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College of Business receives support for new program

August 19, 2013

A gift of $150,000 from the IMA Foundation has put CSU's College of Business one step closer to launching an innovative program to train students to hold responsible positions in the insurance and risk management fields.

“This is an important gift that will help continue and expand the department's work in risk management and insurance,” said John Elder, interim chair of the Department of Finance and Real Estate. “We are thankful that the donors have entrusted our department to be good stewards of this gift.”

The Enterprise Risk Management and Insurance (ERMI) program will encompass not only new coursework within the finance concentration taught by CSU’s nationally renowned faculty, but also a center to serve as an important conduit for industry collaboration on outreach, education, and research.

Supporting creation, scholarships

The gift from IMA will be used in part to support creation of the program and in part to help endow scholarships for undergraduate students specializing in ERMI.

“We are proud to be one of the founding partners of the ERMI program at CSU,” said Rob Cohen, Chairman and CEO of The IMA Financial Group, Inc. “We see the need within the insurance industry for a new generation of professionals dedicated to our standards of excellence, innovation, and collaboration, and are excited to help Colorado State create the preeminent ERMI program in the Rocky Mountain region.”

Benefiting future students

The target date for the launch of the ERMI curriculum is fall semester 2014, according to Vickie Bajtelsmit, finance professor and current director of the master’s program in Financial Risk Management in the College of Business, who will be charged with leading the new program.

“The identification and assessment of collective risk to firms has evolved into an important mainstream business discipline, yet there is a definite shortage of academic programs addressing ERMI in the U.S. and especially in our region,” she said. “For several years, our department has seen risk management as an overarching theme throughout the finance curriculum. The ERMI component is an important one that we look forward to implementing with the support of partners like IMA.”

The ultimate beneficiaries will be future students at Colorado State University. Figures from 2012 show that the job placement rate for graduates of similar programs is nearly 100 percent, but those graduates fill only about 15 percent of job openings, indicating the great demand within the industry.

The goal is to gather equal support from 10 founding corporate partners by the end of the year.

The IMA Foundation

The IMA Foundation, which was created shortly after the creation of the company, historically has been funded with the company’s profits. As an employee-owned company, this demonstrates IMA’s commitment to the community and it is an important aspect of our business. With our associates at the core of our business, the goal of the IMA Foundation is to represent the passions of these individuals. The IMA Foundation emphasizes organizations that our associates are proud to be a part of within the foundation focus areas, including enhancing economic vitality, advancing youth, arts and culture and health and wellness.

The IMA Financial Group, Inc. is a diversified financial services company specializing in risk management, insurance and employee benefits solutions with nearly 500 employees and offices in seven markets across the nation.