Lebanese American University


Banking and finance seminars help professionals stand up to new realities


Dr. Phillip Borzilleri conducting a seminar.


Participants work on a group project.


From left: Dean of the School of Business in Byblos Wassim Shahin and IBAF Director Elias Raad.


Dr. Borzilleri engages participants in a discussion on how to build high-performance teams.

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August 6, 2008—

LAU’s Institute for Banking and Finance’s seminars in mid-July attracted businessmen and managers from a variety of industries who came to take a fresh look at hot topics such as customer satisfaction, human resources management, communication, and the recent financial crisis in the United States.

Local and regional professionals often lack training, specifically in the banking sector, as “some people don’t have business degrees,” said IBAF director Elias Raad, while others “have been on the job for a long time” and need to brush up on their knowledge of essential issues.

This year the seminars attracted 80 professionals to the Byblos campus. It’s the program’s 11th year.

Dr. Phillip Borzilleri, senior vice president of Morin & Associates and professor at DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management, led all the sessions, sharing with the participants his 25-year experience as a consultant and coach in operations, customer services, and employee relations.

A two-day seminar entitled “Bank Branch Management” aimed to help professionals determine what customers want and how to develop employee service skills. It focused on the importance of continuous service improvement to achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Borzilleri presented total quality management tools managers could use to increase efficiency and reduce common (and often expensive) mistakes, redundancies, and wastes of resources.

Another seminar tackled the issue of the sub-prime mortgage crisis that has recently affected the U.S. economy and is threatening to have global repercussions. The causes, evolution, and main players of the crisis were discussed, followed with advice for bankers on how to protect their interests in the coming years.

It is important to discuss this topic in Lebanon so as to avoid the same problem here, explained Dr. Raad, who is also the Accounting, Banking, Finance and Marketing chairman in Byblos, and E.M.B.A. program coordinator.

Participants in another hands-on seminar were taught the skills and practical methods for building high-performance teams in banks, including conflict management and consensus decision-making.

The improvement of communication skills was discussed in a separate seminar. Through videos and games, participants learned how to communicate important messages and receive feedback on how their behaviors were being interpreted by their staff and co-workers. They were also exposed to the DiSC® style assessment, an online program that presents effective ways to understand other people.

Participants received certificates and E.M.B.A. students from LAU who took part in the event also earned credit for their attendance.

The event “exposes LAU to the business world,” said Raad, adding that many of the attendees begin hiring LAU graduates as a result.

To find out more about the seminars, visit IBAF’s website.

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