BANKERS are not very popular at the moment. They haven't been for a while. After dominating the headlines for taking multi-million pound bonuses and scandals such as the mis-selling of PPI, public perception of the industry is at an all-time low. But one team have made it their "mission" to bring about change.
As managing director of The Management Centre at Bangor University, Phil Ryan is spearheading the Chartered Banker MBA as programme director.
Attracting bankers from across the globe for a two-year course in blended learning - including face-to-face tutorials, web seminars and hard and soft copy materials - Phil and a team of highly regarded banking professors are attempting to breathe new life into the sector.
Birmingham-born Phil spent 26 years with the Lloyd's group and knows most aspects of banking, having risen from a junior to branch manager and beyond. His passion is in development and education, not just for graduates but for the managers and regional bosses who can really "make a difference" to the future of the profession he loves.
Speaking exclusively to Business Post, Phil spoke proudly of Bangor's standing at number one in the government's university rankings for banking and finance research, and how the Gwynedd institution wants to play its part in the economic "jigsaw".
With its own balance sheet and more than 50 employees, The Management Centre is a self-sustained business in its own right, and he believes with a constant stream of more than 200 bankers in four separate cohorts the future looks buoyant.
Phil added: "We've found that those being educated at the centre need treating in a different way to the full time students at the university. Our reach goes from SME businesses in Wales to banking CEOs in Malaysia and the products and infrastructure of any traditional university is not focused on this market".
"Many people still don't know that we're number one in the UK for banking and finance and the time has come for us to be proudly shouting about this from the rooftops."
With an average student, or customer, aged "forty-something", in a managerial position or running their own firm, he pointed out the success of the MBA has come about because it recognises the problems and challenges this type of student will face - not least their lack of time.
And, when you get him on the subject of the benefit the MBA can have in the banking industry and, therefore, the wider economy as a whole Phil gets extremely passionate.
"I probably would have stayed with Lloyd's from my last day of school until retirement had it not been for an overwhelming interest in training and development. In the early days my passion for training was like a sideline or hobby, and I always managed my teams to embrace continuous learning," said Phil.
"When this opportunity came up to bring training and development to an international banking audience I simply could not resist."
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