Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 9am

MBA Jobs: Fintech Favored over Banking

What job opportunities for MBA grads exist in the fintech world?

The economic crisis of the late 2000s was directly responsible for creating the fintech industry – banks stopped investing in customer-centric offerings while apps and websites stepped in to fill the gap. This was probably one of the best things to happen to financial services innovation, with fintech startups emerging all around the globe to actively try and help customers obtain relevant financial products, services and advice, through digital channels and transparent pricing, competing directly and effectively with traditional banks. Technology has always existed as a substantial backbone for the banking industry. However, this was the first time technology has come to the forefront of customer engagement, acting as a primary driver of customer experience.

The industry has now evolved to become one of the industries with the highest amount of interest from investors and entrepreneurs, and one with the largest variety of jobs available – albeit for those with a unique set of skills. No doubt, this is an extremely interesting time for MBA jobs in the fintech industry.

Innovation and investment behind growth in fintech startup scene

Global investment in fintech ventures tripled to US$12.21 billion in 2014, and hit US$49.7 billion in 2015, clearly signifying the arrival of the digital revolution in the financial services sector. There are over 280,000 employees in fintech today, with 32,000 vacancies advertised in London alone in December 2015.

From banking to investment, digital technologies are reimagining finance as we have known it. Massive venture capital and steady innovations in the sector have given rise to a number of fintech startups trying to confront incumbents in areas such as cryptocurrencies, payments technology, peer-to-peer lending, blockchain programming and gamification. 

Free from the tedious restrictions of brick-and-mortar banking systems, and stringent regulation, fintech ventures make themselves easy to love. In 2015, Goldman Sachs estimated that the emerging fintech industry could steal US$4.7 trillion in revenue and US$470 billion in profit from traditional financial services firms.

This trend is changing the course and preference of jobs within the financial sector. There are a plethora of startups in the fintech space that are now luring some of business schools’ brightest to MBA jobs in the field. In addition, business schools around the world like Wharton and London Business School have set up fintech clubs; meanwhile, schools such as MIT Sloan, NYU Stern and UC Berkeley Haas have all added fintech classes to their MBA curricula.

The ability to be part of a revolution in the financial world, the opportunity to make a substantial difference and the prospect of a creative and entrepreneurial working environment - in addition to the frustrations felt by many towards a hierarchical, traditional financial industry - are attracting talented MBA graduates to the fintech field in their droves.

MBA jobs in the fintech industry

What kind of MBA jobs exist in the fintech world? The skills the industry values are: An entrepreneurial attitude; an understanding of technology and creative uses of it; an understanding of how financial offerings can affect, influence and change customers’ lifestyles; and the ability to analyze large amounts of data. Whether it be a startup focused on lending, payments, big data or financial marketing, the ability to analyze and derive insights from large amounts of data is absolutely crucial for MBA jobs in the industry. Several MBAs join fintech startups with this expertise, running data analytics programs and designing offerings utilizing data for them.

There are also opportunities for MBAs to join in relationship-building roles, engaging with both prospects and customers to evangelize a product and convert interest to results. Marketing and community building are other areas of focus for many startups, although early stage firms will often have just one or two team members running these activities. Nevertheless, the ability to grow with the startup is what attracts most MBAs to fintech startups, helping them get started on a path to lifelong entrepreneurial learning.

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Devie is a fintech industry advisor and analyst based in London. She writes extensively on fintech, digital banking and is a columnist with several publications. She is actively involved in the fintech startup community and has been listed as a top 10 fintech influencer by multiple agencies.

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