Why everyone should learn Fintech

Autumn 2015: Sitting in class at University of Hong Kong, I was waiting for the start of a new course: “Introduction to FinTech and its Impact on the Future of Banking and Finance” taught by Henri Arslanian (the current Fintech leader of PwC China/HK).

Nothing special you would say, one of the twelve courses I had to take to complete my Master of Finance. It was not so simple, it was the first time I was hearing about fintech and, although I did not know it, my professional life was about to change in a few minutes.

I was very lucky. I was guided into the fintech world by stellar entrepreneurs and professionals with a very well structured, passionate, and clear approach to the subject. I have been exposed to how technology is dramatically impacting the financial industry and the job market, from the entrance of new players from the tech world to the rise of innovative business models.

Autumn 2017: Fintech is everywhere and everyone can now see how technology is changing finance. Bitcoin is over $15,000, Facebook is ready for a deep dive into payment services, Alibaba can process 4x more transactions per second than Visa, and Artificial Intelligence is finally finding real applications. However, most people are confused about fintech. Many blogs, posts and influencers. Often, too much information is no information.

Several senior banking professionals forecast that developments in technology could result in 30% to 50% of banking jobs disappearing in the next 5 years. The biggest problem? Too many professionals and students just don’t know about that. Education, currently very costly and sometimes a bit outdated, needs to be democratized and reshaped. This is what we really need, even more than VC money.

To quote CFTE’s motto: “In a tech world, we bet on people” and I couldn’t agree more. I personally believe in the power of education to shape the future and that we need a fundamental shift in mindsets and change the way we train the next generation of talents. Skills such as coding, design, and creative thinking will be core in the curriculum of finance programs and joining a startup won’t be seen as bad or too risky in the near future. Finance is not just about finance anymore.

However, what is very interesting is that it is not just about the changes in the financial industry. We are not just talking about a new way to pay with your smartphone or a platform that can help you invest.

It is much more. It is about a new way of thinking, about understanding that no one is immune to the impact of technology, about challenging the status quo. Fintech has shown the world that if you think there is a better or more efficient way to do something, you can do it.

You can be skeptical about a platform, an app or a new business model, but you cannot be skeptical about the future. You need to prepare for it. That’s why everyone should learn fintech.