My Favorite Financial Crime Courses

By Scott Hibbard, December 2015

Utica College’s Master of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management (MS FCM) develops a range of investigative skills and risk management techniques and includes some of my favorite courses. Through two technology classes, a law class, a financial investigations class, and the two Capstone classes, students will develop both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Technology 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 through practical labs. These focus-areas help financial crime and compliance professionals understand technological challenges first-hand, with knowledge earned being carried through to the Networks and Internet Security course, which has an increased focus on how to mitigate – or exploit – insecure networks and technical infrastructure— a significant issue at present and 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 serves as an introduction to law as it pertains to fraud. The class is usually taught by a practicing attorney and is often regarded as one of the tougher courses 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 the laws pertaining to fraud and how they are applied within the compliance field.

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Financial Investigations

Financial Investigations (FCM 626) is also one of the first classes students will take in the FCM program. The course contains practical labs using state of the art investigation software that requires you to think about the lab data in relation to the law. The goal of the labs is 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 it's final submission to Utica College's FCM program and your graduation. The capstone is a formal APA research paper which your instructor and secondary reader will mentor you through writing and developing. Any masters-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.