I fell in love with risk management and insurance. How many people can genuinely say this? In fact, I often hear, "You are majoring in what?" As I meet people within the insurance industry and ask them how they got into the business, the common answer is usually, "my father-in-law (neighbor, cousin, etc.) was in the business and convinced me to try it out."

It is even more common that their majors have nothing to do with insurance. As for me, my love "had me at hello." It was Introduction to Risk Management and Insurance - a required Fox School of Business at Temple University course - that captivated my interest, and when combined with my near perfect grade, I had little apprehension to switch majors.

Refining my desire to be in the insurance industry in general down to a specific track is what proved to be difficult. My decision came down to a very basic question: do I want to help people insure "things" and buildings, or do I want to help employers adequately insure their employees?

I had one of the few A's in my health and life benefits as well as my property/casualty classes, and was quite frankly equally interested in both. Insurance can often be a confusing concept that most believe to be an unpopular necessity, but learning about the basic concepts of the insurance process has completely changed my personal view of insurance and the benefits it provides.

I find myself often advocating for the industry and wanting to help people see what I now understand. When I interviewed a well-established employee benefits consultant for my health and life benefits project, I realized how truly interested I am in the benefits field.

I think you may know what the answer is to the previous question. I want to help insure people and therefore have sided with benefits. I want to do a greater good while also making a living. Am I kidding myself for thinking this? Now that I have decided on benefits, I am embarking on the daunting task of finding my first internship and figuring out what exactly it is I want to do within the industry. I am attracted to the idea of consulting, but understand that is a long-term investment.


Questions for you

I pose the often debated questions to all you who have established their career goals:

* How did you decide to be an underwriter, a consultant, a voluntary benefits specialist, or whatever it is your job may be?

* Did you start your career with a consultant agency, a broker, or a carrier?

These seem to be basic questions, but as a student rapidly approaching graduation, I still find myself pondering these questions and not settling on answers. I struggle to know where to begin with my overachieving goals. So then I ask, what is your best piece of advice for a driven senior whose ultimate goal is to be a future corporate benefits leader? Where is the best place to begin?

Oswald, a senior at Temple University's Fox School of Business, grew up in the Greater Philadelphia Area, is an active member of Gamma Iota Sigma with academic distinction, and is pursuing a career within the employee benefits industry. Reach her at tuc38153@temple.edu.

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