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January 9, 2020

Financial Communications Graduate Certificate Program Launched

Interdisciplinary Online Offering Provides Vital Skills
Financial Communications Graduate Certificate Program Launched
The new Financial Communications Graduate Certificate provides professionals with the know-how to effectively communicate financial information.

A new Financial Communications Graduate Certificate program prepares professionals to become the go-to voice when communicating financial information. The 12-credit-hour online program offered jointly by the College of Business and College of Journalism and Mass Communications, enables students to interpret and write financial news in real-time using new, fast-paced technology.

Tom Contiliano, chief of client relations for Bloomberg News, helped advocate for the creation of the new University of Nebraska–Lincoln program. He stressed both the value and flexibility the certificate provides those looking to upgrade their journalism or business careers.

“The four-course regimen drawing on classes offered at both colleges gives students a solid grounding of value to us and other employers. Media organizations and corporations in Nebraska and outside would benefit having employees with skills this certificate would provide,” said Contiliano.

Approved by the Board of Regents this fall, the program requires four, eight-week online courses, which include Financial Communications (JOMC 820) and Introduction to Business Strategy (GRBA 808), and then students choose two more courses from Public Relations Theory and Strategy (ADPR 850); Graduate Writing, Reporting and Editing (JGRD 819); Financial Accounting (GRBA 809) or Managerial Finance (GRBA 811).

“The certificate would be valuable to graduate students, as well as to mid-career people seeking more training in business journalism in areas of management and communications. It would be relevant to those seeking such degrees as MBA and MPA, or in advanced journalism degrees,” he said.

Sue Wilkinson, ’90, executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer at Ameritas, sees a growing need for the program in her business. She praised the program for filling a need and believes it creates highly employable graduates in a wide variety of industries.

“Communicating financial information in a clear, relatable manner for broad audiences is not simple,” Wilkinson said. “There is a real need for professional communicators with knowledge and skills to share financial results with associates, board members, business partners and the public.” 

Lauryn Higgins, adjunct professor of journalism, piloted the program course sequence while earning her master of arts in journalism and mass communications. She acquired the ability to relate real-world financial news to colleagues and students.

“Reporting analytics or large sets of numbers might seem easy if you know how to write and understand the data, but the truth is most people don’t. This certificate helped me breakdown the nitty gritty and hard business data most people don’t understand and make it enjoyable to read, and more importantly, easy to understand,” Higgins said. “It’s vital for individuals working in business to make sure they are able to communicate effectively to their target audience. Regardless of what business you work in, being able to communicate well sets you apart.”

Higgins expects to use the certificate throughout her career. Due to her background and the certificate, she knows she can fill a niche in a variety of businesses.

“The certificate is more than just a deep dive into business and journalism. It’s a condensed and effective way of teaching me how to communicate effectively to my target audience. That is a skill I can take into any job,” Higgins said.

To learn more about the Financial Communications graduate certificate program, visit: https://business.unl.edu/fccertificate.

To view all the graduate certificate programs offered through the College of Business, visit: https://business.unl.edu/certificates.