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International Graduate Trainee at Munich Re: Janet Huynh

Melanie Pölking 10.03.2016
Janet Huynh wanted to be part of the Munich Re International Graduate Trainee Programme “to be trained from the ground up within the organisation by experts both locally and internationally.” Her hosting department during the programme was Life Pricing at Munich Holdings of Australasia PTY Limited, Munich Re’s subsidiary in Australia. She has been with the department since 2013.

Janet, would you mind sharing your impressions of your first days at the office?

Protrait of Janet Huynh
Janet Huynh

I was surprised by how many actuaries there were on one floor. People were experienced and very bright and there were not many junior employees, which was a little bit daunting at first. But everyone was nice and welcoming and I was given great support, so that feeling didn’t last too long. My first days were spent doing a lot of reading and completing online compliance training modules – I couldn’t wait to start real work.

What is a typical work day like for you?

I usually arrive at work at 9am, check my emails and identify my priorities for the day. Afterwards I get a coffee with some colleagues and then get back to work. Lunch is half an hour to an hour and I often go with some of my team or other Munich Re colleagues. Sometimes, if the weather is good, I go for a jog in the gardens. On Wednesdays I play Volleyball during lunchtime representing the ‘München’ team. An average day involves a meeting to discuss work, running models, analysing results, documenting, discussing with colleagues. My day ends usually between 5 and 7pm.

How important is the chance to work abroad during your career for you?

It might not have broken the deal but it was fairly important to me. I don’t think many companies give employees this sort of opportunity at the start of your career – it is a huge investment and so valuable for a graduate’s development. There’s a lot going on in the world outside of the market you’re in. You’ll learn new ways to deal with things as departments in other offices might have different tools, processes and unique challenges for you to immerse yourself in and there will people who you will be glad to have met and worked with early in your career.

Have you worked abroad yet?

Yes, I worked in Singapore for 3 months. I think it made me more open to new challenges. I felt that if I can be put in an unfamiliar environment with different culture, work and processes and still make it through, then I can take on anything! I learned that I am more adaptable than I thought I would be. I haven’t lived abroad before and I really love Sydney. It was a new experience for me personally as well as professionally.

Would you recommend the Munich Re International Graduate Trainee Programme to others? Why?

I would, definitely – there is no other programme like it. I think every trainee gets a different experience. However there are also a few things I can guarantee would be common – no matter where you work. Munich Re is the world’s leading reinsurer, so you’ll be working with and learning from some of the brightest and most experienced people in the industry. You’ll get connected with other graduates like yourself from all around the world. And with the three structured training modules during the programme and an assignment in an international office you’ll be well equipped with the knowledge and tools to build a successful career in the reinsurance industry.

What advice can you give to new and upcoming International Trainees?

Really try to make the most of the trainee programme – it goes by incredibly fast. It’s also your first year or two in the industry and possibly the most crucial period for your development. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be inquisitive and challenge ideas in your everyday work as it’ll help you develop and makes work more interesting. You’ll be given amazing learning opportunities and it’s important that you make the most of them and apply them to your work. Also, don’t forget to have fun!