Rewards and Challenges in the Financial Crime and Compliance Program

By Scott Hibbard, April 2016

Utica College's graduate program in Economic Crime Management (now Financial Crime and Compliance Management) like any other academic program, has a number of challenging and rewarding aspects. Many of which I've experienced while completing my capstone project, these include surmounting the challenges of interacting with fellow students and staff, doing classwork, and gathering the personal determination to complete the program—which is in itself an amazing reward.

Fellow Students and Staff

I've found that working with my peers to be a rewarding experience, thanks to the camaraderie developed during challenging classes—often due to new material or lack of familiarity with specific topics. Additionally, the passion that the staff and students bring to economic crime topics on the forums offers an exciting insight into how people apply their different knowledge, skill, and background. Each person is, in their own way, already an expert in their field, with the pursuit of a Master’s degree merely providing the academic evidence of their mastery. As a result, the instruction by staff is less like 'leader and follower' and more like 'guide and mentor,' allowing everyone to learn from each other throughout the FCCM program.

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It is not uncommon for students in the FCCM program to come with a career background that focuses on one or more aspects of the financial crime and compliance field—including experience in economics, law and criminal justice, accounting and finance, data analysis, risk management, and other areas. Just as they may have strong foundational or practical knowledge in one or two fields, it is also entirely possible that graduate students may be confronted with new topics. I've found that I learned from my fellow graduate students and found them to be great resources in their particular fields as much as the instructors. Thus, the challenge is learning new related material, and the reward is not only passing the class, but possibly excelling in it, learning how to apply new knowledge in the real world, and getting that much closer to capstone and graduation.

Sprint versus Marathon

The distinction between undergraduate and graduate education deserves mentioning, as both are challenging and rewarding. Graduate education is no less assignment-driven than undergraduate education, but the quality of work demanded and the relative absence of breaks between semesters could be best compared to a marathon, while an undergraduate education can be seen as a series of sprints. It often seems like there is always another class to take, but in fact, there is a real halfway point where a grad student will begin to see the remaining classes in the program dwindle until the capstone's finish line is in sight. The challenge is to remain motivated through the highs and lows in classwork because you enjoy the subject. The reward is the diploma you'll receive as evidence that your hard work has paid off.

Best of luck in your future studies!

About the Author

Scott Hibbard is a Utica College ECM Grad Student (ABT) working complete his Masters in Economic Crime Management thesis.