Innovations That Inspire

Georgia Fintech Academy

Recognition Year(s): 2023
School: J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University
Location: United States

Co-developed by Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business and the University System of Georgia, the Georgia Fintech Academy is a state-wide talent development initiative that teaches students about fintech and connects them with fintech employers.

Call to Action

Georgia is an epicenter of the fastest-growing segment of the financial services industry—financial technologies. The fintech sector encompasses more than 200 Georgia-based companies that support the technology needs of the global financial services industry across payments, banking, asset management, capital markets, insurance, decentralized finance, and more.

Top Georgia fintech company revenues are more than 37 billion USD annually, which ranks Georgia third in the U.S., only behind California and New York. Georgia fintech companies process over 118 billion transactions—over 2 trillion USD per year, supporting nearly 4 million merchants. Seventy percent of all global debit and credit card financial transactions are processed by companies headquartered in Atlanta, and the fintech ecosystem in Georgia employs nearly 50,000 people.

Industry participants need fintech-ready talent to support and sustain the growth of this vibrant sector of the Georgia economy. The Georgia Fintech Academy was brought forth to address the talent requirements necessary for the state to maintain its dominant position in this fast-growing industry. The academy is a partnership between Georgia’s fintech industry, the University System of Georgia, and the Robinson College of Business, and addresses five major areas: academic talent development, experiential learning, professional development, innovation-driven research, and career advancement.

Co-founded and housed at the Robinson College of Business, the Georgia Fintech Academy began operations in 2019 when its core curriculum was launched online and became accessible to students enrolled at any of the 26 institutions that make up the University System of Georgia.

Innovation Details

The Georgia Fintech Academy offers courses ranging from a foundational overview of the fintech ecosystem to deep dives into banking, information security, data analytics, and financial technologies. To effectively prepare students for a successful career in an area as dynamic as fintech, these courses cannot be delivered in a traditional manner. Faculty constantly update course materials as they collaborate with fintech companies. Sponsor companies present innovation action projects to student groups statewide, challenging them to find viable solutions to real business challenges.

Motivated by the realistic component of these projects, student teams compete to earn the right to present their findings to panels of sponsor company representatives. This collaboration allows students to experience a real-world, professional work environment while companies are meeting and evaluating talent over an extended period.

In addition to the courses and innovation action projects, the Georgia Fintech Academy offers a speaker series, podcast, and career fairs. The speaker series, delivered in a hybrid format, engages thought leaders from across the fintech ecosystem to keep students updated on industry developments. In each podcast, the Fintech Academy executive director interviews an industry professional and a current student. Several of the courses use the podcast and speaker series as primary material and a means to keep the classroom experience current with the fintech industry. The career fairs are the ultimate product of the Georgia Fintech Academy. There, companies find a diverse set of graduates from across the state of Georgia who possess a unique, fintech-ready skill set.

Innovation Impact

The academy has had a meaningful impact as it approaches its three-year anniversary:

  • 1,600 students, both graduates and undergraduates, have been placed into an internship or full-time fintech job—and that number is projected to double in the next two years.
  • 5,200 students have taken at least one fintech course, including fall semester 2022.
  • Almost 1,000 students are enrolled in academy-sponsored courses in fall 2022.
  • Since its inception, 72 percent of students are from underrepresented groups and 43 percent are women.
  • More than 300 students per semester participate in a project with a fintech company.
  • 20 to 25 student events are held each semester with fintech industry leaders.
  • 300 to 400 students participate in a fintech career fair each month.
  • More than 70 podcast episodes produced by the Georgia Fintech Academy have received 8,000 streams to date.

The initiative encompasses the university system’s 26 public higher education institutions. Any student at any Georgia public university can access the specialized educational and cocurricular experiences necessary to enter the fintech sector. Learners access the academy’s talent development platform, regardless of where they live in Georgia or the college or university in which they are enrolled.

Employers have unparalleled access to a scale and scope of fintech-industry-ready diverse talent unlike any that exists in the world. This experience is valuable for all students but particularly beneficial for those who were not raised in professional homes where the result may be generational change for these students. Smaller and out-of-state schools are able to attract and retain exceptional students by making the academy’s cutting-edge educational programming available on their campuses.

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