The competitive landscape for community banks is constantly evolving. Following the 2018 school session, I formed a curriculum review committee to examine the student evaluations of the courses and faculty and to incorporate their diverse expertise to suggest changes. The objective was to ensure that the curriculum reflect the core topics, concepts, and analytical/leadership tools that community bankers need to understand to best lead their organizations and also to address key issues that community banks currently face.

The 2019 GSBC curriculum retains the strongest features of prior sessions but adds new features that emphasize current challenges and opportunities facing community banks. It specifically emphasizes personal leadership development strategies and the implementation of profitable lending and financial strategies.

The core curriculum is still centered on four educational/career tracks: Financial Management, General Management & Technology, Leadership & Human Resource Management, and Lending. Students will continue to complete the program in their third year by managing a community bank as part of a team in competition with other community banks in the capstone Bank Management Simulation, which is now entirely cloud-based. Key additions or changes to the traditional courses include the following:

First Year

  • Fundamentals of Leadership will incorporate the DiSC personal assessment tool that addresses people’s behavioral differences
  • Students with a strong finance background may elect to take an Advanced Topics Finance class instead of the Bank Financial Analysis class
  • Students without a lending background will attend a class on Basic Lending Concepts while students with a lending background will attend a class on Advanced Lending Topics
  • Economics for Community Bankers will focus on how current economic conditions affect deposit growth, liquidity needs and loan demand and thus overall bank performance.

Second Year

  • All students will attend a new class on Social & Emotional Intelligence
  • All students will attend a four-session class on Persuasive Presentation Skills; a critical component is that every student will be required to make and video a formal presentation within his or her organization to a bank committee, senior management, or the board. The video will be reviewed by GSBC faculty to ensure that relevant presentation skills are demonstrated.
  • An elective class on Navigating the Regulatory Environment is scheduled for the first week

Third Year

  • All students will attend a class on Client-focused Communications which should assist with the development of negotiations and sales skills
  • New modules for the Bank Management Simulation Competition
  • A new class on Why Smart Leaders Fail will be added in 2020

New Second/Third Year Electives

  • Effective Use of Social Media
  • Leveraging Emotional Intelligence

Finally, special Evening and Lunch & Learn sessions will include a Regulatory Update, How Banks Might Partner with FinTechs, and Trends in Cybercrime.

The traditional Lending and Management core and elective classes will again incorporate current perspectives on how community bankers might improve their overall performance by enhancing risk management practices and/or improving operating efficiency. The Leadership classes will emphasize an individual’s personal growth strategies, improving the organization’s culture, and how leaders can best identify how to form effective teams and achieve desired outcomes.

We are excited to implement these changes in 2019 and look forward to feedback on how GSBC can continue to prepare the future leaders of our industry.

by Timothy Koch, Ph.D, President