We recently caught up with 2016 Waukee High School alumnus, Tyler Smith. So many great things have been going on with him since he took APEX’s Foundations of Insurance and Actuarial Science course. Learn more in our Q & A with him as he shares more about his experiences after APEX.
1.) What APEX Course or Courses did you take?
Foundations of Insurance & Actuarial Science
2.) Can you explain the path that you took after high school?
My path was probably anything but traditional for an actuary. After participating in APEX (then CAPS), I was also involved in Waukee’s School-To-Work program, securing internships with an insurance agent and at Nationwide Insurance. Following high school, I enrolled in Iowa State’s statistics degree program and worked within their athletic department in a communications role. After four years working with a variety of Iowa State sports, I began looking for positions both with sports teams and in insurance/data science. Ultimately, I accepted a position at EMC Insurance which proved to be a great place for me to begin my professional career after graduating from Iowa State.
3.) Do you think that the technical skills that you learned in your APEX course(s) helped you be successful beyond high school?
The technical side of things within actuarial science and insurance can be difficult to fully comprehend, but APEX laid a solid foundation for me to continue to grow with. In my two positions with EMC, the small details regarding state regulations and the overall process of setting rates is complicated. My experience with APEX gave me some knowledge to start with, and that’s an advantage that many do not get without having an internship opportunity.
4.) Do you think that the soft skills, or professional skills, learned in APEX helped you be successful beyond high school?
The skills I learned through APEX absolutely helped in a number of ways. Learning to communicate and work within a professional environment is really an unparalleled experience prior to collegiate-level internships. I could tell pretty quickly at Iowa State that my soft skills were far more developed than many of my peers. From writing a resume to understanding how to communicate and network with professionals, my APEX experience laid a foundation for every role I’ve held since.
5.) Is there anything else you would like to add? Advice for future APEX associates?
In the actuarial field, there is a lot you can spend time on learning and working towards. Overall, to be the most well-rounded individual you can be, learn how to communicate and display data, and that will give you an edge many cannot compete with. Outside of that, learn a coding language or two (SQL/R are the tools I use the most), and just keep developing the skills you learn. Finally, find your niche that you’re passionate about and let that drive you into a role you’ll enjoy!