NORMAL — The risk management and insurance program at Illinois State University's Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services is among four nationwide to be named a “top performer” by Best's Review, an insurance news magazine.
The magazine used surveys of readers and insurance professionals and interviews with hiring managers and human resources professionals responsible for recruiting college students at 28 of the nation's largest insurance carriers and brokerages.
This is the first year the magazine has done the rankings.
“Four schools stood out as top performers,” the magazine reported. In addition to ISU, the magazine also placed programs at Florida State University, Temple University and the University of Georgia in the top category. The four schools were listed alphabetically, not ranked.
Ajay Samant, dean of the ISU College of Business, said, “When the premier insurance rating agency in the country ranks our insurance program among the top four in the U.S., we have reached an elevated level of national and international visibility.”
The remaining categories were strong performers, popular performers and contenders. ISU was the only Illinois school mentioned in any category.
The magazine reported that the common traits recognized among the top performers were that their graduates have a “deep understanding of the insurance industry” and “a shorter learning curve,” enabling them to more quickly have an impact.
In the magazine, Jim Jones, director of ISU's Katie Center for Insurance and Financial Services, outlined some of the opportunities for learning outside the classroom.
The program offers a Certificate in Leadership and Business Acumen that requires students to earn points through such activities as doing a research project and a consulting project for an insurance client, attending presentations by speakers and participating in workshops on “soft skills,” including how to negotiate and how to give presentations.
About 200 students are enrolled in the risk management and insurance program.
Jones said the recognition from Best's Review was particularly rewarding because it came from the insurance industry.
“It recognizes something that we always suspected was true,” said Jones. “It was interesting that it seemed to be fairly clear the universities that were Top Performers had the industry connections. I think that's one of our distinguishing features.”