Many of the Walker College of Business students participate in internships during their time at Appalachian State University. Internships are an important part of gaining firsthand experience and knowledge of the career paths that students are pursuing. To provide an inside perspective from a recent summer internship, Charles Fisher answered questions about his personal experience. Fisher is a senior Risk Management & Insurance student at the Walker College, and will graduate in May 2020.
Tell us about your internship.
My internship was with CRC Insurance Services, Inc. for nine weeks in Birmingham, Alabama at their headquarters office. CRC specializes in wholesale excess and surplus- property, casualty and professional liability. I learned about the internship through Walker Business Connections. At the career fair, I had the opportunity to speak with representatives from CRC and was then invited to interview with them afterward in Peacock Hall. CRC is one of the nation’s largest wholesale insurance distributors, and they have some of the best real-time intellectual data that helps their brokers place their clients first.
How would you describe your experience at your internship?
I really enjoyed Birmingham — the city and my internship exceeded my expectations! It was my first time in Alabama, and, while I went there knowing that I wanted to be a wholesale broker, my experiences have prepared me to pursue this career. At the conclusion of my internship, I was awarded best intern in the country for CRC! As a result, I earned the opportunity to travel to England to experience the market in Lloyds of London. CRC has also provided extensive, continuous education for me through the Institutes and National Alliance, allowing me to complete certifications to further my abilities and ready me for my insurance career.
What did you learn about your field of study during your time as an intern? What are 3 takeaways you can apply to your career once you leave Appalachian?
Before arriving in Alabama, the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center at the Walker College of Business had already equipped me with a wide array of knowledge of the insurance industry as a whole. At CRC, my knowledge was further developed — I got a real grasp on the day-to-day career expectations. My time with CRC gave me the opportunity to learn directly from brokers; in the end I had a solid understanding of their operations, as a whole. As I progress toward my career, I’ve learned that:
nothing is handed to you—you have to have unique strategies, servicing and tools around you to grow.
you have to work from the ground up and learn the back-ends of the systems, to make relationships with markets and retailers along the way.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” I heard this often from my colleagues, and I now carry it with me daily.
Would you encourage other students to participate in an internship out of state? Why or why not?
Yes, I would! Sometimes, in order to grow you need to step outside of your comfort zone. I was worried at first to go out of state, but it is something that has allowed me major growth. Students should pursue the internship(s) they really want, regardless of the location. There are opportunities everywhere, and it’s key to embrace them.
How did the Walker College of Business help you succeed at your internship?
Because of the professional development opportunities in the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center, I found a direct path toward a career that ties my strengths together. The opportunities at Appalachian—to travel, speak at conferences, conduct and publish cutting-edge research with AppState R.I.S.E,—have allowed me to apply what I have learned in the classroom from the renowned professors in the Walker College. In addition, leadership positions and networking opportunities through Gamma Iota Sigma have helped connect me with the future industry leaders. These Appalachian experiences put me in a position to succeed at my internship.
About the Brantley Risk & Insurance Center
The Brantley Risk and Insurance Center in Appalachian State University's Walker College of Business enhances the academic experience by providing space and staff to assist risk management and insurance majors with networking, job placement preparation and contact with faculty members outside the classroom. It provides students opportunities to participate in professional designation and licensing programs, and invites industry leaders to participate in classes and speak to student organizations. It also fosters research and faculty development, assists the insurance industry in the design and delivery of continuing education programs and helps educate the public about the insurance industry. Learn more at https://insurance.appstate.edu
Appalachian's Risk Management and Insurance Program is the sixth largest in the country according to Business Insurance magazine. The college's Brantley Risk and Insurance Center, founded in 1988 with support from the Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina, supports research and faculty development, assists the insurance industry in the design and delivery of training and continuing education programs, and facilitates interaction between students, faculty and the professionals in the insurance industry. Appalachian is designated a Global Center of Insurance Excellence by the International Insurance Society. For more information about the Center, visit insurance.appstate.edu.
About Gamma Iota Sigma
Established in 1979, Rho Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) at Appalachian State University is an international professional collegiate insurance organization sponsored by the Brantley Risk & Insurance Center. The purposes of the organization are to promote, encourage and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management and actuarial science as a profession; to encourage high moral and scholastic attainments; and to facilitate the interaction and cooperation of educational institutions, industry and professional organizations by fostering research, scholarship and improved public relations.
Proposed by the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center Board of Advisors and directed by Freeman Professor of Insurance Dr. Lori Medders, Appalachian's Risk Initiative for Student Engagement (RISE) is a student research-teaching-learning opportunity through which teams conduct research on current trends and issues. Recent projects include research on cyber and supply chain risk, employment practices liability and the #metoo movement, emerging and evolving risks, and NC flood financing. RISE is a collaboration between the faculty in the Department of Finance, Banking & Insurance and the Brantley Risk & Insurance Center. Learn more at insurance.appstate.edu.