The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) speaks to Marcin Wojdyna, Enterprise Risk Management Specialist at Hutchison 3G UK Ltd on what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips they’d share with people looking to move into the industry.
How did you get your job?
Every job I ever had has led to the next one, bigger and better. I started my career at Three working in the sales department. I always had a keen interest in general governance and wanted to know how different processes work and how we protect our customers from bad agents. I was good at spotting fraudsters which helped me secure a role in the Credit Risk team first (where I was an underwriter) and then the Fraud Risk team where I had the opportunity to help shape Three’s approach to customer protection. Once you have experienced credit and fraud risk, the natural next step is to progress into risk management itself – luckily, a new team was being formed, tasked with establishing the enterprise risk management at Three and my experience and skills were exactly what was needed.
What’s a typical day like as an Enterprise Risk Management Specialist?
It is a bit of a cliché to say that no day is the same, but it is true. Some days are spent riding the desk, preparing reports and presentations for governance fora, while others are all about stakeholder engagement – the actual risk management.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Risk management is all about relationships – building and maintaining engagement and open communication with stakeholders across the business. Successfully implemented ERM allows the opportunity to explore all areas of the business (including those behind closed doors, particularly interesting if you’re a naturally curious person like I am) and help support its success by asking the right questions to challenge people’s perceptions of what’s important to achieve their objectives, identify what can go wrong and prevent (or at the very least minimise) the negative impacts.
What are the challenges?
Perception. Governance functions in general are often perceived as blockers when in fact we are business enablers. We exist to serve the best interests of the companies we work for. Changing how risks (and different risk management and compliance functions) are seen is equally as big of a job as the risk management.
What made you decide to study the International Certificate in ERM?
I have been lucky enough to work with senior risk colleagues who have obtained their professional qualifications through IRM or by studying at a university and was always impressed by their technical knowledge and expertise. I knew that if I wanted to pursue a career in risk, I had to up my game – being recognised by the Institute of Risk Management is a badge of honour.
What has it taught you that you can immediately put into practice?
IRMCert provided me with a fundamental understanding of the risk management principles and practices and gave me the extra confidence to apply my knowledge to help shape the future of risk management in my current or future roles.
What would you say to other people considering studying the qualification?
Studying for the IRMCert challenges your understanding of risk management as a discipline and provides you with the essential tools for a successful career.
Make sure a career in risk management is what you want to do with your life – studying will require a lot of your time and attention, and you should never buy a farm if you do not have the time to water your crops.
Many businesses now require a professional qualification like IRMCert to even be considered for a risk management role – having relevant experience AND the “IRMCert” post-nominal initials will make you stand out.
If you are not already part of the governance structures at your business, get to know your risk and compliance teams. Show people that you are interested in what they do, ask a lot of questions to learn “on the job” and build and maintain your relationships with them – it can go a long way when an opportunity arises to join the team.
Check if your business has a training budget for professional qualifications – if you are fortunate enough, your employer will not only support your application but allow you to focus on your “off the job learning” during the day and throughout the learning period.
Do not forget about nurturing your soft skills. People work with people, and being affable, assertive and emotionally intelligent goes a long way.