Master of Accounting (MAC) - ERM Concentration Curriculum

As the world becomes increasing more complex, the speed of change creates greater amounts of uncertainty that can impact (both positively and negatively) organizations overnight.

Boards and senior management teams are realizing the need to more proactively (versus reactively) manage risks to their business models and strategic plans. Thus, risk management is becoming an expected core competency of all individuals who seek to be in executive leadership positions.

Unfortunately, while most undergraduate and graduate business schools educate students about specific risk issues affecting businesses today, few offer courses specifically focused on training the next generation of executives on issues affecting enterprise-wide risk management. NC State is unique in its offering of a series of courses related to ERM that builds on the ERM Initiative’s international reputation as an important thought leader on the topic of enterprise risk management. 

ERM Concentration

Poole College of Management graduate students and other graduate students across NC State have a unique opportunity to take advantage of three courses specifically focused on enterprise risk management:

  • Overview of Enterprise Risk Management
  • Introduction to Data Analytics
  • ERM Practicum   


Mark Beasley or Bruce Branson


Summer and Fall


Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is an integrated process of identifying, assessing and managing the overall risks of an organization that provides a broader framework for managing risk while maximizing shareholder value in the today’s complex environment. Effective ERM is based on policies and processes that are established by Boards of Directors and C-level managers. In addition, many of the most threatening risks faced by organizations are strategic in nature and can only be addressed at the top level of the organization, e.g., failures of corporate governance and ethics, increasing global competition, and threats of global catastrophe such as terrorism, pandemics, and collapse of environmental systems. Effective ERM requires informed and strategic decisions supported by operational processes and tools such as internal controls, effective audits, and effective measurement and reporting systems including external financial reporting.

This Overview of Enterprise Risk Management course (MBA 518) exposes students to techniques all types of organizations are implementing to manage the ever-increasing portfolio of risks threatening the organization’s business model and strategic plan. The course begins with obtaining an understanding of the growing expectations being placed on boards of directors and senior executives for more effective oversight of risks and then we walk through the core elements of an ERM process entities use to identify, assess, manage, and monitor its most important risks to their business model.

Students complete a number of case assignments involving real-world companies and they conduct research about emerging risk management issues.


Bruce Branson and Don Pagach




Given the complexity of the global business environment and the speed of change, organizations face a growing range of uncertainty that can trigger risks to their strategic success. To help executives identify emerging risk trends and to help them monitor metrics focused on key risk indicators, many organizations are embracing data analytics as a tool to help them solve complex business issues.

Introduction to Data Analytics introduces ERM (and other graduate) students to data analytics concepts, data visualization and reporting, and decision making in data management skills for analytics applications. Emphasis is placed on topics that include techniques and methods for identification, extraction, and preparation of data for processing with analytical software and data visualization. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate the skills necessary to effectively organize and combine different data sources for analytic applications in order to address real-world business risks and challenges.  Students will thoroughly explore (hands-on) several data visualization tool such as SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Enterprise Miner that provide a complete platform for analytics visualization and enabling to identify patterns and relationships in data for effective data-driven decision making. 


Mark Beasley and Bonnie Hancock




The ERM Initiative offers an ERM Practicum course whereby teams of three-to-four graduate students work in a hands-on capacity with executive management of an organization to advance its ERM processes. Students work in a consulting capacity under the direct supervision of one of the faculty in the ERM Initiative at NC State. The ERM Practicum is a great example of NC State’s “Think and Do” model. Watch this short video summarizing the ERM Practicum from a student and client perspective:


What's Involved?

While the Practicum is customized to meet each organization’s greatest ERM needs, a typical ERM practicum begins with students reviewing the entity’s business model, strategic plan, and a host of other highly-sensitive, confidential documents that help them understand what drives the entity’s strategic success. With that as a background understanding, students typically conduct face-to-face interviews with the organization’s senior management to obtain their views about the most important risks on the horizon. Following that, the risk information is compiled into a risk inventory database, which the students use to create a risk-ranking survey for management to prioritize the entity’s most important strategic risks. The final deliverable involves generation of a detailed report outlining the entity’s top tier risks to their business, which the students present to executive management (and sometimes the board).


What Types of Organizations Participate?

We have worked with over 24 different organizations over the past six years twe have offered the ERM Practicum course. These organizations are in a variety of different industries and sizes, including banks, agricultural suppliers, zinc fabricators, real estate syndicates, pension/retirement investment advisors, large non-profits, government agencies, and universities. While most are based in North Carolina, we have conducted ERM Practicum’s outside the state.


How Much Time is Involved for the Organization?

The ERM Practicum is different than an internship model and resembles a consulting engagement. In an internship model, students are on site for a period of time under the direct supervision of the organization. In the ERM Practicum model, students are only on site when they need to obtain information from management and they are under the supervision and direction of the NC State faculty. Typically, members of management might only interface with students three-to-four times during the semester for 90 minutes or less each time.


What's the Value Proposition?

The ERM Initiative is designed to be a win-win for all parties involved. Clearly the students gain tremendously from the experiences of applying concepts learned in prior classes in a real-world setting. The organizations benefit by being led through a structured ERM process that ultimately helps management identify and reach consensus about the top risks that might affect the organization’s strategic success over the next two-to-three years. Clients tells us that the value provided from the Practicum far exceeds what they expect and they believe similar services provided in the marketplace would be costly.


Want to Learn More?

Download a one-page brochure about the Practicum that you can share with others in your organization. Feel free to reach out to Mark Beasley, Director of the ERM Initiative at NC State ( for more information about ERM Practicum opportunities.