ASU Rolls Out Undergrad Degrees in AI, Fintech

The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State is among the nation’s leading tech-focused business schools.
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Published on June 24, 2024
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  • The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will launch undergraduate degrees in artificial intelligence and financial technology (fintech) this fall.
  • AI is an increasingly important skill to students and employers as technology reshapes the business landscape.
  • The fintech sector is set for meteoric growth over the next decade.
  • ASU has been at the forefront of embracing emerging technologies like AI.

One of the nation's leading public business schools will soon offer an undergraduate degree in artificial intelligence (AI) and financial technology (fintech).

The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (ASU) will roll out a bachelor's degree in AI in business this fall. The school will also launch a degree in financial technology, or fintech, a sector set for explosive growth over the next decade.

Just as innovative businesses rapidly adapt to meet new market imperatives, business schools need to meet changing student and employer needs, W.P. Carey Dean Ohad Kadan said in a release. The new bachelor's degree programs offer students the opportunity to develop alongside emerging industries — making them ready to jumpstart their careers when they graduate.

Innovative degrees in high-demand fields

AI and fintech are both fast-growing industries, and the new W.P. Carey degrees reflect a changing educational landscape.

The new AI bachelor's degree comes on the heels of W.P. Carey launching a master of science in artificial intelligence in business, or MS-AIB. Daniel Mazzola, a clinical professor in the information systems department at the W.P. Carey School of Business, previously underscored ASU's commitment to AI in an interview.

ASU earlier this year became the first higher education institution to partner with ChatGPT maker OpenAI. ASU President Michael M. Crow said at the time that the collaboration "reflects our philosophy and our commitment to participating directly to the responsible evolution of AI learning technologies."

Mazzola said the scale of the W.P. Carey School, coupled with ASU's existing partnership with OpenAI and other campus-wide efforts, position the school to excel in teaching AI.

The rate of change is certainly amazing, Mazzola said. The question is, How do we prepare students to deal with the rate of change?

The AI undergraduate and graduate degrees will focus on hands-on learning and teach students how to ethically deploy machine learning and related technologies in business.

Successful AI strategies require not only technical skills but also business skills and knowledge to manage and implement AI within an organization, Michele Pfund, the senior associate dean of undergraduate programs at W.P. Carey, said in a release.

W.P. Carey's fintech degree will build on the traditional business core with courses in finance, programming, and machine learning, preparing students to work in broad functional areas across the fintech ecosystem, according to the release.

Laura Lindsey, director of the Department of Finance and Cutler Family Endowed Professor at W.P. Carey, underscored the importance of innovation and broad skills in fintech professionals.

The market need for fintech professionals is driven by innovation within traditional financial institutions, increasing digitization of financial services, the need for financial inclusion, and an increasing focus on regulatory compliance, Lindsey said in the release. W. P. Carey students who complete the fintech curriculum will graduate ready to fill and lead in these roles.

Business Schools Embrace AI, Fintech

The new degrees position W.P. Carey to be on the leading edge of a much broader trend in business education.

A growing number of business schools are focusing their curriculum on AI. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, for instance, is scaling up its investments in AI to fund research and student experiences.

Business schools have a crucial role to play in understanding and advancing an AI-enabled world, and no school is better positioned to examine the multi-faceted dimensions of this evolving phenomenon than Wharton, Wharton Dean Erika James said in a release at the time.

The American University Kogod School of Business completely overhauled its curriculum to include AI and machine learning starting in fall 2024 — a move that school Dean David Marchik said reflects AI's staying power.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and business students need to be prepared to utilize applications for generative AI on day one of their future jobs, Marchick said in a previous release.

AI use is growing across higher education. OpenAI recently launched ChatGPT Edu, a customizable higher education AI tool that aims to boost learning, research, and administration.

That new AI tool has already been put to use at ASU, where the university community generated hundreds of proposals via its Innovation Challenge. Proposals included personalized, self-guided German instruction and improving coding efficiency.

Fintech — a broad term for technologies that assist or automate finance for businesses and consumers — is on the rise. The Boston Consulting Group and QED Investors projected in a 2023 report that fintech revenues will grow from $245 billion to $1.5 trillion by 2030, and a growing number of business schools are preparing students for that fast-growing industry.

A growing number of business schools are embracing fintech. The Worcester Polytechnic Institute launched undergraduate and graduate degrees in fintech, complimenting its already-existing Wall Street project center.