Category: MSc Insurance and Risk Management

Career advice for insurance and risk management students

Join a student society to network and learn

As an MSc Insurance and Risk Management student, I jumped at the opportunity to join the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk, and Quants Society (AIR-Q) as one of the Co-Presidents. Joining AIR-Q Society has been an excellent way to build my network and to delve deeper into the field I want to pursue a career in by speaking to alumni working in the sector.

How to break into the insurance industry

As a soon-to-be MSc Insurance and Risk Management alumnus, it is crucial to understand what to expect in the future which is why it was incredibly rewarding to work on hosting a webinar in May with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Insurance Institute of London (IIL) and AIR-Q. The session was specifically aimed at master’s students interested in following a career in the insurance industry.

We had more than 30 attendees join the forum with questions for our panel of six, including three alumni, led by Vivine Cameron. I am very grateful to the six panellists who shared their career advice and professional trajectories. They were:

  • Vivine Cameron: Education Partnerships Manager
  • Afsar Ali: Cyber Analyst at Guy Carpenter (alumnus)
  • Amanda Yek: Actuarial Placement Analyst at Markel International
  • Irem Yerdelen: Client & Business Development Director, Corporate Risk & Broking segment, Willis Towers Watson (alumnus)
  • Louise Healy: Recruitment Consultant at Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
  • Stephanie Nightingale: Head of Risk Reporting and Underwriting Risk Oversight at Chaucer Syndicates


The different career paths in insurance

There are plenty of roles involved in the insurance businesses, such as underwriting, claims, brokering and loss adjustment among others. Which path you decide to pursue will depend on your abilities, your interests and which path is most dynamic when you are graduating. During my master’s studies, I gained a better understanding and deep insights into the industry. Topics like insurtech, digitalisation and startups are trending in the insurance industry.  There is a lot of space for innovation and many companies are developing new tech and generating brand new products that are more transparent, are easier to understand and are increasingly accessible to existing or unique customers, which makes it a very exciting time to enter the industry.

A fast-track to being awarded CII professional certifications

One of the benefits of studying the MSc Insurance and Risk Management at Cass is the possibility to study modules which award credits towards the professional CII certifications. Thanks to Vivine, we were able to understand the advanced benefits we will have towards our CII qualifications. She provided us with unique guidance on which insurance roles exist. Asfar Ali, Cyber Analyst at Guy Carpenter shared valuable tips into which  next steps we need to take to be awarded the CII diploma and spoke about company sponsorship to receive the qualifications.

Career advice from our panellists: enjoy the process

Each future graduates is different. We have unique skill sets and distinctive ambitions in short-term and long-term.  The majority of us are concerned as to which career path we might follow now and in the near months. Irem Yerdelen, an alumna and the Client & Business Development Director, Corporate Risk & Broking segment at Willis Tower Watson is a fellow graduate of the MSc Insurance and Risk Management. Irem was able to tell the online attendees how the course benefitted her career. Her professional journey started in Istanbul and after pursuing her master’s degree, she decided to stay in London to pursue her career. Irem gave an important message: “doing a master’s is a great step for your career. When looking for a job, think about which option is the best for you but don’t forget to enjoy the process!”

Job-searching online

Due to the significant changes the insurance sector and many dependent sectors are facing, job-searching is going to be completely different from what it used to be. Most recruitment processes and interviews will be fully online. Louise Healy, Recruitment Consultant at Allianz, talked about her experience in the recruitment sector and gave us some valuable insights. Louise highlighted how candidates need to demonstrate their soft skills and suggested we show our genuine personality, saying, “Be natural, show who you really are.”

Thank you!

Myself and my fellow Co-Presidents of AIR-Q Society (Rocio Plasencia, Evangelos Santas, Lucy Nondi, David Flanigan, Adam Upenieks, and Peter Vodička) would like to deliver a special thanks to guest speakers for a great session and for answering all the audience questions.

Juan Sebastián de la Torre, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020)


Trading trends in 2020

When it comes to trading, strategy is essential. But which skills are required nowadays to successfully adapt to the ever-changing needs of the financial industry?

On 3rd December 2019, the Cass AIR-Q Society and the Cass Trading Society co-organised “The Cass AIR-Q Trading Forum”. The panel consisted of our keynote speaker Michal Katrencik, Emerging Markets Debt Portfolio Manager VP at Blackrock, as well as Dr Ravel Jabbour, former Regulatory Policy Manager VP at HSBC and Mr Ian Schneider, VP Cash Equities Sales and Trading at Morgan Stanley. The speakers provided exceptional insights on their day-to-day activities, innovations in the industry, current regulations and emerging industry trends.

More than 100 people attended, including master’s students, alumni and professionals from the industry, were delighted with the insightful and interactive panel discussion regarding the future of trading and its regulation, moderated by Dr Simone Krummaker, Course Director for the MSc Insurance and Risk Management.

Our keynote speaker Michal Katrencik opened the conference with a perceptive analysis of bond markets. He very practically explained how bond yields have been affected by changes in inflation rates and GDP rates in emerging markets. The presentation was followed by a round of challenging questions about the impact of climate change on investments and the use of artificial intelligence in daily trading processes.

The attendees were interested in learning about what the speakers referred to as green incentives and brown disincentives such as carbon taxes and the impacts these incentives have on long-term investments in areas such as tech.

With such vision deeply discussed by the panel according to VPs expertise, the audience was able to get a glimpse of what is currently happening in the world of trading and what to expect to happen.

With such vision deeply discussed by the panel according to VPs expertise, the audience was able to get a glimpse of what is currently happening in the world of trading and what to expect to happen.

As a Co-President of the Cass AIR-Q Society, I always enjoy hosting events such as the Cass AIR-Q Trading Forum. It offers the Cass community a dynamic and rewarding educational experience which bridges the gap between master’s students and high-profile professionals working in the field. Our attendees get the chance to resolve any queries they may have about their career and get the opportunity to learn.

Concerning the use of artificial intelligence and the skills needed to adapt to a changing society, the speakers highlighted the importance on how traders position themselves. It is essential to be able to foresee, accept and adapt to changes. Ravel Jabbour indicated “that is the main difference with automation. Humans have instinct, got feelings and know how to position themselves.”

The event was a great success and our attendees stayed on after the talks to network. It was well accomplished thanks to the disposition and collaboration of the keynote speakers, the support of Cass’ events team, the co-organisation with the Cass Trading Society and the outstanding teamwork of the Co-Presidents of the Cass AIR-Q Society.

I look forward to meeting more students and professionals in our upcoming forums and workshops over the next semester!

Rocio Plasencia Alva, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020)

MSc Insurance and Risk Management: The Best Decision I’ve Made

I have a clear idea of the career path I want to follow: working in insurance. Many of my fellow students studying the MSc Insurance and Risk Management have previously worked in the insurance industry and came back to study to deepen their knowledge. Studying with so many existing insurance practitioners is truly an asset and gives me the opportunity to build my commercial awareness and gain deeper knowledge about how the insurance industry works.

Thanks to support from my undergraduate university and a generous donor, a senior insurance specialist in Hong Kong, I decided to pursue my master’s straight after my undergraduate degree in Hong Kong.

It’s not always easy for international students to adapt to a new environment, but living in London for a year is definitely an awesome idea. You will meet so many people with different cultures and backgrounds, but with the same ambition. Studying at Cass is the same.

London is a great market for insurance and finance. It’s an eye-opening experience in which you learn market trends and advanced insuretech techniques.

The course in Cass is non-life insurance-focused and offers rich underwriting, law and risk management knowledge. The classes have inspired me to explore innovative ideas and are consolidating my knowledge base before engaging the industry. The programme offers a mix of theory and practical learning— I’m very excited to be going to visit Lloyds’ next term, which is the origin of the insurance market in the world.

Cass provides a variety of resources including career advice and societies with links to different programmes, which is beneficial to students for job-seeking and for our personal development.

The MSc Insurance and Risk Management is a comprehensive programme, which equips you with deep knowledge and makes you eligible for the ACII qualifications. The programme is really intensive— my first three months have already passed in a flash!

My advice to prospective students is to cherish your time at Cass and don’t forget to enjoy this city full of art and commerce.

Ting Tina Cheung, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020)

Studying MSc Insurance and Risk Management at Cass: the Khatib legacy

Reem El Khatib

Prior to my bachelor’s degree in psychology, my father would sit me down and talk to me about the insurance industry’s potential, hoping that one day I would follow his path and that of his brothers. I was, however, fixated on a certain perception that stopped me from delving deeper into this misunderstood field. Upon finishing my bachelor’s, I soon realised that despite my passion for psychology, it was not the right career for me. By that time, I had lost my father and my main source of guidance and advice. I struggled to find a new passion that would give me the same excitement and thrill as that from psychology.

I am lucky enough to come from a family that looks out for each other. Although I lost my father, I had another father figure in my life that I looked up to, my uncle, Wael El Khatib, the Chairman of Lockton MENA. My uncle completed his MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Cass in 1998. Upon completing his degree, he had unknowingly begun a legacy for the Khatibs to follow. Years later, my cousin, Ata El Khatib, followed in his father’s footsteps and also completed his MSc in Insurance and Risk Management at Cass in 2008. Ata is currently Deputy CEO at Lockton MENA.

I think by now you know where this is heading… Ata was not the last Khatib at Cass.  His brother, Faris, also joined Cass in 2012 and completed the same master’s degree. Faris is currently the head of Employee Benefits at Lockton MENA. Obviously, the list continues… In 2016, Zainab, their sister, also joined Cass. Zainab had a similar background to mine where, despite her bachelor’s in linguistics, she decided to venture into the world of insurance. She joined Liberty Specialty Markets in London, around two years ago, in an underwriting assistant role for the Strategic Assets team.

During my phase of confusion, Zainab spent hours talking to me about the beauty of the insurance industry. She described it as “the field that offers you something new every day, the field that challenges your analytical abilities and forces you to think about the unthinkable.” She helped me overcome the misconceptions and helped me acquire a clearer vision of what I wanted. That’s how the fifth member of the Khatib family joined Cass, as I am currently doing my MSc in Insurance and Risk Management.

Faris, Ata and Wael El Khatib

If it wasn’t for my uncle, I wouldn’t be where I am at right now. He encouraged me to join Cass and supported me in every way. They all told me about the strength of Cass’s education system, their remarkable memories at Cass and the unbreakable friendships that they developed. Hence, I knew that Cass was the place to be. There was always a common story that I heard, a story that described my family’s respect towards our professor, Chris Parsons. Professor Parsons managed to teach every member of my family. In the span of 20 years, he met the father, the sons, the daughter and the niece! Which is crazy if you think about it…

Zainab Khatib’s graduation

I am currently creating my own Cass experience, which so far has been indescribable. Not only have I acquired a new family that is so diverse and caring, I am discovering a world that I had no idea existed. Although I am leaning more towards Risk Management at this point, I am enjoying every aspect of the programme. I can’t deny it, it can be challenging sometimes, but I am definitely receiving the appropriate support and knowledge from my professors to help me overcome the obstacles. It is safe to say that my vision of what I want to do after my master’s is becoming clearer. But for the time being, I am planning to take my time in developing this vision. Every day I am learning something new, every day I am falling in love with a different aspect of this field. But, I am sure that Cass will eventually direct me towards establishing my vision.


Reem El-Khatib, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2019)

© 2020 Cass MSc Blog

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Skip to toolbar