You Won’t Be Alone

By Steven Eisenhauer, August 2015

Perhaps the best part of pursuing a Master's of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management (MS FCM) at Utica College is meeting and interacting with your classmates and professors. Of course, the education provided is itself excellent, but the opportunities for collaboration, support and networking are endless, if you know where to look.


Collaboration with peers is encouraged by staff and provides a sort of support group for individuals who, like myself, have found it difficult to readjust to an academic environment many years after completing their undergraduate degree. Your family and friends probably won’t understand the challenges you are facing, but a fellow classmate will know exactly what you are going through.

Cohorts are for Networking

The structuring of the program into cohorts further enhances networking and collaboration as students move from class to class with the same group of peers. In the first course, with my cohort, six of us got together to start a weekly study group. We still collaborate and meet to this day. The group has grown and shrunk over the course of a few semesters depending on each individual’s needs, but we are all still in contact and share knowledge and tips. Utica admissions recruiters work hard to build diverse cohorts, which improves the range of experiences that can be shared with each other. In the study group, we have representation from almost each relevant industry, from both the public and private sector. This variety of knowledge and experience ensures that someone will be knowledgeable regarding almost any topic.

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Online Expands Connections

Finally, although it may appear to be counter-intuitive, the online nature of the program has allowed me to create connections over a geographically expansive area. Modern technology and collaboration tools allow individuals and groups to connect and collaborate instantaneously. The previously mentioned study group meets using Google Hangouts and Skype, allowing us to see each other and share our screens to explain complex topics when needed. Further, I’ve had the opportunity to meet up with some of the study group members face to face in person while travelling for work and have attended a few industry conferences together.

Find a Study Buddy or Study Group

My greatest recommendation for anyone who pursues an online degree at Utica, is to take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration provided by these unique programs. Beyond expanding your professional network and improving your grades, joining a study group and making connections will make the overall experience even more enjoyable. Whether you are just looking for a friend, want to share your struggles with remembering how to write academic papers, want to get motivated to finish an assignment or need some assistance with understanding course material, finding a study buddy or joining a study group is your best option. Use the Student Lounge section of your course webpage to let your fellow cohort members know when you’ll be travelling to their part of the country or even propose a study session.

About the Author

Steven Eisenhauer is a Financial Industry Compliance professional with international banking and money service experience and a focus on Anti-Money Laundering in Mexico and Latin America. Steven is currently pursuing his Executive Master of Science in Financial Crime and Compliance Management to expand his knowledge in the fields of Fraud Management and Cybersecurity.