What Is Fintech?

A growing number of business schools are incorporating the fast-growing field of financial technology (fintech) into their course and degree offerings.
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Published on March 29, 2024
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  • Fintech is a broad field that encompasses technologies that boost or even automate finance for businesses and consumers.
  • That can include everything from mobile banking services to cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence.
  • That field is projected to be valued at $1.5 trillion globally by 2030.
  • A number of business schools are adopting degree and credential programs in fintech.

Financial technology (fintech) is set for meteoric growth over the next several years, and a growing number of business schools are incorporating that lucrative field into their curriculum.

Encompassing a broad range of technologies that boost or even automate finance for businesses and consumers alike, fintech is projected to grow globally and become a trillion-dollar field in the next few years.

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 as the sector becomes increasingly important across the financial services industry.

Boston Consulting Group Managing Director Deepak Goyal, a co-author of that report, said in a press release at the time that fintech will continue to revolutionize the financial services industry as we know it.

Nigel Morris, the report's co-author and QED Investors managing partner, added that fintech will grow globally, including in developing markets across the globe.

Fintech sits within financial services, which is a massive, profitable industry, and the opportunity ahead of us to democratize access to these services on a global scale is tremendous, Morris said.

We expect to see continued growth not only in developed markets in the U.S. and Europe, but also in developing fintech markets in LatAm, Asia, and Africa, where the inertia and friction is even greater. QED remains more bullish than ever about the future of fintech and its promise to improve the lives of billions of people across the world.

Fintech, defined

Fintech includes a wide variety of technologies that help customers and businesses with finance.

Fintech is here to stay: Roughly 73% of interactions with banks now take place through digital channels, according to the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

That can include online payment services like PayPal and Venmo, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and related exchanges, online investment apps like Robinhood, online tax services, and a host of other financial services, according to the Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech).

Digital banking, blockchain technology, and artificial intelligence are driving growth in fintech, according to Columbia University. That is also driving growth in fields like information security and data analytics as fintech companies hire professionals in those areas.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that financial analyst employment will grow at a faster-than-average rate of 8% from 2022-2032. These financial experts earned a median annual wage of $95,080 in May 2022.

Information security analysts are projected to outpace even that faster-than average growth: The BLS projects that employment of information security analysts will grow by 32% from 2022-2032. The median annual wage for that profession was $112,000 as of May 2022.

How Are Business Schools Teaching Fintech?

Business schools across the higher education landscape are preparing students to enter the ever-evolving field of fintech.

The University of Utah received a 10-year, $65 million commitment in 2023 to create a fintech center that will include a venture fund to invest in student-led technologies.

That new center will provide the ability to accelerate and incubate important advances in financial technology innovation and businesses that will continue to propel the fintech industry forward and cement Utah as a center of excellence, University of Utah President Taylor Randall said in an announcement at the time.

Some schools have adopted majors specializing in fintech. The Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts announced fintech undergraduate and graduate degrees in 2023, complementing a longstanding Wall Street fintech hub.

The curriculum for these degrees will touch on topics like computer science, business, and innovation.

Debora Jackson, dean of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Business School, said in an interview with BestColleges that those new degrees are truly interdisciplinary, bringing together experts from across the university to craft a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

New York University's Stern School of Business also offers courses in fintech, including specialized master of business administration (MBA) coursework with a focus on peer-to-peer lending, mobile payment systems, artificial intelligence, and more.

Other schools have taken a credential-based approach to fintech, with the University of Hong Kong offering a fintech course and certificate via the online education platform EdX.

The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business announced a fintech microcredential beginning in 2024. That credential consists of two courses: “Introduction to Fintech” and “AI and Machine Learning for Business.”

Successful innovation means being in tune with the needs of our audiences, Ohio State Fisher College of Business Dean Anil K. Makhija said in a release at the time.

The fintech microcredential, the first such offering by a university statewide, is an example of identifying a real need among industry and business professionals and then responding to that need by creating a convenient, relevant, and accessible path toward personal growth and lifelong learning.