By Mike Highfield, PHD, CFA, CTP, Vice President for Curriculum, Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State, Professor of Finance, Mississippi State University
Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” For 70 years, the faculty members at the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State have been investing in the next generation of bankers, providing them with the knowledge they need to be successful, both personally and professionally.
Building on our tradition of excellence in instruction, our leadership team has sought student and faculty comments, consulted with GSB at LSU alumni, compared our curriculum to graduate schools of banking in other regions of the country, and enhanced our relationship with our sponsoring state bankers associations. Through these and other efforts, we are continuing a multi-year plan of modifications in the curriculum at the school. Below are highlights of recent and upcoming changes.
- Across the curriculum we are emphasizing ethical decision-making as part of the leadership in the financial services industry. As a result, we have replaced the freshman financial planning case with a new freshman case on ethical decision-making in the banking world. Danny Payne, a long-time Texas banker, developed the course for 2018, and he is updating the case for this year.
- We are pleased to introduce two new upper-level courses focused on different facets of ethical leadership in 2019: Leading Inside and Outside the Bank is a required senior course for 2019, and Leading through Advocacy becomes a junior/senior elective for 2019. In the required course, Rita Floyd, director of organization development at Trustmark National Bank, emphasizes the importance of ethical leadership, the critical difference between leading and managing, how to effectively deal with conflict, and the role of bankers as stewards in their community. In the elective course, Pamela Ricco, EVP and chief operating officer at the Florida Bankers Association, helps students develop better communication skills and identify ways to increase their organizational effectiveness by interacting with state and federal legislators, state and national bankers associations, and the local community.
- Continuing our focus on ethical leadership, we welcome Tommy Spaulding, a New York Times bestselling author, leadership expert, and nationally acclaimed speaker, to GSB at LSU for an inspirational discussion of how “heart-led leadership” is the key to personal and corporate success in the financial services industry.
While many of the curriculum changes above relate to leadership, be assured that we remain committed to our role as a banking school—our faculty are teaching leadership focused on the unique aspects of the financial services industry. We are also making changes in the operational and foundational portions of our curriculum. For example, recognizing the increasingly competitive world for corporate bank services, last year we moved Treasury Management to a required course. Taught by Mark J. Krawczyk, principal and owner of CZYK & Associates, this course forces bankers to evaluate their bank products from the perspective of their customer.
Also, last year we introduced a new course emphasizing the risks faced by banks in the digital age: Risk Management and Cybersecurity. Chad Tagtow, a graduate of the GSB at LSU and SVP/CIO for Citizens Bank and Trust in Winter Haven, Fla., taught the course as a junior/senior elective for 2018, but it is a required junior class with a mandatory bank study project in 2019.
At GSB at LSU, our goal is to ensure that our graduates are prepared to advance and serve the needs of our industry, both today and in the future. Our next session is scheduled for May 19-31, 2019, and we invite you to visit www.gsblsu.org to learn how GSB at LSU can help advance your professional career and your bank.