Imperial College Business School in London has teamed with Citigroup Inc. to explore digital currencies, following similar partnerships between other schools and MasterCard and Santander, according to BusinessBecause , a news site for business schools. Imperial College is among those teaching MBAs about cryptocurrency and has also announced the opening of a center for global finance and technology.
Interest is running high among MBA students at many schools. Harvard, Stanford, and MIT Sloan have seen bitcoin MBA clubs emerge. New York University’s Stern School and Duke University’s Fuqua School have formal blockchain courses.
What’s the reason for all this interest among schools in digital currency?
Electronic money is likely to have the greatest social and economic impact on the world, said Naveed Sultan, global head of treasury and trade solutions at a recent digital money symposium hosted by Imperial College and Citi.
Professor G. Anandalingam, the dean of the school, said the new Centre for Global Finance and Technology will bring together top academics to study the impact of technology on business, finance, and society. To become the leading center of global fintech, both business acumen and intelligence are needed, he said. The new center will help bring these two elements together.
Imperial also recently established the KPMG Data Observatory on its London campus, which is part of a £20 million collaboration to explore “big data.”
Dr. Mark Kennedy, director of KPMG Centre for Business Analytics at Imperial, said the program is already using data visualizations to teach people to identify critical events in complex live data streams, from hack attacks to money laundering.
Fintech leaders at the Warwick Business School PayTech Conference in London have tracked the growth of mobile payments. The school has partnered with speakers from Atom Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Vodafone, and MasterCard.
IE Business School in Spain has partnered with Santander’s fintech venture capital division to help startups raise money.
A conflict has emerged between the new tech players and traditional financial service providers which has intensified by Apple Pay’s recent launch.
Pinar Ozcan, a Warwick associate professor of strategic management, said at the recent conference that Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and PayPal have “stolen an early march,” at least in Europe and the U.S., but there are many smaller players with great innovative products.
The business schools say there are growing career opportunities in the payments space, and the growth of non-traditional finance players has exacerbated job creation.
Roxanne Hori, an associate dean of corporate relations and career services at New York University’s Stern School, said firms like MasterCard are competing for talent with other players in the traditional tech space like Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon.
Paul Schoonenberg, head of MBA careers at Aston Business School, said fintech startups are fueling job growth. He said there has been a growth in fintech company hiring.
MBA students are drawn to the possibility of working at innovative and disruptive companies. Sue Kline at MIT’s Sloan School of Management said startups and innovation area areas of strong interest.
Startups continue to be “thirsty for talent,” said Lara Berkowitz, executive director at the Career Centre at London Business School, where fintech companies like TransferWise and Funding Circle have raised record levels of venture capital.
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