Michael C. Jensen, professor, business consultant and author, speaks to students and faculty during an Arditti Center for Risk Management event.
With its 10-year anniversary on the horizon, DePaul
Center for Risk Management is launching new initiatives to better engage
students and industry members. The center was formed in 2006 to honor the
legacy of the late Fred Arditti, a noted economist who worked at the Chicago Mercantile
Exchange and served on DePaul’s faculty as a finance professor for seven years.
believed in bridging the gap between academia and the industry,” says Alex
Perry (THE ’03), who serves as the center’s coordinator. “He wanted students to
be versed not just in theory, but also to possess strong practical skills and
be lively participants in the risk management community.”
The center recently refined its mission to emphasize three
pillars—education, research and practice—that reflect its namesake’s approach
to risk management.
The growth of risk management has led the center and the
Department of Finance to push for new degrees and classes that will better
prepare students for the industry. These degrees are being reviewed now with
hopes of launching this fall:
- Master of Science in
Enterprise Risk Management: This graduate degree will “provide students
with the tools necessary to identify and manage the strategic, operational and
financial risks facing a firm,” says Associate Professor Carl Luft, the
center’s academic director.
- Bachelor of Science in
Actuarial Science: This undergraduate degree, a partnership with the
Department of Mathematics, will give students both the math foundation and the
business background to succeed in risk management careers.
- New courses: Six
courses currently form the risk management concentration, but more specialty courses
will be needed to fulfill requirements for the upcoming degrees. Proposed class
topics include principles of risk and insurance, risk management modeling and
cases in risk management. Corporate governance, now only covered as a special
topics class, will gain its own course number.
The center’s research agenda is expanding this year, too, with the
launch of the Arditti
Center Summer Research Grant Program, which rewards original research
in the risk management field. Proposals are being accepted through Feb. 14, and
two awardees will receive $15,000 each. “This grant is about trying to continue
the Arditti legacy of innovative and practical research,” says Perry. Anyone—whether from
DePaul or in the industry, in Chicago or worldwide—is welcome to submit a
proposal. (Download the
grant guidelines as a PDF.)
The center also
is staying in touch with industry trends by promoting opportunities for
students to connect with companies and for professionals to attend events at
DePaul. The center has formed partnerships that are both student oriented (such
as internships) and company oriented (such as advisory boards or events). In addition,
the center has forged ties to industry groups, including the Professional Risk
Managers’ International Association and the Global Association of Risk
The center sponsors
periodic events and is launching a monthly seminar series that will feature
guest speakers covering a wide spectrum of risk management topics. See
full event listings on the center’s website.
In partnership with DePaul’s Center for Financial Services, the Arditti Center launched
DePaul Finance Forum last year. “The blog was started to
give our board members and faculty members an outlet to discuss current events
through the lens of finance or risk management,” Perry says.
The center has been making changes because now is a popular
time to be considering a career in risk management. “In the wake of the
financial crisis, interest and concern over risk management is at an all-time
high,” Luft explains. “Traditional areas of financial risk management are being
re-evaluated and given new importance not only through regulation and internal
company strategies, but also through a wider societal unease.”
The center’s executive team is looking forward to 2016, the
10th anniversary of the center, and brainstorming ways to celebrate the
milestone. Perry describes plans for two smaller dinners in 2015 to recognize
industry professionals for their contributions to the field and a larger gala
dinner in 2016.
“We’re just excited and feel re-invigorated,” Perry
says. “There’s a lot going on, and I think in the end it will be really good
for our students and for the university.”