Angela Carey has a problem that is the envy of most university students: She already works in her field. In fact, by working full time, she has made the decision to spread her last three classes over two semesters.
Carey expects to graduate in December 2015, when she'll ramp up even further into one of the hottest fields in the United States. Carey's solid prospects represent the bright futures awaiting students in the Risk Management and Insurance Program at the CU Denver Business School. It's not uncommon for RMI students to get hired several months before graduation.
"I'm so glad I made Risk Management and Insurance my major," said Carey, who started with Chubb & Son, a large multinational insurance carrier, 18 months ago in the company's training program. "With the two combined—Risk Management and Insurance—there are endless possibilities. Plus, what we're learning can apply to positions in many other industries besides insurance."
When the CU Denver Business School RMI Program launched a few years ago, Director Ajeyo Banerjee, Ph.D., CMA, said, many students were puzzled by the unfamiliar acronym. But they quickly learned and became intrigued, especially by the many career doors opened by the program. "These students are being hired early because the firms are worried they might be picked up by another company," Banerjee said.
The story is in the numbers:
- The CU Denver Business School RMI program has a 100 percent job-placement record for graduates.
- Now in its fourth year, the RMI Program has seen 28 percent overall enrollment growth, from 19 students to 88.
- One-of-a-kind program. The CU Denver Business School offers the only RMI program between California and the Midwest.
- 60 percent of the current RMI workforce in the United States will reach retirement age within five to 10 years.
"We're the only program like this in this part of the country," said Lori Genuchi, RMI Program manager, "so our students are a hot commodity."
It's a big industry, said Banerjee, adding that no business can do without insurance. "All of our graduates are doing very well," he said. "That provides further incentive to our current students because it creates a visible pathway to a job with good salaries and benefits."
Other firms that have hired current CU Denver Business School students include Lockton (two students on the payroll), CNA and Arthur J. Gallagher. "It indicates the marketability of our students," Banerjee said. "And the fact that the program is providing a value that is easily recognizable by these potential employers."
Tim Moehlenpah, Denver branch vice president for CNA, said he's noticed a strong work ethic in RMI Program students. "We've been quite impressed by that right off the bat," he said. "We also like that they have been exposed to various areas within the industry. And we like that the students are passionate about the insurance industry as a whole. Those three things really set them apart."
The Business School's "holistic approach" to RMI gives students ample opportunities to meet face to face with industry leaders before they graduate. All students participate in at least one Shadow Day, where they spend a day shadowing an RMI professional, including a 30-minute meeting with a senior executive. The days provide real-world insights for the students, while giving firms an opportunity to view prospective employees.
Recent graduates hired by insurance carrier CNA typically start out in claim origination, said Moehlenpah, who earned an MBA from the CU Denver Business School in 2006. "Seventy-five percent of our claims professionals will be of retirement age in next five years," he said. "The industry is going through a cataclysmic change. In the next five years the amount of opportunity for young people who want to pursue an insurance career is going to be phenomenal."
Read more about the program and some of its "future-is-now" students by clicking here.