Fintech: Rapidly Making its Way into MBA Curricula
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Technological growth has drastically affected major parts of our lives. It is entwined with almost all our daily activities and has had a major impact on various sectors, including education, business, healthcare, finance, and so on. A key technological advancement, which is popularly known as ‘Fintech’, has revolutionized the business and financial sector, making transactions and procedures effortless and trouble-free. Fintech is the outcome of a technological detonation in the financial sector, where there weren’t much of innovations going on. Fintech brings in technology-related innovations in the financial sector, which have the ability to alter long-standing financial structures and change the way we use financial instruments. It blurs industry boundaries, facilitates strategic disintermediation, and revolutionizes how firms create and deliver products and services. It creates significant privacy, regulatory and law-enforcement challenges, provides new gateways for entrepreneurship, and new opportunities for inclusive growth. One can make payments easily and can conduct hassle-free business dealings in a jiffy, thanks to the advent of revolutionary fintech applications. These applications have disintermediated the entire financial procedure making it direct and simple.

Fintech Revolutionizing Businesses

Fintech can now be seen applied on areas including payment, credit, equity and crowd funding. These days, online retailers are also using their own payment systems and are offering credit facilities to customers. The application of fintech has also led to the formation of consumer and smaller-sized lending companies. Moreover, another factor influencing the credit space is that individuals can now invest on startups owing to a few major initiatives. According to recent data, the global venture investment in fintech grew by 11 percent to $17.4 billion in 2016.

A Driving Interest in B-schools

Many B-schools are adding fintech specializations into their curriculum because of the rapid growth of this sector in recent years.  These schools are assessing the growing demand for professionals in the fintech sector, who have analytical skills based on the information technology area. They consider that the banking industry, the credit industry, the investment industry, and the payment industry are transforming with technology and big data. Students want to get into the fintech sector because of its vast scope and potentially large returns for getting in early. Institutions, along with traditional syllabus, are also teaching students how the markets are being influenced by modern technologies, helping them come up with new business ideas in order to participate successfully in this technologically driven financial system. A leading American business school was the first one to teach a course on blockchain, the technology that first came up as a system reinforcing the virtual currency, bitcoin. Moreover, another major educational institution is focusing on financial inclusion, or designing affordable products and services for disadvantaged customers.

Universities are also inviting financial technology executives to deliver guest lecture sessions. They are aiming at providing innovative fintech sessions and programs which will help in boosting students’ careers, whether they start their own businesses or join other organizations. Major B-Schools are covering an assortment of topics under fintech, which include: Blockchain, Digital Identity, Digital Money and Cryptocurrencies, Digital payments, and many more. They are conducting special classes on fintech and its applications to clarify students’ doubts and queries and strengthen their understanding of this financial phenomenon. Many institutions have launched their own student fintech groups which invite guest speakers, conduct community events and provide innovative opportunities. Moreover, some major universities are promoting and encouraging student-led fintech clubs and organizations.

Challenges in a Fintech Course

Teaching a fintech course is a challenging job as it includes incorporating previously independent disciplines into something that results in a successful end product. Though the material rapidly changes, the fundamentals of financial models and risk management remain the same, irrespective of what platform is used.  Students are being taught that the underlying financial concepts remain the same, but the physical form of services change. These days, instead of paying bills in cash, payments are being made by bitcoins or by phones. Loans are being provided through an online platform instead of going to a bank.

For MBAs who want to perform innovatively, be entrepreneurial in a low-risk environment,   launch their own business and take it towards success, fintech has been an attractive option. This attraction has led them to demand for fintech as a curricular and extra-curricular choice. Hence, with the recent developments and its current growth and usage in the business sector, fintech has emerged as the trending term in business schools and MBA curricula.

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