By Monica Sather | Student reporter
Quinlan senior Nicole Becker may still be a student but she is already benefiting from the strong professional network she has created. With the help of her network, she spent the summer in Chicago as an intern at Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement, and health solutions in the world. While there, she found what might become her professional calling and expanded her network even further.
Here, Nicole shares her internship experience and how what she learned will help her succeed in her career.
How did you learn about this internship opportunity?
When I interned for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, I attended their big annual event called the Burnham Dinner. At this dinner, the director of sales for Aon Risk Solutions came up to me and told me about some opportunities at Aon so I followed up with him. I went through the interview process and ended up coming into the office right before spring break last semester, and had a formal interview with about five people. I got the call with the offer two days later.
What excited you about this internship?
I didn’t know much about Aon before I learned about the internship opportunity. I did some research and found out they are the number one company in what they do. Plus, Aon is an international company, and there are a lot of opportunities to grow internally, domestically, and internationally. I decided to give it a try. It's been a huge learning process.
What did you work on at Aon?
At Aon, I was an account management intern in Aon Risk Solutions. In account management, we are basically the middleman between a client and the insurance markets. We get our clients prices on their insurance for essentially every line of coverage, including property, casualty, and cyber. It was interesting getting to learn about each policy for each line.
What have you learned at Aon?
I think the biggest takeaway for me is learning about relationships in the workforce, and learning how to create them within the industry, with clients and brokers. Learning not to burn bridges, because insurance is a very small industry. Even though it seems huge, it’s very small. You’ve got to keep those connections with everyone.
I also learned a lot about insurance. The first thing I did was read every single policy that there is and learn what an insurance policy looks like. Aon has about, I want to say, 18 to 20 coverages so I’m learning about each one of those coverages, what they offer, and what is important to our client.
What’s something you are proud to have accomplished there?
I’m really proud of my networking. Aon sets up networking with senior brokers and other personnel from each coverage line for its interns, and then I set up separate meetings as well to deepen my networking, including with the chief of staff for the CEO of Aon. I think I created some monumental connections with really cool people. Regardless if I stay in Aon or work elsewhere, these connections will help my career in the long run.
How do you think this internship will help you with your career?
In the grand scheme of things, having Aon on my resume is going to help no matter where I go. It’s an amazing company and even just getting the chance to intern there says a lot, as it is such an internationally known company. Working at Aon also definitely helped me learn how to navigate working in offices. Aon was such a positive environment for me as a woman of color, and I am now much more comfortable addressing any challenges that come my way.
With this opportunity, I also got to see a different field that I might want to pursue. I’m considering going into cyber insurance in the future because I like what it is about. It’s a new coverage line that has emerged in the past 15 years and so much is happening in cyber such as driverless cars and data breaches.
I can’t really see myself going into anything else besides insurance. It keeps your brain working. At Aon, you always have to learn on the job; you aren’t just going through the motions. Six years in the business and you are still learning new things that are coming in.