How to Get a Masters in Risk Management Degree

For professionals who want to be a pivotal and in demand manager at their company, you should consider the field of risk management. This profession is vital to the success of all companies today, especially those that are implementing major changes in their company and making major financial investments.

Risk management involves evaluating financial and procedural risks that have to be taken to minimize potential risk of financial and other problems that could occur in those situations.

Effective Risk Management Creates Value

Managing risk effectively creates major value for companies. It tips the balance towards making more money and away from financial losses. Most types of organizations today – including financial, insurance, manufacturing, IT and government – rely on highly skilled risk management experts.

Earning a master’s degree in risk management will offer you advanced skills in leadership, evaluating risk, change management and human capital. Obtaining this in-demand master’s degree will put you in line for the following types of leadership positions:

  • Financial manager: They are responsible for evaluating the financial health of the organization, which involves evaluating the level of financial risk involved in investing in certain types of investments. They are in charge of directing investment activities, and developing plans and strategies for the long term financial goals of their company.
  • Computer and information systems manager: These professionals may be referred to as IT project managers. They plan, coordinate and direct all computer related activities in a company, and they also serve as risk managers as they are evaluating and implementing new technologies in the organization. Dealing with cyber security involves a substantial amount of effective risk management.
  • Emergency management directors: They prepare procedures and plans to respond to emergencies and natural disasters. They also lead the response during and after such emergencies, and often work closely with public safety workers and elected officials to manage risk in these emergency situations.

Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Risk Management?

Earning a master’s in risk management will provide you with advanced risk management skills that are applicable to virtually all industries today. While earning an MBA will expose you to some material on risk management, it will be limited in scope. An advanced degree in risk management is thought of in some circles as the MBA of risk management; it delves much more into the intricacies of risk management in various fields.

For example, you will learn about theories and fundamentals of risk management, which include the science, concepts, and applied mathematics that underlie the mitigation and assessment of risk:

  • Decision theory
  • Actuarial science
  • Crisis management
  • Statistical analysis and econometrics

Applied risk management allow you to focus on certain areas of risk management that apply to the particular field in which you work:

  • Property risk management
  • Liability risk management
  • Employee benefit plan design
  • International risk management
  • Operations and market risk management
  • Enterprise risk management

Some programs also will teach you the financial aspects of risk management which include complex financial strategies for reducing risk, including risk financing strategies and estate planning.

Insurance risk management specializations focus on the business and financial structure of insurance companies, including health and life insurance, business insurance, underwriting and pricing and insurance accounting.

Whatever industry you are working in or wish to work in, earning a master’s degree in risk management is relevant to elevating your career to the next level.

Admission Requirements

Being admitted to a master’s in risk management program is similar to an MBA in terms of competitiveness. For example, at Boston University, below are the requirements for admission:

  • Bachelor’s degree in a business related field
  • Full transcripts from your undergraduate work
  • GRE and GMAT scores are not required, but are recommended to strengthen your application.
  • 0 GPA in your undergraduate work
  • Resume reflecting your business and risk management experience
  • Personal statement on your career goals in risk management

Curriculum and Courses

Boston University offers an online Master of Science in Business Community, Security and Risk Management that goes well beyond a traditional risk education. This program helps students to learn a deep understanding of enterprise-wide management for all types of threats.

Graduates of this program are well trained to deal with the complex organizational challenges related to risk response, assessment, communication, regulatory compliance and crisis management.

This program looks at the individual aspects of organizational risk management by using enterprise risk management or ERM principles and standards.

Required classes include the following:

  • Financial Concepts
  • Project Management
  • Ecommerce
  • International Business, Economics, and Cultures
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Decision-Making
  • The Innovation Process: Developing New Products and Services
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Enterprise Risk Planning and Compliance
  • Disaster Management

Depending upon your career goals, you also have the option of taking one of the following; these are industry specific courses:

  • Public Emergency Management
  • Enterprise Risk Analytics
  • Project Risk & Cost Management
  • Security Policies and Procedures

Career Outcomes and Job Titles

Some of the job titles you could have in a career in risk management include:

  • Risk management manager
  • Financial risk manager
  • Emergency risk manager
  • Emergency operations center director
  • Risk management consultant
  • Homeland security manager or director
  • Disaster and emergency service director
  • Director of emergency operations
  • Logistics manager

Some of the industries where you can work in risk management are:

  • Law enforcement
  • State or federal government
  • Emergency medical services
  • IT
  • Financial companies
  • Insurance companies
  • State or federal emergency agencies
  • Private security

Job and Salary Outlook

  • Emergency Management Director –The job outlook in this field is solid, with 6% job increase expected by 2024, which is about as fast as average. It is anticipated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that employment is likely to increase in both local and state governments as they put more focus on preparing for natural and human made emergencies. The median pay in this field of risk management was $67,300 in 2015.
  • Financial Manager –Employment in this field will rise by 7% by 2024, which is about average. Experts say that financial manager services and risk management is likely to increase in demand as the economy continues to grow. Median pay in this field was $117,000 in 2015.
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager –Employment in this field will grow by 15% by 2024, which is much faster than average. It is expected that demand for computer and information systems managers will increase as companies are expanding their operations to more digital platforms. This will result in a great increase in need for risk managers. Median pay was $131,000 in 2015.

Scholarships and Grants

  • Griffith Insurance Education Foundation: This foundation offers bachelor’s and master’s scholarships to students who are interested in a career in risk management and insurance. Scholarships can range in size from $500 to $2,000 per year.
  • University Risk Management and Insurance Association: This association offers both Conference and Student Educational scholarships. The educational scholarships are worth up to $2500 each, and are open to bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. students who are studying risk management.

Additional Resources

  • Risk Management Society (RIMS): This organization is dedicated to serving risk management professionals in all industries. It focuses on business continuity, cyber risk, emerging risks, enterprise risk management and insurance.
  • Institute of Risk Management (IRM): The leading body for professional risk management. It provides globally recognized qualifications and training, and it also publishes research and guidance in the field.