After receiving his B.A. in Applied Economics, Business, and Society from the University of Oregon and working for three years in supply chain management, Benhao Li, '22SPS, decided to apply to Columbia University's M.S. in Enterprise Risk Management program. He saw the program as an opportunity to add another dimension to his professional skill set.
While studying at Columbia, Li interned at SCOR, a global reinsurance company. Li and his colleagues competed in the 2021 PRMIA (Professional Risk Managers' International Association) Risk Challenge. The team analyzed a famous currency options desk scandal to propose a modern risk dashboard to address the risk source fully. The team advanced to the Finals of the international competition. In January, Li began a new role as Quant Analytics Senior Associate at J.P. Morgan Chase.
The program teaches students to manage risk and how to be good communicators and team players—all highly beneficial in our future careers.
Why did you choose Columbia's ERM program?
The program's world-class faculty, comprised of leading practitioners from various industries, including Wall Street, bring their experience and market-tested techniques in risk management to the classroom. Previewing the series of Killer Risks, I was fascinated by the teaching method adopted by Program Director Sim Segal. The cases he referred to vividly illustrate the ERM theories, making the learning process smooth and enjoyable.
How have ERM program's resources helped you?
I will recommend that current and future students leverage the resources from the faculty and academic advisors. They are earnest about answering all types of educational and career advice questions. Students need to reach out to their professors since they have a lot of experience and their insights are undoubtedly valuable. I remember applying for my first summer internship at a reinsurance company in 2021. Before the final interview, I called Professor Alan Cheung to seek his advice on preparing for the interview. With his guidance, I did well during the interview and received an offer from that company.
Do you have any career advice for fellow ERM students that you have found helpful?
I came from the non-risk management and non-finance field. The courses in the ERM program taught me the theory and practice of risk management, quantitative modeling, and data analysis. During the actual interviews, I also leveraged the communication skills and knowledge I have practiced from the strategic communication class. Besides, attitude is essential. Many managers care more about your attitude towards learning and how fast you can learn. Don't be shy to ask questions, and never leave open questions.
Learn more about Columbia University’s Enterprise Risk Management program.