New twist on internships designed to provide real-world experience

This piece is presented by Howalt+McDowell Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company.

Internships are a rite of passage for many college students. But one Sioux Falls business is putting a new twist on the old concept.

Howalt+McDowell Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, is recruiting students to fill four openings for its 2018 summer internship program.

While traditional internships often focus on the needs and wants of the business, Howalt+McDowell’s internship is a comprehensive program that will provide students with real-world business, risk management consulting, employee benefits advising and insurance experience.

The internship program gives students the chance to explore all areas of the firm to find their interests and best fit in the insurance industry. Interns will apply concepts learned in the classroom to actual projects and experiences to develop professional skills and business acumen applicable to fast-paced, goal-driven business environments.

Howalt+McDowell’s goal is to provide interns with insight into all aspects of the profession and act as a springboard to full-time careers in the field desired.

Allie Fischer

“This program is intended to let the student guide the work. Our cohort of interns will focus on skills-based projects and experiences, while at the same time taking part in our corporate initiatives, including volunteering as an organization, team-building with colleagues and social activities,” said Allie Fischer, human resources manager at Howalt+McDowell.

Despite more than 400,000 job opportunities in the insurance industry because of baby boomer retirements, according to Fischer, it can be difficult to interest the up-and-coming workforce in the business.

“Insurance isn’t an easy industry to learn. Plus, there’s a stigma associated with being an ‘insurance salesperson’ that we are trying to overcome. We have a saying around our office – insurance isn’t boring. While that might sound like a platitude, it really is ever-changing and challenging. The insurance industry is in every facet of society from manufacturing to technology, health care, sports, entertainment and more,” Fischer said.

That variety means Howalt+McDowell is seeking applicants across all majors. Examples of intern projects include:

  • Working with the consulting team to research business prospects.
  • Analyzing business loss and insurance coverage for a business client to determine exposure and opportunities for risk management program development.
  • Interacting with prospects and clients at trade shows, exhibitor fairs and networking opportunities.
  • Meeting with firm leadership to understand goals and how goals are set and measured.
  • Developing social media and marketing strategies, and learning about brand positioning.

Kira Kimball, chief innovation officer at Howalt+McDowell, is serving as the internship mentor. She’ll meet with the cohort weekly to share how classroom knowledge is being applied, determine individual and group projects, assist with career pathing, engage in corporate community stewardship and work through multigenerational communication.

“Our profession has one common goal: Better the lives of our clients,” Kimball said. “Our hope is to give students the opportunity to apply their professional and personal passions and enable them to contribute toward that goal in a meaningful way.”

The agency already has seen success in recruiting talent through its internship program. Teagan Molden is a 2016 graduate of the University of Sioux Falls and an account executive in the employee benefits department. Before joining the team as a full-time employee, she interned at Howalt+McDowell.

“Had it not been for my internship experience, I doubt I would be in the insurance industry,” Molden said. “It’s not something that seems alluring from the outside. But there is so much opportunity for innovative projects and professional development, especially now that we are a Marsh & McLennan Agency and have a nationwide network of colleagues and resources to work with. I’m always learning, always supported and always able to put the best interest of the people I work for first. I couldn’t ask for a better place to launch my career.”

Students interested in applying can find out more at marshmma.com. The agency hopes to begin reviewing applications in mid-January and hold interviews in February.

New twist on internships designed to provide real-world experience

Internships are a rite of passage for many college students. But one Sioux Falls business is putting a new twist on the old concept.

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