By Suelan Toye
When Allyson Baclayon was finishing her final year in high school, she never dreamed she would one day be investigating potentially fraudulent insurance claims as part of her university studies.
But that is exactly what she did. The fourth-year international finance and economics student just completed a six-month internship as a junior crime data analyst at Canadian National Insurance Crime Service (CANATICS), a non-profit organization that helps insurance companies combat auto insurance fraud using state-of-the-art technology and data analytics.
During her placement, Baclayon used skills honed in her program to analyze reports, identify outlier behaviour and conduct research for ongoing investigations.
“This internship gave me a wider understanding of the infinite possibilities I have with my economics degree, not just in banking,” said Baclayon. “I also learned new software programs and applications as well as how to manipulate large quantities of data while advancing my skills in Excel.”
Graduates who have strong skills and experience in analysing data combined with an advanced knowledge of Excel have an edge in the insurance field, says Tom Tang, a crime analyst at CANATICS. A Ryerson economics graduate (’13), he immediately thought of his alma mater when his organization was interested in hiring students for their summer internship program.
“I remember the great exposure to the job market as well as the support I received from the professors and program coordinator,” said Tang, a crime analyst at CANATICS. “I think it’s important for me to pay it forward. Any alumni should.”
The student had the opportunity to work with Tom during her internship as well. “He has been really helpful in bridging the gap between theory and hands-on, industry experience for me.”
Baclayon’s internship experience gives students like her in the program a strong career boost. Indeed, a large majority – 90 percent – of students are employed within four months of graduation.
After finishing her placement at CANATICS, Baclayon is very keen to pursue a career in the fraud prevention industry. She believes her program is the key to her success because it combines both of her interests in international economics and finance as well as providing her with real-world experience in the field.
What advice would she give to other students on the benefits of internships? “It really helps apply what you learn in your undergraduate students to the real world. It helped my narrow my career goals.”