Airmic outgoing chairman Paul Taylor tells StrategicRISK that risk management qualifications must improve and the cult of the MBA is over.

StrategicRISK:  Is there enough emphasis placed on professional development currently?

Paul Taylor: Improving the skill set of risk managers is one of the four key objectives in our longer-term vision. The Airmic academy, which we introduced a few years ago, has been a great success. It has grown and grown and is providing really good education and training on individual subjects for Airmic members. The take up on it is extremely good so practically every course that we run is booked solid.

SR: What do you think the risk management industry need in terms of education?

PT:  I think it needs some well-recognised qualifications. Many of those we have at the moment, like IRM, ARM etc. are fairly good qualifications, but the challenge is to get risk management qualifications recognised outside of the risk management profession. If you ask the average finance director or chief executive of a company at the moment if they’ve heard of any of the risk management qualifications currently available, they will draw a blank.

Part of the plan for Airmic over the next 5-10 years is to help our members promote these qualifications, and we’re working with organisations such as the Institute of Directors on some research with them. The piece of research that we published last year, Roads to Ruin has had a huge amount of traction with external bodies which probably had not really had much to do with Airmic before.  Our research together with a proactive approach to promoting risk management is helping to change that but it’s a slow process.

SR:  Do you believe that the IRM diploma gives risk managers the skills they need in its entirety, or do you believe that they should be pursuing other things like an MBA?

PT: That’s a good question. I think MBAs are becoming less valuable because more people have them these days. They are very good for broad business experience, but I don’t think many of them equip people to do risk management, because the risk management content in an MBA is relatively small. So as a general business qualification, yes MBA’s are good. I think specific to risk management expertise I don’t see a huge amount of value for them for risk managers, except for the fact that MBAs are recognised in the boardroom as a good professional qualification.