Task Force Participants
Digital transformation has upended the finance industry, which has gone from one of relationships to one of technology. The speed with which market events take place and the changing set of skills needed to effectively make investment decisions and manage wealth have put technology at the center of this discipline. Given these developments, new skills are needed as the sector adopts new technologies and processes.
Business Schools offer finance education at different levels, ranging from Finance majors and minors at the undergraduate level, through Finance tracks in MBA programs to more specialized Finance Master’s programs. The Finance Task Force of the MaCuDE project, led by Profs Leila Guerra and Christopher Neill (Imperial College London) did a thorough review of the finance curricula of 103 business schools across North America, Europe and Asia to identify the key themes, courses, specializations and programs that have been developed at the undergraduate, masters and MBA levels in finance to address the digital changes. They found that digital content across these curricula falls into five categories that complement the common traditional subject areas of Corporate Finance and Investment Management:
- Data Analytics and Machine Learning, examining how the combination of large datasets and empirical techniques help companies make more efficient financial decisions. Examples of courses in this category are “Financial Data Science” (Carnegie Mellon/ Tepper), “Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning in Finance” (MIT/Sloan), or “Machine Learning in Finance” (Stevens Institute of Technology), “Financial Data Science” (UC Berkeley/Haas).
- Programming, developing the students’ coding skills, as programming has become an essential skill in the sector and many companies look for these skills for their graduate roles (mostly Python and R). Examples are Applications of R in Finance” (imperial College London). Programming is not always covered as a separate or introductory course. Some programs expect a level of coding skill as a pre-requisite
- Algorithms and Algorithmic Trading, with courses looking closely at analytical techniques and quantitative methods relevant for algorithmic trading strategies. Examples of courses offered are: “Algorithmic Trading” (Baruch), “Algorithmic Trading Strategies” (Stevens).
- Blockchain and Crypto Currencies, with modules covering the core aspects of the technology with reference to Bitcoin and other crypto assets or looking at the impact and disruption of Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence on Businesses. Examples: “Blockchain in Finance” (Baruch).
- Financial Technology, with one or more courses on multiple new technologies that are getting introduced into financial services, and affect practically every function of the financial services. Financial Technology can either be an applied in-depth program or a course offering an overview of the FinTech sector. Example of the former is NYU’s MBA specialization in Fintech and of the latter are London Business School’s course “Fintech”, or the University of Michigan Ross’ course “Fintech”. The latter is increasingly more common in MBA programs.
These categories compliment the common traditional subject areas of Corporate Finance and Investment Management.
Curricular developments in the finance discipline include new specialized undergraduate finance programs (for example, Quantitative Finance at Stevens), new specialized masters programs (e.g., Financial Engineering at many schools, including Baruch, UC Berkeley, Stevens, and others), specializations in the MBA program, as well as many specialized certificate programs. Some Schools have developed new programs to address digital skills in Financial Technology and Financial Engineering. These new programs tailor to digital skill development in their core content with further specialization in portfolios of digital electives. There is a stronger focus on digital skills within Finance in MS Finance programs than UG or MBA programs. There is more focus on Ethics in MBA programs than specialist UG and MS programs in Finance.
This task force is currently surveying industry leaders for an assessment of future needs in the finance area. It will then produce recommendations for the MaCuDE steering committee.The full curriculum report of the Finance Task force is here.
Task force leader: Leila Guerra
Ms. Guerra is vice dean of education at Imperial College London, where she is responsible for graduate programs at the Business School. Her responsibilities include the leading marketing, recruitment and admissions teams, as well as career services. Prior to Imperial, she held leadership positions in various posts in higher education, including Singapore Management University, London Business School and IE Business School (Madrid).