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High Risk, High Reward

Written By: Bailey York, Designed By: Nithika Badam

The Fisher College of Business’s Risk Institute provides unique opportunities for undergraduate students to gain valuable experience. Whether it be through case-competitions or networking events with top level executives, Fisher students are able to connect and learn about applications of risk for a variety of careers.

Luis Garcia-Fuentes, a recent Accounting and Finance graduate of Fisher, spoke with Fisher Ink on the opportunities presented when he was an undergraduate student: “We completed a wide range of case work on a national level. Two clients for our case competitions included PayPal and UPS. Altogether, the Risk Institute gave a lot of opportunities for research and there are multiple networking opportunities throughout the year.” According to Garcia-Fuentes, students are capable of getting real experience and learning essential skill sets such as regression modeling for the consulting world.

A valuable takeaway for Garcia-Fuentes was “when you are trying to solve the equation, something is always changing. While this is all very abstract, the case competitions help prepare you for solving problems in the real world. It allows you to learn to be adaptable and work in this (consulting) environment.” Garcia-Fuentes’ experience with case studies demonstrate the unique skill set needed in consulting.

The Risk Institute offers a speaker series as well where students are able to interact with top level executives posed with risk challenges in their existing businesses. Companies such as Abbott, Nationwide, EY, State Auto, and many other connect with students though the speaker series. Sarah Cox, Communications Manager for the Fisher College of Business, mentioned the speaker series bridging the gap between academia and practical application.

“A number of generous partner’s pair up with our academic faculty to work to answer questions we might have about Risk. We work with researchers and help facilitate that process to provide the best answers to their challenges. That way, they can really put this into practice. It’s a really beautiful cycle of practical research and application,” says Cox. She further elaborated on the collaboration across experience levels. Like Garcia-Fuentes in years past, the Risk Institute is focused on integrating undergrads into the conversation.

In September, the kicked off the distracted driver initiative. Though the project began in February, students were able to attend along with policy makers, auto insurers, and data analytics gurus. The goal is to facilitate conservation on safety in hopes of making autonomous vehicles a reality one day.

“We have a lot of students interested in risk during a time period with an evolving field,” says Cox. To her knowledge, many of the workforce’s risk practitioners will be retiring in the next five years. “People focused on risk during their undergraduate journey have a strong opportunity to reach senior management within the next seven years.”

Students have the opportunity to join the Risk Management Association and Gammi Iota Sigma, two organizations which focus on increasing student engagement with the Risk Institute.

In addition to the case competitions mentioned by Garcia-Fuentes, students can engage in business simulations. The events take place over the course of a semester. Students will receive access to real world data and will bounce their ideas off of executives at the firm. By the end of the semester, students will them present their findings to the problem before a team of judges represented by the firm. “It is a really great experience,” says Cox. “The students are working with real executives. They are right there will them on the call if they need help for a problem.”

The Risk Institute offers a range of opportunities form case competitions to networking events for undergraduate students. Their focus is building connections within and outside the university for a range of parties involved. Garcia-Fuentes and many others are just the beginning of pairing undergrads with real world application at the Fisher College of Business.