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Early this semester, Fox professor Krupa Viswanathan took six of her top actuarial students to the Travelers Case Competition in Hartford, Conn.
Competing against actuarial students from Bentley University, Bryant University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Connecticut, Viswanathan’s students were given five hours to analyze a case relevant to Travelers Insurance and then present their findings to a panel of executives.
This was the first time students from the Fox School were invited to participate in the Travelers Case Competition. Though they did not win, Viswanathan said they did “exceptionally well.”
Each school was asked to come up with a way to improve the Travelers model based on recent technological innovations. The Fox School’s six participants – Kelly Tietjen, Seth Ehrlich, Lauren Farrell, Kant Khatri, Richard Lee and Dong Wu – recommended ways in which the technologies monitoring driver behavior could make Travelers’ pricing models more efficient. Considering the information available on braking time, speeding and more, the students concluded that the more information gathered the better Travelers rates could be.
“Professor Bonnie Averbach and I chose students who are academically very strong and participated in class,” said Viswanathan, an associate professor in the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management.
Class participation was critical in her decision because it showed her that the students would be comfortable working in a group and presenting their findings to a board of executives.
“This case competition really opened us up to speaking in public,” Farrell said.
Tietjen, a junior, said she became aware of the importance of this at a recent mock interview when they stressed the sometimes-overlooked importance of public speaking in the actuarial field.
“I thought it was nice to be presented with real-world experiences,” Tietjen said. She said that because she has not completed an internship yet, this experience gave her an important glimpse into the corporate culture of a company as well regarded as Travelers.
For the students, some of who had never met before, the opportunity was also a chance to socialize with their peers, and afterward they joked that the six-hour train ride to Connecticut gave them plenty of time to get to know one other.
The students said the competition is a testament to the fact that actuarial science is “not just about sitting in a corner with a calculator.” Joking aside, Viswanathan is extremely proud of the group.
“Overall, they did an outstanding job,” she said. “They made Temple very proud.”