Phil DeGisi, a Dartmouth Tuck grad and chief marketing officer at fintech lending firm, CommonBond, sees it as the next logical step for business schools. “When you see student interest at the club level and in various coursework, it’s very logical that Stern is the school making a big push here,” says DeGisi, noting New York City’s status as a global fintech hub.
DeGisi says he has learned from many first- and second-year MBAs of an emphasis placed on case studies about fintech companies being used in courses. “I think it’s an acknowledgement from the business schools, and Stern specifically, that they view fintech as a potential great hiring opportunity and career opportunity for their students,” he notes.
Moreover, DeGisi says, he has seen more fintech companies hiring MBA interns than in previous summers. This, he believes, is a result of a maturing and growing market that sees the value in the MBA skill set and can now afford that value. As for students entering the job market boasting a specific set of completed fintech courses, DeGisi says it’s only a positive. “No matter what anyone’s background is, it’s only a benefit to companies like ours for students and alums to be coming into the company with a deeper background on the greater fintech ecosystem,” he says.
PREPARING STUDENTS FOR JOBS IN FINTECH WITHOUT A FINTECH FOCUS
For students without a finance background, David Yermack says the growth of fintech — despite its natural job-destroying traits — will benefit more than finance-heavy types. Or even traditional finance types. “In many ways, fintech is a job killer,” Yermack says. “But this may create opportunities for people with management skills.” Among those potential positions, Yermack notes the increasingly crowded space will call on deft advertising and marketing specialists. What’s more, as fintech companies continue to grow, mature, and build capital, there will be a need for corporate finance offices and treasury departments. “So even students who don’t focus on fintech might find downstream, these firms are pretty big employers,” Yermack points out.
Moving forward, he says the fluctuating and unpredictable space poses a challenge and need for faculty nimbleness. Certainly the competition between incumbent and disruptive firms attacking the market and how established firms respond is what will shape the job market — as well as academic research and teaching — moving forward. “The threat is, we don’t know who’s going to win this competition,” Yermack admits. “We’re going to have to be prepared to react to that. It’s somewhat of an unsettling feeling when the external world is changing around you, but I think one way or another it will change and not being able to forecast that change is one of the biggest problems we’ll have.”
Either way, Stern has taken an important and necessary step into the B-school curricular universe. According to Yermack, NYU’s geographical placement and industry expertise make the specialization a requirement. “If we’re not taking advantage of this as a university,” he says, “we’re really missing an opportunity.”