“The major winners will be financial services companies that embrace technology.”
– Alexander Peh, Vice President of innovation at RBC
Frankfurt School aims to be at the forefront of the technological development, especially in the financial industry. It is great that Frankfurt School’s Master programmes offer a FinTech elective in collaboration with IE in Madrid to teach students about the latest innovations which disrupt the financial services industry. Simultaneously students can do some international networking with experts in the industry as well as other students from IE. I do not think that there are many universities that offer classes abroad and thereby allow students to expand their intercultural competence. In my opinion, this a great USP of FS.
We arrived in Madrid on Sunday before classes started to have some time to visit the city. On that day, most of us took a long walk through the city, checked the location of the university and enjoyed the nice, Mediterranean climate. On Monday, we started the week without much finance or technology, but with a welcome gathering with coffee and typical Spanish food.
After some interesting conversations we started the classes with an introduction into FinTechs, what they do and what the most important developments as well as innovations are. We further discussed the blockchain technology, including possible implications on the current monetary system. We talked about current innovations that shape the FinTech industry, how plenty of startups interrupt current incumbents and where might still be opportunities left for future ideas to improve the current situation.
The topics we discussed ranged from big data, which is quite an old but increasingly important topic, payment systems, lending, robo advisory and mobile financial inclusion. For me the last topic was very important. Many people in large parts of the world do not have access to money and I think it is very important to raise awareness for this issue. During the week we also talked about regulation, especially how RegTech companies can help to handle regulatory initiatives more efficiently and effectively.
Beside the classes, we learned about the importance of FinTechs and innovations first-hand from industry professionals. We visited the “Ciudad BBVA”, listened to a banker’s presentation about how they approach the issue to catch up with innovations. In addition, we got the opportunity to see “The Cube” in Madrid, which supports startups and helps to develop them to become successful.
The week was not only about school and FinTechs, but also about the chance to further increase our inter-cultural competence and learn about a great country. Every day, we went to some Tappas place, bars, markets and visited a Flamenco show with other students to feel as well as enjoy the Spanish way of life.
We concluded our journey into the world of FinTechs with presentations that we prepared over the week and with the courses’ three main take-away from the academic director at IE, Ignacio de la Torre:
In addition to these take-aways, we learnt the importance to understand and embrace technology as a guide to success, not only for companies, but for everyone. I hope many students apply this course in the future, too, as it is a great for personal and professional development.