We caught up with our current Data & Analytics intake to talk about, what they love about working here, a typical day and what they hope to get out of their internship...
Each year the ABI recruits Data & Analytics students looking for placement years as part of their degree course. Meet this year’s cohort:
- Michelle: Data & Analytics
- Ryan: Data & Analytics
We asked our Data & Analytics interns to talk about their time at the ABI so far, what skills they hope to obtain, what the best thing about working at the ABI and what they would like to get out of their internship…
What team do you work in and what areas do they cover?
Michelle: I am working in the Data & Analytics team. We are part of the policy directorate and responsible for producing the General Insurance and Long-term savings data collections which stats subscribers can purchase and members get free. We are also involved in any ad hoc data collections for other teams at the ABI.
Ryan: I work within the Data & Analytics team. We collect, analyse, aggregate and publish insurance data which is widely used across the insurance industry. We also do ad-hoc work as needed, which is great because it could involve work in an area which you wouldn’t usually work on.
What does your role involve?
Michelle: I am working on long-term savings side of the data and analytics team. My role involves producing data collections where we collect, quality assure, aggregate and analyse the data of our members. I also help out with the stats helpdesk where we have questions relating to our stats either through email or phone.
Ryan: I work on the General Insurance data collections. Each quarter we collect and publish data on claims and premiums relating to motor and property insurance. The role also involves working with data relating to other types of insurance, including pet insurance and travel insurance, and helping with ad-hoc data requests.
Describe a typical day for you at the ABI?
Michelle: I usually begin my data catching up on any emails. I try to prepare my to-do list the previous afternoon, so I know what I need to complete as soon as I get in. Currently, I am working on a few collections and on different stages for each of them. For one collection, I am building a QA file, for our quarterly collections I am in the process of quality assuring the data and chasing data providers and finally for our detailed analysis of general insurance collection, I have just finished doing the analysis and summary. If I am in charge of the statistical helpdesk on that day, then I will check the inbox every now and then to respond to any queries we receive.
Ryan: I’m hesitant to say that there is such a thing as a typical day at the ABI! There’s always plenty to be getting on with, so from one day to the next you could find yourself working on completely different things. Currently I’m quite busy with quarterly data collections. My average day consists of working my way through any emails which I need to respond to. Once that’s done, the rest of the day is taken up with having a look at the data. This could involve making sure it looks correct or analysing and writing up the results.
What do you want to get out of this internship?
Michelle: By the end of this internship, I’m hoping to have developed a more enhanced skill set such as time management, initiative and networking skills. This will hopefully improve my employability. Furthermore, as I know little about the insurance industry, the placement will allow me to develop knowledge of this sector and help me make better informed decisions about my future career. By the end of August next year, I will be able to decide whether I hate or love insurance.
Ryan: I’m keen to develop my data manipulation and analysis skills, as well as build networks and talk to a wide range of people. If I can end the year feeling as though I added value to the work done within the team, then I’ll be happy!
Did you know anything about the insurance industry before you joined the ABI?
Michelle: I’m currently studying Economics and Finance, so we do have insurance as part of one of the modules, but it's quite superficial and not much at all. Doing a placement here, we have been given the opportunity to sit the CII Certificate in Insurance qualification which will help increase our understanding of insurance.
Ryan: I knew absolutely nothing! I knew what insurance was, but that was about it. I’m currently studying for the CII Certificate in Insurance, which I’m finding useful to get to grips with insurance concepts.
What’s the best thing about working here?
Michelle: Compared to other organisations, the ABI is quite small which I feel makes working here a lot easier. The environment was not what I expected, everyone I have come across so far have been friendly and approachable, so I have no worries when I need to ask for help.
Ryan: Most people will probably say this, but the best thing about working here is the people. 100%! It’s a fantastic place to work with intelligent and switched on people who are all incredibly friendly. As a placement student, people don’t treat you any differently to any other member of staff and I was surprised by the amount of responsibility I was given right from the start.
What skills have you improved during your time here?
Michelle: At university, we only have one module that requires the use of Excel so before I started my placement, I only knew just enough to get me through the Excel test at the interview. However in just under 3 months, it does feel like my Excel skills have improved. I know a bit more about the uses of Excel in the working world and have also discovered areas of Excel that I never even knew existed, such as power query and power pivots.
Ryan: I’ve really improved my time management skills – often working with multiple deadlines. Also, things such as taking phone calls professionally and responding to emails in an appropriate way are all really useful skills which I’ve developed, as well as more technical data analysis skills.
What most surprised you about working here?
Michelle: I did not realise that there were so many acronyms and different terminologies used in the insurance industry. It can be quite overwhelming at first, especially the first few weeks when you get questions from members and data subscribers regarding the data collections. It slowly gets better and makes more sense as I work on the collections.
Ryan: How friendly and normal everyone is was a big surprise. It sounds weird to say it but walking into a big building in the middle of London, where everyone is wandering around in suits and business dress can be a quite intimidating, but everyone is very friendly! The overall feel of the ABI is nowhere near as corporate as I was expecting it to be.
What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned during your time here?
Michelle: One of the most useful things I have learned during my time here so far is the process of quality assuring data. I received quite a bit of help with my first collection and my manager showed me through the process I could undertake if I come across a questionable piece of data. It involved a comparison to the market and looking through publicly available information online if still in doubt.
Ryan: The most useful thing I’ve learned is how to be as productive as possible and make the most of my time. Working on deadlines really forces you to make sure that you’re working as efficiently as possible, which means finding innovative and smart ways of doing things which minimises faff.
What’s the best advice that you’ve received so far on your placement?
Michelle: At the start of our placement, I had to come up with a development plan which contains the four objectives I would like to achieve by the end of the year. Our manager has been helpful in advising the ways I can achieve each of these objectives. An example is wider involvement. I get reminded of this almost every catch-up, as well as its importance for this job. My manager has suggested ways of doing this, some of which have been as simple as asking colleagues for a chat over coffee. It also makes working here a lot easier as you know who to go to when you need help.
Ryan: The best advice I’ve received so far is to get stuck in and not worry too much about getting something wrong. There’s almost always a way of getting around things if you do end up getting something wrong, and making mistakes is all part of learning on the job.
What advice would you have for anyone who thinking of applying to an internship?
Michelle: My advice for anyone who is thinking of applying for an internship is to do your research before making an application. Tailor both your CV and cover letter, if needed to the organisation you are applying for. With the ABI, a cover letter was not needed but there were a few questions we needed to answer as part of the application process. It's also quite useful to have a list of questions and answers that could come up at the interview, so you are prepared.
Ryan: Just do it. Internships at the ABI are a fantastic opportunity. You’re given plenty of responsibility and support right from the get-go, and you certainly won’t be sat doing nothing for weeks or just making cups of tea! It’s a fantastic place to work if you want an internship where you’re able to get stuck in.
If you're interested in an internship at the ABI then please visit our current vacancies page