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Noah Skillin, MSRM '18

Portrait of Noah Skillin

“Risk is everywhere,” says Noah Skillin, MSRM Class of 2018. “It’s in all organizations, and it’s not going away. We live in risky world; it continues growing, and the question of ‘how do you handle risk’ is a question that any organization faces. Adequately managing risk makes organizations resilient and better able to adapt and grow.” 

This idea—that risk is inherent in all organizations and the mastery of risk management is a crucial key to a business’s longevity and success—was a key driver in Noah’s decision to seek an advanced degree in risk management. One might argue that he was well on his way to mastery: he had recently co-founded Risk Cooperative, a strategy, risk, and insurance advisory firm, and had experience in the risk management field of more than 10 years. But, he says, “I’ve always had a drive and desire to continue broadening my knowledge, for current and future roles. I saw this as an opportunity to invest in myself.” 

Noah searched for a program that would expand his base knowledge, and that would add in a more comprehensive perspective than what he already possessed. Stern delivered, he says: “What the program really gave me was broader experience and expertise. I came to the program with perspective from the insurance side of risk management, whereas a lot of the cohort had a big banking focus and background, so I learned a great deal about what big banks are looking at, and what areas they were most concerned about. This really gives me more of an ability to understand what our clients at Risk Cooperative need, and expand our service offerings.” 

Noah was also drawn to the global exposure the program offered, which he says aligned with what he set out to build with Risk Cooperative. “I had provided international consulting that was focused on risks associated with global energy and renewable energy projects. The MSRM program allowed me to gain deeper expertise in project finance and international risk management,” he says. “The opportunity to go to very different places and experience firsthand different issues that affect different locations was invaluable. And through the guest speakers and professors in each location, I better understood the nuances in risk.”

The cohort and relationships he fostered with his peers—from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences—provided highlights beyond the classroom, Noah says: “We had an intimate cohort by end of the program. You spend every class together, you travel, and you socialize offsite. I’ve gained a lot of lucrative professional relationships, but beyond that, I gained a lot of friendships that will last for a long time.” 

For Noah, the biggest return on investment—in addition to the enriching friendships, broadened experience and international perspective—was the confidence the program gave him. “I feel better suited now for international risk management and more confident in leading the company through challenges. Even when I was in the program, when certain issues at Risk Cooperative would come up, I could apply many of the things we learned directly to those issues without having to wait. It’s given me more gravitas with clients.”