Since its inception in 1997, the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation has grown in popularity exponentially. After the financial crash in 2008, employers recognized the value of education and awareness in risk management, and so demand has flourished. Because of that demand, interest in FRM has also spiked to meet that demand. According to GARP (the Global Association of Risk Professionals), the FRM Program has seen enrollment grow at a rate of 20% annually.

For Jeff Brake, a Ph.D. in Physics and a one-time software developer, the field of risk management made sense. After 15 years in software, he thought using a more practical application of his quantitative and mathematical background made sense. Jeff swapped roles internally, trading his development spot for a position in the Market Risk department.

In order to prepare for the role, he focused on attaining his FRM designation. “It would be proof of my knowledge and ability,” he says, “and a demonstration of my intent to pursue a career in risk management. FRM is the most widely recognized and respected risk management qualification in the world.”

And while a designation is certainly desirable, it is not a “gimme,” even for a formidable intellect like Brake. That’s why he turned to Wiley Efficient Learning’s study program for FRM.

“As a risk manager working full-time with a young family, I was looking for an FRM study course that really focussed on the nitty-gritty essentials,” he says. “This course really delivered on that promise. I felt the course materials were excellent and the online tools really added great value to question one’s understanding of the material and gauging one’s progress. It also helped me to see where my weak points were.” In a relatively short time, Jeff developed an intuition on the course materials that he found lacking in other sources. Wiley Efficient Learning study program proved to be the perfect fit.

“The two main selling points for me,” he says, “were the Bite-Sized study lessons and the ‘partner until you pass’ offer. As I work full-time and have an active family life, I wanted the course material to be concise and to the point, but without losing any important details.” Wiley’s exclusive and impressive offer of “partner until you pass,” was important to Jeff as there was a possibility—given the vagaries of his schedule and a heavy workload—that he, at any given time, may have to defer the exam date.

Prior to turning to Wiley, Jeff tried other programs. “I studied Part 1 of the FRM using Kaplan Schweser, and I have also seen study materials from Bionic Turtle. I was not happy with the Kaplan Schweser study notes. There were four volumes of study notes to go through—twice the size of the Wiley materials—and when I had to defer my exam date for Part 2, Kaplan would not extend my online access, insisting that I pay out another full set of study fees.” This lack of flexibility and understanding made Jeff look to other vendors such as Wiley for study alternatives. “I am very happy that I did so!”

After tackling the program and passing his exams to achieve his FRM designation, Jeff now has set his focus on building up his risk management knowledge. “I plan on using the continual development program offered by GARP, and extend my experience in the field,” he says. “Gaining the FRM certification opens up more opportunities for me in terms of career development now.”

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