Thursday, January 5, 2012 Risk Management and Insurance Blog
Looking Ahead by Kenny Wunder

Taking a string of finals, writing several semester-concluding papers, and presenting a new project idea as part of the Integrated Company Analysis project left me feeling both exhausted and accomplished. Between numerous company visits, countless opportunities to interact with industry professionals, and even a trip to California, I can’t imagine any way to fit more learning into a semester. However, I was quite excited for the commencement of winter break, and I expected to spend it relaxing and recuperating.

I’m only a few days in, though, and I have already started thinking about all of the opportunities that next semester will hold. Unlike many programs, the UW MBA program offers the opportunity to specialize in Risk Management and Insurance. While this doesn’t mean that we forgo any of the general business classes (accounting, marketing, operations, etc.), we do get to delve deeper into those subjects that we find most interesting. In fact, I have been able to tailor the curriculum even further to facilitate progression in my own goals and interests.

So, what I am most looking forward to in the upcoming semester?

For one, I am excited about the classes. My investment theory class, I anticipate, will give me more of an insight into the ways in which corporations can manage their financial risk through various hedging and financing strategies, and my operations class will help me to further understand where some of the more general business and operating risks come into the picture. I will also be taking classes in ethics and economics, as well as a class on legal issues for managers being taught by my personal hero, Joan Schmit.

Beyond the classroom, however, Joan is going to be working with the risk group as we make our way through the material for the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) exam(s). Her extensive experience in the industry, as well as in academia, will surely make the whole process much easier for us. I think that we will be focusing on the Risk Financing exam, but I’m hoping that, once we get started, we’ll just continue through the other texts, as well.

There are many more “outside-the-classroom” things going on, too. I will be taking the second exam on my path to CERA (Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst) certification, Hector will be taking one of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exams, and Vikram will be working with a group of students on a real-world consulting project for a company. Additionally, each of us has either a teaching or project assistantship… as if being a full-time MBA student in one of the top RMI programs in the country wasn’t demanding enough.

Yes, indeed, we have a lot going on next semester (and I didn’t even touch on the long list of industry leaders who will be coming to visit our family, the chain of afternoon discussions on insurance company operations, or the quest for summer internship opportunities), but the fun we have and the camaraderie we share leaves me with no doubt that the final outcome will be well worth the effort!