Having accounting and finance skills may not be enough to land a job on Wall Street anymore for top B-school grads. Bankers today can gain a competitive edge by also having technical skills such as coding and data science.
Business Insider recently spoke to experts about the shift in Wall Street’s demands and how B-schools are adapting to supply that demand.
In recent years, many top B-schools have updated their curriculum with new courses on data and analytics, hoping to equip students with the knowledge that Wall Street is looking for. Wharton has added at least 18 new classes between its undergraduate and graduate programs that are related to data and analytics. At Columbia Business School, class sections on analytics have grown from 20 sections to nearly 30 in the past year.
“We started with one section and then that was full,” Daniel Guetta, director of Columbia Business School’s Center for Pricing and Revenue Management and Business Analytics Initiative, tells Business Insider. “So we added a second section, and a third section, and a fourth section. We’re up to seven or eight at this point, and they still are all full. And there are still not enough seats for all of the students who want to take this class. And we just keep on adding sections.”
DATA SCIENCE SKILLS—A MUST
Data helps financial firms make better investment decisions for their clients. And, experts say, more and more firms are looking for professionals who not only know finance and accounting but can also understand and interpret data in their jobs.
“It is clear to the banks that these skill sets are beginning to be necessary for you to be able to do your job,” Costis Maglaras, dean of the business school at Columbia University, tells Business Insider.
“[They] know that they need skills in data science, and partially the reason they know this is because, when they interview for jobs, I’m being told over and over again, they’re being interviewed about what they know,” Eric Bradlow, vice dean for analytics at Wharton, tells Business Insider.
While Wall Street is increasingly looking for professionals with data skills, Bradlow doesn’t think data and tech will oust investment bankers of their jobs.
“It’s not about replacing human judgment” through these tools, Bradlow tells Business Insider. “It’s about supplementing it.”
Still, some experts warn: if you want to work on Wall Street in the near future (and keep your job), you better learn how to code.
“When you take a look at the careers sections of the big banks, tech-related jobs dominate the listings,” Jack Kelly, founder and CEO of WeCruitr, writes for Forbes. “Also, a good number of jobs are located outside of New York City. The implementation of technology may be a large cost-savings for the financial institutions; many non-tech people will lose their jobs. As the Street swiftly moves in this direction, it will become increasingly harder for those who lack coding to find a new job.”