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A Path from Gaming to Managing Risk

By Linda Barrett

September 29, 2022

Patrick Mullikin posing inside American Family Insurance's Spark building

“I’m a bit of a gaming connoisseur.” –Patrick Mullikin

And that is easy to understand. During Patrick Mullikin’s (RMI MBA ’19) undergraduate program in video game development, he and his classmates started their own video game development studio. After Patrick graduated, he worked with a new group of classmates to start a second game development studio and spent his free time designing and developing games.

With his undergraduate degree in hand, Patrick relied on his technology background and banking experience to transition into supporting the online channel at a financial institution. His accountabilities grew to encompass user-testing efforts where he turned manual processes into automated ones, improving overall efficiency. Noticing challenges with the way teams were communicating and solving problems across divisions, he knew that his next step was to explore an MBA program so that he could be part of a business’s strategic solutions. He decided to specialize in Risk Management and Insurance after realizing that his work problems—both in his day job and his gaming studios—resulted from people not adequately weighing risks when making workplace decisions. Patrick exclaimed, “We need to quantify and discuss the risk!”

Therefore, Patrick enrolled in the Risk Management and Insurance specialization of the Wisconsin MBA. He said it was a great decision; it was the right time commitment and the right set of knowledge and skills that he needed to propel himself forward. An important consideration in his decision was that “the insurance and risk management field is aging and having trouble engaging both sought-after younger and high-end talent. There are more positions than people available to fill them.” He said that he and his classmates learned specific knowledge that can be applied broadly to many settings.

American Family Insurance has been Patrick’s employer post-MBA. Relying on his technology background along with his newly acquired skills in both business acumen and risk management and insurance, he started as a Digital Transformation Consultant and has moved on as a Finance & Performance Advisor, reporting on a multimillion-dollar budget.

While Patrick is very satisfied and pleasingly challenged in his current position, he thinks again about game development. Developing a game that would educate people about types of insurance, types of risk, ways to protect their home, and other topics is entertaining to Patrick. Knowing his quick mind and attention to detail, he will be successful at the endeavor if he chooses to get started.