The GSB Graduate Banking School Program curriculum is designed to enhance the performance of mid- to upper-level managers while preparing them for senior management responsibilities. Throughout the program, GSB utilizes a “learn and apply” approach to learning with a special emphasis on the immediate application of concepts presented and tools acquired. Emphasis is given to contemporary trends affecting today’s financial services industry.

The objectives of the curriculum are to:

  • Provide a comprehensive understanding of the financial services business
  • Develop the strategic thinking skills required to manage successfully in a highly competitive environment
  • Develop an awareness of how changes in the regulatory and economic environment affect bank strategies and policies
  • Challenge traditional banking practices and assumptions and develop new skills and creative approaches to problem solving, decision-making and the management of organizational change
  • Prepare individuals to exercise leadership in the creation of new and more adaptive business cultures and in guiding new business initiatives within the organization
  • Develop competence in the use of new tools and techniques for the manager within the major functional areas of the bank
  • Develop communication skills and an understanding of interpersonal influence as a critical factor affecting personal and organizational effectiveness
  • Provide opportunities for interaction between and among students and faculty, and foster the development of life-long, mutually supportive personal and professional relationships

General Course of Study

The GSB Graduate Banking School Program curriculum is organized to provide a broad and fundamental understanding of commercial banking and what is required to successfully manage a commercial bank in today’s challenging financial services environment. Time is not given to routine functional operations and other elementary techniques of banking; it is assumed that all students will be familiar with day-to-day banking operations. Students will find many opportunities during the program to exchange valuable experiences regarding their bank operating procedures with bankers of other organizations from across the country and around the world. The course of study focuses on basic policy and management problems and on the development of an understanding of the economic and regulatory environment within which the banking system operates.

Students admitted to the School attend two-week sessions in Madison for three consecutive summers. Instruction includes the use of lectures, case studies, discussion and computer-based exercises. Complementing the classroom work is a series of intersession projects designed to provide a practical application of concepts, skills and techniques learned in the classroom. These intersession projects are assigned for selected courses at the end of the first- and second-year sessions to help integrate the curriculum by emphasizing connections between various areas of study and to allow participants to learn more about their own organizations as they apply their studies to current issues at their organization.

The FiSim bank management simulation experience brings it all together in the students senior year. Here students apply their entire learning experience to the management of a community bank. They hone their technical skills and further develop their interpersonal and leadership capabilities.

GSB’s comprehensive curriculum includes the following courses:

Session Core Courses

First Year Required Courses

  • Marketing, Sales and the Customer Experience*
  • Best Practices in Leadership Presentation Skills
  • Digital Banking – Year 1
  • Economics, Money Markets and Banking
  • Financial Management – Year 1*
  • Leadership Beyond Management*
  • Loan Portfolio Management – Year 1*

Second Year Required Courses

  • Digital Banking – Year 2
  • Financial Management – Year 2*
  • IT Strategic Management
  • Law and Regulation in Banking
  • Loan Portfolio Management – Year 2*
  • Marketing, Sales and the Customer Experience
  • Strategic Leadership Issues*

Third Year Required Courses

  • FiSim*
  • Enhancing Shareholder Value
  • Interactive Ethics Workshop
  • Leadership Lessons Learned

* Requires completion of an intersession project.

Session Elective Courses

GSB students have the opportunity to customize their learning experience by selecting from a broad range of electives. You will take 9 electives during your 25-month Graduate School of Banking program to help increase your knowledge and expertise in a number of banking areas. Electives, which are selected by students, change annually and may include these topics:

  • Agricultural Lending
  • An Introduction to Data Analytics for BankersBanking The Independent Business: A Business Development and Financial Performance Perspective
  • Beyond the Headlines: The Impact of Blockchain and Digital Assets on the Economy and on the Banking System
  • Building Lifetime Partnerships from Prospecting to Onboarding
  • CRE – Cash Flow and Cap Rates
  • Crucial Conversations – Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High
  • Cybersecurity and Vendor Risk Management
  • Detecting and Dealing with Problem Loans and Banruptcies
  • Digital Banking Stratagies to Drive Growth
  • Duration Risk – Interest Rate Swap Theory
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Evolving Best Practice Strategies
  • Leadership Presentation Skills Workshop
  • Liquidity and Funds Management
  • Moving Customers from Satisfied to Loyal
  • Project Management Essentials
  • Retail Marketing for Growth and Profitability 
  • SBA Lending Leadership
  • Social Media & Digital Marketing Strategies for Today’s Community Banker
  • Strategically Managing the Investment Portfolio
  • The Employee Experience
  • Total Compensation