Bcom Internal Auditing
My Journey with IRMSA
The Initial Contact
During the month of October I was fortunate to partake in an international internship program with the Cruywagen Institute of Risk Management and the Katie School of Insurance in Illinois, Chicago. A few months earlier I went through the interview and selection process at the IRMSA offices. To be in a boardroom presenting and being interviewed by industry leaders in the field of risk management was nerve wrecking. The Internship program was three-weeks long, with myself and Rethabile Motholo, spending two weeks in Illinois. The last week was based back in South Africa, in and around Gauteng and we were joined by Altus Combrink.
We arrived in Chicago on the 1st of October and immediately toured the city. This had been my first time out of the country and I was fortunate that the USA would be my first destination. The city of Chicago is littered with massive buildings, there is an abundance of art and history. We spent the first three days at the Union League Club of Chicago, a private club with much history and art behind it. I am a big fan of the arts and the Union League Club has a great collection of art pieces. I viewed my first Claude Monet painting at the Union League, walking and exploring each floor with its own style and heritage. While in Chicago we went on a water ride around the city, sight-seeing the beautifully constructed buildings and learning about the heritage of Chicago.
During our stay in Chicago we were fortunate to attend the Hall of Fame Awards, an evening Gala honoring leaders in the field of insurance. At the awards we got to network and build ties with individuals from all over Illinois. As part of the program we attended classes at the Katie School of Insurance learning about insurance and it’s application in the US market. As well we had corporate visits, meeting with insurance managers at State Farm, Country Financial, Mesirow Financial and Allianz to name but a few. This provided us the opportunity to interact and learn from practicing professionals. It was very fascinating to see how business is advancing, many of the insurance companies invest heavily in Information systems and technology in operating their business. This exposed us to the development of companies and how they are competing on the global landscape. Todays companies do not solely focus on core operations, albeit to stay competitive they have to learn and adapt to changes in technology if they are to remain relevant. This development requires large investments being made and the difficult task of finding synergies between these systems and your normal operations.
On the touring side of Bloomington-Normal we visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum where we got to learn about the history of Abraham Lincoln and the great leaps he took to build and unite the USA. Learning about Abraham Lincoln and the difficulties he had to endure to achieve all that he did inspires me to strive through challenges and to never lose sight of the end goal.
The second part of our internship took place back home in Gauteng. The program was one week in duration with us making corporate visits at Tsogo Sun, Nedbank, Marsh, Treasury and Imperial. During this period we met with risk managers from across the different spheres of risk management. I found this week to be more relative as they were businesses operating in my home market. It was also fascinating to see the different types of risk events managed in our home market. Some memorable moments from this week were walking through the Pallazo at Monte Casino, going on an art tour around the Nedbank buildings, and walking through the freezer facilities at Imperial.
I have grown and learnt a lot during this short period. From this experience I have learnt a lot on the application of risk management and insurance. More than anything I have realized that dreams are achievable. During our stay in the USA I witnessed firsthand the dedication and hard work that scholars put in their future. I can say that I am now more than ever determined to be a future fit risk manager!
A big thank you to the IRMSA-CIRF and the Katie School of Insurance on establishing and running this exceptional educational program. I am truly humbled and empowered to develop a career in the field of risk management and in future to add to the body of knowledge on risk management. Thank you
Pictures of my Journey