15 November 2022

Over the summer holidays, Sixth Form student, Rowan Yin, spent a week undertaking work experience at leading insurance broker and risk advisor, Marsh. Arranged between OA, Matt Terry who heads up Financial and Professional Lines (FINPRO) nationally at Marsh and Abingdon’s Head of Career Guidance, Michael Triff, the week proved an insightful experience for Rowan who is hoping to pursue a career in financial services. Below, Rowan discusses how valuable work experience can be and the benefits it has to offer.

Rowan, could you briefly describe what your work experience at Marsh entailed?

It was a fantastic week – I was able to engage with, and shadow, various teams at Marsh ranging from marketing and acquisitions to specialist brokers. This gave me an insight into what their roles entailed on a daily basis as well as to ask more practical questions about their jobs and the insurance industry.

Did you feel it gave you an accurate picture of working in a commercial environment?

Definitely – whilst my day was perhaps more varied than a typical day within a commercial environment, I think it provided a well-rounded view of the day-to-day and the more interesting aspects of work life.

What did you enjoy most and why?

I really enjoyed the opportunity to engage with, question and shadow a wide variety of people who have worked in, and experienced, the insurance industry.

What did you enjoy least and why?

The experience coming to an end! I thoroughly enjoyed my week at Marsh, especially the opportunity to interact with so many different teams and individuals.

Was there anything which surprised you?

I had a basic idea of what working in an office environment would be like, but one of the elements which particularly resonated with me was how significant personal connections and relationships are – this was really highlighted in the meetings I was able to attend.

What was the most valuable thing you brought back from your time at Marsh?

It made me aware of all the possible routes into the industry. Insurance is a significant offering in the British financial services sector and brokering is significant within that too. Yet having said this, the industry as a whole remains relatively unknown in spite of the excellent opportunities available. Undertaking a work experience placement at Marsh, which provides so many services from industry-focused brokerage, consulting, and claims advocacy services to leveraging data, technology, and analytics to help reduce their clients’ total cost of risk, really opened my eyes to the sheer number of different paths available to follow.

Having completed your work experience, is it something you would recommend to your peer group?

I would recommend any form of work experience to my peers, because it offers a practical insight into a career area and what working life is like, as well as a real understanding of the paths available for entry into employment. It helps to reveal what subjects to study at A Level and beyond and what skills are needed to get a job and then excel in it. My placement can be referenced in my personal statement for university. And, of course, meeting people and starting to form a network of contacts is hugely valuable, too.

For advice about looking for work experience and getting the most out of placements, students at Abingdon should contact Michael Triff.

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