Reflections of a CUNA Management School Graduate
After spending almost three years working at CUNA and marketing CUNA Management School, I was asked to go through the program as an attendee in 2006. I remember arriving on a hot, steamy July Sunday to gather my materials and check in to my dorm room. That wasn’t a typo, I stayed in a dorm room for two weeks, and actually enjoyed it. Unlike my college days at the same UW-Madison, this school offered a completely different experience.
After attending the evening mixer, I began to notice quickly the diversity amongst the group. Though we were all from the credit union movement, there were CEOs, marketers, branch managers, lending officers, business development managers, compliance officers and many others. Plus, there were veterans of the movement, new hires, young parents, grandparents, and even one woman who was pregnant. All in different stages of our careers and lives, we embarked on this experience to…? That was the question I wanted to answer. After all, I promote this program to credit union professionals each year. What were they hoping to gain or learn during these two weeks, and what would bring them back for the following two summers?
Needless to say, I certainly got an education at CUNA Management School. Not only was I educated about what people gained and learned at the program, I experienced it.
I learned about and experienced idea sharing. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I sat next to 3 other marketers during my first day of class, and sat next to the same 3 my last day. We loved learning from each other, and discussing the concepts presented in class as they related to marketing.
I learned about and experienced leadership and teamwork. Sure, at first I thought it was hokey to have a class motto and chant. But sure enough, after serving as our class treasurer, fundraising for the scholarship fund, assisting with the welcome committee and planning our class celebration, I felt the credit union philosophy come alive along with a camaraderie that continued long after the day we headed home.
I learned about and experienced credit unions. I knew business concepts before I attended CUNA Management School. In fact, many of my class members already had masters in business. However, we learned about the credit union way of doing business as we sifted through ALM, ratios, human resources, marketing, innovation and crisis management. Not just how to do it, but how a credit union should do it.
As the day approaches that a whole new CUNA Management School class begins, I remember my last day of the program. I was the pregnant woman (with only two weeks until my due date, now that’s dedication) and others were now CEOs and COOs. We all took something a little different away from the program, yet we were all taking away something just the same: We learned about and experienced people helping people.