MBA in Insurance & Risk Management (IRM)


Risk touches every organization. Those who know how to manage it, avoid it, and cope with it, are indispensable. With risk management professionals expected to be in high demand, more and more companies are looking to hire professionals who have advanced degrees in the subject.

Transformational trends in the modern business landscape present strategic risks that threaten to undermine both operations and value propositions across practically every sector, especially in the field of insurance, where there’s a renewed call for high-level expertise and leadership.

Insurance underwriters, claims investigators, financial managers, labor relations managers, risk management consultants, organizational planning directors, inventory administrators, benefits and wage managers can advance their career prospects and professional expertise by obtaining a deep and specialized understanding of the insurance and risk management sector that goes above and beyond the usual MBA curriculum.

In today’s business terrain (and in these programs), strategic thinking is at a premium. Students learn to not only identify potential risks, but also to develop and enforce procedures to mitigate those risks, and do so in an efficient, data-driven, and tactical way.

All MBA programs that specialize in risk management cover loss prevention techniques, unique accounting systems, and in-depth explorations of otherwise siloed areas like labor laws, employee benefits, and derivative risks. But programs that deliver this in an online format allow young professionals to continue to advance their careers while concurrently advancing their education.

Whether it’s through implementing computer-based simulation models, tuning organizational management practices for a more nuanced approach, or efficiently outpacing waves of regulatory and market disruption, the financial industry needs risk management professionals educated in the forward-thinking paradigms of the 21st century.

Featured Insurance & Risk Management (IRM) Programs
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Featured Online MBA in Insurance & Risk Management (IRM) Programs

1University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business SchoolView Full Profile

Rated one of the very best online MBA programs in the nation, the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School incorporates a uniquely virtual curriculum (the MBA@UNC) that involves face-to-face virtual classes, multimedia coursework, and virtual information sessions hosted by alumni and executives to mirror in-person recruiting sessions.

After taking core courses in introductory finance and financial accounting, students pursuing the investment management specialization take electives such as corporate finance, derivatives, financial statement analysis, information for decision making, incentives and strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and taxes and business strategy. In addition, students may enroll in select courses at partner schools.

The program consists of 66 credits and requires students to attend two global immersions. These are three-day intensive learning experiences where students travel to major business centers around the world. GMAT or GRE scores are required, but waiver applications exist for students with significant and relevant work or academic experience.

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Accreditation: AACSB
Expected Time to Completion: 18 to 36 months
Estimated Tuition: $2,025 per credit

Utica College’s online MBA with a specialization in insurance and risk management is designed to give graduates a career-focused skill-set in an in-demand business sector by providing a customizable curriculum with a strong analytical basis. The business core focuses on principles of leadership, financial fluency, data-driven decision making, the global consumer market and its logistics, and strategy.

The insurance and risk management specialization (one of seven available) comprises four classes, which cover insurance and risk management fundamentals, property and casualty risk management for business, insuring and managing risk for the person, and managing risk across enterprise.

A final capstone project focuses on practical applications and the strategic execution of all learned material. The program totals 30 credits and can be completed entirely online. No GMAT or GRE scores are required.

Location: Utica, New York
Accreditation: ACBSP Candidate
Expected Time to Completion: Two years
Estimated Tuition: $700 per credit
3St. John’s University, Tobin College of BusinessView Full Profile

Taught by an internationally distinguished faculty, the online MBA program at St. John’s University focuses on case studies, real-world projects, and global perspectives so that graduates can gain a cross-functional understanding of both the interconnected business landscape and the nuanced specializations within it. Core coursework makes up the bulk of the program, with nine classes that cover topics such as industrial economics, global financial and managerial reporting, decisions in marketing management, and law and ethics.

As part of the risk management and insurance concentration (one of three possible tracks), students take classes in property-liability insurance and reinsurance, life-health insurance and employee benefits, and trading risk in the global reinsurance market. The program consists of 36 credits and may be completed entirely online. GMAT scores are required but can be waived for qualified applicants.

Location: Queens, New York
Accreditation: AACSB
Expected Time to Completion: 1.5 to three years, with full time and part-time options available
Estimated Tuition: $1,320 per credit
4Walden University– College of Management and TechnologyView Full Profile

Students who want to design their own insurance and risk management study program can do that through the self-designed online MBA at Walden University’sCollege of Management and Technology. The program consists of a total of 30 semester credit hours. Eighteen credit hours are in core courses, and three are the capstone course, but the remaining nine are entirely up to the student’s discretion.

Even online students have access to the outstanding student resources available at Walden, including the writing lab, faculty office hours, and their MBA success planner. With no GRE or GMAT testing requirements, admission to this program can be accessible to many students. In fact, the primary consideration is if applicants have completed an undergraduate degree or not.

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Accreditation: ACBSP
Expected Time to Completion: Minimum of three semesters
Estimated Tuition: $965 per credit
5Concordia University, Batterman School of Business

The online MBA with a focus in risk assessment and management at Concordia University brings a uniquely Christian lens to the world of financial risk and offers the chance to learn and engage with a wide spectrum of perspectives that are represented by a diverse student body—over 40 percent of which is international.

In a nine-course core curriculum, students take courses in topics such as managerial economics, ethics and organizational leadership, applied statistical methods, corporate finance, and strategic management. For the risk assessment and management concentration, students choose classes from areas like fraud management, corporate risk management, loss prevention, securities analysis, and statutory accounting. Students synthesize their learning in the completion of a capstone project.

The program consists of 39 credits and can be completed entirely online. No GMAT or GRE scores are required.

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Accreditation: IACBE (International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education)
Expected Time to Completion: One to two years
Estimated Tuition: $760 per credit

The online MBA programs at Northcentral University feature a mentorship approach that offers one-on-one, individualized interaction with a doctoral faculty. All students take 18 units of foundational courses, which cover topics such as managerial decision making, business in the 21st century, innovation and marketing, and strategic knowledge studies.

The financial management specialization equips students to evaluate the health of an organization, legal compliance issues, ethical concerns of stakeholders, and social responsibility as it relates to the conduct of business. Courses in the specialization delve into corporate finance, financial statement analysis, accounting for nonprofit organizations, and international finance.

A capstone business simulation tests knowledge and assumptions in an immersive and competitive real-world environment. The program consists of 30 credits and can be completed entirely online. No GMAT or GRE scores are required.

Location: San Diego, California
Accreditation: WSCUC
Expected Time to Completion: 16 to 41 months
Estimated Tuition: $33,620 in total
7Florida State University– College of Business

Florida State University’s College of Business offers several online MBA options including one in insurance and risk management. This program can be completed part-time in seven semesters. Students in this program develop keen critical thinking skills in order to make critical decisions that can help shape the insurance and risk landscape. Since this program can be completed without having to relocate, students can work while attending school. This allows them to apply the skills they are learning directly in their workplace.

There are two tracks students can choose within the insurance and risk management concentration: financial planning or risk management. Both programs require students to complete a total of 39 credits.

Specialized courses students can take as part of this program include fundamentals of risk and insurance, risk management in the business enterprise, and employee benefit plans.

Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Accreditation: AACSB
Expected Time to Completion: Seven semesters
Estimated Tuition: $810.24 per credit
8University of Colorado Denver– Business School

One of the 15 specializations at the University of Colorado Denver’s Business School is in risk management and insurance. This specialization is offered online, allowing students the flexibility to complete their studies on their own time. Students can complete the program in as little as 16 months or can take up to five years to complete their coursework. Graduates will understand the risks that individuals face and how businesses can establish policies to protect themselves.

According to CU Denver, over 50 percent of the insurance and risk management workforce is projected to retire over the next decade. That makes this career particularly lucrative and, over the past few years, they have placed 100 percent of their graduates in jobs in this field. Students have the opportunity to participate in paid internships as well as a study abroad opportunity in London, in order to gain hands-on experience in this career.

Location: Denver, Colorado
Accreditation: AACSB
Expected Time to Completion: 16 months to five years
Estimated Tuition: $731 per credit
9University of South Florida– Muma College of Business

An undergraduate degree in business is not required in order to complete the online MBA at the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. Students with any degree from an accredited institution are encouraged to apply to the program. Those without a background in business will be required to take 16 credits in foundation business classes. For students interested in risk management there is a unique concentration in compliance, risk, and anti-money laundering. Many students who want to go on to work in the financial sector choose this specialization.

All students must complete 33 credits to graduate. The compliance and risk specialization requires an additional 14 credits in classes such as forensic accounting and legal compliance, database management, and accounting systems audit, control, and security. Admission requirements for this program include an undergraduate degree, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, GRE or GMAT scores, and a completed application.

Location: Tampa, Florida
Accreditation: AACSB
Expected Time to Completion: Three semesters full time, three years part-time
Estimated Tuition: $750 per credit for core, elective, and capstone courses; foundation courses are $535 per credit
10University of Nebraska Omaha– College of Business Administration

There are numerous options for completing an MBA through the University of Nebraska Omaha’s College of Business Administration. These include full-time, part-time, online, hybrid, and evening or weekend courses. There are ten concentrations to choose from, including one in risk management. The emphasis in the risk management concentration is on identifying and managing various kinds of risk. Courses students can take include multinational financial management, financial accounting theory, e-commerce security, and security risk management and assessment.

Courses are offered in eight-week sessions during the spring and fall and in four-week intensives during the summer. To graduate, students must earn a total of 33 credit hours. Twenty-four credit hours are in core coursework, and the remaining nine are in electives. Typically, the electives are part of a concentration.

Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Accreditation: AACSB
Expected Time to Completion: Two years
Estimated Tuition: $807 per credit

Professors to Know in Online MBA in Insurance & Risk Management (IRM) Programs

  • Mark J. Browne, PhD St. John's University

    Dr. Mark J. Browne is the faculty chair for the School of Risk Management at Saint John's University Tobin School of Business, where he teaches classes on corporate risk management. He received his MA and PhD in risk management and insurance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Huebner fellow. Dr. Browne has served as president of the American Risk and Insurance Association, the Risk Theory Society, and the European Group of Risk and Insurance Economists.

    With his research appearing in numerous scholarly journals, Dr. Browne is frequently contacted by the media for expert comment on the areas he specializes in, and he testified before the US Senate committee on banking, housing, and urban affairs after Hurricane Katrina. He received the Beta Gamma Sigma Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence and the American Risk and Insurance Association's Excellence in Teaching Award, among many other accolades.

  • Jennifer Conrad, PhD University of North Carolina

    Dr. Jennifer Conrad is the Dalton L. McMichael senior distinguished professor of finance at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. She received her MBA and PhD from the University of Chicago. An award-winning professor, she teaches classes in financial management and investments. Her early research focused on the causes of predictable patterns in investment returns, and trading strategies related to such patterns like contrarian investing.

    Currently, she is exploring the relationship between credit default swaps and the equity market, as well as the determinants and effects of high-frequency trading. Dr. Conrad has served on the board of directors of the American Finance Association, the Western Finance Association, and the Financial Management Association.

  • Stephanie R. Nesbitt, JD Utica College

    Stephanie R. Nesbitt is the director of Utica College's MBA and RMI programs, as well as an assistant professor of risk management and insurance. She received her JD from the University of Buffalo School of Law, and her MBA from Syracuse University.

    Prior to joining Utica's faculty, Ms. Nesbitt worked as a risk manager and associate counsel for Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare. An accomplished featured speaker at several national and regional conferences, her talks focus on topics such as the impact of risk management on healthcare quality, insurance cost allocation methods, and individual and team accountability to improve healthcare quality. Ms. Nesbitt is a member of the American Society of Hospital Risk Managers.

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog is a writer and freelancer who has been living abroad since 2016. His nonfiction has been published by Euromaidan Press, Cirrus Gallery, and Our Thursday. Both his writing and his experience abroad are shaped by seeking out alternative lifestyles and counterculture movements, especially in developing nations. You can follow his travels through Eastern Europe and Central Asia on Instagram at @weirdviewmirror. He’s recently finished his second novel, and is in no hurry to publish it.