There’s a growing trend of B-schools offering MBA Finance degrees or adding finance and fintech components to their MBA syllabus.
Sheena Sachdeva | November 13, 2023 | 04:02 PM IST
NEW DELHI: Over the past five years, several business schools and universities with management departments have launched MBA programmes with a specialisation in finance or even financial technology. All of them anticipated an increase in demand for expertise in the sector even before the Covid-19 pandemic pushed large sections of the public toward digital transactions.
The ground was shifting well before the pandemic. Demonetisation in late 2016, when the Rs. 500 and Rs 1,000 notes existing then were suddenly withdrawn, led to the sudden and sharp growth in digital payments. Other policy decisions and, finally, covid resulted in a huge boost to the sector in the past few years.
Responding to the trends and to produce graduates with the appropriate skills, B-schools launched programmes. Pondicherry University launched an MBA in financial technology in 2019. Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kozhikode added an MBA (PGP) Finance in 2020 and this year, added two elective courses, on financial crisis and supply chain finance, to its flagship MBA programme. SP Jain School of Global Management introduced an elective in “finance and fintech” in 2020 and Mahindra University started offering finance as one of the MBA specialisations from this year. Online education platform, upGrad is planning to launch an online course on financial modelling and analysis.
“The surge in fintech and finance-related career opportunities can be attributed to the rapidly-evolving financial landscape and the increased reliance on digital solutions during the pandemic. As the finance industry embraces technology-driven innovations, professionals with a strong background in fintech and finance are in high demand,” explained Sanjay Mansabdar, professor of practice at the School of Management, Mahindra University, Hyderabad.
The growing interest in fintech predates the pandemic, say experts “There had been an increased activity in the fintech and finance industry even pre-pandemic and that is when our PGP-finance programme was conceptualised and started. Pandemic only proved us right as it acted as a trigger for taking fintech to the next orbit,” said Ramprasath L, chairperson, PGP-Finance, Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode.
Mayank Kumar, co-founder, UpGrad added: “India’s thriving finance sector is powered by a convergence of compelling factors with technology at its centre. A robust framework of open application programming interface [API] platforms like Aadhar, UPI, Bharat Bill Payments, and Goods and Services Tax Network [GSTN] are serving as catalysts for innovation and progress. Simultaneously, the relentless march of technological advancement, led by AI and ML, is revolutionising long-standing business models, ushering in a new era in financial services.”
The increase in enrolment in these finance programmes also reflects the rising importance of the field. “In recent years, there has indeed been a noticeable increase in enrollments within our programs relevant to fintech and finance,” said Mansabdar.
Lexicon Management Institute of Leadership and Excellence in Pune has seen a similar rise in students opting for its specialised management courses. Manju Punia Chopra, head of department, Finance, said: “Data analytics and informed decision-making are at the heart of fintech operations. This has led to a surge in demand for data analysts, data scientists, and machine learning engineers who can extract valuable insights from financial data and develop predictive models. Consequently, academic programmes combining finance with business analytics have gained significant traction.”
IIM Kozhikode added two new electives on the subject this year, noting the demand for skills in the industry. “We ensure that students are exposed to many of the tools which they would require once they enter the industry. Further, the course aims to explain concepts of banking, currency and prepare students for jobs in the areas of financial markets, financial institutions, regulatory institutions, multilateral institutions, government and central banks by providing an understanding of financial crises and supply chain finance as also public policies to prevent, mitigate and deal with systemic financial crises,” said said Ramprasath.
Apart from in-class programmes, there is a host of online degree and certification ones. Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani’s Work Integrated Learning Programme includes an MBA in Fintech. SP Jain’s online arm as well as JAIN Online offer MBA programmes with specialisation in finance and Dr DY Patil Vidyapeeth offers one in fintech. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur offers a certificate course in fintech.
Vikram Pandya, director, Fintech, SP Jain School of Global Management, explained that due to rapid changes in industry, most graduates emerging from a management programme will be expected to possess some familiarity with fintech and finance. “Even if you work in a non-fintech area, you should have knowledge about fintech and finance because it is useful for any other industry. The skill sets taught in such specialisations and courses help in adding the elements in other industries as well,” he said. “Through our elective course, the idea was to ensure that students who are part of any other industry can understand the world of fintech right from payment, lending, insurance, to health management and education technologies.”
To ensure the courses are in tandem with the industry demand, Mahindra University’s finance and fintech programme focuses on a unique blend of traditional financial principles and cutting-edge technological advancements. “While core finance concepts are covered comprehensively, we also emphasise on areas such as blockchain technology, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity. This multidisciplinary approach equips our students with a broader skill set, making them adaptable to the evolving demands of the financial industry,” said Mansabdar.
Similarly IIM Kozhikode’s finance PGP course offers niche courses that are usually not part of the regular PGP programmes including financial modelling, financial econometrics, fintech, financial crises, marketing of financial services, fixed income securities, and micro finance.
In the past few years, many of these institutes have witnessed a remarkable growth through the introduction of finance and fintech courses. This has reflected in their placements.
“Students specialising in finance have a wide array of career avenues open. They join banks, financial institutions, and financial services firms, corporate finance roles, fintech companies, investment and asset management firms, rating agencies, and real estate companies. Some have also chosen entrepreneurship, starting their own fintech ventures or financial consulting businesses,” explained Chopra.
These organisations, operating across the entire spectrum of sectors and industries, offer a diverse range of opportunities for finance programme graduates to apply their skills.
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