The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) talks to Vinay Shrivastava, CFIRM, Risk Management Director, Turner & Townsend Infrastructure on what a career in risk is like and what advice they would share with people looking for a position in risk management.
How did you get your job?
I began my career as a civil engineer. A few years later, whilst working as a project manager, I was introduced to the field of risk management. I was intrigued by the high level of technical knowledge and social skills required to deliver an effective risk management role.
I thoroughly enjoyed the balance of skills required and needless to say, I promptly applied for my first risk management role twelve years ago and have not looked back since.
What’s a typical day like as an Risk Management Director?
I don’t have a typical day. I primarily support the development and delivery of a risk management capability for a major UK infrastructure client. This involves risk framework design and rollout, workshop facilitation and conducting risk interviews to validate the data fed into monthly reporting cycles. I also manage a team of highly capable consultants across the South UK region which involves supporting our contribution to the thought leadership space. This year members of my team will be invited to speak on risk management topics at over a dozen events across the UK. I also invest considerable time into ensuring that, as a business, we have a consistent, repeatable product and are cognizant of emerging tools and client requirements. I enjoy public speaking and writing and try to speak at a few events and publish at least one risk related article over the course of a year.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It is quite fulfilling to witness our clients’ successes that have been achieved through the optimal management of risks. I also enjoy working with some of the brightest minds in our industry today and really appreciate how my team routinely challenges the status quo to introduce new and better ways of doing things.
What are the challenges?
I am continually challenged to source the right people for our available roles. The risk management field is gaining in prominence within the Infrastructure industry, and as a result, clients have developed a very high expectation of the risk management function.
In what way is your IRM qualification relevant?
The IRM qualifications are a necessary quality benchmark in our Industry. I receive dozens of CVs on a weekly basis and candidates who are CIRM/MIRM qualified (or equivalent) stand out for consideration for our roles as it indicates that these individuals, beyond having a demonstrable core skill set, take professional development seriously and are committed to a career in risk management.
The most successful risk professionals possess a balanced combination of social and technical skills. They are articulate, personable and able to inspire confidence in others through written and spoken communication. Further, successful risk professionals need to be genuinely curious about a project or business and adept at building relationships with subject matter experts to ensure that risk data is credible.
A good risk professional also recognizes that risk management is change management; effectively changing the way people think and act within a team or organization and is, therefore, equipped with the patience and EQ to effectively drive change.