Masters Degree Focuses on Creating Financial Industry Leaders

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The American College, the nationÂ?s leading financial services educator, has updated its Master of Science in Management (MSM) degree to include a new emphasis in leadership skills. The curriculum is ideal for professionals interested in assuming increased levels of responsibility within larger financial service organizations.

The American College, the nation’s leading financial services educator, has updated its Master of Science in Management (MSM) degree to include a new emphasis in leadership skills. The curriculum is ideal for professionals interested in assuming increased levels of responsibility within larger financial service organizations.    

“The velocity of change in our industry has increased dramatically in recent years, highlighting the need for exceptional leadership,” said Eileen Wilhem, Managing Executive, National Philanthropic Practice, Wachovia Trust Company and a College Trustee. “The American College’s MSM in Leadership prepares aspiring senior managers to meet today’s challenges and opportunities while avoiding the generic and often unfocused management training offered by typical MBA programs.”

The design of the MSM in Leadership program was achieved with the help of an advisory committee of industry professionals. Companies participating in the development process included Ernst & Young, Merrill Lynch, MetLife, Morgan Stanley, Mutual of Omaha, New York Life, Prudential, State Farm, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, the Bryn Mawr Trust Company and the Shelton Law Offices.

“The financial industry provided incredible insight as we redesigned this degree,” said Larry Barton, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The American College. “We are delighted by the enthusiasm and commitment these companies and others in the industry have already expressed for this program.”

The Master of Science with an emphasis in Leadership degree is tailored to meet the needs of individuals seeking to attain more responsibility within financial service organizations, insurance companies, securities firms, banks and accounting organization.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, from 1999 to 2003 the financial services industry represented an average of 5.3% of total U.S. employment. In 2003, this added up to approximately 8 million people according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.    

Acceptance into the MSM program is a highly competitive and selective process designed to identify management candidates of superior potential committed to a career with a leading financial organization. Professionals interested in enrolling in this program must meet specific experience and education prerequisites before being admitted. Limiting enrollment to 30 students will provide students in the MSM in Leadership program with increased attention and direct interaction with The College’s world-renowned faculty.

Courses in the curriculum are divided into three major areas:

·    Leading the Organization

        o    GS 900 Communications and Leadership

        o    GS 990 Management by Leadership

        o    GS 960 Leading Strategy Development

        o    GS 930 Classic and Contemporary Leadership Studies

·    Leading Managerial Operations

        o    GS 940 Dynamic Organizational Leadership

        o    GS 950 Law, Compliance, Benefits and Social Responsibility

        o    GS 910 Leadership Development Experience

·    Leader Development

        o    GS 970 Decision Making Leadership Skills

        o    GS 980 Ethics in Leadership

        o    GS 920 Personal and Interpersonal Leadership Skills

Key leadership and management issues addressed by the program include organization cultures; performance improvement; ethics and social responsibility; managing group behavior, conflict and stress; power politics and influence; motivation and delegation; business law; managerial leadership; succession planning and more.

“Our MSM program is designed to benefit both financial professionals and their companies,” continued Barton. “Financial companies need to develop key personnel to replace existing leaders as part of an organized succession plan. At the same time, professionals need a program that will prepare them to accept stretch assignments now and increased levels of responsibility in the future.”

The one-year program format utilizes a combination of distance education and on-campus classroom instruction in a flexible framework that allows busy working professionals interested in advancing their careers to balance the competing demands of advanced education, career and family obligations. Individuals who have completed their Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF) designation through The American College may qualify for credit toward their MSM degree. Dr. Peter Dean, the O. Alfred Granum Chair in Management is responsible for the MSM in Leadership program. Interested students can contact Joanne Patterson at The American College at 610-526-1366 or via e-mail at for more information.

The American College is the nation’s leading non-profit educator of professionals in the insurance and financial services industry. Located on a 35-acre campus in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, The College is a public charity that serves over 35,000 students annually, predominantly on a distance education basis. Founded in 1927, The College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The American College offers an array of specialized designation programs, Master of Science degrees in several disciplines and customized continuing education programs for those pursuing a career in financial services. For more information, visit

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