Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance Henry B. Tippie College of Business
In this issue

The University of Iowa

Graduate Reflections

By Larry Hershberger, Director

Larry Hershberger

Come spring 2010 commencement, nearly 100 students, 30 of whom will graduate in May, will have successfully completed the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) curriculum and earned the RMI certificate. We are extremely pleased with the growth in the number of RMI graduates since the first one earned the certificate four years ago.

Last spring, 12 of the 25 were personally interviewed and asked for their impressions of the RMI program. Each was asked 18 questions covering all facets of their experience in the program, both positive and negative. The questions pertained to course work, the RMI faculty, internships, participation in Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), student advising, their plans for the future, etc.

Overall, the graduates’ experiences were very positive. All responded that if they were to start over they would elect the same major and enroll in the RMI certificate program. This feedback provided an important gauge of the value of the program from the perspective of students. In general, they felt the required and elective courses were beneficial and well focused on their educational and career interests. Several felt additional courses in the curriculum would be helpful, in particular, one in wealth management as well as additional electives in insurance, risk management, and enterprise risk management. Their positive reaction to the RMI curriculum can be attributed in large part to their very positive assessment of the RMI faculty.

It is clear from the interviews that the graduates who completed internships felt they were a very important component of their experience in the program. Internships exposed them to real-life work environments and helped prepare them for job searches upon graduation. It is not unusual for a successful internship at a company to lead to a permanent position at that company following graduation. Mention was also made that participating in GIS provided good opportunities for networking with industry professionals, developing good leadership skills, and making them more marketable as potential employees.

Areas the graduates suggested could be improved were the mentoring program, getting assistance in acquiring requisite insurance licenses, increased awareness of the program with more employers, and becoming more familiar with the institute earlier, such as during their sophomore year. These are areas we can look to improve upon. In fact, the mentoring program is relatively new and active steps are being taken to make it more valuable to both students and mentors.

In summary, we appreciate the candid feedback from the graduates and will use it to strengthen and improve what the institute offers students in the way of a well-rounded, experiential learning environment. In turn, the institute will be able to continue offering employers a stream of well-educated and qualified graduates for their workforce.

Larry Hershberger, Director