Tag Archives: Ferris State University

Experiencing the Risk and Insurance Industry

erikwahl_rims15

Just one month ago I was in New Orleans attending the 2015 Risk and Insurance Management Society Annual Conference with Ferris State student Corey Bledsoe.  The conference featured engaging keynotes speakers such as Erik Wahl (pictured here) and Arianna Huffington, and numerous educational sessions and networking opportunities.  I asked Corey to share his thoughts about the RIMS experience from his perspective as a student:

Being able to attend and participate in the RIMS conference was an excellent opportunity for me as a student to experience the insurance industry on a much grander scale than what I get to experience in Big Rapids, MI.  Having companies from all over the country and even the world in one location is an experience I won’t soon forget.

I was able to tour the Superdome on my first day in New Orleans and it was cool getting to see how risk management played a part in helping the Superdome recover after hurricane Katrina.  I was able to hang out with other insurance students from around the country and see how their programs compared with ours here.  I knew many of the students there through the professional fraternity I am in, Gamma Iota Sigma. 

While at the conference I got to see inspirational keynote speakers like Erik Wahl, world-renowned speed painter and Simon Bailey.  After the speakers the exhibit hall would open up and thousands would flock to hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their products there.  As a student it was extremely overwhelming because I had no idea where to start.  Many exhibitors were aimed away from my demographic but it was still nice to see so many people involved in our industry.  The major thing that I took away from this conference is that the industry will be seeing a large part of its professionals retiring in the next few years.  This means that young people like myself will have ample room for growth and experience.

The most fulfilling thing for me was definitely the sessions that the conference offered.  I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer by introducing the CEO panel who were discussing claims and also discussing underwriting.  It was a great opportunity to hear more about what it’s like running a large multinational corporation and all of the things that go into making a company successful.  As an Anita Benedetti Scholar I was welcome to many of the events hosted by companies and even to FM Global’s yearly party that featured a performance by the band Foreigner.  I highly suggest that anyone interested in attending the RIMS conference apply next year for the scholarship as it will be in San Diego.  This conference is a great experience to learn more about the industry and connect with industry professionals from all over.  Having connections is a huge part of this industry and RIMS is an excellent place to do just that.

Corey’s experience attending the RIMS conference exemplifies the experiential learning opportunities that Ferris State strives to offer its students across many of its academic programs.  It is certainly one of my top goals for the risk management and insurance program.  Let’s face it, the risk and insurance industry doesn’t have much of a reputation as an exciting and dynamic career although those of us in the industry know otherwise.  We need to do more than tell our young students about the opportunities – we need to show them through experiential learning.  See you in San Diego in 2016!

A new dawn

These are exciting times for the Ferris State University Risk Management and Insurance program, and for me professionally. The program has a long and storied past, with many very successful graduates now working in all areas of the risk and insurance industry, including some very accomplished CEOs. Last August, I was given the opportunity to take the reins of the next generation of this successful academic program. As excited as I was to accept this new role last fall, I have never been more excited than I am right now for the future of this program.

There are many, many great opportunities in the works for the Ferris Risk and Insurance program students, and I will be using social media platforms to help spread the word. I will be talking about the needs of the industry and the career opportunities for Ferris students. There will also be news on several enhancements to our curriculum, and expansions of learning and experiential opportunities for students. I will issue occasional calls for partnerships and support from the industry and professionals to help our students and future students to develop their full potential. In summary, many positive things are in the works at Ferris State University, as we prepare students for successful careers in the highly stable risk and insurance industry.

Indeed, these are exhilarating times and I cannot wait to share all of the developments in the coming months and years. It is a new dawn… The future of the risk management and insurance profession begins here, at Ferris State University.