Few topics get business schoolers' pulses racing like financial technology — from blockchain and cryptocurrencies to artificial intelligence, the fintech revolution has already made its way into a suite of MBA degrees.
And according to one top French business school, fintech start-ups like TransferWise or GoCardless now vie with investment banks and traditional financial services companies for digitally skilled, entrepreneurial recruits.
Spreadsheet-savvy MBAs may not seem like the type for fast-paced tech firms, but their growing appetite for MBAs was on full display at HEC Paris' second annual Fintech Talent Fair this month. From start-ups like Blockchain and PayinTech to larger financial institutions such as Bloomberg and BNP Paribas, companies representing the full fintech spectrum were out in force.
The roster of high-profile businesses will interest anyone considering a career in the nascent but rapidly growing fintech industry.
William Kunter works for N26, a German app-only bank that's backed by Peter Thiel and Li Ka-shing. Founded in 2013, it has 200,000 customers, 140 employees and this summer, it raised $40 million.
William left Goldman Sachs to join the start-up in September 2016, a few years after picking up a master's degree in finance at HEC Paris.
He was at this year’s Fintech Talent Fair, snapping up new recruits.
We asked William why MBAs should consider a career in fintech. This is what he told us:
Why should business students consider a career in fintech?
For a lot of reasons actually. First, fintech is probably one of the hottest and most dynamic sectors in tech today. It’s attracting a lot of interest and funding. Second, working in fintech gives you the opportunity to have a real impact on the day to day life of a very large number of people. Lastly, fintech start-ups deal with a fairly complex environment and designing simple products in that environment is a real challenge, and therefore intellectually stimulating. It requires knowledge of a broad array of topics — perfect for business students.
There's a perception that b-school students can be a little rigid for fast-moving tech companies. How has your master's degree in finance from HEC Paris helped you in the fintech industry?
I really think that’s a misconception. In my view, b-school students are not rigid, they are structured and that’s a big difference.