Gemma studied French and International Business at the University of Leeds. After completing an eight-week Internship with Allianz, she went on to secure a place on the AMT Graduate Scheme. We caught up with Gemma to find out what opportunities she was given at Allianz and her top tips for applying.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I grew up in London and spent most of my childhood doing some kind of sport! I started Irish dancing and swimming when I was just 3 and I’m sure having these commitments from such a young age taught me time management amongst many other things! At school, I played any sport I could get involved in, including netball and hockey.
I studied French and International Business at the University of Leeds, graduating earlier this year. My degree gave me the opportunity to spend a year living in France, where I was an English Language Assistant to secondary school students. During the summer after I graduated, I joined Allianz as an intern in HR.
Tell us about your 8 week internship – what did you get up to and what opportunities were you given?
During my internship, I got the opportunity to work on exciting projects, from reformulating and digitising processes to brainstorming and creating a digital resource full of useful links and information for Allianz’s HR employees. I was given a lot of autonomy on the projects that I worked on, whilst still being able to collaborate with those around me to develop legacy documents and resources.
At the end of the internship, I gave a presentation about what I’d been working on and my key takeaways. This presentation contributed to me being offered a place on the graduate scheme.
What advice would you give to someone looking for an internship?
Do your research - make sure the company you are applying to is somewhere you can see yourself working. More importantly, speak to people! Most universities will offer a careers service where you can go and discuss your application with someone. They may be able to go over your application with you or at least check your CV - every little helps. Alternatively, they may be able to put you in contact with someone in the year above you who has completed a similar internship. If you’re still unsure, I’d say just apply! The experience of completing applications will help you in the future.
What made you apply for a graduate scheme at Allianz? Do you think your internship strengthened your application?
One of the main reasons I applied for the AMT scheme is that it offers the ability to work in four key areas of the business in just over two years. As someone who still isn’t sure what they want to do in the future, this scheme presented the perfect opportunity to work that out. There are also great opportunities for personal development, through studying for the ACII qualification. The company itself is very people-focused and this is definitely something I looked out for when considering where to apply.
My internship definitely strengthened my application in terms of the knowledge I gained about both Allianz and the insurance industry in general. It also enabled me to find out a little more about the graduate scheme through conversations with the Graduate Manager and Scheme Owners.
What was the recruitment process like?
The process began with an online application, followed by online tests, a video interview and then finally an invitation to an assessment centre. The assessment centre really isn’t as daunting as it sounds; it was a great opportunity to showcase my strengths as well as meet people from the business.
Tell us about your current role
On the AMT scheme, everyone starts in an Underwriting role to gain a good understanding of the basis of insurance. I’m currently in the Motor Fleet team in Southampton, where I’m mainly working on renewals and mid-term adjustments to Fleet accounts. I came in knowing very little about underwriting, so the learning curve has been huge. I’m already using and improving my negotiating skills on the phone to brokers. It’s only been about a month but I feel like I’ve learnt so much already.
What do you find most interesting about the company? What has surprised you?
Allianz has a company culture that is both welcoming and supportive, which is the perfect environment to learn from others and expand my network. Everyone is very willing to give their time to you when needed, which is so important in facilitating learning. It’s such an exciting time to have joined the company due to its growth and position both in the UK and worldwide markets. One thing I have been pleasantly surprised about is how large the Graduate network is and how much effort is put into keeping us all in contact. It has a community feel to it, where those in the years above are available to ask for advice or help whenever you need it.
Do you feel like university prepared you for what is expected in your role?
Absolutely, particularly in terms of the time management skills. To-do lists rarely get smaller as the days go on, however knowing how to prioritise has really helped me to use my time efficiently.
Do you have any tips for anyone that would like to apply to an internship at Allianz?
If you’re not already in the know, get to know about the insurance industry! Look at the current trends and understand why it’s so interesting. More importantly, understand where Allianz sits in the industry, and in the UK market. In terms of the application, all you can do is be yourself. Showcase your strengths and be convincing. Have confidence in your abilities and show enthusiasm! The internship scheme is a great way of getting to know the business and sounding out whether it has the potential to be your future workplace!
To find out more about Allianz and view their opportunities, click here.