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What to Expect

Group work is a big part of any insurance and risk management student's life.

It's also a challenging part, says Allison Stade. "You really have to pull out all the notes from kindergarten and learn to work well with others," she says.

"Not only is it important that you finish your group work successfully, you must also come out of the project and have people who want to work with you again. In the future, these people could be your colleagues or employers. My advice is to work hard and keep a positive attitude."

Dawn Granata has a bachelor of science in finance and insurance from the University of Illinois. When she was a student, she took about 15 hours of classes each semester. She averaged about two to three hours of homework each day, depending on her courses.

Granata's favorite course was risk management, because students did hands-on work. "We were put into groups and sent out to do risk management audits of companies," she says.

"My group audited a local restaurant, and we learned an incredible amount about what people do and don't know about insurance and loss control. So did the restaurant," Granata says.

"You see all of these pictures in your textbooks about this type of risk, or that type of hazard, but it really drives it home when you see it first-hand in a local establishment. That was a great experience."

How to Prepare

You have to do well in high school, but that's not the end of your preparation. Joining student organizations and being active in the community are also important.

"Getting good grades is only one part of the learning experience," says Stade. "Most university students can get good grades. It is your other experiences that can set you apart from the rest."

"I would recommend that students take an introduction to business class if their school offers one, just so they know what business is all about," Granata says.

"Also, it would be helpful to join the Future Business Leaders of America, or some organization like it."