In another move putting academia at the forefront of the financial technology revolution, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania announced today (March 14) the launch of the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance, which will focus on teaching, research, and partnerships between students, the school, and industry leaders in the merging fields of information technology and financial services. The center is named after Ross Stevens, a 1991 graduate of Wharton’s undergraduate school and CEO of Stone Ridge Holdings Group, an asset management fund.
“We are so grateful to Ross for his visionary leadership that will enable Penn and Wharton to continue to innovate at the vital intersection of finance and technology,” University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann said in a release from the school. “From its founding to today, Penn’s unique mission has always been to take on the biggest real-world challenges and opportunities through knowledge-based and data-driven innovation. The mission of the Stevens Center is precisely this: to ensure that innovations in finance make the greatest positive contributions to businesses and communities across the globe.
“The Stevens Center will catalyze Penn’s world-leading research and industry engagement and enrich the opportunities available for our outstanding students.”
CENTER WILL JOIN AN ALREADY ENERGIZED STUDENT POPULATION IN FINTECH INITIATIVES
Wharton already has a very established fintech club, which calls itself the “first student-led fintech initiative.” The club was founded around five years ago by then-MBA students Daniel McAuley and Steve Weiner. According to the school the focus of the Stevens Center, which will be led by Wharton finance professor David Musto, will bring leaders of established fintech companies onto campus to partner with professors and students. The efforts will have a curricular- and career-focused bent, the school says.
“Wharton has always defined the state of the art in finance teaching and research,” Wharton Dean Geoff Garrett also said in the release from the school. “With FinTech morphing from a buzzword into the rocket fuel of financial innovation, information technology is poised to revolutionize financial services — from mobile payments to microcredit, from lending to insurance, from cryptocurrencies to financial planning, and more. The Stevens Center will bring together the best thinkers from academia and industry to ensure that Wharton continues to chart the future of finance.
“I am very grateful that Ross has graciously agreed to chair and help recruit an advisory board of FinTech leaders for the Center.”
STEVENS CENTER TO BE A ‘GAME-CHANGER’ FOR WHARTON
These days, pretty much every elite business school has made some sort of investment into the emerging financial technology sector. New York University’s Stern School has a fintech track for full-time MBA students. Columbia Business School has more than a dozen courses in the space. London Business School also has around a dozen fintech-focused courses as well as student-led clubs and initiatives. As the fintech industry matures, many experts believe it will only become more prevalent and well-established and will force traditional banks to innovate and update their technology to stay relevant and competitive in the marketplace.
Many of those innovations — both in fintech and traditional banks — can take place within business school walls.
“I am thrilled that the Stevens Center will make it possible for Wharton to greatly expand the ways we study and shape the FinTech revolution,” Musto said in the release. “I have known Ross since we were classmates in graduate school together and I am very much looking forward to working with him again to make the Stevens Center a game changer both for Wharton and for financial services.”