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Jenna Herr

MBA Orientation Brings Alumni Insight

by Jenna Herr Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On Friday, August 25, 2017, first-and second-year Risk Management and Insurance MBA’s began with the end in mind. Following a morning career preparation session, students met with six alumni who offered advice for school, internships, and beyond.  

Alumni opened by talking about the importance of gathering information from multiple sources before forming opinions. Gathering and verifying information, they said, was essential in all stages of their careers, from young professional to seasoned manager. The advice is applicable to all areas of work and life, from developing proposals and delivering sound information, to understanding product development and sharpening one’s critical thinking skills, agreed Joy Gander and Nikhil Tungare. 

Besides technical skills and reading for information, the group of alumni recognized emotional intelligence as perhaps the most important and distinguishable quality for people in all parts of the industry and throughout their careers. Gwendolyn Ezell shared some insights about the art of getting buy-in from colleagues, bosses, and boards of directors. She noted that being on the same page with one’s manager is the most important aspect of implementing change in an organization. She talked about communicating information in a way that helps the audience understand, whether communicating with small businesses or large corporations. Understanding the risk tolerance of organization is key, but alumni agreed that there are certain immeasurable aspects of assessing that tolerance—it's an art, not only a science.  

Lastly, alumni urged students to always consider the big picture. Qian Xia and Alejandro Martinez emphasized the importance of making strategic decisions and seeking opportunities for growth in one’s career. To focus too narrowly on one area of risk may mean missed opportunities as industry trends change. Martin Malloy drove the point home, noting, “Today we are talking about technological changes. In five years, we may be talking more about global warming or something else.”  

Following the alumni networking event, students felt a renewed sense of motivation and left with plenty to investigate and consider as school year begins.