9 Tips from an Upperclassman in the Financial Crime Program

By Alycia Maurer, April 2016

We all are new at things at certain points in our lives and it’s always good if you have questions in your head. So ask them! I am writing this post because I recently took a class where I was the upperclassman and this was the first FCCM class for the rest of the students.

I was so impressed with these students. Based on my experience with this class, here are nine tips I would like to share as an upperclassman:

1. Keep sharing information with your cohort and your classmates.

YES!!!! Use the Student Lounge discussion thread to share current events, experiences, and good-to-know information. These are all nuggets that help you learn and bring you closer to your classmates and cohorts. Which brings me to my next topic…

2. Invest the time to really get to know your cohorts.

Forge these bonds because these will be some of the strongest relationships you will have during your time at Utica.

3. Ask questions.

During a class, if you have a question, there is a high probability one of your classmates also has the same or related question. Don’t be shy! Post these questions in the discussion thread for Ask the Professor. This way, you will get a response from your instructor and your classmates will also benefit from your question and the answer. Everyone wins! Of course, questions related to a personal issue should not be posted there. But other than that, professors like it when students ask questions in this thread as it is more efficient to answer a question once, rather than twenty times. They will thank you!

4. Review the class syllabus and schedule thoroughly.

Look for discrepancies between these documents and other communication you may receive. Loading class shells can have technical issues. In my experience, the professors would prefer to know beforehand if there is a conflict with students’ understanding of expectations. Some examples are making sure the assignments match between the documents with regard to scoring weight, dates and times for conference calls (Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific), and due dates.

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5. Look for the due date of final assignments.

The due date of final assignments has varied from the due dates of previous assignments in some of my classes, in addition to the deadlines for professors to enter grades.

6. Do not be afraid to disagree with your classmate or your professor.

But please do so in a way that is conducive to learning and sharing.

7. Be respectful at all times to your fellow students and the professor when posting in the assignment discussion forum.

Each participant brings a unique perspective based on their experience. You can learn so much from them! My cohort always thanked each person for their post and highlighted what they learned from them. They were also honest about inaccuracies, errors, and inconsistencies; however, they presented it in a respectful way. Doing this doesn’t put the author of the post on the defensive, and it leaves their mind open for learning. Another instance in which everyone wins!

8. Share high level personal tidbits with your classmates.

This helps them to see you as a person, rather than just “Week 3, Discussion Post”.

9. MOST IMPORTANT!! Have fun!

About the Author

Alycia Maurer has reduced fraud losses significantly for her company over the past five years by providing fraud mitigation advice for projects within her department and across her company, identifying and successfully implementing software solutions, developing relationships with contacts across the company and partnering with these contacts to resolve complex fraud risk issues. Her interest in identifying and solving these types of issues, which she refers to as “shiny stuff”, is what motivated her to pursue a Master of Science degree in Economic Crime Management (now MS in Financial Crime and Compliance Management) at Utica College.