The University of Kansas’ School of Business has announced partnerships with 15 companies for a new insurance certificate program to begin this fall. The partners include popular companies such as Aetna, Aflac and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City.
The companies have pledged $660,000 in total to support the program, but the partnerships will serve the program in a variety of ways, according to Joseph Fairchild, a KU finance lecturer who will oversee the program.
"The industry partners will provide mentoring and internship opportunities to our students," Fairchild said. "We will have regular guest speakers during our classes from our industry partners as well as career events."
The companies will also benefit from the partnership. In exchange for a five-year commitment to provide $10,000 per year in gifts to the School of Business, industry partners will have benefits such as their organization names and logos on program materials, priority access to insurance and risk management career events, and priority access to speaking opportunities in required and elective courses, according to documents provided by Fairchild.
The symbiotic relationship the program provides is useful in further improving the University's reputation, Fairchild said.
“This will further establish the KU School of Business as a school that responds to the needs of the marketplace,” Fairchild said.
In the program, students will learn about modern risk management and different opportunities that come with the insurance and risk management fields. Fairchild said he believes these skills will help students get ahead after they graduate.
“The program and this background will greatly increase their marketability when they enter the workforce and will continue to differentiate them during their careers,” Fairchild said.
To earn the certificate, students must work in and out of the classroom. They will take two elective courses along with two required courses, FIN 208 and FIN 424, that will teach the principles of insurance and risk management and operational risk management, respectively. They must also partake in experiential activities such as job shadowing, an internship, or going to a ‘careers in insurance and risk management’ panel.
Once these activities are complete, students will receive both KU’s Jack Lockton Certificate in Insurance and Risk Management and the Kansas Insurance Certificate, which were established by the Kansas Insurance Department and the Kansas Insurance Education Foundation.
Fairchild also said students with more experience going into the workforce will help future employers as well.
“The KU School of Business is constantly engaged with our industry partners across all disciplines. This ensures that we are always preparing our students for the needs of their future employers,” Fairchild said. “The certificate in insurance and risk management follows this model exactly.”