September 21, 2023 — You've seen the articles in the popular media. A dozen or so organizations, such as Forbes and US News & World Report, publish their annual lists of the "best" colleges and universities in the US, based on whatever criteria they think are most important*. Now we have a list for the rest of us. The good folks at Propertycasualty360 have published their new list of the "Top 10 U.S. college insurance and risk management programs." (Available at Top 10 U.S. college insurance and risk management programs | PropertyCasualty360 to registered users.) The top three are: Boston University, New York University, and The University of Texas at Austin, but all of the top ten are excellent.
"Yes, but," you say, "I'm not planning on going back to school**, so why do I need to know this?" Consider that folks born at the peak of the baby boom are retiring right now. In fact, Boomers, our largest employee cohort, will be largely out of the US workforce in another five years. We will have more hiring to do than ever to replenish our ranks in risk management and associated fields in the coming years. And the business of risk management becomes more complex, more technically demanding, every year as regs change and we discover new exposures virtually every day.
Think of yourself as the head coach for an MLB team. Where are you going to be looking for the talent you need for the coming season? How about the best college teams, like LSU at 54-17 (wow) this year? Risk management doesn't even have a draft process to help. We have to find the prospects on our own. Sure, we've all had some good luck hiring bright generalists with business degrees, but most broad-gauge business management majors treat risk in a very different way than how we understand it as a core component of doing business in the 21st century.
Here's a question you might want to ask the "risk partners" you work with, like your brokers and TPAs or other vendors: how do they recruit to get serious talent? Bear in mind that the grads of these top ten programs have already selected insurance and risk as the place they want to work. If you want to build a top-notch team of computer scientists, you'll probably start with recruiting at Stanford and MIT, or Harvey Mudd, if you're in the know. The schools in this list are the equivalents in our world.
The folks the demographers call Gen Z are our future. These are the people we'll hand the reins to when our time comes. Let's make sure we bring in the best. A final thought from Senator Susan Collins, whose thriving family lumber business was founded by her great-great-great grandfather, so we think she knows whereof she speaks:
Leaders are like gardeners.... As leaders we are not only responsible for harvesting our own success but for cultivating the success of the next generation.
*Note: any list of top schools that does not have Stanford at #1 is highly suspect, according to our objective criteria here at the GB Journal.
**What about the high school kids you know, your own and others, who are asking about what college major or line of study might lead to a rewarding career? You might want to share this list with them.
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