With the start of the spring semester, professor Kent Belasco and Marquette’s College of Business Administration have launched a concentrated commercial banking program they hope will develop the next generation of bankers and bank leaders. 

At a time when many banks no longer provide extensive in-house management training and when banking may have slipped in esteem, Marquette wants its new program to build a reputation for turning out top-notch bankers who understand the industry’s big picture as well as its detailed procedures.

The program also may serve as a source of future executives at community and rural banks, something industry professionals say is in short supply, especially as a generation of baby boomers prepares to retire.

In its first semester, nearly 80 students are signed up for the initial undergraduate course, called “Introduction to Commercial Banking.”

Belasco, the director of the Marquette banking program and adjunct assistant professor of finance and banking, said he knows from his connections to the banking industry that “there’s a real need out there” for the development of bankers.

Belasco said that with the commercial banking curriculum and the summer internships Marquette will help arrange with banks in Wisconsin and Illinois, students who go through the program should be ready to quickly adapt to the workplace when they graduate. Students also will delve into bank leadership and risk management as part of the program.

Belasco intends to bring in industry experts to supplement his instruction. Potential guest speakers will include government industry regulators, commercial lenders, financial technology professionals and cybersecurity experts.

Read more from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.