We are in the midst of a global fintech revolution. To help our students and graduates thrive in this evolving industry, Imperial College Business School is launching a pioneering Master’s in Financial Technology, new for our 2019 intake.
This highly specialised one-year programme will equip students with the requisite quantitative and analytical skills for a successful career in fintech or in the financial services sector.
About the programme
This new Master’s programme has been established in response to the rise of fintech and a growing demand for specialised skillsets relevant to the industry. Dr Lara Cathcart, Associate Professor of Finance and Co-Programme Director of MSc Financial Technology, says:
“Technology is poised to shape the future of banking and financial services. Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are declaring themselves as technology groups. Imperial College Business School is one of the leaders on that front with the timely launch of the Master’s in Financial Technology. This Master’s will equip students with the skill-sets of the future.”
Dr James Sefton, Professor of Economics and Co-Programme Director of MSc Financial Technology says that two recent developments have driven interest in fintech:
“Firstly there is the collection of large unstructured data sets, which promise researchers significant insights if they can ‘mine’ this data efficiently for information. Secondly, there is the blockchain (or the distributed ledger) technology which has the potential to change intermediation by directly linking buyers and sellers with the use of smart contracts.
“Financial services are very competitive and so there is a huge demand from these companies for skilled and highly trained young professionals to drive their adoption of these technologies and gain an edge in the market.”
With this in mind, we designed the programme to give students both the practical and theoretical skills to work in fintech. James says, “The programme combines the intellectual rigour of an Imperial MSc with a practical understanding of the potential and limitations of this exciting new technology. This means combining strong foundation modules in finance theory and computer science, including machine learning and coding skills, with the latest thinking and innovation in these new technologies.”
Setting-up students for careers in fintech
Fintech is a rapidly growing area and employers are looking to recruit graduates with a combination of both financial and programming skills. Lisa Umenyiora, Director of Careers says:
“Our new MSc Financial Technology allows students to better understand a range of disruptive financial innovations. They will develop analytical skills which will enable them to create and review large financial data sets or evaluate investment decisions. They will learn programming tools which will allow them to implement financial models. Importantly, students will also gain an understanding of current issues affecting the fintech landscape.”
Lisa also says, “From discussions with our employer partners, it is clear that these are skills being sought after not just by fintech companies but employers more widely as technology continues to drive and impact the world of work.
This is further verified by findings from search engine Joblift, which has seen an average monthly growth of five per cent in the number of fintech jobs posted in the UK in the past year; this compares to a growth of one per cent in the UK job market as a whole.
We expect our MSc Financial Technology graduates to work in tech-driven roles in finance including big data, financial research, algorithmic trading, transactions and peer to peer lending.
Lisa says, “Graduates may work in the fintech industry, including challenger banks and startups, or they may work for more established banks, hedge funds and consulting firms.”
Hear from a student
Perlyn Ng studied the Topics in Fintech Innovation elective as part of her MSc Finance & Accounting, Class of 2017-18. Having completed the programme and now working as a Corporate Analyst at J.P. Morgan, Perlyn shares her reflections on the elective:
“I decided to study the Topics in Fintech Innovation elective because the business environment is trending more and more towards automation and technology-driven processes and systems. It is absolutely critical and relevant for graduates in the future to be equipped with this knowledge to really add value to the organisation, especially financial institutions nowadays which are very much driven by technology.
“The knowledge gained from the elective is certainly useful and will come in handy especially in the banking industry – which I currently work in – where we are talking about AI taking over and making employees redundant. By having this exposure in fintech and how one can add value, you would certainly stand out among your peers by being able to contribute innovative ideas and new ways of doing things.”
Why study fintech at Imperial?
Imperial is uniquely positioned to offer this programme. As part of Imperial College London, we are global leaders in science and technology. We host Imperial’s Centre for Global Finance and Technology and students will benefit from the College’s research in data science, programming and AI technology.
Imperial is also home to the Fintech Network of Excellence, which draws together academics across Imperial who share an interest in financial systems and connects them to stakeholders and partners in this space.
Students will also benefit from being part of a world-class Department of Finance. The Business School already has a world class reputation for MSc Finance which ranked 1st in the UK and 9th in the world in the Financial Times Master’s in Finance Ranking 2018 (excluding multi-campus programmes).
The Master’s in Finance also celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, commemorating the event at the London Stock Exchange in conversation with Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England.
Moreover, with London hailed as the global centre of fintech, our central location means we can provide students with the opportunity to meet and network with leaders and organisations of all sizes and specialisms in the financial sector.
With practicality, relevancy and links to industry at the heart of the MSc Financial Technology, it’s clear that students have a wealth of opportunities available to them at Imperial to be immersed in the fintech industry.
We look forward to welcoming the first class of students onto this new programme in 2019.