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FINTECH: Imperial College Is Launching A Blockchain Course For Bankers

Cryptocurrencies course the latest example of innovation at global business schools

Mon Apr 3 2017

London’s Imperial College Business School has launched a fintech course for bankers that will explore the disruptive potential of blockchain technology

The two-day, £2,400 program will focus on the disrupted ledger tech, as well as digital identity, cryptocurrencies and digital payments. It runs on May 4.

Blockchain has become one of the most hyped technologies in financial services, with banks, money managers and insurers all rushing to explore its potential uses in slashing costs and speeding up transactions.

Imperial, a stone’s throw from the City, says the course will give bankers a hands-on understanding of the fintech that is fundamentally changing how banking is done, and the tools needed to shift organizational culture. Banks’ rigid cultures have been slated as the main barrier to digital transformation, along with the challenges stemming from their legacy IT systems, and onerous regulation.  

It is the second fintech foray by business schools in as many weeks, after INSEAD said that it will revamp its MBA to infuse tech-focused electives such as fintech, digital disruption and big data into the curriculum. 

Business schools have been critiqued for relying too much on the case study method and not incorporating digital technologies into the syllabus quickly enough. However, they have in recent years actively tried to incorporate innovation into their programs, or launched specialised courses.

Last year, NYU Stern School of Business in New York created an MBA elective for fintech. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business set-up an “innovation and cryptoventures course” in 2014. In the executive education space, Cambridge University’s Judge Business School of the UK, said it planned to offer courses on blockchain to executives last year. NYU Stern also launched a two-day executive program centred on blockchain in 2015.

Ilian Mihov, dean of INSEAD and professor of economics, said: “In recent years, we have seen a drastic transformation in the global market place. It is important for us to constantly innovate.”

For Imperial College, the fintech course launch is the latest example of an innovation push underway. Imperial, one of the world’s most prestigious research universities, last month hired internationally-renowned innovation scholar Francisco Veloso as dean of its business school. Last year, the business school launched the Centre for Global Finance and Technology. In 2015, it also established the KPMG Data Observatory, and launched an MSc in business analytics a year before that.