Michelle Ciancimino, account executive at Travelers Insurance, had always known that she wanted a master’s degree, but she took her time to find the right fit—a program that would help her to expand and deepen her professional network as well as her skills. “After reading about Columbia’s Insurance Management program, I immediately knew that this was the right educational path for me. I was looking for a program that would benefit my job today, rather than 10 years down the line… all of my professors come from the field with an abundance of knowledge,” she says.
The structure of the program, she says, made it easy to work full-time simultaneously and provided her with relevant insights she could immediately incorporate into her work life. She recently discussed how the program is ideal for experienced professionals looking to further their career development.
How have you utilized the networking opportunities available through Columbia?
Columbia has created a network of insurance professionals I will have access to long after I graduate. I truly believe that I have established many new and valuable relationships with my classmates, professors, and guest speakers—all in an online learning and networking environment.
My cohort is full of knowledgeable, career-driven individuals. We have students from across the country and across the globe. We have access to so many different knowledge sets and perspectives, which makes this program even more valuable. It is nice to have a network of professionals with diverse backgrounds to share in this experience.
The program has opened my eyes to areas of the industry I would have never learned about otherwise."
How have you balanced the coursework with your job at Travelers?
The balancing act between my job at Travelers and coursework has been relatively easy. I have always been good at time management and the Columbia staff created the program to accommodate students with full-time jobs. I find that as long as I stick to a schedule, I have no issues getting my work done. The nice thing about an online asynchronous program is that we have the flexibility to do coursework at our convenience.
What skills are you taking from the program into your career?
Columbia’s Insurance Management M.P.S. program has provided me with a well-rounded education that will undoubtedly help me with my career aspirations. The program has opened my eyes to areas of the industry I would have never learned about otherwise. The network created among students and faculty has provided me with access to an infinite amount of market experts. The great thing is that the program is industry- specific; unlike other programs, our courses are specifically tailored to some of the most important and relevant segments of the insurance industry. This program is one of a kind and it has enhanced my skill set already.