MBA North America

FINTECH: Goldman Sachs Is Bringing Artificial Intelligence And Blockchain To Columbia B-School

Students will also learn from fintech leaders at Microsoft and Deloitte

Written by Seb Murray | MBA North America | Wednesday 5th April 2017 19:38:00 GMT

Fintech Frenzy: There is an explosion of interest in financial technology at business schools

Fintech Frenzy: There is an explosion of interest in financial technology at business schools

New York’s Columbia Business School will host a fintech conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Microsoft and Deloitte — the latest example of the fintech frenzy at elite business schools. 

The Frontiers of Digital Finance conference will focus on digital finance adoption, digital business models and data analytics, while also addressing key trends impacting the fintech industry. The full-day event will highlight issues in digital lending and payments, asset management, insurance, blockchain, regulation, risk analytics, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.

An estimated 250 participants, comprising senior executives from leading banks and other financial institutions and service providers, and fintech investors and innovators, as well as Columbia alumni and students are scheduled to attend. Participants will have the opportunity to speak and hear about practical experiences, challenges and opportunities in digital finance from speakers and panellists from a broad range of global financial services businesses.

“Financial services firms worldwide are grappling with unprecedented opportunities and challenges in digital finance due to changing customer expectations, new technology and regulations in flux,” said Melina Robbana, director of the program for financial studies at Columbia. “The Frontiers of Digital Finance conference will bring together perspectives from a wide range of senior business leaders and experts in the fintech space, and create a stronger foundation for accelerated growth in these areas.”

Students at the business school run Columbia FinTech Club, an organization that aims to develop education and innovation in the field of financial technology. Columbia alumni include Jon Stein, the founder of digital wealth manager Betterment, which uses software to create a portfolio and automatically rebalance it, which is valued at $700 million.

The event comes amid an explosion of interest in fintech at business schools, which are launching programs on everything from blockchain to peer-to-peer lending. Career opportunities for MBAs in this space have also proliferated. Last year, French business school HEC Paris said fintech startups such as TransferWise and GoCardless now vie with investment banks and traditional financial services companies for fresh recruits. A recent fintech talent faire at HEC Paris drew Blockchain, Bloomberg and BNP Paribas.

William Kunter, a master’s graduate who left Goldman Sachs to join app-only Berlin bank N26, said: “We’re always looking for good candidates. We’re well aware that the success of a start-up really depends on its ability to hire the best and brightest.” 

He added: “I would encourage all business school grads with a keen interest in fintech and with prior experience in banking, consulting or startups to send us their CV.”


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