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Hands-On Learning Drew Him In

By Linda Barrett

January 11, 2023

Joshua Berman

When Josh Berman (MBA ’16), was seeking an MBA program, it was Wisconsin’s Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) specialization that won him over, primarily for its hands-on applied learning projects. “Completing the program was one of the best decisions of my life,” he reflected.

Josh graduated with a degree in finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and began his insurance career at GEICO, where he received robust training in their intense and highly regarded Management Development Program. During his four years with GEICO, Josh prepared for and held management roles covering key aspects of insurance operations, including product management, product development, and general and specialized claims management.  

Josh sought his MBA to refine his expertise and expand the range of opportunities in the field. He knew UW-Madison’s RMI MBA program was respected as one of the best in the field. It was just what he was looking for to complement his background.

“The applied learning projects really drew me in, as I have always valued hands-on learning,” Josh explained. He gained admission and immersed himself in the program.

With the education and experiences he gained at the University of Wisconsin MBA RMI program, Josh landed an Assistant Director role at The Hartford upon graduation. This job laid the foundation for his future in the field of commercial insurance. 

He completed large, multi-dimensional applied learning projects with United Airlines Holdings, Inc. and Trek Bicycle Corporation during his time as a student. These valuable projects provided practical knowledge, skills, and connections that helped him land his MBA internship at The Hartford. As a result of a successful internship, he was able to secure a more senior role at The Hartford in his first post-MBA position. 

Joan Schmit, RMI MBA Academic Director, encouraged Josh to take intense risk-modeling and accounting elective classes, which proved to be extremely valuable. While at The Hartford, Josh worked very closely with actuaries. He said, “That risk-modeling class was extremely beneficial in analyzing loss development and planning. It would have been impossible to excel at my role without that class.” Personalized guidance in his MBA was key to his success on the job.

Currently, Josh uses his financial analytics skills as Assistant Vice President – Public Company Management Liability Underwriter at Zurich North America. He underwrites Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance, and Representations and Warranties (R&W) insurance (insurance used in acquisition or merger agreements). He is involved with intense, highly complex work with publicly traded Fortune 100 companies. Josh noted that the RMI MBA program prepared him well for his role.

Josh spends his free time with his wife and three kids. He enjoys traveling, running, Pilates, and watching the Badgers during basketball and football seasons.

Josh summed up his experience by sharing, “I can’t say enough great things about Wisconsin’s RMI MBA program. I was pushed to my limits in many different ways by professors that truly cared about my learning and success. Completing the program was one of the best decisions of my life.”