My name is Rachel Weber and I graduated from Penn State in May 2020. I majored in Actuarial Science and minored in Information Systems Management through the Smeal College of Business. I am a Senior Actuarial Associate at Prudential Financial in the Actuarial Leadership Development Program (ALDP). I interned with Prudential for two summers before starting full time in July 2020. During my first internship, I was on the Pension Risk Transfer team and during my second internship, I was on the Individual Life Insurance Principle-Based Reserving (PBR) team. I have passed five exams and I am awaiting the results of SRM. During the pandemic, one of my new hobbies was joining a book club. My favorite book we have discussed so far is “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. I also enjoy traveling, going on walks and hikes, and watching movies.
What is your current work? What are some projects that you’re currently working on or previously worked on?
My current role is supporting Prudential’s Long-Term Care Insurance Re-Rating team. We are responsible for maintaining relationships with the Department of Insurance offices of each state and assessing the claims and premiums of the active Long-Term Care products.
One of the aspects of this role is to follow various state regulations. A project I have recently been working on is creating an automated process to generate which states we will need to contact in order to update our assumption and projections following a rate increase approval. Next year, my team will only need to run queries in a database to see which states require a regulatory filing, saving time and creating a consistent tracking method year to year.
What is your greatest accomplishment? (as a student or as an actuary)
This past year has presented unique struggles and challenges for everyone. My greatest accomplishment has been graduating from Penn State. Although it looked a little different than I expected, walking across my driveway instead of a stage in the BJC, it was a great success that I was able to celebrate with my family and friends, from a distance!
Who/what inspired you to pursue the career? How did they inspire you?
When I was in 8th grade, my family went to California for spring break. I remember my uncle, who worked for an insurance company at the time, asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. When nothing came to mind, we talked for a while about which subjects in school I found the most interesting. He ended up telling me about some of the actuaries he worked with and how they could take complex concepts and explain them to their teammates and coworkers. This aspect of the career interested me the most; the ability to turn something confusing into something meaningful. In high school, I always remembered this conversation my uncle and I had on a tour bus in California and it prompted me to research actuarial science and eventually attend Penn State for their actuarial science program.
Have you ever influence/inspire anyone? How?
I always felt that the actuarial community at Penn State was inviting and welcoming. As an underclassman, I learned early on that there is always someone who is willing to share their experiences and perspective on the major. During my internships with Prudential, I found this also to be true. We can all relate to the challenges of this major and career path. These shared experiences create a very tight-knit community. As an upperclassman and even after graduation, I continue to seek out opportunities to pass along advice or be a mentor to anyone looking for guidance. In this way, I hope that I not only help answer questions, but also inspire others to continue to pass along their knowledge, as my mentors have inspired me.
What are some challenges you encountered? How did you overcome them?
I took P during winter break of my Sophomore year. I felt good about the material, I did well in the statistics class I had taken during the fall semester, and I dedicated time during my break to study. When I got the results that I had failed, I felt blindsided. Looking back, I didn’t quite recognize the amount of work and mental discipline it took to prepare and pass an exam. This was one of the first times I had ever failed at something I had given my all. As my first exam, this was a challenge to pick myself up and try again. I continued on with the major and I found that some of my classmates were in the same situation as I found myself. This helped me realize that I wasn’t alone and I am grateful that I kept trying.
What are some of your favorite places/food?
I traveled to Italy with my neighbors the summer before starting college and visited Positano on the Amalfi Coast. One of our adventures was a hike through the coast that ended with dinner in a small bistro, right on the water. I truly believe that I had the best pasta dish on the planet that day and I hope that I can visit again in the future!
What advice would you give to current actuarial students?
Never be afraid to ask for help. You can always find someone who was in your situation or willing to offer advice and guidance. I think sometimes we hold ourselves back and try to find our own solutions. This is a great way to learn independence, but in some cases, when we reach out to others for help, we may learn something we never expected.