The thought of enduring seven job interviews in one day is overwhelming. But seven was the lucky number for Truman Schmitt ’20, who landed his first internship on Actuarial Science Interview Day during his sophomore year at Simpson College. His seventh and final interview of the day was with Transamerica. The two parties clicked and Schmitt ended up with a summer internship. Fast-forward two years later and the former Academic All-American baseball player is beginning his career with the same company that gave him his first internship.
Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa
Majors: Actuarial Science and Economics: Finance
Involvement at Simpson: Member of the Storm baseball team, undergraduate assistant for Tracy Dinesen, associate dean of academic affairs and retention
Exploreships at Simpson: Transamerica
How did you first become interested in the field of actuarial science?
I visited Simpson as a junior in high school. On the visit, a professor spoke very passionately about the profession. Later that year I visited a local insurance company for an even closer look at the job of an actuary. I enjoy math, so the idea of using it at my job every day was appealing.
What does your job as an actuary entail?
I use math and statistics to price and reserve for insurance products. Specifically, I will be reserving. Once insurance products are sold, the provider must make sure they set sufficient funds aside to pay claims. My job is to make sure enough money is reserved to pay these claims, but not more than we need.
You've just started your career, but you already have a long history with Transamerica. How did you get acquainted with the company?
When I was a sophomore at Simpson, I attended the Actuarial Science Interview Day hosted by the Office of Career Development. I interviewed with seven different insurance companies in a single day, which was absolutely exhausting. The last company I interviewed with was Transamerica. Even though I was exhausted, that interview was my favorite of the day. Not too long after, I accepted an internship with Transamerica in Cedar Rapids. I loved my first summer with Transamerica, but I was looking for a new experience for the summer after my junior year. I decided to intern with Transamerica again, but this time at their Baltimore office. Before my senior year started, Transamerica offered me full-time employment following my graduation. Thanks to the Office of Career Development, I was not only able to land my first internship, but I also got a second internship, experienced a different part of the country AND acquired a full-time job!
What kind of support did you receive from faculty or staff at Simpson?
Tracy Dinesen, associate dean of academic affairs and retention, was an important mentor and friend during my time at Simpson. She was my SC instructor during my freshman year, my advisor all four years and my boss for the last three years. My work for Tracy involved research into retention rates at Simpson. The work I performed as an intern at Transamerica complemented the work I performed as an undergraduate assistant at Simpson and vice-versa. I considered graduating early, but Tracy convinced me to come back for my senior year and spend a semester studying abroad in London. Studying abroad was incredible. That experience, combined with my internships and undergraduate research, have made me a more well-rounded individual.
What will you miss most from your time at Simpson and what led you to choose Simpson in the first place?
I have the same answer for both questions: the people. It is crazy how many people I got to know at Simpson. There were so many people on campus that cared for me and my well-being. I had friends, teammates, alumni, professors, staff members, campus services employees — and more — who all cared and were invested in my success.
Actuarial science includes the study of calculus, financial mathematics, applied probability, statistics and economic principals among other subjects. Upon completion of a Simpson College degree, you will be prepared to sit for several of your exams.