We were very lucky in the MBA Risk Management and Insurance specialization to have a special guest visit with us. The speaker was none other than Alex Singla, Senior Partner from McKinsey & Company, and Global Leader of Quantum Black. Along with those credentials, he is also a mentor for the risk stream of the Creative Destruction Lab here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Alex spoke to us about his rich experience in the insurance industry and where he believes it is headed.
The most fascinating thing he said was in response to a question about how he keeps up to date with everything in the industry. He said that the industry is moving so fast that it is impossible to know everything. Instead, it is important to develop pattern recognition so that you can go into unknown situations and figure out what might happen. At no point did he presume that he knew everything. Alex was humble when it came to talking about those around him, stating that one of the best ways to be successful was to know who to ask. Alex indicated that he believed others were far smarter than himself and that the key was to know who could answer the various questions raised.
Alex was a pleasure to talk to and he left us with some valuable advice: Be interesting! He regaled the group with his stories about his gap year where he traveled the world, ran with the bulls, lived in the amazon rainforest for two weeks, and other exciting tales. At the end of the day, companies are just people and they want exciting, fun colleagues. Alex talked about many important things, but I think the piece that will always stick with me is the idea that being a well-rounded person is just as important as having the required skills.