INSEAD Participant Interview

Judging and Managing Risk in Banks: Getting the Whole Picture at INSEAD

Professor Bruno Colmant, Ph.D., CFA, FRM

Partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Former member of ING Executive Committee
Former President of Brussels Stock Exchange (member of Euronext)

June 2013

Managing risk is one of the banking world's foremost concerns. Here, Prof. Bruno Colmant explains why he decided to enrol on INSEAD's Strategic Management in Banking programme in 1995 and again on the Risk Management in Banking in 2013.

Can you please introduce yourself?

I am a finance teacher who has worked for ING (Member of the Executive Committee), the stock exchange (Brussels Stock Exchange and NYSE EURONEXT) and AGEAS.

What made you decide to come on the Strategic Management in Banking programme in 1995?

I had heard good things about the programme and I wanted to get some formal training on strategic management in the world of banking. I liked the programme a lot.

Was having done Strategic Management in Banking a big influence on your decision to complete the Risk Management in Banking programme in 2013?

Yes. However, my motivation for coming back was different in 2013. Whereas in 1995 I wanted to get some formal training (I was just starting out in my career); in 2013, I viewed coming back to INSEAD as more of a refresh. I wanted to get the latest updates from a theoretical point of view.

Having done both, do you feel that the programmes complement each other?

The two programmes are very different and look at banking from two different angles. However, I feel I leant a lot from both, especially when it comes to the perception of risk.  

I found that each time, the content was very current and up-to-date. In 1995, it was mainly about transformation risk, interest rate risk. In 2013, Jean Dermine had really adapted and updated the content to reflect current issues in the banking world.

What was common to both programmes was that quality of the content was very good. It was consistent throughout the years. 

What were you expecting from the programmes and were these expectations met?

I was expecting to gain an awareness of issues in banking. I also wanted a refresh and to update my knowledge of how people look at risk. In both respects, the programmes delivered.

Did you find yourself learning new knowledge?

Definitely. I learnt a lot and in fact use a lot of it in my own teaching. I now have strong perceptions of risk and the programmes changed the way I looked at issues in banking.

What were some of your key takeaways?

There were many. Most important of all was to realise you need to approach risk in many ways. You need to think about it from different angles.

Do you feel that the programmes to speak to markets the world over?

Most definitely. For example, the focus of Risk Management in Banking was not the European sovereign crisis. It was a generic programme applicable around the world.

Those on the programmes with you? Was it a diverse group?

I was a very diverse and interesting group. The main source of learning was from the teaching. However, I learnt also from the participants. The calibre of those on the programme was very good and it helps a lot. It helps having people who have a lot of experience.

What did you think of the teaching?

Jean is very good. I’ve known him for years. We taught together a few years ago and he is very reputable. He does a lot research and he brings a lot of knowledge to the table. He encouraged interaction and the sharing of experience among the group.

Was there a good mix of theory and practical on the programmes?

There was a good balance between strategic issues and tactics. Most people go to INSEAD to get a theoretical refresh and in that respect the programmes delivered. And the content is up-to-date and current.

Why did you choose INSEAD?

Mostly because of the reputation of the school. You feel you are in an INSEAD bubble when you are here.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Strategic Management in Banking or Risk Management in Banking? How would you describe the programmes?

I would say that it is a good week in which to get a theoretical and practical update of the important issues in banking. It’s great to be out of Paris and in Fontainebleau because it helps isolate you from all distractions. I would do it again in five years time to get another refresh.

How would you suggest participants get the most out of the programme?

Turn off the phone. Read everything and participate actively.

Interested in INSEAD's banking programmes? Find out more about Risk Management in Banking and Strategic Management in Banking, or contact Mark Hoggarth, the programme advisor, on +33 (0)1 60 72 40 38 or at mark.hoggarth@insead.edu.

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