life.
Our internship back in Florida consisted mainly of shadowing and learning. We rotated through the many lines of business, learning about their daily activities and assessing our own interest. We also learned about the many development opportunities available for new graduates and how we could fit. We went on field trips for sales calls, risk assessment, and recruiting. They wanted to be sure that they found our niche. If you wanted data, they would find a way to give you data. If you wanted sales, they would give you sales.
So, to say I completed my goals would be an understatement. My summer taught me a lot about myself and my work style, and gave me insight into an industry I had never really considered. If you had asked me a year ago if I would take an internship in insurance, I probably would have wavered a bit. Insurance? How interesting could that be? The answer—much more interesting than you imagine!
The Office of Professional Development is always trying to tell us what employers want and how our education applies. Buzz words like “leader”, “decision maker”, “innovator, “team player’, and “eager to learn” are all thrown around. You think you know what that means and maybe you think you fit those things, but when you see them play out in the work place and you can watch first-hand how people react to it—that’s where it begins to sink in. So, be open to new experiences and be sure you are ready to reflect and learn from them.
By Amanda Brown
Note: Amanda leads our CBA Ambassadors and is a great example of what engagement can do for you. If you want to do a full time internship this summer, you need to get busy and secure it NOW. Need help? Make an appointment with your Career Coach (http://www.bus.ucf.edu/cobapass/) and learn more about what internships can do for you!