Careers With an MA in Global Risk

16 September, 2021

global risk careersRisks take many forms, and global connections in geopolitics, economics, ecology, and health mean that the consequences of a single event often reverberate on multiple continents. Each year, new political, economic, and environmental threats emerge with implications that can be felt around the world:

  • The annual Global Peace Index (GPI) report, issued by international think tank the Institute for Economics and Peace, showed rises in civil unrest and political instability worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A ransomware attack on an IT software firm, one of numerous incidents to hamper trade and infrastructure in 2021, may have affected as many as 1,500 businesses worldwide.
  • Wildfires, which have become more frequent and severe due to climate change, could damage tourism and labor markets in the western United States for years to come. Meanwhile, the resulting smoke travels as far as northern Europe.

Professionals in global risk management careers address the urgent problems that emerge from complicated relationships by applying quantitative and qualitative techniques for modeling, analysis, and decision-making. Government agencies, corporations, and international and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) all need insights from forward-thinking experts who understand the international dimensions of threats. Earning a Master of Arts in Global Risk equips graduates to succeed in a wide range of positions focused on preparing for an uncertain future in an interconnected world.

Global Risk Management Jobs

Global supply chains and international relationships are more crucial than ever to both geopolitics and the daily operations of organizations in all industries. As a result, there’s a variety of roles for those who can analyze emerging risks and set plans or policies accordingly. The following titles are examples of the increasing career opportunities for those who research, model, and mitigate dangers in a multidimensional context of simultaneous worldwide cooperation and competition.

Salary Estimates for Global Risk Management Careers
Job Title Median Salary
Risk Manager $87,906
Information Security Analyst $103,590
Operations Research Analyst $86,200
Management Analyst $87,660
Health Services Manager $104,280

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Burning Glass

Risk Manager

Risk managers analyze and assess threats in an effort to minimize the negative outcomes for an organization’s strategic planning or internal operations. The array of responsibilities involved can vary a great deal based on the organizations where these professionals work. While financial risk managers strive to prevent losses due to factors like credit risk or changing market conditions, professionals in other industries focus on making recommendations to eliminate hazards or waste in processes such as manufacturing and shipping.

Today’s global economy frequently requires risk managers to account for the ways that policy changes or upheaval can interfere with an organization’s objectives. By monitoring the tensions that have rocked nations including South Africa, for example, professionals may recommend modifications to any development plans or supply chains that might be imperiled in the resulting instability. Analyzing relevant data, these specialists make recommendations that allow an organization to function relatively efficiently even under difficult circumstances.

Information Security Analyst

The constant global connections that are now essential to communications and business allow unprecedented convenience, but also open the door to growing cyberthreats and vulnerabilities. IBM estimated that the average cost of a data breach hit an all-time high of more than $4 million in 2021, exacerbated by the shift to remote work. An information security analyst enables organizations to ward off these potentially disastrous incidents by identifying vulnerabilities and recommending policy adjustments.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 31% increase in positions for information security analysts from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average of 4% for all positions. Over a quarter of these jobs are in computer systems design firms, but security analysts are also in high demand for industries like finance and insurance. Given the potential for both immediate losses and long-term reputational damage from cyberattacks, businesses need professionals who harness data to predict how systems might be compromised, report on the potential for interactions among multiple threats, and lead the way on enhanced countermeasures.

Operations Research Analyst

From technology companies to healthcare providers, organizations of all types depend on international partnerships to obtain materials, store data, and keep operations running smoothly while controlling costs. When the pandemic brought about widespread shortages for essential commodities as varied as gasoline, cleaning supplies, chicken, basmati rice, and microchips, businesses had to adapt quickly. Operations research analysts are responsible for anticipating just these kinds of logistical and business challenges with data-driven planning and problem-solving.

Through statistical analysis, predictive modeling, and simulation, analysts identify the risks that could interfere with supplying products or providing services on a consistent basis. To successfully plan for the long term, it’s vital for experts to know best practices for synthesizing relevant information from a wide breadth of sources and investigating changes at the local, national, and global levels. By persuasively communicating that big picture and visualizing data — supported with quantitative insights — to decision-makers, operations analysts keep organizations on track toward their goals.

Management Analyst

Professionals who specialize in discovering areas of inefficiency or lagging performance help organizations stay competitive and achieve sustainable growth. Management analysts are often contracted as outside consultants, with the BLS reporting that 47% either work for providers of professional services or are self-employed, but they may also have positions within a single business where they constantly seek to streamline operations. In either situation, these experts offer recommendations that allow organizations to function in a fast-paced environment where close collaboration with remote employees and worldwide partners have become critical.

Through quantitative research and modeling, analysts can guide leaders through the financial, technological, environmental, and geopolitical risks of global business. To excel in these positions, professionals must use data to facilitate cooperation and ease the path toward necessary adjustments in corporate structure or processes. According to a Burning Glass analysis of job postings for analysts, skills in change management and working closely with stakeholders are distinguishing factors that can lead to a substantial salary premium.

Health Services Manager

Healthcare organizations constantly assess and reduce threats, doing everything possible to stop dangers to patients, safeguard private information, and maintain compliance with regulations and internal policies. However, leaders must also be aware that medical problems are often connected to factors that affect entire populations. The COVID-19 pandemic amply demonstrated how a disease can have dramatic macroeconomic and geopolitical consequences while severely harming vulnerable communities.

Leaders in population health management balance all these concerns as they make decisions calculated to promote wellness for large groups of people. Implementing analytics tools makes it possible to see patterns of disease or injury and determine which patients are in the most danger, so organizations can plan programs and budgets accordingly. A risk management perspective has become critical for slowing disease spread as well as predicting costs and boosting efficiency to achieve value-based care.

Global Risk Management Skills

Global risk jobs each have unique demands, but certain skills are needed across a wide swathe of roles and industries. These are some areas of professional development to focus on:

Quantitative Analysis

Risk management professionals need a firm grounding in statistical analysis techniques and calculus principles. A thorough knowledge of mathematical concepts for examining large, complex data sets is fundamental to understand the full implications of international relationships. Global risk professionals must also effectively use software tools to manage, interpret, and visualize their quantitative findings.


Operating in the real world inevitably means dealing with uncertainty, but robust models enable risk professionals to project future events and guide strategy. This approach involves using quantitative methods to assign probabilities to various outcomes, estimate the relative costs and benefits of each result, and determine values for a range of contingencies. Accounting for the complicated ways that political, technological, social and environmental factors can interact requires risk managers to apply advanced techniques to the most up-to-date and accurate data possible.

Problem Solving

Risk management is about identifying the potential challenges facing an organization or political entity and finding proactive ways to address them. Like any skilled problem solver, global risk professionals need to apply the lessons from past successes as well as failures. By formulating creative solutions, they can make recommendations that help organizations move forward even under adverse geopolitical or economic conditions while minimizing losses.

Decision Making

Every choice made by an organization starts with weighing the potential for rewards against the likelihood of undesirable outcomes. Adopting a global perspective supported by extensive data and rigorous models enables wiser decisions. By presenting quantitative models and solving problems, risk professionals help leaders calculate the best ways to succeed in a marketplace that relies on international financial systems and can be disrupted at any time by emerging crises.


A risk manager must be an excellent researcher, finding valuable insights in a wide array of sources. While quantitative research is the basis for populating databases and creating models, qualitative research can reveal the broader relevance of those findings. Methodical attention to information-gathering allows professionals to deepen their understanding of the complex interactions involved in global risk and perceive the limitations of their predictive models.


To turn statistical analysis into action, technical thinkers need to be able to convey what they have discovered to stakeholders with varied areas of expertise. Persuasive communication in both written reports and verbal presentations is a major advantage for getting important ideas through to multiple audiences. By identifying key takeaways and providing compelling data visualizations, global risk managers can become vital to the decision-making processes within organizations.

Global risk management careers give skilled quantitative problem-solvers the chance to make invaluable contributions to organizations navigating the intricacies of geopolitics. Completing an MA in Global Risk equips professionals with the tools and techniques to perceive the massive consequences of political and economic events and lead informed decision-making. As more organizations see the necessity of planning for catastrophic dangers, from cyberattacks to pandemics, the role of global risk managers is becoming increasingly essential to set the strategies that make it possible to thrive on the world stage.

About the Master of Arts in Global Risk (online)

In the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) MA in Global Risk (online) program, students gain a thorough grounding in quantitative and qualitative risk management tools, modeling, and decision-making frameworks. Our cutting-edge curriculum focuses on the specialized knowledge and research skills to analyze complex situations, mitigate dangers, and take on leadership roles.

Featuring a faculty of groundbreaking researchers and experienced leaders, the Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a supportive environment that encourages collaboration and ongoing improvement. Our students participate in unique residencies in Bologna, Italy and Washington, DC, and have multiple opportunities to expand their professional networks. Johns Hopkins University ranks among the top 10 national universities and top 10 global universities, according to the 2021 U.S. News & World Report and was named one of the best schools for international relations by Foreign Policy Magazine.

Disclaimer: This content has not been peer reviewed and is for informational purposes only.

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