Elaina McGann: Actuary, Artist and Adventurer

Elaina McGann strives to make every aspect of her life an adventure — a goal she kept in mind when choosing a university. For Elaina, the decision to move from Pennsylvania to Atlanta was fueled widely by the many resources she knew the Honors College at Georgia State could offer her as well as the chance to live and learn in a totally new environment.

Since making the leap to Georgia State, Elaina has had several opportunities to grow as a business student and as an individual. From the start of her college career, Elaina has worked with the Robinson College of Business through the University Assistantship Program. Her time in the Experimental Economics Center prepared her for her most recent opportunity — her first actuarial science internship.

During the summer after her junior year, Elaina secured an internship with Munich Re Group in the corporate actuarial science department. This impressive placement gave her the opportunity to secure even more experience in her field while also engaging in higher level networking.

She explains, “During this internship I was, for all intents and purposes, an actuary. I worked full time and had most of the same responsibilities as long-term employees. I updated our modelling software, did analysis of distributions of claims (for example, 40 percent of disability claims were female, 60 percent were male), used VBA code to write macros in Excel, and updated the risk attributes of the people insured by the company.”

Throughout the internship, Elaina attended weekly training sessions through which she had the opportunity to learn about how reinsurance works in addition to learning about the various departments within the company. To round out the experience, Elaina and the other interns were asked to create a presentation of their growth and achievements. Elaina presented her work during their quarterly meeting — in front of every actuary in the company and the CEO.

In addition to working with Munich Re, Elaina had the opportunity this past summer to attend the Society of Actuaries Student Summit in Chicago. Two students are chosen from the top 25 actuarial science programs to network and learn about the Society of Actuaries.

In addition to taking advantage of her college years to prepare for her future career, Elaina has also nurtured a spirit of artistry and adventure. During Maymester of 2013, Elaina traveled to the United Kingdom on the “British Literature: London, Edinburgh, Dublin” trip. Despite her studies in actuarial science, Elaina was able to use her time abroad to develop her personal interests. “I really enjoyed learning how the literature of a country reflects its history,” she explains when asked about her time in the UK. “The trip also helped me feel more comfortable in groups and helped me get to know some wonderful people — friendships that I can tell will last for a long time.”

In her spare time, Elaina also enjoys painting and dancing. She has enjoyed the opportunity to take dance classes in the city as well as create original pieces of art. She says, “Atlanta is the coolest city because it caters to all aspects of who I am. One minute I can be working hard in a business internship and the next I’m at an art festival or taking a dance class in Buckhead. I’ve grown so much here.”

All of Elaina’s unique academic and personal experience have brought her to one of the proudest moments of her college career: securing a job with her first choice company before even starting her final semester of college. “I am so proud to say that I will be working as an actuary with Lincoln Financial in North Carolina. I can’t wait to start this new adventure.”


Story and photo courtesy Georgia State Honors College