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Kimberly Ernest, Senior Consultant Risk Advisory at Deloitte NL

Alumna Risk Management for Financial Institutions

I work at Deloitte, across the street from the Vrije Universiteit. At the start of my career, I knew that I wanted to further deepen myself in the financial sector. The combination between my client work and RMFI has enabled me to provide better advice to banks and insurers.

Banks and insurance companies were still a black box for me when I started at Risk Advisory. The field is quite complex, due to legislation and regulations. Because of the complexity of my job, my desire to understand how everything works and what goes on in the financial sector got stronger. This curiosity triggered me to register for the Risk Management for Financial Institutions (RMFI) programme at the Vrije Universiteit.

I was looking for a dynamic programme and wanted something different from the regular audit postmaster programmes. That is how I ended up at RMFI, a unique and specialistic programme only offered at the VU. A colleague completed this programme two years ago, she was very positive about it. After having spoken to her and looked at the curriculum, I knew I wanted to do this study too.

My time at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The diversity in the lectures appealed to me. The first module deals with the basics of risk management. After that, we explored topics such as laws, regulations and ethics. I expected those topics to be quite dull, but the more we learned about them, the more I started appreciating them. It helped me to develop my professional views and insights on many levels.

Topics such as Financial Risk Management, quantitative research and the behavioural component in risk management are also profoundly discussed during lectures. It is this diversity in topics that makes RMFI very dynamic. It really increases career opportunities, in many directions.

The challenge

Finding the right combination between working and studying was challenging at times. Especially in the beginning, this took me more effort than my fellow students, who already had about 10 to 15 years of work experience in risk management. So, it was tough at times, but I'm really glad I did it. I have learned a lot in the past two years.

Applicability of the study material

A lot of what I have learned, I can immediately apply to my work. At Deloitte, for example, we are very responsive to current events regarding legislation and regulations. Keeping an eye on current events is something I have learned at RMFI.

In general, I have learned to assess situations that I encounter with customers much better. I have a clearer overview of, for example, the business models of banks and insurance companies, which gives me an edge over many colleagues.

I would strongly recommend the RMFI programme to others. Pursuing a post-graduate degree really complements your career. Especially when you have just started working, RMFI is an excellent foundation for your further career. You get a lot out of it and it changes your way of thinking. It was a challenge, but I am really glad I did it.

Kimberly Ernest

"A lot of what I have learned, I can immediately apply to my work."