MBA blog

Business schools have a problem with fintech

According to Financial Times data obtained from business school graduates, the teaching quality in the field of fintech leaves much to be desired.

Every year, the Financial Times does an international survey of top 100 business school graduates asking them which subjects, in their opinion, were taught the best and which were the worst in their schools.

Fintech Among The Worst Subjects Taught At Business Schools

As usual, teaching of finance took the top place. Still, surprisingly, one of the worst was fintech – 16th out of 18 subjects total.

It’s strange, because top business schools offer the best education in finance. No technologies aimed at making operating money better can exist without knowing the fundamentals of finance, like pricing or cash flow.

Fintech’s only goal is to change the process of making financial services possible. Its only focus is on the practical implementation of financial principles. Basically, a specialist in fintech writes apps for financial systems. So what happened? Why do business schools do so well at giving courses in finance, and at the same time fail fintech?

The answer, according to the FT survey, is simple: most schools choose not to teach fintech at all. For students, it’s unacceptable: they would like to have a course based both on finance and technologies. Those schools who even attempted to teach fintech, failed miserably. Even case studies didn’t help, as students graduated without understanding the basics of fintech.

Why Is Teaching Fintech So Crucial?

Why is it so important? Fintech is becoming more and more important among business fields. For instance, Goldman Sachs reported that fintech is threatening to displace $4.7tn of revenues usually belonging to financial services. Many MBA alumni plan to work in this industry, both at startup companies and for traditional banks and companies.

Perhaps another reason for it is that business schools are struggling with the definition of the word ‘fintech’ itself. It’s too broad to specialize in, and if you are, for instance, an expert on blockchain, you could have an experience in any field from cryptocurrencies to warehouse management. Also, there are few competent teachers specializing in fintech, as the field is still relatively new.

According to NYU Stern’s David Yermack, most business schools have no clear understanding of what fintech really is, so they just choose to avoid the subject altogether. Contrarily, students believe that fintech is the new way, and traditional finance should be displaced as soon as possible.

Courses in fintech, such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies, are becoming increasingly popular. At NYU Stern, the number of students enrolling in Prof Yermack’s blockchain course grew from 30 to 3000 in just three years. Students are even asking him to teach at night.

At MIT Sloan, the situation is the same: Prof Rhodes-Kropf who teaches a blockchain course there said that although the number of students allowed to enroll is limited to 40, several dozen come in just to sit and listen.

This insane popularity of fintech courses shows that there is a very high demand, and soon all business schools will have to meet it. Although there are few teachers skilled in such courses, students are demanding the highest quality in giving them.

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