Over the last year, we have seen Fintech courses and lectures started at different universities around the world. For example, MIT launched a graduate course on Fintech, Wharton launched a series of Fintech lectures, Hong Kong University launched a Fintech course, Vlerick Business School launched a 3-week Fintech bootcamp, and many other ones*…
But before going into the details of the Oxford lectures, let me take a step back and tell you how critical these initiatives are. As you might expect, I meet quite a lot of bankers, and in particular young graduates freshly out of school, or junior bankers with a few years of experience. Many of them have graduated from very prestigious universities around the world, where they have had an undergrad or grad education in finance. So far, so good.
However, where there is a slight problem is that their education and expectations are pretty much the same as those of a graduate of 2006, or even 1996. In other words, their finance courses are still very traditional (e.g modern portfolio theory, option pricing using Black-Sholes, discounted cash flow valuation, etc.). And when they join a graduate program, they still expect that they will be on a specific desk, do a very specialised job, and do the same job for the next 20 years.
After a few years, some of them realise that this vision of the world is not correct anymore, and that the industry is going through huge changes – from electronic trading to robo advisors, from the inexorable rise of automation to the future impact of Artificial Intelligence. At that point, their expectations of a long and stable career in a very specialised job are shattered, and they wonder when their job will be taken over by a robot…
This is of course an exaggeration – but it’s actually not that far from reality. I have met many many young people in finance who are questioning how they should adapt to this new world. And the reality is that it is totally possible to be prepared – and benefit from – all the changes happening in finance, but this can only happen if the universities adapt their curriculum to the new world of finance.
In my opinion, it is totally impossible in 2016 to teach finance without having modules in technology and innovation. It does not mean that all finance professionals will be coders, or that they will all be entrepreneurs. But in the same way as all finance professionals could not work without knowing how to use Excel, today they should understand the principles behind APIs or Big Data. Otherwise, how could they anticipate and drive the changes that will happen to the finance industry?
To summarise, Fintech and innovation should be a prerequisite for any finance courses, and I am therefore hugely excited about the launch of a series Fintech lectures at Oxford Said Business School.
As Fintech Resident Expert of Oxford, I’ll have the great pleasure to moderate the three Fintech lectures in May – those sessions have been designed to share the views from Fintech insiders with the students, and will last 90 minutes, followed by networking drinks.
The first session on 5 May will be an introduction to Fintech, and will leverage on the insights of Anna Irrera (one of the best Fintech journalists in the world, at Dow Jones Financial News), Warren Mead (MrFintech himself, partner at KPMG in charge of Fintech), and John Egan (expert at Anthemis, one of the best investor and thought-leader in Fintech).
The second session on 12 May will see Fintech CEOs share their experience of launching a Fintech startup. We’ll have Damian Kimmelman, the CEO of Duedil (“Britain’s answer to Bloomberg”), and Stu Taylor, the CEO of Algomi (winner of countless awards, including “Best financial technology innovation”). Both have successfully launched, financed and commercialised in Fintech, and are quickly developing their business.
And last but not least, the session on 19 May will help us understand how banks and asset managers are also innovating. We’ll have the pleasure to have Frank Porcelli, the Chairman of Blackrock Wealth Advisory who will share his experience of innovation, including the acquisition of Future Advisor. And Claire Calmejane will give us her views as Innovation Director at Lloyds Group, but also one of the most active and influential person in the Fintech ecosystem.
These sessions have been designed for Oxford MBAs, but are also open to the public. Anyone is therefore welcome to join – but seats will be limited on a first come first serve…
(For Oxford MBAs, you can suggest questions to the speakers by contacting Billy Whalen before the event)
Hopefully, these first Fintech lectures should lead to much more initiatives in the future, and we will see a trend for much more Fintech and innovation coming to finance classrooms…
* I’ll be very happy to list all the Fintech initiatives in universities around the world at the bottom of this post, just send me the details.
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