While college seniors across the country prepared for their last undergrad finals and applied for jobs, William Thorsson and his Fox School of Business peers flew to Denver, Co., for a national competition in which they gave a presentation in front of 100 risk management industry leaders.
On April 30, moments after finalist presentations ended, Gabriel and her three teammates learned they won the Risk and Insurance Management Society’s inaugural Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge.
“I wasn’t actually in the room when our victory was announced, so I didn’t believe it right away,” the senior risk insurance and healthcare management major said. “I was beyond excited when it sunk in.”
The competition has taken place for the last three years. This was the first year the conference was hosted at the RIMS conference, and the second consecutive year Temple University’s Fox School team won.
“It’s a testament to their hard work and training,” said Professor Robert Drennan, chair of Fox’s risk, insurance and healthcare management department. “We’ve always felt our undergraduate program at the Fox School is the very best in the country. A lot of objective evidence points to that, and this victory is just one more piece of evidence.”
Thorsson and his teammates Cathleen Gabriel, Martin Leicht and Steven Costa entered the challenge back in February when they and the 14 other contestants were presented with a risk management situation for Snap-on Inc. Each team had to respond to a proposal and create a presentation to win Snap-on’s business.
Each team submitted proposals to RIMS and by March, judges narrowed the running to nine teams. The nine schools were invited to the annual RIMS conference in Denver and gave oral presentations to a panel of 10 judges.
At the conference, judges chose narrowed the competition to three finalist teams who gave their presentation in front of industry leaders and professionals on the conference’s last day.
The Fox School team was awarded $4,000 for their first place victory. Florida State University and the Virginia Commonwealth University, won second ($3,000) and third ($2,000) places, respectively.
Thorsson was also thrilled for the exposure to the industry the challenge provided to him and his team.
“It highlights how fortunate we are to have a such a great risk management program and how, as Fox students, we’re given a holistic view of business,” he says.
Gabriel, who accepted a job at America International Group (AIG) Inc., says the entire challenge experience and victory made her grateful for the quality of education she received at Fox.
“Everything I’ve learned in the classroom, I’ve been able to apply to real life situations,” Gabriel says. “Attending and winning the Spencer-RIMS Challenge with my teammates was an amazing way to end a tremendous college career.”