ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University’s first banking and financial services master’s degree graduates say the program has benefited their current careers while preparing them for future advancement.
The 10 students, who live across South Dakota and in other states, finished up their senior capstone work on campus last week. They ended with group presentations on Friday, unveiling strategic plans for a model bank.
NSU began offering the online Master of Science degree in banking and financial services in 2012. Northern is one of only a handful of universities in the U.S. to offer the program at both the graduate and undergraduate level.
The students said the NSU program has helped them build confidence in their leadership abilities, understand banking regulations and gain insight into areas of finance they don’t deal with in their daily work.
“It has prepared me for the next step in my career,” said Becky Burke of Pierre, who grew up in the industry and plans to take over her family’s bank.
“I think it’s helped me become a leader in my current organization,” said James Lundberg of Duluth, Minn.
Jordan Whiteside of Harrisburg, who received his undergraduate degree from NSU, said bachelor’s degrees are pretty common. A master’s degree makes an employee more competitive.
“I think this program will really give you an edge,” said Whiteside, an Aberdeen native.
Rachel Vosika of Aberdeen, a Warner native who received her undergraduate degree from NSU, said even though the courses were online, NSU business professors always responded quickly to questions.
Other students also praised faculty, calling them understanding, flexible and knowledgeable.
“Every professor feels responsible for helping us succeed,” Whiteside said.