The Customer Effect

Brandeis University launches online master’s program in financial technology

  • Last fall, Brandeis University launched an online master's program in financial technology.
  • Formal degree programs represent a new era for financial technology as a field, despite a lack of consensus on their effectiveness.
close

Email a Friend

Brandeis University launches online master’s program in financial technology

Financial technology has now become big enough to command its own master’s program.

Brandeis University was among the first to launch an online financial technology master’s degree last fall. The M.S. in digital innovation for fintech — a two-and-a-half year, specialized program aimed at working professionals — may be a sign the field is entering a new phase in its development.

The Brandeis program, which has a tuition fee of $34,000, offers a mix of technical and business development training. Students develop a capstone project — a business idea — with support of a mentor who works in the field.

“We have an interdisciplinary focus — we think about fintech through the course of time,” said lecturer Sarah Biller, who has worked in finance and financial technology for over a decade. “It’s a combination of quantitative skills, and a lot of fintech revolves around the ability to identify and handle large sets of data.”

The curriculum was developed in partnership with State Street and Bottomline Technologies, said Ellen Murphy, director of program development for graduate professional studies at Brandeis. Although the program has two students currently, Murphy said she expects interest to grow.

Formal degree programs represent a new era for the discipline, despite a lack of consensus on their ability to churn out innovators, say people in the field.

“My initial reaction was ‘wow it must be peak fintech,’” said Ryan Gilbert, a partner at Propel Venture Partners. “The concept of doing something at an accredited institution and getting a degree rather than a certificate represents a big shift.”

However, Gilbert said, a formal, accredited course may be unnecessary for many people wanting to get into financial technology. Instead, he said that aspiring financial technology workers can focus on their strengths and make use of existing development programs, conferences and online resources.

“Go and find the key area of advantage (for you) — be a great software developer, marketer or lawyer,” he said.

One area where Brandeis could make inroads is executive training, Gilbert said.

“There’s an opportunity for Brandeis and others to pursue the executive education space, but executive education is not going to be foundational for anyone who wants to break into this market,” said Gilbert.

Others feel that the growth of financial technology degree programs gives the discipline added credibility.

David Sica, a principal at venture capital firm Nyca partners, said programs like the Brandeis one could encourage legacy institutions like banks to take the field more seriously.

“This is all part of maturing,” said Sica. “You want more people to be fluent in these concepts.”

0 comments on “Brandeis University launches online master’s program in financial technology”

Member Exclusive, The Customer Effect

‘What gets measured gets done’: The steps B2B fintechs are taking to improve customer success

  • It looks like B2B fintech is booming this year.
  • To stay in the game, B2B fintechs need to keep their customers happy. Here’s how they’re doing that.
Rivka Abramson | April 15, 2021
The Customer Effect

‘Like sneaker culture’: Are gimmicky debit cards overplayed or a smart business decision?

  • Revolut’s glow-in-the-dark debit card is the latest in a series of flashy debit cards to hit the market.
  • Experts say it’s a smart, cost-effective strategy that builds customers, brand equity and culture.
Shehzil Zahid | April 13, 2021
The Customer Effect

E-signatures are still spreading in the financial industry, but not really maturing

  • The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of e-signatures in the financial industry.
  • But while use is spreading, e-signature tech hasn’t changed so much since it first started.
Rivka Abramson | March 31, 2021
The Customer Effect

‘Indian Country has been plagued by systemic red-lining’: Indigenous communities are the most unbanked in the U.S.

  • Indigenous people in the U.S. and Canada continue to face institutional discrimination in their banking experiences.
  • Indigenous-owned banks and enterprises are paving a path for economic autonomy and prosperity for their communities.
Rimal Farrukh | February 09, 2021
The Customer Effect

‘They blamed me’: Banks aren’t doing enough to service those suffering from mental health issues

  • Mental health related services remain largely under-represented in fintech and banking spaces.
  • Empathy training for customer service experiences and accessible apps can help support people with mental health problems manage their money.
Rimal Farrukh | January 26, 2021
More Articles