Not knowing what you want to do after graduating from university is a common theme amongst most people, especially having such a broad degree like business. Therefore, I was seeking a role that gave me some variety to try and find an area of business that best suited my skills. I was inspired to apply for the role because it offers 4 rotations around different departments of the business (Underwriting, Claims, Operations and Sales & Marketing) which gives you the opportunity to build a network of people and develop new skills, whilst finding out what you like and dislike.
Insurance had never been an industry I had thought about, however, your view of the industry may be tainted by old, white men with beards. After working for Allianz for almost a year now, I can tell you that is definitely not the case. Allianz is a well-respected company across the globe, who know how to treat their employees to increase efficiency, whilst also understanding that most of us work to live, not live to work.
I have been at Allianz 11 months now having started in September following graduation. My first rotation on the scheme was in the Bristol office in the Motor Trade Underwriting Team. It's safe to say I knew nothing about insurance or underwriting on my first day, so I had lots to learn. I spent my first month understanding how an insurance company works and what on earth a motor trade insurance policy was. By Christmas I was happily writing motor trade business and trading with brokers on a daily basis. The learning curve is massive! After spending 9 months in the Bristol motor trade team it was time to move on to my next placement, which meant a move to our other Bristol location out at Aztec West Business Park to undertake my Sales & Marketing placement within Allianz Legal Protection (ALP).
The new role required a change of mind set as there was no set processes to my role and no immediate team which took a bit of getting used to. My current role is a project based role which differs massively from my underwriting role. I sit with the senior management team here at ALP, which gives me great insight into their different roles and how running a business under the Allianz umbrella works. I have 3 major roles at the moment, firstly I am part of a project team for revitalising the Before The Event Insurance product. Secondly I am project managing a project, which gives me the opportunity to collaborate across all functions of the business. And thirdly, I get involved in marketing exercises, such as making information packs for other areas of the business to understand ALP's operations and benefits and filming a submission for the upcoming Personal Injury Awards. This keeps me busy most days and allows me to understand different areas of ALP. I also get the opportunity as part of the Sales and Distribution team to go on client visits with the business development manager to see how ALP works for our customers.
My day varies from day to day depending on which project I am looking at, however, I do try and vary my day so that I'm not spending all day looking at one project. Some days I spend out of the office with the business developers meeting with clients, other days I spend racking my brains over excel spreadsheets and some days I spend making PowerPoint presentations. I like the variety that this role allows and I can fill my day however I wish to as long as deadlines are met. Throughout the day I also get the chance to collaborate with people in the office, whether that be in informal meetings about development or formal board meetings where all senior managers for ALP sit in a room and discuss each area of the business from sales to finance. As an Allianz graduate you'll be exposed to things you would never normally dream of attending. For example, I attend the ALP monthly trading board meeting which gives me exposure to not only senior managers who sit here in ALP in Bristol but also the Director of Personal & Speciality lines here at Allianz. This allows you to build your brand and gain exposure to areas outside of your direct role.
Outside of my day to day role during my 9 months in Underwriting I spent time organising social events for the office. This includes running a week of Halloween activities to raise money for our corporate charity partner and organising a financial results party for the office. There are many different things you can get involved in outside of your day to day role if you seek the opportunities yourself.
During my time in ALP I have been involved in some HR activities, assisting with the running of the summer intern inductions and careers day. This allows us to explore other avenues within the business and gives us the opportunity to develop skills such as leadership, presenting and collaboration. I also sit on the fireside chat committee, which is a committee that run fireside chats during the year. A fireside chat is an event that happens bi-monthly, where we select a senior person within Allianz who has excelled through their career with Allianz and often have started out on the graduate scheme too. This allows people to see what career options there are and what stepping stones you can take to get there. It also gives people the opportunity to ask questions and get in touch with these people following these chats to find out more and seek opportunities within their area.
As graduates we also get involved in activities such as networking event held by the graduate committee, which helps us build our network and learn about different areas of the business.
If you don't know what area you'd like to work in then the Allianz Management Trainee Scheme could be one for you. You'll have the opportunity to develop skills across 4 different area; underwriting, claims, sales & marketing and operation. The key word in the job title is management, the scheme is preparing you for a management role should you want to pursue that avenue, but if you decide management isn't for you, you will have built such a network of people and skills along the way you can almost fall into any role available.
My tip would be to see if the role interest you, and even if it only sparks a little curiosity at the moment apply, what's the worst that can happen? When I applied I didn't know a huge amount about Allianz and the way they work but by doing the different stages of the application process you quickly learn what it would be like to work for them. Even though the Allianz Management Trainee Scheme is structured to the 4 areas, this doesn't mean that you have to work in any of those areas after the scheme. You may have met someone along the way who's role really interests you, keep that network and go knocking on their door once you're ready to apply for a role off the scheme. Although the scheme gives you the opportunities to move around the business and build a network, it is through your own hard work and determination that you come out the other side with new skills, people and ideas.