An Introduction To The World of MIT Sloan FinTech

MIT Sloan FinTech

Everyone knows that finance has always been a prominent staple of business school, but it’s also been a bit of an “old-school” science. In recent years, the role of technology in business increased dramatically as computers, big data and business analysts have entered the arena. These developments have opened up new sectors and industries, including FinTech.

What is FinTech?

As we outlined in a previous post, FinTech, also known as Financial Technology, is an industry made up of companies that use new technology and innovation to to best compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions. Basically, FinTech is “innovation in financial services” and is mainly comprised of startups and established financial and technology companies looking to enhance or replace traditional financial services.

Most consumers are aware of one of the original FinTech company—PayPal. When Silicon Valley visionaries like Peter Thiel and Elon Musk founded the service in 1998, they drastically changed how services were paid for online, as well as creating an alternative to traditional banking.

Today, new apps and services like Venmo (a PayPal subsidiary) are a popular way to pay utilities, split rent or lend money, and crowd-funding sites such as GoFundMe and CrowdRise are finding launch small businesses faster than ever.

Other examples of companies and concepts that are central to FinTech include cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, digital advisory and trading systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning, peer-to-peer lending, equity crowdfunding and mobile payment systems.

Now, we won’t jump the gun and say that the FinTech industry is posing a huge threat to banks like Bank of Americas and JPMorgan Chase, but MBAs may want to start looking into FinTech jobs just as they would look into a position at one of the bigger financial institutions. In order to best prepare their students for these new jobs, business schools are starting to offer specialized FinTech MBA degrees. One such school is MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Some Background on MIT Sloan

The school grew out of a single course, “Engineering Administration,” which was established by MIT’s Department of Economics and Statistics in 1914. Master’s programs in management started in 1925 and became a separate department in 1930.

The school was renamed in 1962 in honor of Alfred P. Sloan, the Chairman of General Motors, who donated $5 million to MIT to establish a school of industrial management in 1950. Today, the school offers full-time and executive MBA programs, including the global Sloan Fellows program.

What is MIT Sloan FinTech?

According to a the school, MIT Sloan launched it’s first course on FinTech in 2016. Crafted by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the Finance Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management, in collaboration with the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Harvard Law School, the new course, called FinTech Ventures, is the first graduate-level course covering financial technology applications in the United States.

“MIT has always been at the forefront in financial innovation and as financial technology is becoming more important in the financial world, we thought it was imperative to have a class covering this new trend,” says Antoinette Schoar, Michael M. Koerner (1949) Professor of Entrepreneurial Finance, who co-leads the course together with Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.

Throughout the seven-week course, students will learn about the different sub-industries within the FinTech. These include:

  • Consumer finance
  • Payments
  • Trading
  • Cryptocurrencies

Students also develop their own FinTech business plans teams. These plans are eligible to compete in the MIT FinTech Competition, an annual competition where leading FinTech companies and business ideas developed by MIT and Harvard students are showcased to a judging panel made up of faculty, professionals and investors. Last year, $20,000 in prizes were handed out to winners.

MIT FinTech also host the annual MIT FinTech Conference, bringing together entrepreneurs, current industry leaders and policymakers to discuss the current state of the industry as well as its future. Last year’s inaugural Conference featured keynote speeches from Brad Peterson, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Chief Information Officer (CTO/CIO) for Nasdaq, and Noah Breslow, OnDeck’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the OnDeck Board of Directors.

Any Other FinTech Offerings?

MIT Sloan also offers a FinTech certificate course called Future Commerce. The course is available online thanks to a partnership with GetSmarter, and features coursework about emerging business models, direct lending, equity crowdfunding, blockchain and more.

You can find out more about the MIT Sloan School of Management and all of its MBA offerings right here at MetroMBA.

For more on MIT FinTech, you can visit the course website. As well, click here to learn more about the Future Commerce certificate.


About the Author

Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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