January 8, 2008
The Church M.B.A.
Villanova launches a business degree for clergy.
The Wall Street Journal today interviewed Charles Zech, director of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova, which has just launched an M.B.A. program for clergy. The degree is geared specifically for Catholics priests, following the clergy-abuse scandal and, more recently, a church embezzlement crisis. "Our center on church management surveyed chief financial officers of U.S. Catholic dioceses in 2005 and found that 85% had experienced embezzlements in the previous five years," Zech said. He continued:
There clearly are serious questions about internal financial controls at the parish level, and we are now doing research on parish advisory councils and asking questions about such things as who handles the Sunday collection and who has check-writing authority. Does the same person count the collection, deposit the money and then reconcile the checkbook? Obviously, you're just asking for problems if it's the same person; you can imagine the temptations.
Evangelical colleges and universities have launched M.B.A. programs, which can be financially attractive to CCCU schools who are often very dependent on tuition-paying students. But a church M.B.A. I don't think even the Leadership Network has thought of, though evangelical churches are not immune to fraud.