NYU Stern Just Launched A FinTech MBA Program — It Will Explore Blockchains And Big Data

School will teach students how to manage a tsunami of fintech innovation

It’s known for sending students to Wall Street. Now, it’s teaching them how to disrupt it.

NYU Stern School of Business is expanding its MBA program to prepare students for future jobs in the fintech, as the sector faces a tsunami of innovation.

Starting Fall 2016, NYU Stern MBAs will be able to choose a dedicated fintech specialization, which NYU Stern says is a first among top business schools, plus eight new electives.

A slew of schools have told BusinessBecause over the past year that they are developing fintech electives, however, in areas such as blockchain, bitcoin, and peer-to-peer lending.

“Technology continues to transform the business landscape at a breath-taking pace,” said Raghu Sundaram, vice dean of MBA Programs at NYU Stern. “Business education needs to innovate to keep pace with the rapid rate of change. The launching of the fintech specialization…Is an important step in this direction.”

NYU Stern was one of the first to pioneer a course on bitcoin, in 2014, along with Duke's Fuqua School of Business, when questions about the regulation of cryptocurrencies began to emerge.

Bitcoin, and its underlying technology, the blockchain, has become one of the hottest topics in banking and finance. Advocates believe blockchain could revolutionize areas such as international clearing and settlements. Already, banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are pouring investment into blockchains.  

Investments in fintech have increased from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $19 billion in 2015, according to Citi.

“The mechanism by which people exchange financial assets will look incredibly different five years from now,” said professor David Yermack, academic co-chair of NYU Stern’s fintech specialization.

“Inevitably, there will be more peer-to-peer exchanges without a human middleman to certify the transaction. In addition to start-ups, many jobs will be situated in legacy banks that are currently racing to catch up with the technology.”

MBA job opportunities in the fast-growing fintech space are numerous. Graduates are now as keen to work at start-ups in this space as they are at big investment banks.  

“Fintech is a great area for recruiting growth,” said Richard Bland, head of finance careers at London Business School.

Excitement around the blockchain has universities the world over rushing to develop content on the topic. Cambridge University’s Judge Business School is placing fintech into the core of its masters in finance program this year. Both the Haas School of Business, USC Marshall School of Business and MIT Sloan School of Management rolled out fresh fintech programs in 2015.

“Blockchain and new financial technology in general open a number of new opportunities both for start-ups as well as for incumbents, so developing high quality educational content on these topics can be extremely useful for MBA students,” said Christian Catalini, assistant professor of technological innovation at MIT Sloan.

NYU Stern’s fintech courses will address a range of subjects, including trading strategies; transaction security; data management; risk management; financial data analytics; digital currencies; mobile payments; and entrepreneurial crowdfunding.

The pivot to fintech shows no signs of abating. Imperial College Business School of the UK, for example, is developing content in its new Centre for Global Finance and Technology. 

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