Business schools have a problem with fintech

Helen Barrett:

All fintech is doing is changing the way in which financial services are delivered. It is not a transformation of the underlying principles of finance — it is focused solely on the operational implementation of it. As one dean put it to me recently, fintech is really just about writing apps. So why, with a handful of exceptions, are business schools great at teaching finance, but dismal at fintech?

According to our anonymised alumni survey, it is because many schools are not teaching it at all. “I would have appreciated courses around technology and finance,” wrote one, wistfully. Some other schools were teaching it, but clearly not well. “We did fintech case studies, but I did not leave the programme with a firm grasp of it,” wrote another.

This matters because fintech is no longer an upstart movement. A 2015 Goldman Sachs report estimated that $4.7tn of financial services revenues was at risk of displacement from fintech groups. As my colleague Jonathan Moules has reported, talented MBA graduates are clamouring to work in fintech — either in start-ups or new “intrapreneurship” jobs created by established banks and professional services firms.