By Scott Hibbard, December 2015
Utica College’s Master of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management (MS FCM) pairs financial crime investigations knowledge with risk and compliance management to combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills. My favorite classes in the financial crime program were classes that epitomized bridging theoretical knowledge with practical skills. For me, these courses were two technology classes, a law class, a financial investigations class, and the two Capstone classes.
The two technology classes in the Master’s program: Information and Communication Security (FCM 632), and Networks and Internet Security (FCM 633), approach compliance from the technology perspective and demonstrate how to bridge the worlds of compliance and technology. Practical labs in Information and Communication Security help financial crime and compliance professionals understand technological challenges first-hand. That information is carried to Networks and Internet Security which increases focus on online technology and how to mitigate – or exploit – insecure networks and technical infrastructure which are significant compliance issues at present and likely into the foreseeable future.
Criminal Concepts of Fraud
Legal Concepts of Criminal Fraud (FCM 622) is one of the first classes FCM students will take at Utica College and it is an introduction to law as it pertains to fraud. The class is usually taught by a practicing attorney and it is often regarded as one of the tougher classes in the program. Along with intensive reading, the curriculum helps students understand legal rationales and reasoning that are at the core of the financial compliance program. This class helped me to better understand laws pertaining to fraud and how they applied to the compliance field.
Financial Investigations (FCM 626) is also one of the first classes students will take in the FCM program. The class contains practical labs using state of the art investigation software that require you to think about the lab data in relation to law. The goal of the labs are to develop analytic expertise with large datasets to determine what patterns of fraudulent activities can be documented from which criminal or civil legal cases might be based.
The Capstone Classes
The Capstone classes are typically the final two classes in the FCM program. In those classes you will write your capstone project and manage your project to final submission to Utica College, and completion of the FCM program and graduation. The capstone is a formal APA research paper which your instructor and secondary reader will mentor you through developing and writing. Any master’s-level project should be challenging, but my own experience with the capstone is that the project is manageable and possible to achieve, provided you keep making steady progress toward completion and, ultimately, graduation.
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.