Meet Your U.S. CEBS Instructor: Mark Dunlop, CEBS

Meet the CEBS Instructor

A summer getaway gives you insights. Stepping away from your daily routine refreshes you and provides a new perspective on your daily life. The same can be said for learning—It’s an opportunity to expand your horizon by developing new knowledge and skills and to see your work from a strategic vantage point. Consider enrolling in a CEBS Online Study Group With Instructor Support as you embark on your epic learning journey. A weekly schedule sets the pace, so your intention becomes action. Study tools created by your instructor help you explore new information as you prepare for your CEBS exam. Your CEBS designation will put you on the map as an expert in your field, empowering you to reach new heights in your career!

CEBS​​ Online Study Groups are an optional educational resource designed to enhance the self-study approach. Offered over a 12-week session, Online Study Groups set a timeline for completing a CEBS course and are facilitated by established and experienced CEBS professionals. The U.S. fall session runs September 4-November 24, 2023.

What does an online instructor do?

Your online instructor has many roles, including:

  • Designing all content and activities in your Online Study Group to help you retain knowledge and study for your CEBS exam
  • Facilitating live review sessions
  • Monitoring the discussion forum to provide clarification and guidance to learners
  • Creating discussion questions for each module and Benefits in Action Mini Case to stimulate engagement and enhance learning about employee benefits
  • Sharing their real-world experience about being a benefits professional
  • Answering questions that students submit via the discussion forum, email and private message

A Chat With Mark Dunlop, CEBS

Designed Benefit Incentives
Instructor: GBA 2—Directing Benefits Programs Part 2

How has earning the CEBS designation enhanced your career?

The CEBS designation has not only provided me with the tools to strategically apply information and industry knowledge, but it also has helped me to consider issues from various perspectives, including those of decision leadership teams at various sizes of unions and public, corporate and nonprofit employers. It has helped me understand the viewpoints of third-party administrators, employer or union plan administrators, board members, brokers, consultants and participants. This has enabled me to empathize with the personnel involved in plan design and advance in my career progression in the employee field. Holding the CEBS designation helps me speak with confidence and credibility on various topics.

What will benefits professionals learn from taking GBA 2?

GBA 2 places an emphasis on managing and directing employee benefit plans while clarifying the ever-changing dynamics of the United States health care system, including applying lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Benefits in Action Mini Case Studies and the Integrated Case Study, the course examines real-world issues, helping benefits professionals develop a framework to navigate complex, multifaceted benefit issues requiring strategic thinking and tactical problem solving.

The course provides an overview of emerging marketplace innovations in care delivery platforms and quality improvement initiatives. The study materials also delve into disability income programs, long-term care insurance and life insurance concepts.

GBA 2 explores considerations for plan design, including rating and premium setting and different approaches to funding. The course also discusses capitalizing on the enhanced delivery landscape by utilizing the patient-centered medical home model.

Are there any interesting current events or regulatory updates related to concepts the GBA 2 course explores?

Employers and unions are focused on safeguarding employees’ data and health information while striving to offer integrated patient care. There is a renewed focus on tech-driven innovations, including health apps that offer early warnings to mitigate issues to prevent them from becoming serious and minimize the likelihood of spreading contagious illness.

There’s a movement toward virtual health care, including behavioral healthcare. It’s critical for all patient care to be integrated and not siloed.

The COVID-19 pandemic gave people an awareness that they need more than just health insurance coverage. Individuals are now taking a proactive approach to addressing their own life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care needs and coverage.

What are your best study tips for CEBS students?

Enrolling in a CEBS Online Study Group encourages you to interact with other benefits professionals, which helps reinforce your learning. Being part of a community of learners can also reduce your anxiety when you realize you’re not alone in preparing for your CEBS exam.

I also suggest learners plan for frequent, short, focused study sessions. For most adult learners, taking on smaller segments of content leads to better long-term retention.

Why would you encourage benefits professionals to earn the CEBS designation?

I’m a huge advocate for CEBS candidates to get involved with the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS), even while still studying for their CEBS exams. The interaction with this peer group is quite uplifting.

Networking with my CEBS “family” continues to be a huge blessing for my career. When I moved to St. Louis, Missouri from Miami years ago, having a ready-made network of professionals helped me with my geographic transition. Likewise, when I’m researching options for a solution, I’m able to tap into my CEBS peer network for their considerations, which gives me insight.

The 12-week fall session of the U.S. Online Study Groups With Instructor Support are September 4-November 24, 2023. Jump in anytime and get access to materials from previous weeks.

Do you need additional guidance on your CEBS journey? Whether you’re about to take your first step or getting close to reaching your designation, we’re here to help! Give us a call at (800) 449-2327, option 3, or email