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FINTECH: Elite Business Schools Are Teaching MBAs About Bitcoin's Blockchain — This Is Why

And executives are flocking to courses on the disruptive digital ledger

Sat Nov 12 2016

BusinessBecause
There are few more thrilling topics in the world of high-finance than blockchain, the digital ledger that emerged with the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Advocates tout the blockchain's potential uses in revolutionizing the way money is moved around the world by slashing the costs and time required for cross-border transfers, remittances and corporate payments.

So as we’ve previously reported, it should be no big shock that the world’s best business schools are rushing to roll-out content on the subject.

That adoption, however, is gathering pace, as the world's biggest financial institutions race to adopt blockchain technology to lower administrative costs, create quicker settlement time and provide revenue opportunities through innovative products and services.

Nothing signals this shift more than NYU’s Stern School of Business, which launched this summer an entire fintech MBA elective that explores blockchain and digital currencies in-depth.

That program roll-out follows a host of similar moves by top-ranked schools, such as Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which offers the Innovation and Cryptoventures course.

The wider fintech curriculum — which includes peer-to-peer lending, financial data analytics and entrepreneurship — will have to be taught at every business school, argues Professor David Yermack, chair of NYU Stern's finance department, because employers will demand it.

That's because while many executives see the value proposition for blockchain, decision-makers have insufficient understanding of the technology, says a report from Accenture.

"Providing education to employees and executives continues to be critical for the near-term," says Richard Meszaros, connected commerce lead at Accenture Digital.

That explains why NYU Stern launched a two-day executive course on bitcoin and the blockchain in 2015. Others have since followed suit. Cambridge University’s Judge Business School plans to plans to offer programs to executives on blockchain’s disruptive potential this year.

“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.

If demand is high from employers, it’s veracious from b-school students themselves. Matt Applegate is VP at Wharton FinTech, a club of MBAs with a bent for the sector. He says Wharton School students are excited about blockchain and the club is actively engaging with companies in the space, including BlockCypher, a blockchain web services start-up, and Blockchain, the bitcoin wallet.

Such ventures as well as the incumbents betting on blockchain are opening up new career opportunities for b-school students, says Richard Bland, head of finance careers at London Business School.

According to HEC Paris, a top French business school, fintech start-ups like GoCardless now vie with investment banks for digitally skilled, entrepreneurial recruits. Their growing appetite for MBAs was on full display at HEC Paris' second annual Fintech Talent Fair last month, which featured start-ups like PayinTech and large financial institutions such as Bloomberg and BNP Paribas.

William Kunter works for N26, a German app-only bank that's backed by Peter Thiel. He says the start-up, which has 200,000 customers, 140 employees and this summer raised $40 million, is hiring business school students for internships and full-time posts.

“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 says.

Many of these fintech start-ups were founded by MBAs, including Stanford University graduate Nick Hungerford, who launched online wealth manager Nutmeg, and INSEAD MBA Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of cash transfers business TransferWise.

Christian Catalini, assistant professor of technological innovation at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, who launched an intensive three day course on blockchain for MBAs, says such programs help students turn entrepreneurial opportunities into high-growth start-ups.

Marieke Flament, a London Business School MBA, founded the European business of Circle, a US fintech start-up that lets people instantly send payments — and GIFs and emojis — in a message via the blockchain.

She says the network was the most valuable b-school asset in launching Circle Europe. “I have a network of people who work at Google and Amazon — the best breed of superstar companies — and entrepreneurs. That is hugely valuable.”

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.

Dhanush

Verified

12/07/2024

On Campus

Program Flexibility and Vibrant Campus Life

Duke University is renowned for its rigorous academic programs and vibrant campus life. The university offers a diverse range of majors and research opportunities, supported by world-class faculty. What I particularly liked about Duke was its strong sense of community and the wealth of extracurricular activities available to students. The campus is beautiful, with top-notch facilities and a supportive atmosphere that fosters both personal and academic growth. Overall, I would highly recommend Duke University for its excellent educational offerings and strong alumni network. If you're looking for a place that challenges you academically while offering numerous opportunities for personal development, Duke is an excellent choice.

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