— Written By Vikram Pandya
‘FinTech’ has been the buzzword since the last few years. The pervasiveness of finance and technology across various industry sectors means that FinTech is relevant, can unlock value and provide a competitive edge especially during tough times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
FinTech, in layman’s terms, refers to the design and delivery of financial products and services using disruptive technologies in order to reduce cost, improve efficiency and provide better personalised service. Due to the rising demand for FinTech professionals, there is a skill gap in the market. Many education institutions are trying to address this gap through various new-age programmes.
The curriculum for FinTech programmes normally includes an introduction to banking and financial services industry (BFSI), understanding the startup ecosystem, introduction to emerging technologies like APIs, Blockchain, AI/ML, Big Data, IoT and AR/VR and comparison of traditional vs new business in domains like payment, lending, insurance and wealth management.
A FinTech career attracts both students and professionals alike, as they are more inclined towards challenging roles in new emerging areas. Besides traditional roles, the FinTech programme prepares them for techno-strategic roles like blockchain strategy manager, robotic process automation project manager, digital transformation leader, product specialist, design thinking specialist, process automation leader, compliance expert, and FinTech consultant.
Even traditional finance professionals, like chartered accountants (CA), company secretaries (CS), and cost accountants (CA) are attracted by FinTech to address changing requirements of their clientele.
The right courses
Currently, there are various synchronous and asynchronous programmes in FinTech offered by institutions around the world. However, given that FinTech is a very dynamic field, there are very few programmes that provide a relevant and latest curriculum.
Broadly, the FinTech programme offering can be divided into three categories. First, workshops and masterclasses, mostly aimed at providing introduction and bird’s eye view to the FinTech ecosystem. There are few masterclasses aimed at a very niche specialisation within FinTech.
Second, certification programmes, which are mainly aimed at working professionals or postgraduate students. It can be online or face-to-face and is available in both recorded and live formats. Given the complexity of the curriculum, most of the participants always prefer to join live sessions instead of recorded. Third, diploma or degree programmes. These are specifically designed for niche programmes aimed at people entering into graduation and planning to start careers in FinTech.
The right college
Some of the notable institutions providing programmes in this space are IIM-Calcutta, SP Jain School of Global Management, Oxford, Columbia, SMU among others. The cost of masterclasses ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 for one day to a week’s duration. The cost of certification ranges from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 20,00,000 while the cost of a degree programme generally is in the range of Rs 15,00,000 to Rs 50,00,000 depending on the university and duration of the course. Typically, the course can be of one year to three years duration.
Several online platforms like Coursera, edX also provide various online asynchronous programmes on Fintech in association with the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Online), University of Michigan, Copenhagen Business School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Duke University, and the University of Cape Town.
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One of the unique courses in the field is by Columbia University. Its six-month Global Banking programme priced at $29,000 (approx Rs 22,15,000) includes two weeks on-campus learning. IIM-Calcutta has a six-month FinTech program (approx Rs 4.55 lakh including GST). Recently, SP Jain School of Global Management partnered with Imarticus Learning for taking the programme online and making it global. This six-month programme starts with FinTech Core and allows participants to choose a specialisation (Rs 2,00,000) either in payments and lending or blockchain.
Under the current Covid19 pandemic where social distancing is forcing businesses to go online, FinTech talent is high in demand and whether you want to upskill or change your career path, the FinTech industry remains one of the most lucrative options. As per a MarketScreener report, the global financial sector is expected to be worth US$26.5 trillion in 2022. The global fintech market was worth $127.66 billion in 2018, with a predicted annual growth rate of 25 per cent until 2022, to $309.98 billion, and more than $460 billion by 2025. According to a Capgemini report, more than half of banking customers globally are now using services provided by fintech firms.
— The author is Director, Fintech, S P Jain School of Global Management
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