Lucas Dolan's Internship

UVA Career Center – June 29th, 2017

Today officially marks the start of my third week here at the American Council of Life Insurers as an economic research intern. Over the past two weeks I’ve become fully immersed in the operations of the trade association while adjusting to the pace of the work week.

I was apprehensive entering the internship as I was unfamiliar with both the industry I would be working to represent and the responsibilities of a job in a traditional office setting. However, I quickly came to realize my fears were unwarranted.

At the moment, I am content with the responsibilities given to me by my supervisors. Currently, I am working on several projects. The biggest of which is compiling and analyzing data for the publication of the ACLI Fact Book – a go to for industry data. As the summer progresses, my roles will elevate as I plan to prepare a paper and subsequent presentation on a topic of my choice which I intend to share with my department. Presently, I am interested in presenting on industry lending patterns, meaning, where firms within industries, generally, like to loan their money. Additionally, I have had the ability to hone other skills in my downtime, generally during lunch, here at the office. For example, when I am not working on a project, it is encouraged that I learn another skill, I have personally opted to try and learn how to code – a useful skill for researchers and, more generally, any job. A colleague of mine was nice enough to share a couple websites he used to learn and also has given me a number of pointers.

Working a stones throw from the capitol allows me to keep up-to-date on the news and happenings in Washington. I greatly enjoy this aspect of my job because it facilitates learning about current events and legislation that I would otherwise be unaware of, especially in the University bubble of Charlottesville, Virginia. Although most of the news articles/reports I read concerns the life industry, I try to stay woke to everything current, allowing me to engage during meetings with my department.

Recently, the topic of discussion in the office has been the Department of Labor’s fiduciary ruling. It seems to have consumed the everyone at ACLI for the last year or so as it has a severe impact on the life insurance industry. However, now that it is out, the pace of the office seems to have slowed, or at least that’s what I have heard from others.

During the first week here at ACLI I went through a training/orientation period where I essentially took a crash course on the history of the life insurance industry. I was essentially given a packet of information and expected to learn it. As grueling as the task was, I enjoyed the process. As a history major, I love learning about dates and events which was an important part of my task. Moreover, I like to think that I have a good memory, so I did not find it particularly challenging to memorize ~200 terms concerning the life industry.

The one downside thus far is that I have felt underutilized, to an extent, on occasion. However, I believe that is also a result of only being here for two weeks. It’d be unrealistic to expect to walk into a new firm and be handed the reigns right away. Over the past few days I have stepped up my effort to an even greater extent and have seen an increase in responsibilities.

Furthermore, I have also gained a level of respect I previously lacked for those who ride the metro to and from work on a daily basis. “Metroing” into D.C. is by far the most convenient method of transportation for me, however, that does not mean I am a fan of it. So if I had to give my biggest qualm, it’d be the commute, however, it is quick and only sometimes crowded so I should not be complaining too much.

Lastly, I have been afforded the luxury of working from home at my discretion. While this is a nice luxury to have, I prefer coming into the office to get my work done because I find myself far too distracted when I work from home. That being said, it is nice to have the option to stay home in case some external event (doctors, sickness, etc…) arises and I am not able to make it into work.