In today’s increasingly complex landscape of data privacy, evolving environmental law and growing political uncertainty, the demand for talented risk management professionals in the business world is on the rise. But what do they actually do, and how can you become one?
In short, risk consultants help organisations to identify any potential threats they face, and put plans in place to avoid, reduce or transfer their impact. These threats could affect employees, customers, reputation and more, and managing them effectively can help a business to avoid crisis and reach its full potential.
As a risk consultant, you may specialise in anything from economic sanctions, anti-corruption and data protection to employment law or conflicts of interest. Your clients will need to be able to rely upon your expertise when making important financial and organisational decisions.
So how do you get to that position of power? Here are four key steps to take on the path to becoming a risk management professional.
Earn a relevant degree
Most risk consultancy firms will ask for a 2.1 honours degree or higher. While more lines of study may be considered, you’ll have an advantage if you home in on subjects such as maths, statistics, economics, finance or business.
It’s a good idea to try to choose modules relevant to the career if possible. You may also want to consider supplementary courses in subjects such as computer science – to give you an advanced understanding of spreadsheets and software – and public speaking and presentation.
Secure a work placement
If they aren’t already part of your course, another way to gain the upper hand is securing a work placement on top of your studies. Gaining real-world experience will give you a better understanding of how the industry works, and could also help to guide you towards the area you want to specialise in.
Many work experience placements lead to future job offers, which could take some of the post-university pressure off if you feel that you settled in well.
Find an entry-level job
With your degree in the bag and a little experience in the field, you could be able to secure a full-time role in risk management on a graduate scheme or at a junior level. You’ll likely start on smaller projects or tasks such as data collection before taking on additional responsibilities.
At this point, it’s important to try and absorb as much as possible. Watch how your senior colleagues conduct themselves and communicate with clients, and work to improve your regulatory knowledge.
Complete your industry qualifications
Risk management is a sector that requires various professional qualifications to progress. Many firms will provide these examinations during your training period, and the areas you’ll study will be relevant to the niche you’re working in.
Whichever route you go down, it’s worth taking these exams seriously. Passing them the first time will help you to advance quicker, and will help to earn the trust of your employers.
From there, the only way is up. The opportunities in risk management are ever-increasing – are you ready to take your chance?