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FINTECH: 6 Elite Business Schools Exploring Blockchain And Bitcoin

MBA programs are trying to decode the complex digital ledger

Thu Jun 30 2016

BusinessBecause
2016 has been the year of the blockchain. The revolutionary potential of bitcoin’s underlying technology is the sexist topic in finance. So it should be no great shock that business schools are trying to decode the complex digital ledger.

“Blockchain and new financial technologies in general open a number of new opportunities both for start-ups as well as for incumbents,” says Christian Catalini, assistant professor of technological innovation at MIT Sloan School of Management, who developed an intensive three-day blockchain course for MBAs.

Five of the world’s top-25 ranked business schools have told BusinessBecause they have or will incorporate blockchain into their curricula — among them UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. NYU Stern this month launched a new course. And Harvard Business School, meanwhile, has developed a course that explores the technology. HBS did not comment.

Professor David Yermack, chair of NYU Stern’s finance department, says: “I think the fintech curriculum will have to be taught at every business school, because students and employers will demand it.” Schools are also covering peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, digital currencies, and fintech entrepreneurialism.

Blockchain is a public, digital ledger of transactions. It uses cryptography, allowing participants to securely manipulate the ledger without a central authority.

Blockchain is one of the hottest areas of finance to work in. The technology has everyone from investment banks Goldman Sachs, UBS and JPMorgan Chase, to start-ups such as Circle and Coinbase salivating at its potential uses, such as international clearing and settlements. Accenture reckons it could cut finance industry costs by $20 billion annually by 2021. 

“There are so many firms that need to understand this space,” says Campbell Harvey, finance professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. He adds: “They want to have a so-called blockchain tsar at their firm; someone who can coordinate a multi-disciplinary effort so their firm comes out on the winning side rather than the losing side of blockchain disruption.”

Blockchain was borne with bitcoin, the controversial cryptocurrency. Bitcoin scandals, such as the collapse of Mt Gox and disappearance of $500 million worth of bitcoins, have dented digital monies’ appeal. But blockchain’s famed uses spread far beyond bitcoin.

“It took off by itself,” says professor Andrei Kirilenko, director Centre for Global Finance and Technology at Imperial College Business School. “It’s being looked at as a ledger that could store information about transactions outside of bitcoin.”

Enticed, financial services executives are spurring a rising demand for executive education courses focused on blockchain. Advocates believe the tech has the potential to shake-up vast swaths of the financial services industry and beyond.

“Fintech is coming at traditional banking from a new perspective,” says Marc Hamud, senior VP at GE Capital, who teaches MBAs about digital currencies at USC Marshall School of Business. “Our course is focusing on new business models and the potential those models have to disrupt the status quo.”

While large lenders are eyeing fintech, they are held back by concerns over regulation and by their ageing, legacy IT systems. Ripe for disruption, the incumbents are being challenged by a tsunami of start-ups employing digital tech more effectively.

“Think of somebody working for a bank — the big worry for you is that you have a bunch of legacy IT systems, and there are five people in a loft somewhere who are picking away at one of your core profitability measures,” says Raghu Rau, professor of finance at Cambridge Judge Business School.

Business school courses are looking at how entrepreneurs can commercialize and innovate with blockchain. MBAs see the appeal.

Marieke Flament is managing director for Europe at Circle, a blockchain start-up backed by $136 million from investors including Goldman, IDG China, Breyer Capital, Accel and General Catalyst.

The London Business School MBA says she wants to make money move more freely and more securely, faster: “We want money to work like the internet does.” 

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

Student

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.

Maxwell

Verified

30/03/2023

On Campus

Diversity

The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.

Anabelle

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Happy to school

All I could ever hope for is Duke University. That really epitomizes the "work hard, play hard" philosophy that elite colleges frequently pursue. Even though you'll have a lot of schooling to complete over the week, it's simple to keep focused because all of your friends are putting in similar amounts of effort. Many events taking place on and around campus on the weekends provide a great way to unwind. The combination of demanding academics and traditional college fun strikes the perfect balance.

Monica

Verified

27/02/2023

On Campus

Good schooling

Living, eating, learning, and developing who you want to be as an adult are all fantastic at Duke. I participated in student athletics, and I couldn't have asked for a better interaction with the faculty and other students. I appreciate all of the help I get from the Duke community more than anything. Furthermore, the teachers take the time to get to know you, and the lectures are diverse and demanding (if you do the same). I'd give it a 10 out of 10.

Aline

Verified

26/11/2022

On Campus

Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

Blended

whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.

Student

Verified

29/06/2022

On Campus

One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.

Student

Verified

16/06/2022

On Campus

The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.

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