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    Student to a qualified Chief Risk Officer: How IRM's qualifications helped me

    Student to a qualified Chief Risk Officer: How IRM's qualifications helped me

    Student to a qualified Chief Risk Officer: How IRM's qualifications helped me
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    By CNBCTV18.com Contributor  IST (Updated)

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    I started my career after B-School in the BFSI sector in the mid 90’s in the newly liberalised India and worked my way through multiple functions of Credit, Working Capital Finance and Planning and during this journey, I was influenced by a mentor who suggested Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) as the profession of the next century and guided me to the Institute of Risk Management (IRM)

    Student aspirations are guided by upbringing, habitat, role models & sometimes events which are etched in memory. They tend to rebel against some influences & align to the rest. And these aspirations keep changing over time. I was no different and experienced all of the above.
    School & college education were influenced by family & friends. Absence of the internet and a professional career advisor limited one’s scope and options. However, a professional work environment did enhance the overall awareness and helped build inclination towards various fields of interest.
    I started my career after B-School in the BFSI sector in the mid 90’s in the newly liberalised India and worked my way through multiple functions of Credit, Working Capital Finance and Planning and during this journey I was influenced by a mentor who suggested Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) as the profession of the next century and guided me to the Institute of Risk Management (IRM). A gruelling course content accompanied by project work and suggested reading material topped by a tough examination led to a certification which was then called Associate of the Institute of Risk Management. The focus was on implementation of ERM across the business apart from learning the basic concepts around risk. Furthermore, the dissertation would lead to one getting certified as a Fellow of the IRM. This has over time been simplified and is now a 5-level pathway which a student from any discipline be it technology, finance, accounting, engineering can embark upon with the Level 1 Student Exam, after completion of Class 12th. Working professionals too can start a career in ERM with the Level 1 Professional Exam. In fact, risk leaders with 8 years’ experience in risk management have the opportunity to directly apply for the Level 4 through the Senior Executive Route (an interview-based assessment) to become a qualified Chief Risk Officer and join an elite group of certified fellows.
    My subsequent entry into the Insurance industry which got privatised at the turn of the century led me to applying my knowledge in areas of bancassurance, prospecting for potential customers and partners, asset survey and risk inspections, underwriting risks, monitoring the risk portfolio underwritten by the unit and managing claims for the unit of a general insurance company.
    As a branch unit head driving sales with a general insurance company, I have been able to apply my skill sets to make site inspections into risk inspections. This helped build a portfolio of good risks which were underwritten leading to enhanced branch profitability. A risk review of the portfolio helped identify portfolios like truck & two-wheeler insurance which were at that juncture appearing to be high risk. With this awareness, a reduction in that portfolio further enhanced the quality of the book underwritten. As a partnership head managing some key business and bancassurance partnerships, I have helped build a strong governance framework to manage the business. Apart from helping us build an aligned goal and a joint operating plan, a multi-tiered governance model helped monitor the business across hierarchy as the partners were large public sector units.
    A move to the life insurance industry brought in new avenues to apply my knowledge like front line sales, sales strategy, training, customer service and retention, business excellence and strengthening of processes, security and eventually for the last few years heading the governance function which includes risk management.
    I would ascribe “Application of risk knowledge across functions that I managed” as the biggest factor which led to my current role as a CRO. IRM helps and guides in inculcating this thinking right from Level 1 examination wherein self-study material along with practical application exercises are facilitated by an exam coach. The highly practical, academically rigorous qualifications of IRM meet the industry needs and can help organisations implement ERM. Apart from delving into traditional risks, IRM delves into contemporary areas like cyber, supply chain, political and climate.
    Risk education is not the preserve of the Risk department alone. Everyone needs to be risk aware. A human resource professional or an operations person can become an invaluable asset to their respective function if he/she is risk intelligent. IRM’s qualifications address this need by preparing you to think from a risk perspective. Governance and Risk functions require professionals who are adept at implementing ERM across all functions. The application orientation coupled with a structured approach which leans on thousands of years of experience of risk professionals addresses this need.
    I stumbled upon risk education through IRM, and its application helped my career. Today students have better awareness and can make an informed choice in their journey to become a successful certified risk-intelligent professional with IRM in India.
    NOTE:
    The author Sunder Natarajan is a CMIRM (IRM Level 4 qualified) and Chief Risk Officer at IndiaFirst Life Insurance.
     
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