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Nassau Guardian Article - Business Section - Thursday July 28th, 2011

By: Stewart Miller, NG Business Reporter

The cutting-edge Chartered Banker MBA from Bangor University is now available in The Bahamas, with a special $5,000 scholarship offered for enrollees using the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS).

The Unique MBA offers a dual accreditation through Bangor Business School and the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, and is the only qualification in the world to combine the MBA with Chartered Banker status. BIFS Executive Director, Kim Bodie, told Guardian Business yesterday the core modules and electives of the MBA are designed to prepare students for the post-financial crisis business environment.

"What makes this program unique is the way it's designed- the relevant modules that the student would follow...it's specifically designed for financial services professionals at the highest level," Bodie said.

"It all ties into the crisis that has emerged in the industry over the last few years," Bodie said after describing the core modules, which includes financial institutions risk management, credit and lending, professional ethics and regulation, and human resources/organizational behavior, among others.

Bangor University's School of Business is well regarded in the industry, and received the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 top spot for Accounting and Finance for UK business schools. BIFS Information Technology Director, Miguel Pratt, said the competitive program is priced considerably below comparable MBA partnership programs.

"The actual cost of the program is $25,752, but students get a $5,000 scholarship as a registrant of the BIFS," Pratt said. "So that rounds to about $20,000 payable, which is very affordable."

The program will be largely conducted online, with three-to-four day face-to-face workshops conducted by Bangor lecturers each semester. Bodie said in addition to the obvious banking candidate, other financial services and related professionals like lawyers and accountants would take great benefit for cross-training. The program also has accelerated tracks for successful candidates with an existing MBA degree, shortening the program's duration and reducing its cost.

Though an undergraduate degree is a basic requirement for the program, Bodie said there is an option for seasoned industry leaders who do not possess an undergraduate qualification.

"They are making this MBA very accessible to persons who may not have an undergraduate degree but who have been at the strategic management level of an organization for many years," the executive director said. "They would be able to be grandfathered into this program based on a performance portfolio from their CEO or {another appropriate person}.

"So that also makes this program unique."

The deadline for registration in the program is August 19th, and according to Bodie applications have begun to come in. Full details and application material are available on the BIFS website.

The executive director says she is looking to BIFS Becoming the institute that regional professionals turn to for the Chartered Banker MBA.

"We hope that we will be able to become the hub in this region for this program. We are going to be the main promoters, so The Bahamas will benefit greatly from this," said Bodie.

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