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A student team from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia took first place over 27 other university teams to claim the 2019 Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge’s top honor Monday.
The teams competed based on solutions they developed in a case study provided by Swedish furniture retailer Ikea A/S.
In the case study, Robert Zhang, RIMS board director and Ikea China’s risk and compliance director, asked the university teams to identify the top five risks of integrating new physical and digital commerce opportunities for customers and to develop the best risk management program to address the issue.
Members of the winning team were students Joseph Angelina, Kate Branson, Ashley Myers and Daniel Tan, and professor and leader of the risk management and insurance program at St. Joseph’s University, Michael E. Angelina.
Nine university teams of the original 28 that entered the competition were selected to compete at the RIMS conference, and three finalist teams were chosen after the first round of presentations Sunday.
In addition to the winning team, the top three teams included St. Mary’s University which placed second, and Butler University, which placed third. St. Joseph’s University also fielded the winning team in 2017 and placed second in last year’s competition.
The three finalists had made their final presentations at the conference earlier Monday.
Awards to the teams were made during a reception sponsored by the New York-based Spencer Educational Foundation Inc. by Malmo, Sweden-based Tobias Palsson, deputy risk and compliance manager for Ikea.
Mr. Palsson commended the finalists for their presentations, adding: “I joined Ikea quite some years ago, but I only began working in risk and compliance for the last two years. With a clear mission, you can see how we can integrate risk and compliance into the business. It seems like this is not a secondary thought because that is what you have demonstrated today.”
The Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge gives students the opportunity to apply the knowledge they are learning in class to real risk scenarios, said Marya Propis, newly elected chairperson of the Spencer Education Foundation and senior vice president at Hunt Valley, Maryland-based wholesale brokerage All Risks Ltd., during the ceremony.
Ms. Propis said the Spencer Foundation has awarded a record 77 scholarships totaling $452,500 this year to undergraduate and graduate students. Some 41 internship grants of $7,500 each were also awarded by the foundation to risk management departments totaling $307,500, she said.
Ms. Propis also said honorees at Spencer’s Sept. 17 gala to be held in New York City will be Steve DeCarlo, executive chairman of Charlotte, North Carolina-based AmWINS Group Inc.; and David North, president and CEO of Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc. based in Memphis, Tennessee.
During the ceremony, Mr. Zhang expressed his gratitude to Spencer, RIMS and his employer Ikea for “making this happen for all of us.”
Mr. Zhang also urged students to bring their risk management skills into an industry they could “fall in love with.”
“I certainly found my love in the retail and consumer industry, and I do hope all the young rising stars will find an industry where you find your inspiration for many years to come,” he said.
Earlier Monday at the finalists’ presentation, Joshua Lamangan, senior membership manager for RIMS in New York, thanked the Spencer Educational Foundation for the support that helped the teams get to this week’s conference and present their solutions.
Because of the foundation’s work, “countless students have been given opportunities that have changed their lives in many positive ways,” Mr. Lamangan said.
Spencer and RIMS have been jointly hosting the Risk Management Challenge since 2015, said Ms. Propis.
“Consistency and partnership have been the hallmark of the long-standing relationship that Spencer and RIMS have enjoyed,” she said.
Other teams that competed in the challenge were from Appalachian State University, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Florida State University, Fudan University, Temple University and the University of Georgia.
To view the complete Wednesday edition of the Business Insurance RIMS Show Daily, click here.
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