Testimonial Trainee Princeton

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Combined professional training/study - Munich Re

“The training programme offers the opportunity to build a strong network of colleagues and friends from all around the world”

Stephanie Hodges is a member of the International Graduate Trainee Programme based at Munich Reinsurance America Inc. in Princeton, New Jersey. After graduating from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Risk Management and Insurance and Economics, she joined the company in 2014.

At Munich Re, all members of the International Graduate Trainee Programme take part in the GRID modules (Graduate Reinsurance Development), which take place in Munich and Princeton. As a US trainee, I had the chance to travel to Munich and meet our global colleagues and learn more about the international insurance and reinsurance markets. In America, not many companies offer the opportunity for employees who are new to the industry to be immersed in international markets and business cultures. I became interested in Munich Re’s trainee programme in college during my International Insurance Markets class as the training programme seemed to offer the opportunity to gain knowledge of global markets and build a global network of colleagues who offer great diversity of insights and experiences. 

During my first week in the office, I was introduced not only to the scope of Munich Re in the US, but also to the size and breadth of Munich Re as a Group. I remember thinking that there were endless career possibilities in different roles and countries across the world.  Every person I have met has a very diverse background, emphasizing the dedication the group has towards training and developing talent within the organization.

The local development programme in the US, being a rotational programme, means that my daily schedule is dependent on the rotation I am currently in. Before each rotation to a new team, I attend classes to prepare for the real-world experience that I will have in each area. So far I have rotated through our Specialty Markets primary operations, Reinsurance Contracts, Property Facultative Reinsurance, Property Claims, Business Runoff, Financial and Management Reporting, and Reserving areas. 

As part of the GRID modules, I have been on two trips to Munich for two weeks at a time and next year, I will spend three months on an international rotation. Every time I go abroad, I learn more about the different business cultures represented in Group: German, Italian, Australian, and South African. I am always amazed about how many of the common business practices I am accustomed to in America can be vastly different in other cultures. During the GRID modules we not only deep into technical topics, but also have a chance to pick up some personal skills e.g. working in intercultural environments, negotiation and presentation skills as well as methodological skills e.g. Design Thinking. 

I would tell anyone going into our International Graduate Trainee Programme to be ready to learn from each new experience. The head of my division always says that we should learn ten new things every day and the programme certainly provides the opportunities to reach and surpass that daily goal. If you can be a sponge that soaks up the knowledge and skills that the programme offers you, you will be well prepared for a stellar career.

I definitely recommend the programme to others. The experience you get by working abroad and having weeks of training in Munich and Princeton is invaluable. It is a unique experience: You will build a strong network of colleagues and friends from all around the world.

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