ALEA III salutes Lukas Foss, an American master, on Wednesday, March 20,
at 8 p.m., at the Tsai Performance Center
Week of 15 March 2002 · Vol. V, No. 26


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BU Global trains the world's future execs

By David J. Craig

As a 27-year-old customer service manager at Citibank in Santo Domingo, Linda Valette is on a fast track to become a senior executive at one of the most profitable companies in the Dominican Republic. But the MBA she received a few years ago at the Technology Institute of Santo Domingo didn't give her the financial expertise she needed to land an upper-management job.


Elizabeth Nassar, director of BU Global, says the intense four-month-long banking and financial services diploma program offered by her office is designed to boost the careers of executives from other nations who cannot afford to complete a full-length master's degree program. Photo by Vernon Doucette


That's why she enrolled in BU's four-month diploma program in banking and financial services this semester. Designed for foreign professionals who want to jump-start their careers but may not have the time or money to complete a full-length degree program, the single semester offers rigorous training in financial analysis and management. Valette is paying her own tuition and costs to study in Boston, but Citibank has promised her a 20 to 30 percent salary increase, a company car, and many other benefits when she returns to the Dominican Republic this summer.

"The program is ideal for me because I'm learning about everything from corporate finance to stock and bond markets," says Valette. "It's hard to learn about those things in the Dominican Republic because the country does not have a well-developed stock market. My experience here is giving me a lot of knowledge to offer my bank when I return."

The new program was launched in January and is the first diploma program offered by BU Global, the international unit of the University's Division of Extended Education (EXED), which encompasses several BU schools and programs that have a strong lifelong learning component. BU Global was created last March and also coordinates an exchange program with Monterrey Tech in Monterrey, Mexico, that brings between 10 and 40 Mexican students to Boston every semester to study at Metropolitan College, which is part of EXED. In addition, BU Global offers short-term on-site training programs similar to those offered by corporate training centers to businesses, government agencies, and other learning institutions both at BU and abroad.

The banking and financial services program is composed of six mandatory graduate-level courses, for 24 credit hours, all taught by MET faculty. The curriculum emphasizes case studies, which is typical of graduate level business education, but the courses -- on subjects such as financial theory and policy, capital markets, investment banking, and financial services marketing -- all apply directly to careers in finance, according to Elizabeth Nassar, director of BU Global.

"The program opens up a wide range of midlevel jobs for young executives, helping them become financial analysts and strategists, for instance," says Nassar. "For those who have no experience in finance, the diploma will probably put them at about the same level in that field as would earning a one-year MBA."

Students attend almost eight hours of classes five days a week and can expect to spend at least an additional five hours on assignments every day. The 12 students in the program represent 11 different countries, including Thailand, Togo, and Moldova. Their average age is 32, and seven of them already have at least one graduate degree.

Luis Estrada, 33, enrolled because he wants to earn an MBA in the United States, and he believes the diploma will make him a better candidate for a full-length program. He says a strength of the program is that all the students collaborate closely in study groups.

"There is much interaction between the students, and we learn a lot from each other," says Estrada, a Mexico City native who is a computer engineer by training.

He works for Mexico's Ministry of Finance, although he has little formal education in finance. "I learn from the people who have a lot of experience in banking, and I'm providing them with help in the mathematics that I learned in my work for the government. It's necessary to do that, because the workload is very demanding."

The students also regularly visit banking and financial institutions in Boston, where executives describe the day-to-day challenges of succeeding in the industry, and provide tours and lectures. Internships are available through the New England College of Finance, an accredited, Boston-based institution partnered with BU.

BU Global will offer a two-month certificate program in project management this summer and a second diploma program, in international marketing, in the fall. Plans are in the works for a diploma program in computer information systems, possibly next year.

"BU has one of the largest study abroad programs in the world, yet as a university we've designed few post-baccalaureate programs for international students," says John Ebersole, an associate provost and the dean of EXED. "This program expands the options that exist for people from abroad who want to study at BU by building upon MET's rigorous academic expectations and upon the fact that Boston is a major financial center, which enables us to involve important people from the professional world in what our students are doing."

For more information about BU Global, visit


15 March 2002
Boston University
Office of University Relations