Travis Hall is the president of SC National Guard FCU but when he started at the credit union in 2014, he was the chief financial officer and, later, a first-year student at Southeast CUNA Management School. Hall graduated from the program in 2016 and, to this day, calls it the “highlight professional experience” of his career.
Q. Why did you choose to attend Southeast CUNA Management School (aka SRCUS)?
…the president of the CU suggested I attend. I’d been around the industry for years, so I was vaguely familiar with SRCUS. It seemed like a great opportunity for me at that point in my career.
Q. What did you think of the experience after three years?
After graduating from SRCUS, I was relieved to have the work behind me but sad to see the end of the journey. The school itself is not overly demanding, but it can be challenging to make time to complete the projects on top of other work and personal life demands. The second- and third-year projects (completed in the year between sessions) were eye-opening experiences for me – looking internally at my own credit union and externally at topics relevant to the industry.
Several years later, SRCUS remains the highlight professional experience of my career. It is still amazing to me how close our graduating class grew during those three weeks. We still occasionally exchange emails with CU-related questions. I have a handful of classmates that I still communicate with on a regular basis.
Q. What were your favorite courses?
I enjoyed several of the classes, but the two that stand out the most were ratios … and emotional intelligence.
Q. What did you enjoy about the extracurricular activities?
The ropes courses really helped us get to know each other as we were forced to depend on people we barely knew to accomplish the goals. I also found the third-year service project at the local food bank to be very rewarding. It exemplified what credit unions are in our own communities.
While the hospitality suite is a bit of punchline to those of us who attended SRCUS, I believe it is also a big part of what makes the classes so close. Rather than having us scatter in small groups for the night, we had a central place to gather with our peers in a relaxed setting. I believe this is much safer than if we were to attempt to do this offsite.
Q. What was the campus environment like?
The setup at UGA was great for keeping most of our events close together, which was nice. I do recall wishing the classrooms had windows.
Q. How did SRCUS help you prepare for your career?
SRCUS was so early in my CU career that I don’t have much context of my career without it. I do know that I made lasting connections that have provided so much to me throughout my career. We’ve shared policies, vendor experiences, and ideas. For me personally, sometimes I like having the ability to reach out to a trusted friend outside of the Carolinas footprint for honest conversation.
I learned a lot about credit unions and the industry, but I also learned a lot about myself and how I interact with others. Some of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced in management have been people issues. Having the ability to assess personality types has made me a more effective communicator and leader.
Q. What advice do you have for others considering this school?
If you have the opportunity to attend, you should take it. It is hard to put your life on hold – both personally and professionally – but stepping away … to fully immerse yourself in the SRCUS experience will allow you to get the most from it. I would also encourage others to enter into the experience with an open mind. I remember having my doubts … because some of the communication leading up to the first-year session sounded “campy,” but the entire program was put together in a way that allows for maximum growth and development.
Southeastern Regional Credit Union Schools (SRCUS) is currently accepting students for enrollment in its 2023 Southeast CUNA Management School, set for June 18-23 in Athens, GA. Learn more or enroll at srcus.org/management-school. For financial assistance, contact your League representative on the Advisory Committee for details on available scholarships.