Miranda Cazares, a Statistics major with an emphasis in Actuarial Science, and Caylin Hublit, a Management Information System major, interned for the Summer at Geico. They shared their experience and advice with us.
SDSU Career Services: What is your major and what industry did you want to break into? What influenced your academic major decision?
Miranda: My major is Statistics with an emphasis in Actuarial Science. I found out about the career of an actuary on the math department website, and the more I researched it, the more I knew it was what I wanted to do. Actuaries use a practical application of math and statistics in the insurance industry to analyze and predict financial risk. It is a happy medium between being in the business world and still using math on a daily basis, which was the type of job I was looking for.
Caylin: My major is Management Information System within the College of Business. I chose this major because I wanted to get a business degree, but I was also interested in a technical degree. MIS combines the people-focus with technicality in a growing industry.
SDSUCS: How did you hear about Geico’s internship opportunities? When did you apply?
Miranda: I learned about the GEICO internship by showing up to spring semester SDSU career fair, and I applied in early March.
Caylin: I heard about the opportunity on an internship aggregator site and I applied over Winter Break.
SDSU CS: How did you prepare you for your interview? How was the hiring process?
Miranda: I prepared for the interview by researching the company, practicing interview questions, and watching some of the GEICO commercials. The hiring process seemed pretty long and intense, but I’m glad that it was because it was good preparation for the internship. There were multiple phone interviews, some assessments, and an in-person interview.
Caylin: GEICO’s hiring process is pretty rigorous. In total it took about 2 months and included testing, phone interviews, and in-person interviews. A long selection process may seem intimidating, but it’s actually beneficial for the candidate because once the offer is extended, you know that you’re most likely an exceptional fit for the position.
Before an interview, I find it helpful to make a list of the qualities or skills that I want to talk about, and call to mind examples that illustrate these skills. I find that if this is done beforehand, it’s easy to draw upon the skills and examples under pressure.
SDSUCS: What position did you have as an intern? Did you learn any new skills through this internship?
Miranda: I was one of 6 management development interns, where we worked as a team to come up with business solutions for the company. We worked with a lot of data on each project, so we gained skills in Excel, Access, and worked with GEICO’s claims software and other databases.
Caylin: During the summer, all six of us worked very closely as a ‘task force’ as we rotated through 3 different departments. In these different departments we completed in-depth projects that solved real business problems, and then presented our findings and solutions to GEICO’s top management. In addition to our project work, we also participated in enriching leadership activities such as a mentoring program, reading a leadership skills book, and private Q&A’s with Vice Presidents.
SDSUCS: How will this experience be valuable for your career? What were the benefits of interning for Geico?
Miranda: This internship gave us hands-on experience with data analysis and process improvement where we were able to apply basic six sigma business techniques and share our ideas with management. One of the greatest things about the internship was that we learned what it was like to give presentations in a corporate setting rather than in the classroom. Our public speaking skills were sharpened by all the feedback we were given, which made for a drastic difference between our first and last presentation. It was a great buffer from the university to the business world, and all of us got to partake in networking with basically anyone in the company. I learned many business do’s and don’ts, which cannot be learned from a textbook.
Caylin: GEICO’s internship gave me invaluable experience relating my in-class concepts to real-world applications. It also gave me experience working closely in a small group and I learned a tremendous amount about collaboration and teamwork. Our intern coordinators and sponsors also served as amazing role models and fostered our growth as young professionals through feedback and advice that I will carry through my entire career.
SDSUCS: Was Career Services helpful in your internship search? If yes, in which ways (Resume workshops, Aztec Career Connections…)?
Miranda: Career Services put on the Spring Career Fair, which is where I found out about the internship.
SDSUCS: What advice would you give to students who hesitate to do an internship? And what advice would you give them for their internship search?
Miranda: Internships are great for networking purposes and figuring out if you will enjoy your potential career path. Even if the internship is not exactly the career you want to pursue, working in the same industry is a good start to help you understand it and to see if it’s somewhere you want to be. That’s what I did. Also, try to choose an internship where you will do more than just making copies or getting coffee. We did not make one copy or take orders for one cup of coffee. Ask as many questions as you can while you are in the internship to take advantage of the short amount of time you have. Work hard, produce results, and do not complain and people will notice. As far as the application process goes, leadership experience or campus involvement is a must for this internship.
Caylin: Internships are a must! They are the perfect way to get real job experience while still in college, and a great opportunity to get your foot in the door at a company you may want to work for in the future. Internships are also one of the only ways to see what your daily work life will be like with your chosen major and career path.