SMWC launches new financial leadership master’s program in February 2013

November 5th, 2012 | SMWC

With the launch of a new financial leadership track in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s (SMWC) Master of Leadership Development program, professionals can add advanced financial skills to their resume. This new track will be available to students starting in the February 2013 cohort.

 “Our new focus addresses current and future trends in finance and leadership. It’s really cutting-edge,” said D. J. Wasmer, Ph.D., SMWC chair of the Department of Business and Computer Information Systems. “It’s a great fit for professionals who need additional hours and knowledge for the CPA exam or anyone in a financial leadership position looking to propel themselves to the next level.”

The College’s Master of Leadership (MLD) program, a student-centered alternative to the typical MBA, is a one-year program for busy professionals with career and family responsibilities. While mostly an online format, the program hosts several cohort seminars, giving MLD the flexibility of a distance program with the benefits of face-to-face networking. Currently there are two tracks – organizational leadership and not-for-profit leadership. An individualized path, where students can transfer in courses from other colleges, will be added along with financial leadership in February.

“Employers recognize that an MLD graduate brings something different, something innovative, to the table,” MLD Director Susan Decker said. “Using specialized techniques and creative leadership, MLD students stand out from other postgraduate groups.”

MLD’s financial leadership track is designed to meet the current CPA + Indiana requirements and prepares students for the Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Management Accountant, certified forensic accountant and certified fraud examiner tests. This program provides much more than required hours, it provides in-depth training on the current technologies and trends in the rigorous financial world.

“The program emphasizes communicating financial information visually, ethically and responsibly,” Decker said. “Students will not only be equipped with practical skills, such as experience with XBRL, IFRS, flowchart and audit command software, but they will also learn the ins-and-outs of transparency and ethical accountability, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley guidelines.”

Professionals with degrees or experience in accounting, business, computer information and finance are strongly encouraged to apply. Academic and work experiences will be assessed individually, so that each incoming student receives the coursework, support and skills he or she needs to succeed in MLD. Financial aid may also be available to graduate students.

With this new track, finance professionals will be better equipped to navigate a menagerie of career paths. Students receive a solid foundation of 15 credits in a leadership core, including classes on ethical decision-making, creative leadership and leadership identity. They will also take 21 credits focused on financial leadership, data mining/informatics, forensic accounting, identifying fraud patterns and analysis and reporting.

“Our focus on informatics is crucial for successful financial careers,” said Jennie Mitchell, Ph.D., SMWC professor of business. “There are so many employers out there desperate for professionals who can understand business intelligence using data mining tools and financial reporting that requires a grasp of XBRL.”

In fact, financial management positions are projected to grow by 10-20 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook stated that the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $61,690 in 2010. These numbers are only going to increase.

“We have our eye on the horizon,” Mitchell said. “Our students will be fully prepared to use techniques and technologies guaranteed to emerge in the future. It will help those certified as CPAs even as little as 10 years keep their skills relevant. The coursework combined with advanced technology training will make financial leadership graduates more marketable across the board.”

Discover how the MLD program and the new financial leadership track can enhance your career!

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