Interested in Fintech? A Business Degree Can Help

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022
By Kathleen DeRose
Photo by iStock/hobo_018
Specialized business degrees help learners develop real-world skills, advance in careers, and stand out from others in the rapidly evolving fintech world.
  • Changes in fintech are rapid, dynamic, and global.
  • For a rapidly evolving field like fintech, professionals need specialized programs from an accredited institution.
  • Networking opportunities provided by quality institutions open doors for aspiring fintech professionals.

Fintech continues to gain momentum; it’s getting bigger and it’s going mainstream. Cryptocurrency valuations soared to more than 3 trillion USD (before correcting sharply), JPMorgan announced a 26-percent increase in its technology budget to a whopping 12 billion USD, and fintech venture capital investment is reaching new all-time highs in the tens of billions of dollars, creating even more fintech unicorn companies. Former startups Plaid and Stripe are now ubiquitous parts of the payment infrastructure, China piloted its central bank digital currency at the Beijing Olympics, and U.S. President Biden signed an executive order requiring the U.S. government to assess the risks and benefits of digital currencies. Meanwhile, Coinbase, a company that did not exist 10 years ago, advertised at the Super Bowl—one of the U.S.’s largest commercial events each year—for the first time!

The Need for Fintech Knowledge Today

If you’re exploring or working in finance or data science, you already know that changes in fintech are rapid, dynamic, and global. Importantly, fintech also demands new skills. If you are a product manager at a financial services firm, you must now speak two languages—finance and data science.

One of the biggest challenges for product managers, and the developers and specialists who support them, is combining domain knowledge in finance with technical expertise in coding. For example, these employees must be able to articulate the complex needs of clients and translate them into accurate analytics. Similarly, they need to be able to predict mutual fund sales across distribution channels, correctly account for a complex derivative in a hedge fund portfolio, and enhance credit card default forecasts—all while depending on data science in finance.

If you work in the strategy department of a large financial firm and are about to execute a firm-wide cloud strategy, you must confidently anticipate the platform tactics your cloud partner might deploy. You need to be able to counter their competitive effects as data and analytics move into the cloud, re-arranging pricing and how value is created and captured, while also mitigating technology risk and control in the new environment. If you are working in a technology firm, or thinking about starting one, you must anticipate how decentralized finance might completely transform the financial value chain you hope to operate. These real-world challenges demand a holistic and technical approach to business strategy, product design, partnering, and value creation in fintech.

How to Accelerate Your Fintech Career

How do you catch up, or even keep up, with the fintech industry? Until recently, professionals had few options to stay current in or accelerate their fintech careers. While some massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide short learning experiences, and some for-profit training institutes offer paid vocational courses in topics like machine learning, these options may fall short of the comprehensive approach fintech leaders really need. For a rapidly evolving field like fintech, professionals need specialized programs, high-quality networking opportunities within both tech and finance, and an accredited university with demonstrated leadership in the field.

For example, NYU Stern’s fintech programs have been expanding alongside the digital transformation of finance—and helping fintech professionals excel from the very beginning. From pioneering cryptocurrency classes in 2014, to delivering Foundations of Fintech courses in 2017, to offering the first MBA fintech specialization in 2018, and to now launching a one-year MS in Fintech program, NYU Stern has been at the forefront of fintech education. Different business degrees do not always offer the same value. Schools that have been a part of fintech education from the beginning have exceptional insight to offer students seeking to thrive in the industry .

Obtaining a specialized business degree will help professionals develop real-world skills, advance their careers, and set them apart from others trying to refresh their professional places in this dynamic world.

Among the many benefits of a business degree are the networking opportunities available at well-regarded, accredited business schools, and this is particularly important in a fast-growing industry where leadership roles are still up for grabs. Quality business schools foster long-lasting corporate relationships with both established companies and emerging ones, and well-connected and loyal alumni of these schools enjoy engaging with their alma maters. NYU Stern’s unique position in the New York financial ecosystem and in New York’s “Silicon Alley” is a special advantage for aspiring fintech experts.

The fintech industry is thriving right now, and people are keen to seek out opportunities in the field. Obtaining a specialized business degree will help professionals develop real-world skills, advance their careers, and set them apart from others trying to refresh their professional places in this dynamic world.

Professor Kathleen DeRose is the academic director of NYU Stern’s MS in Fintech program; director of Stern’s Fubon Center for Technology, Business and Innovation; and director of Stern’s Fubon Center Fintech Initiative.

Kathleen DeRose
Academic Director, MS in Fintech Program, Stern School of Business, New York University
The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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