PNW Banking Concentration Gives Students Competitive Advantage in Financial Services Industry

October 25, 2021

Purdue University Northwest’s (PNW) College of Business provides students interested in a career within the financial sector a competitive advantage by offering a banking concentration and minor degree programs.

In partnership with the Indiana Bankers Association (IBA), PNW offers undergraduate students majoring in finance the opportunity to earn a banking concentration. Students majoring in other degree programs within the College of Business have the opportunity to earn a minor degree in banking.

The programs, the first of a kind to be offered at any university in Indiana, provide a more in-depth and structured study of topics, issues and practices that are specific to the banking industry.

“What makes Purdue Northwest’s program unique is our strong relationship with the banking community,” said Lawrence O. Hamer, dean of the College of Business at PNW. “The collaboration with the Indiana Bankers Association helped us build the program and our ongoing relationship with the IBA and the industry professionals in the region continues to be the hallmark of the banking program.” 

The curriculum, developed with input from the IBA, fills in the educational gaps identified by emerging trends and educational needs that exist within the industry.


This program provides students with a more thorough knowledge and understanding of the banking industry which will ultimately give them a competitive advantage in the job market.

Paolo Miranda, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for the PNW College of Business.

Program Beginnings

The idea for a post-secondary educational program in banking grew out of the IBA’s desire to develop and prepare students for careers in the industry and to cultivate the next generation of banking professionals. 

“We were at a place where we didn’t feel the industry was getting enough recognition among college students,” says Rod Lasley, executive vice president-operations and member services for the IBA. “We were also starting to see a real gap in the next generation of bankers and bank leadership coming into our industry and felt it was time to turn the tide. We wanted to make students aware of the great opportunities that are available within the industry.”

The IBA reached out to several universities around the state with the idea to create an educational banking initiative. According to Lasley, “Purdue Northwest jumped on the opportunity. They were the most open and willing to consider the idea.” After determining the concentration was a good fit for the PNW student base, the university and the IBA began steps to develop and implement the banking concentration and minor degree programs.

Banking Curriculum

“We wanted to create a program that served our students,” said Paolo Miranda, associate dean of undergraduate studies for the PNW College of Business. “This program provides students with a more thorough knowledge and understanding of the banking industry which will ultimately give them a competitive advantage in the job market.” 

The curriculum for the banking concentration includes four required electives related to the industry: Management of Financial Institutions, Financial Reporting and Compliance, Risk Management and Personal Selling. The banking minor includes an additional class in Financial Markets and Institutions.

Professionals from the financial services industry teach the banking specific classes, allowing them to bring their experience and knowledge of the industry into the classroom. In addition, simulation software, developed by the American Bankers Association to train banking executives, is utilized in class. 

A banking internship, while not required but strongly encouraged, gives students a better understanding of the industry and the variety of career opportunities within banking institutions.

Looking to the future

While the banking concentration and minor degree programs are still in their infancy, the feedback from students, instructors and the banking community has been extremely positive. It’s that positive feedback that has led to preliminary conversations between the college and the IBA about expanding the curriculum with additional internship opportunities, more interaction with the banking community as part of the program and even a possible post-baccalaureate program.   

“The Purdue Northwest banking program provides students with the knowledge, skills and abilities that financial institutions are looking for in prospective employees,” said Hamer. “The program also gives them the opportunity to build a network of professional contacts. Ultimately, students will receive an education that will carry them outside of the university into the community and provide them a competitive edge in the professional banking world.”