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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

New banking program to launch

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg
Dr. Kent Belasco,a full-time finance professor and program director, developed the curriculum and plans on teaching many courses himself.

The university is launching a new banking program in the spring of 2017 in hopes to offer students unique opportunities within the industry.

Marquette is the only private school in the Midwest to offer this type of program. Community and corporate banks previously had specific in-house programs to train their employees to become banking executives as they worked their way up. Recent economic crises forced banks to cut such programs, leaving less qualified people running banks.

Kelly Brown, chairperson of the banking program advisory board, began working in the banking industry 20 years ago and eventually started her own bank in 2006.

“We’re not training students to be tellers,” Brown said. “These students are going to be future bank presidents.”

Planning began about a year-and-a-half ago. Kent Belasco, assistant professor of finance and banking and program director, developed the curriculum and plans on teaching many courses himself.

The track offers nine banking classes and will require at least two internships. The internships will give students the opportunity to build a network of professionals already in the business and hopefully have a job lined up after graduation.

A dilemma in the banking industry, Brown said, is most bank presidents are baby boomers and retiring. The lack of proper training for successors led to an increase in mergers and acquisitions within the banking industry. Smaller community banks merge with larger corporate banks such as Bank of America or JP Morgan Chase Bank, which ultimately leads to a decrease in higher positions available for future bankers.

“My goal is to go into investment banking,” Jack Senft, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration and future program applicant, said. “I want to gain as much experience and knowledge about the banking industry before I choose the path I want to take.”

Senft previously worked for Walworth State Bank, now First National Bank and Trust Bank Limited. He started as a teller and worked his way up to an account manager.

The program hopes to reach an enrollment of 20-25 students in the first group. The College of Business Administration begins taking applications in January and those chosen will officially be on the track by March 2017.

“The program at large really gives the students an opportunity to get a firsthand view of what corporate banking is all about,” Brown said.

Belasco believes the new program is going to give students more opportunities than imaginable.

“Most times when I ask people how they got into banking they respond that they just ‘ended up here,’” Belasco said. “This gives students a way to be more directed. There are so many opportunities in banking to build a robust career.”

The advisory board for the banking program will host a Careers in Finance event on Nov. 4 from 1:30- 5:15 p.m. in room 227 of the Alumni Memorial Union.

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