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Joseph Tarnowski’s adventure to opportunity

Junior actuarial science and finance
major, Joseph Tarnowski, was flown to
Seattle for a interview. Photo via Joseph Tarnowski.

Flying across the country last minute is something that many students would find nerve-wracking. For Bradley’s own Joseph Tarnowski, that flight would lead him to a unique opportunity.

Liberty Mutual, a well-known insurance company, was looking to hire interns for the summer of 2019. When junior year actuarial science and finance major Tarnowski came across the application online, he thought it could be the perfect fit.

On Monday, Oct. 8, Liberty Mutual emailed Tarnowski asking if he was able to fly out to Seattle on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

So, off he went.

“They paid for my plane ticket, paid for my hotel room, everything,” Tarnowski said.

Insurance might not be an appealing industry to everyone, but for someone with a major in actuarial science and finance, it fits like a glove.

“With [actuarial science], you generally go into insurance companies and work as an actuary, so it’s just a process of a whole bunch of professional exams to get your certifications and then you’re basically the person who number crunches for the insurance companies,” Tarnowski said.

While mathematics is a topic that most shy away from, number crunching is something that has held Tarnowski’s interest for years.

“In high school I figured out that I really, really liked statistics,” Tarnowski said.

He said, from there, it was just a matter of finding a place where he could apply his interest that would be mutually beneficial.

The internship with Liberty Mutual would be just that.

“[Liberty Mutual] is a property and casualty insurance company which is more of what I want to go into. That and they have a lot of […] employee self-improvement programs for getting new professionals up on their feet and teaching them all the basics,” Tarnowski explained.

Although Tarnowski got to take it easy the first day and explore Seattle a bit, the interview with Liberty Mutual the next day was far from relaxing.

“It was the most gruesome interview process I’ve ever been through,” Tarnowski laughed. “It was three 40-minute behavioral interviews back to back.”

Unlike a typical interview which contains clichés regarding weaknesses and strengths, there seemed to be no right way for Tarnowski to prepare for the interview with Liberty Mutual.

“It was [a lot of] looking up what general behavioral interview questions were, and then [the interview] was not at all those questions,” he laughed.

Tarnowski reflected on the interview process.

“At first it was a bit rough … they kept questioning everything I was saying and making me second guess myself,” Tarnowski said. “The second and third interviews were way more relaxed and conversational, so I got through all the bold questions, and then it was just chatting. It was great.”

As if getting the internship wasn’t pressure enough, it only took Tarnowski a day to realize that this opportunity could lead to something bigger.

“After being able to explore Seattle a bit the day before, I realized it would be awesome for me to go live out there for a summer,” Tarnowski said. “The more I wanted it, the more nervous I got. By the time I got there, I was just trying to wipe my hands on my pants to keep them dry.”

Tarnowski’s track record proves that Liberty Mutual wouldn’t be his first rodeo.

“This would be my fourth internship if I were to get it. I’ve already done one at the call center [at Bradley] as a statistics manager,” Tarnowski said. “I’ve already done a data analytics internship with Segal Consulting in downtown Chicago, and right now I’m an actuarial intern with RLI here in Peoria.”

Tarnowski received the job offer from Liberty Mutual and accepted the job.






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