Nortthwestern Mutual Internship

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Jan 9, 2008 2:13 am

I interviewed for a position with northwestern mutual today, and was offered an internship due to my status as a full time college student.  Ive read everything that I can find related to NMFN on this site and others.  Are there any of you out there who have went through the internship, or are presently participating who have some advice or comments on the program.  I hear its one of the best internships for college students, consistantly for quite a few years now.  Thanks in advance.  Oh… feel free to trash me with “stupid noob” comments…Ive spent 15 years on the net, nothing gets to me anymore.

Oh, BTW I interviewed with NYL also today, and was very impressed with their training setup.  Im leaning towards NMFN however because the internship works better with my schedule.


Jan 9, 2008 8:02 am

In terms of breaking into the financial services industry, NMFN internships are a great way in that you learn to sell financial services products, [life insurance]. While I recommend taking the internship as a means of learning to sell and getting the weekly stipend, I would say that you should not be discouraged if you do not sell anything. The managing partner will tell you to try to sell whole life insurance to your college age friends, I don’t suggest this.

Some people find that they truly enjoy NMFN, others don’t, it depends highly on what you have studied in college too (if you are a financial planning major and take CFP classes in college you my think NMFN is a scam). However, you will learn lots about sales langauage and the green book they give you, Building a Financial Services Clientle, by O. Alfred Granum is great for a college student to learn about the science behind client building.

On a personal note, I am about to resign from my contract with NMFN as I just graduated college and intend on joining a wirehouse soon. Feel free to PM me with any other questions.

Jan 9, 2008 9:20 am


On the net 15 years?  Geez, it seems like yesterday that getting dial-up AOL service at my parents house was cutting edge stuff…I can’t believe it’s been relatively commonplace for 15 years already!  Guess I’m getting old…with grey hairs showing through to boot! 


That’s NOTHING!  Me and my pal Al INVENTED the bloody internet!!  

Still, here’s some quick ‘old’ math for you:  if you’re a full time college student, you are likely roughly 20 years old, and if you’ve been on the internet for 15 years, you started at age 5.

What a depressing thought - to be surfing the web at 5 years old, when you should be playing with GI Joes and drawing on walls with crayons like normal kids!! 

Jan 9, 2008 9:54 am

Im 28.  I actually started on computers when I was 7.  I didn’t make it onto the net until 1993 or so… maybe 94… 

Jan 11, 2008 3:40 pm

worked for NML, then NMFN, but did not do the college internship.  they will teach you about life insurance and what not, problem is once you leave (which you will) you will have to explain to all your friends/relatives why the whole life product they bought from you does not really return 8% or whatever and why you want to replace everything you told them was wonderful 2-3 years ago.

just my 2 cents, but stay away.
Jan 11, 2008 3:57 pm

theironhorse, if you were selling whole life insurance and quoting a dividend scale as the rate of return, it meant that you didn't understand the product that you were selling.    This sounds like it's indicative of you and not NMFN or Whole Life insurance.

Jan 11, 2008 4:10 pm

I am currently and intern with NMFN, they do tell you that the dividend rate is the interest rate. Then in the training/development meeting they tell you show an illustration to a prospect and tell them that if the dividend rate is 7.5% and you take out a policy loan at 8%, you are are only pay .5% interest to borrow the fund (which I suppose are yours, but that has to do with taxes anyway). NMFN is a good company, just it has quite a few questionable characters, but you’ll get that anywhere that has their hiring practices. Just came accross this website: Still its worth going to as an intern to learn I advise steeling the Granum book.

Jan 11, 2008 5:09 pm

gimme a break anonymous.  yeah, nml does not, or should i say, never has, presented their 65 or 90 life as a product with an 8.5% rate of return.  i was there in the early-mid nineties, before illustrations were regulated like they are now.  bottom line is NML is an INSURANCE company, period.  i am trying to steer the guy away from that scenario.  when you are 24-25, fresh out of college, or in college, you tend to believe a few of the things your trainers tell you.  NML is much like Jones in it’s cult like following.  they tend to think their stuff don’t stink.  anyway, i will readily admit at age 24 i was not as well rounded and knowledgable as i am now.  but i remember what i was told and how things were presented to me, and it was not for the benefit of any client.

Jan 11, 2008 7:04 pm

That is why the title financial representative should imply that you are representing NMFN, not a client and giving them what is to their benefit.

Jan 11, 2008 8:02 pm

I don't care how new a rep is or what his company tells him.   I have an issue with any agent who doesn't understand the difference between the dividend scale and the rate of return.   If a policy has an 8% dividend and $0 of cash surrender value after one year, shouldn't the rep question how that is an 8% return?

NML is an insurance company.  So what?   A 24 year old's chance of success is probably greater by a factor of 10 at NML than it is at ML.

"NML is much like Jones in it's cult like following.  they tend to think their stuff don't stink."   Just so you don't think that I'm an NML butt kisser, I happen to completely agree with that quote.  I think that they are a great company in many respects, but there are better companies if one is going the insurance company B/D route.   Why would you steer the guy away from an insurance company? 
Jan 11, 2008 8:07 pm

Anonymous: if you are looking at my posts closely in here, I am saying that someone should start at NMFN to learn. After that it is there choice. Additionally, my point is that it is completely plausible that a rep at the firm not know what the dividend represents as financial/business acumen is not prerequisite for joining the firm.

Why do you say that NMFN is a better place for a 24 year old than ML? What if that 24 year old has 1) an objective to manage wealth 2) the educational requirements for the CFP completed, and 3)is willing to work hard?

Jan 12, 2008 7:30 am


  I will concede the point that someone who accepts a job offer may not know what a dividend represents.   However, they need to know by the time that they get hired.  The difference is that by the time that they actually get hired, they have passed their insurance exam.   Additionally, they should be questioning it the first time that they see an illustration.   Why do you say that NMFN is a better place for a 24 year old than ML? What if that 24 year old has 1) an objective to manage wealth 2) the educational requirements for the CFP completed, and 3)is willing to work hard?   First of all, please ignore me and listen to yourself instead because I don't know you.  I am talking about 24 year olds in general and not BigRed specifically.    1) The odds are very much stacked against a 24 year old gathering the necessary assets to not get fired.  I think that the wirehouses really screw up with this.  A 24 year old who is willing to work his ass off every day would be a good producer in a wirehouse by the time he is in his early 30's.  The problem is that he is probably going to get fired by the time he is 26.      The natural market of a 24 year old (other people in their 20's) doesn't have money to invest.   The "friends/family with money" market also doesn't work well because they know that you are brand new and don't know what you are doing.  They all have money that they would eventually invest with you, but not in time for the 24 year old to not fail.   2)ML is probably a better place to manage wealth.  However, in order to not fail out of the business, a new guy won't be managing wealth.   He'll have to be solely an asset gatherer.   3)The fact that you have your CFP educational requirements complete doesn't mean squat.  (This isn't to denigrate the CFP.)   4) Hard work guarantees success at Northwestern Mutual.  Hard work guarantees nothing at ML.   A hard working rookie at Northwestern who puts his ego to rest and does everything joint work will make 150k+ during his first two years and be way on his way to a successful career.  A hard working rookie at ML will make less  and the odds are great that he'll be job hunting in two years.  (Most people fail out of the insurance industry, but the difference is that a "hard working" person will never fail.)   BigRed, you may be an exception, but I truly believe that with the high wirehouse AUM hurdles, one should be older and have sales experience before they accept a position.  
Jan 12, 2008 2:53 pm

anonymous-why would NML guarantee a better chance of success?  i still don’t follow your point.  only reason he may do better initially is because of the insurance commission side.  much higher upfront.  so back to my point-do not go to NML and expect to be a wealth manager.  they have INSURANCE minimums to keep your contract.  so guess which product gets “pushed” there?  you are not going to get wealth management training, or resources for that matter, at NML or NMFN, whatever they call themselves.  you have to prove you can sell insurance before they let you do anything you want, good of client or not.  i don’t understand your quote about putting ego aside.  to me that is pretty much the same as doign what you are told, which you adamantly opposed when speaking of the dividend rate vs. rate of return.

I too think nml is a decent company, if you want to sell life insurance, and don't mind being a captive agent.  try selling a non-nml product and see what happens.
Jan 12, 2008 3:28 pm

only reason he may do better initially is because of the insurance commission side. 

  This "only reason" is huge!  When it comes to insurance, virtually everyone is a prospect.   The insurance commistion side is what will allow him to survive.   Let me give you an example.  BigRed has friends who are going to be pretty successful.  A bunch of them are attorneys, some are CPAs, others are low level, but climbing in the corporate world, some are starting their own business, etc.    None of these people are worthwhile clients for him at ML since they don't have more than $100,000 to invest.   Despite the fact that they will be successful in the future, they can't become clients of his now.   What can he do with his young attorney friend or the other attorneys that his friend will refer him to?  The answer is nothing.  They don't have the necessary assets.   At NMFN, BigRed will supplement the attorney's DI coverage,  sell him a $1,000,000+ term or combo term/WL policy and have him put $5000 into a Roth IRA.   The total commission will probably be something north of $1,000.  More importantly, he has a high quality person who will grow into an infinitely better client.  2 years from now, he'll be converting a bunch of his term insurance and make another $3000.  3 years from then, he'll be leaving his job and rolling over a $125,000 401(k) and make another $3000 and increasing his DI for another $2,000.  In short, he'll earn $10,000 in commissions from the guy (and get countless referrals) before the attorney even has enough investable assets to be considered a ML prospect.   Theironhorse, I'm going to state an opinion, but I think that the facts will bear it out.  "Hard work guarantees success at NMFN.  Hard work means that one might succeed at a wirehouse."   I think that the difference is that since virtually everyone is a prospect for an insurance company rep, they can spend most of their time selling.  Most people are not prospects for a wirehouse rep, thus they must spend most of their time prospecting.   so back to my point-do not go to NML and expect to be a wealth manager.   Agreed.  He also won't be a wealth manager in the beginning at ML.  He'll be an asset gatherer.    i don't understand your quote about putting ego aside.  to me that is pretty much the same as doign what you are told, which you adamantly opposed when speaking of the dividend rate vs. rate of return.   That's not what I meant.  I meant to not go to ML simply because it might sound better to others.   BigRed, despite everything that I have written, I am not trying to encourage you to work for Northwestern Mutual.  It's definitely not my top pick even if you do choose to go the insurance company B/D route.  Look at lots of firms.