Postgraduate (MSc, MA, MBA and PhD) Programs in FinTech (Financial Technology)
FinTech is short for Financial Technology and includes any technology that the financial industries use. This can include anything from the technology behind online banking to the technology needed by stock markets to enable trading. As online banking becomes the way that most people manage their finances, an understanding of FinTech will become more important for a range of careers in the finance industries. The options of study concerning the field of FinTech includes a huge variety of postgraduate courses and approaches. Universities offer postgraduate courses that vary from a short six-week course to gain a basic understanding of FinTech to masters programs in FinTech, and even PhD opportunities.
What trends are driving this new field?
Blockchain currency has been big news for a few years, and this technology is likely to start to move into other areas of life, such as employee payments via crypro-currencies like Bitcoin. Other trends in FinTech are payroll applications that allow employees to access their payments a day or two early and payment management systems for banks using blockchain currencies to speed up transactions. Regulators are beginning to show more interest in FinTech opening up more opportunities for postgraduate students interested
in financial regulation.
Where can you study FinTech at the postgraduate level?
There are lots of options when it comes to studying FinTech at the postgraduate level as you can study a masters degree, MBA or PhD all in different areas of FinTech. Most universities will offer some sort of education in FinTech, but it might be only a module on a related course rather than a postgraduate program specifically in FinTech. The UK has a significant financial services sector and therefore has a large selection of courses available, for example those on offer at Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London and the University of Stirling. Outside of the UK, the University of Amsterdam offers a Finance and Technology concentration as part of its Executive MSc in International Finance, which is conducted in English. The Masters of Business and Finance at the Lucerne Business School in Switzerland is also in English and the curriculum has a significant element of FinTech.
How do you choose a Masters in FinTech?
Choosing the best masters in FinTech depends on what you need from your postgraduate study. Some masters programs are aimed at those students who have already been working within finance for at least two years, such as the program at the University of Amsterdam. Other masters programs in this field are for those students who wish to move into the financial industries, but these courses tend to be competitive, so you should have some relevant work experience when you apply. There are also online options and these are usually part-time, such as the program at the University of Bradford. This type of FinTech course is a great option for those students who are already working. Ideally, if you are interested in entering the FinTech field you will have a few contacts within the financial services and banking industries to speak to about which courses are well-regarded or recommended. Otherwise, read related industry magazines and websites, as they will review courses occasionally. Finally, it is a good idea to speak with current or recent graduates from the courses you are considering to help you decide if it is the right FinTech postgraduate course for you.
What modules will you study?
What you will study on a FinTech masters will depends on the type of course that you study. The MSc in Financial Technology at the University of Strathclyde has modules on topics such as Programming for FinTech, Quantitative Business Analysis, Financial Management for Banks and Business Information Systems. At the University of Birmingham, their MSc in Financial Technology includes modules on Corporate Finance, Blockchain Technologies, Financial Applications & Cyber Security and Big Data in Financial Management. The Executive MSc in International Finance with a FinTech concentration at the University of Amsterdam has more of an international emphasis and includes modules on topics such as Banking and Quantitative Finance, IT in Finance and New Paradigms in the Finance Industry. The MSc in Finance, Technology and Policy at the University of Edinburgh concentrates on the regulation of FinTech and modules include Principles of Data Analytics, Introductory Applied Machine Learning, and Perspectives on Financial Innovation: Markets, Technologies and Policies.
MBAs in FinTech
Until recently many business schools in the UK and Europe did not pay much attention to FinTech, and the first business school in the world to offer an MBA focusing on FinTech was Stern Business School in the US in 2016. However, there are now MBA programs that now have a focus on FinTech in the UK, such as Angela Ruskin University who offer an MBA in FinTech and Data Analytics and the University of East London offers an MBA program in FinTech Management. Many MBA programs in the UK and worldwide now offer students the opportunity to study a module on FinTech rather than concentrating on this field entirely, but you will need to make sure that this module is running the year you undertake your MBA if it is important to you.
PhDs in FinTech?
It is possible to study a PhD in FinTech and in fact there are lots of funding opportunities for PhDs in this field, as many private companies want to have access to current research into cutting edge financial technologies. The University of Edinburgh has options for research into FinTech with PhD programs at their Business School. The University of Portsmouth also has a research focus on FinTech as does the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde.
Student case study
Kevin Xuhui Li is a recent graduate from the MSc in Financial Technology at Imperial College London. Kevin enjoyed learning both the fundamentals of finance and the recent technological advances in the financial industries. During his time on the postgraduate program, Kevin made use of social clubs to meet other like-minded students and gain relevant experience in the world of finance.
What career opportunities can studying FinTech at PG level lead to?
Studying FinTech at postgraduate level opens up a wealth of interesting careers to students. Some postgraduate FinTech courses are designed for students who already have experience in the financial industries and wish to build on an existing career. In many cases postgraduate FinTech students are already working in the financial industries but are planning on moving towards management consultancy roles with FinTech as their speciality, and studying this field at postgraduate level can help this career progression. Some masters programs in FinTech are aimed at students wishing to move into FinTech, and these careers might be as designers of new FinTech products or as advisors or entrepreneurs using FinTech to invest with or wishing to invest in FinTech products. Careers that FinTech graduates might choose to enter include:
- Compliance expert
- Blockchain developer
- App developer
- Data specialist
- Financial analyst
- Product manager
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Quantitative analyst
This table illustrates the expected salaries for careers in various areas of FinTech in the UK in 2019.
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