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B-Schools Quick To Teach Cryptocurrency

What is the latest institutions to dive into the cryptocurrency boom? Business schools.

Business schools are rushing to launch courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain following increased demand from students, according to Financial Times.

“This is moving much faster than people expected,” David Yermack, professor of finance and business transformation at the New York University Stern School of Business, tells Financial Times. “Business schools will have no choice but to update curriculums.”

An Increase in Value and Student Demand

According to Financial Times, Bitcoin’s value doubled in a month to peak at about $20,000 in December. Last week, that value detracted to about $6,500.

Jens Martin, program director at the University of Amsterdam Business School, tells Financial Times that the technology behind cryptocurrency is what b-schools are interested in.

“The increase in value in the cryptos played a large part in the increase in public interest,” Martin tells Financial Times. “However, we feel that the finance industry is very interested in the technology itself and the possibilities it offers. We see many applications not only from people with a banking background, but a more diverse group who are interested in applying these concepts to finance.”

It’s not just students who are demanding skills and knowledge in the technology, but companies as well.

Robert Wardrop, director and co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, part of the university’s Judge Business School, tells Financial Times that a number of tech companies, such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are demanding a workforce that is knowledgeable in the technology behind cryptocurrency.

“The core focus of interest is growing from non-financial firms,” he tells Financial Times. “[These insights] are essential to related projects that these businesses are working on.”

New Curriculums Bloom At B-Schools

Which MBA programs are offering courses in cryptocurrency?

Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business are among the big names, according to CNBC.

At Stanford, a new full-time course was introduced this May simply titled “Cryptocurrency.” The course was a grass-roots effort by students.

“Many of us will have to discuss blockchain at our jobs. It makes sense to teach it,” Itamar Orr, a second-year student leading the student demand for crypto, tells CNBC. “It gets you a competitive advantage; it’s an extra hammer in your toolbox.”

One of the first schools to introduce cryptocurrency in course selections was NYU’s Stern School of Business. Since then, schools such as Harvard Business School and UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School have followed suit.

But a number of these courses aren’t being taught to give students investment advice.

Susan Athey, professor of the economics of technology at Stanford Graduate School of Business, tells the Economist that the program at Stanford is intended to teach the technology behind cryptocurrencies and advise students on the implications for banking and financial services as a result of bitcoin. In addition, according to Athey, the program will also examine “smart contracts,” which utilize blockchain technology and national digital currencies.

John Jacobs, executive director at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, tells CNBC that blockchain technology is the newest skill set in high demand.

“Any world-class program is going to have to equip students in this field to compete,” Jacobs tells CNBC. “It’s everywhere we turn around.”

Sources: Financial Times, CNBC, Economist

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