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What is Risk Management?
Risk management and insurance is the area of study dealing with the analysis evaluation of risk in a given situation. In this case, risk is assessed within the context of how much a person is insured for and the type of insurance in question.
Risk management is often known in the business by the discipline of actuarial science. Individuals in the field of risk management will use a variety of mathematical models and methods to: 1) calculate risk, 2) assign risk a monetary value, and 3) evaluate whether an object, person, or property is worth being insured.
Top Risk Management Degrees
For students looking to grow in risk management and insurance, there are a variety of tracks to pursue. Some colleges will list degree programs as risk management while others as actuarial science, management science, management information systems, information systems, knowledge management, or information resources management.
With overlapping curriculum, the aforementioned degree programs may be available at a variety of colleges and universities. The objective of a risk manager is to prudently manage risk by utilizing robust analytics and knowledge in business, finance, economics, statistics, and mathematics. Top degree programs in risk management include the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree.
Bachelor Degrees in Risk Management
Online bachelor degrees in risk management are conferred as Bachelor of Science (BS). Students may be able to elect an actuarial track or a business track in risk management.
Both programs will have similar core studies with an emphasis in business principles for the latter. Bachelor degrees are 4-year programs for full-time students with part-time students taking longer to complete. The bachelor degree will blend liberal arts classes such as history, communications, art, philosophy, and psychology with core programs.
Core classes in risk management will vary by school but will generally teach very similar principles from college to college. Examples of classes in the BS track with a business bent include applied statistics, interest theory, risk theory, risk management, life contingencies, investment principles, credibility, simulation, data smoothing, stochastic modeling, survival models, derivatives, futures, options, financial economics, property insurance actuarial science, differential equations, and linear algebra.
Master Degrees in Risk Management
An online master degree in risk management is typically a 2-year program for full-time students. Degrees in the field are conferred as Master of Science (MS) at most colleges. Master degrees will typically carry a thesis or non-thesis option.
Students electing the non-thesis option will need to select approved classes to offset the thesis project. Master’s degree students will select an area of emphasis with classes following the area of concentration. As an example, a graduate student may choose to pursue risk management with an emphasis in computer science, economics, insurance, statistics, finance, or mathematics.
Academic advisors will work with each student to define courses given a defined area of emphasis in risk management. Graduates from the risk management program can launch careers in a variety of industries that include insurance, banking, investing, finance, re-insurance, accounting, consulting, or research.
College Requirements for Risk Managers
Risk management involves a large amount of math as well as an understanding of the insurance field. Education is typically pursued at the bachelor level, either in risk management or a related field, such as statistics, mathematics or other.
Individuals will have to pursue certification upon completion through one of two certifying bodies: The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA), which provide certification based on the type of risk management one wishes to pursue. A curriculum in risk management may include:
- Risk Management Methodologies
- Statistics & Statistical Analysis
- Logic & Reasoning
- Big Data & Database Management
- Calculus & Applied Math
- Mathematical Modeling
- Analyses and Reporting
Schools should be chosen based on the quality of education offered, typically signalled by the business department for a particular institution. Proper research and investigation should reveal whether the program offered is up to date and properly prepares individuals for certification upon completion. Strong math programs, as well as insurance and accounting courses can also be good indicators for the quality of the education offered.
Employment Opportunities for Risk Managers
As methods for risk management become more and more reliable, including technology that allows for better analyses and assessment by an individual, the demand for professionals in this field is expected to increase.
The largest growth sector for this field is in consulting, which has individuals assessing risk on behalf of clients, such as large businesses, in order to provide accurate and helpful information from which decision may be made. Some areas will experience less growth due to diminishing demand and increased information consolidation.
Risk Management Resources
Resources in the field of risk management beyond college are typically national associations. Non-profit organizations and associations help provide support and professional development for their constituents. Top-tier associations such as the RMA and the PRMIA provide member benefits not found elsewhere in the industry.