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FINTECH: Wall Street With a Hint of Silicon Valley

Michael D. McDonald, BBA 2018

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Young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs have challenged the traditional methods of business for quite some time. From Facebook changing how we keep in touch to Uber changing how we travel, and most recently Kickstarter changing how we finance start-ups, one might think we’ve reached our peak. However, the near future holds the next major technological revolution that presents an abundance of career opportunities – FinTech.

FinTech, or Financial Technology, has become the new buzz word in the banking industry. At their core, FinTech corporations aim to disrupt the way financial transactions and banking is completed across the world. Financial service provision methods have not changed significantly in the past few decades, yet our reliance on using phone applications or internet sites to complete banking and financial tasks is ever increasing. Imagine being able to complete any vital banking transaction (whether opening an account, applying for a mortgage, or obtaining a small business loan) through a convenient application at your fingertips. This is what individuals and start-ups alike are trying to accomplish – and the first ones to succeed are no doubt swimming in Olympic- size pools of Wall Street money.

Clearly, this industry is on the verge of booming. So the question on everyone’s mind is: what type of careers could you pursue in this new industry?

Technological Entrepreneur: This is pretty self- explanatory – Technological Entrepreneurs specialize in starting businesses that use new, modern technologies to solve age old problems and inconveniences. The only difference between a regular entrepreneur and a technological one would be having a solid understanding of programming languages and the tech industry in general (as well as potential applications of software to real world problems). Suggested success indicators include leadership, an appetite for risk, and being able to translate business problems into technological solutions.

Product / Project Manager: Every major financial services firm and bank globally has begun mass hiring Product/Project Managers and their co-requisite Scrum Masters and Agile Methodologies Experts. Project management too is riding the technology curve and evolving; companies are placing higher value on agile and scrum methodologies, which focus on the ability to change plans and deliverables quickly without enduring long, bureaucratic processes. If you love working under pressure and tight deadlines, as well as managing major projects that require extensive communication and teamwork, then being a Product / Project Manager is perfect for you!

Young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs have challenged the traditional methods of business for quite some time. From Facebook changing how we keep in touch to Uber changing how we travel, and most recently Kickstarter changing how we finance start-ups, one might think we’ve reached our peak. However, the near future holds the next major technological revolution that presents an abundance of career opportunities – FinTech.

FinTech, or Financial Technology, has become the new buzz word in the banking industry. At their core, FinTech corporations aim to disrupt the way financial transactions and banking is completed across the world. Financial service provision methods have not changed significantly in the past few decades, yet our reliance on using phone applications or internet sites to complete banking and financial tasks is ever increasing. Imagine being able to complete any vital banking transaction (whether opening an account, applying for a mortgage, or obtaining a small business loan) through a convenient application at your fingertips. This is what individuals and start-ups alike are trying to accomplish – and the first ones to succeed are no doubt swimming in Olympic- size pools of Wall Street money.

Clearly, this industry is on the verge of booming. So the question on everyone’s mind is: what type of careers could you pursue in this new industry?

Technological Entrepreneur: This is pretty self- explanatory – Technological Entrepreneurs specialize in starting businesses that use new, modern technologies to solve age old problems and inconveniences. The only difference between a regular entrepreneur and a technological one would be having a solid understanding of programming languages and the tech industry in general (as well as potential applications of software to real world problems). Suggested success indicators include leadership, an appetite for risk, and being able to translate business problems into technological solutions.

Product / Project Manager: Every major financial services firm and bank globally has begun mass hiring Product/Project Managers and their co-requisite Scrum Masters and Agile Methodologies Experts. Project management too is riding the technology curve and evolving; companies are placing higher value on agile and scrum methodologies, which focus on the ability to change plans and deliverables quickly without enduring long, bureaucratic processes. If you love working under pressure and tight deadlines, as well as managing major projects that require extensive communication and teamwork, then being a Product / Project Manager is perfect for you!

Change Manager: The implementation of new technologies and business channels requires a great deal of change, and if not handled correctly, will hinder rather than help the corporation’s advancement. Change Managers thus facilitate major changes in organizations, ensuring the transitions are smooth and successful. FinTech ideas and products disrupt the way things currently work, therefore making Change Managers crucial to this rising industry. Change Managers must be great people managers and able to plan and execute strategies for change implementation.

Digital Banking Strategist /Consultant: Not many individuals in the banking industry are aware of the pros (and cons) of the digital world and how it impacts their services. Digital Banking Strategists and Consultants help these companies learn more about the effects of doing business in a highly connected world, and how they can effectively compete in this area. Not unlike similar consulting positions, this job requires high level thinking, planning, and relationship building as well as a thorough understanding of modern communication technologies and financial industry services.

Talent Acquisition Manager: A major problem currently faced by well established financial firms is the attraction and retention of young, tech-savvy workers. This isn’t surprising – not many young individuals with programming skills are looking to join a major bank or firm (many are more interested in start-ups). As a result, skilled Talent Acquisition Managers are growing ever higher in demand. To be successful in this role, one needs to understand what young workers value in a job, and use this information effectively to attract (and retain) these highly valued employees.

Developer / Development Manager: Speaking of tech- savvy workers, you don’t have to have a computer science degree to become a Developer (although it does help a lot). If you are able to learn programming languages quickly (Java, PHP, Ruby, etc.), you should consider becoming a Developer or Full- Stack Engineer. These jobs involve the creation and maintenance of applications and software that solve problems in new and innovative ways. In the case of FinTech, it becomes very useful to have a finance background while being a Developer – much needed skills in this role include the ability to program in multiple languages and the ability to examine a problem from various angles.

Whether you enjoy accounting or finance, consulting or human resources, the FinTech industry is one area of the job market whose horizons and opportunities are ever expanding. The most attractive aspect of this growing industry is that no job is purely based on one branch of business (i.e. only finance or only accounting). Many jobs in this field involve a melange of business skills (finance, management, human resources, etc.) and technical skills (programming, IT, software development, etc.). This makes the FinTech industry ideal for those entering the job market in the next decade, whose technical expertise combined with their passion for business makes them excellent candidates.

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