By Scott Hibbard, December 2015
Communication with instructors is important in college and the importance of communication doesn’t stop in undergraduate studies. Communication with instructors in a graduate program like Utica College’s Master of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management (MS FCM) is at least, if not more important in comparison to your undergrad program. While your financial crime and compliance instructors are very helpful it is also incumbent on MS FCM students to show some initiative in keeping communication open with instructors while in classes. Instructors are also valuable networking contacts; communication during classes set the tone for professional contacts with your former instructors that may follow graduation from the FCCM grad program.
Contact your instructor as questions arise – preferably with as much advance notice as possible. Waiting until the last minute, unless it is truly an emergency, should be avoided. Time should be recognized as a resource to be used judiciously rather than squandered particularly if a grade is at stake. You don’t want the first time you reach out to your professor to be a crises situation. If life-events occur it is best to inform your instructor who can guide you in reference to your classwork.
No Question is too small
Ask questions of your instructor. No question is too small. Most students in the master’s program have busy lives with careers, family, and possibly managerial or executive-level responsibilities in addition to grad school. Uncertainty can drain our energy and can be an unwelcome intrusion when you’re trying to focus. What’s the worst that could happen? The only bad question is the question that is left unasked.
Your instructors are a great source of advice
Your instructors are subject matter experts in their fields. They can be a great source of advice and support for career and program questions. Instructors can be particularly useful for vetting your Capstone topic idea and approach. Soliciting the opinions of multiple instructors should yield valuable insights and advice and help guide you in creating your most complex deliverable in the FCM grad program.
Better to Over-Communicate, especially during Capstone
Communication with your capstone committee, which includes your instructor and a second reader, is particularly important during Capstone classes because your instructor and secondary reader will provide edits to your Capstone that you are expected to include in subsequent drafts. Your second reader may also provide content suggestions that you may also need to discuss and incorporate into your Capstone. Your instructor and your second reader will evaluate you on how well you coordinate the development of your capstone. Under these circumstances, and with approximately 12-14 weeks in which to write and complete your capstone, it’s best to over-communicate as opposed to under-communicate.
Best of luck in your future studies!
About the Author
Scott Hibbard is a second-year Utica College ECM Grad Student (ABT). He is scheduled to submit his ECM thesis by December 2015.