How You Can Prepare Yourself for the FinTech Era by Obtaining an MSF Degree

Close-up of a stock market tracker lit up at night on a busy street
Close-up of a stock market tracker lit up at night on a busy street

Technology has made sweeping changes across every industry, and the financial industry is no exception. A generation of changemakers turned a devastating financial crisis into the frontier for what we now recognize as the FinTech era. Traditional banks and institutions scrambled to adapt and keep up with novel concepts like cryptocurrencies, money-transfer apps, and AI-powered portfolio managers. Educational institutions were required to make similar revisions to their outdated curriculum. Schools like Suffolk University have created modern online masters in finance programs that tailor a student’s learning experience to include up-to-date FinTech systems and financial models. Attaining an MSF degree online is one of the preferred ways to launch a successful career in the ever-changing landscape of the FinTech era.


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What is FinTech?

FinTech, in its simplest terms, is a contraction of “finance” and “technology” and refers to the technology and business models that enable financial services. According to Milanesi (2019), “The past few years have witnessed unprecedented developments in financial technology (“FinTech”), including innovation in mobile payments, digital currencies, blockchain and distributed ledger technology, peer-to-peer lending, and marketplace lending.” The emergence of new technologies has disrupted the way traditional financial and banking systems operate and this becomes apparent in the ways we exchange money daily. FinTech comes in many different forms, including:

  1. Peer-to-peer lenders (ex. LendingClub)
  2. Crowdfunding (ex. GoFundMe)
  3. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (ex. Bitcoin)
  4. Robo-advising (ex. Wealthsimple)
  5. Mobile payments (ex. PayPal)
  6. Insurance (ex. Tractable)
Source: Bloomberg, “Quicktake FinTech” (2018).

How is the Financial Industry Changing?

FinTech has gained significant traction and is not predicted to slow down in its process of shaking up the traditional financial industry until it’s nearly unrecognizable. The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 ushered in a new wave of change-makers, including FinTech startups that threatened traditional banks. Technology disrupting traditional industries is not a new concept. We watched how UBER disrupted taxi services, and Airbnb disrupted hotel experience across the world. Now we can see how Wealthsimple, PayPal, and Bitcoin are challenging the status quo in the same manner.

The financial crisis created a paradigm shift that left Americans with a bad taste in their mouth and a distrustful relationship with existing financial models and the institutions that adopted them. Suddenly, an excellent opportunity presented itself for FinTech startups and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that wished to gain the affections of the large millennial population beginning to exchange and invest their money. The kids that grew up on Facebook and interacted comfortably on smartphones and apps became the adults that craved a tech-first financial experience. Fast forward to 2014, banks worldwide spent an estimated $215 billion on information technology (IT), including hardware, software, as well as internal and external IT services (WEF, 2015). FinTech has continued to capture the attention of the public and continues to stimulate economic growth.

How does an MSF degree prepare you for the FinTech era?

Despite its monumental impact on today’s economy, FinTech is still a relatively new topic that is evolving faster than some traditional banks or schools can keep up. Attaining a well-rounded Master of Science in Finance (MSF) is more essential than ever before. The financial advisors who attained their certifications a number of years ago are at a disadvantage. The modern master’s in finance programs cover technologies and business models that didn’t exist as recently as ten years ago. Finance professionals could benefit greatly from taking a series of online courses to refresh their knowledge of FinTech and better navigate the newly transformed industry.

Evidently, an online master's in finance is the best way for aspiring financial professionals and existing financial professionals to prepare for the FinTech landscape. Some schools have developed focused programs that thoroughly explore specific financial areas and weave essential technologies into the coursework. Suffolk University offers an online finance degree in Boston, with three distinct pathways to certification, including:

  1. Corporate Finance
    A modern approach to strategic financial solutions, this area of focus teaches students how to allocate resources to maximize profit and introduce funding alternatives. The courses offer real-world insights and use up-to-date trends and technologies that prepare graduates for an industry dominated by FinTech.
  2. Risk Management
    This program shows students how to assess and manage various types of financial risks in global companies and financial institutions. The Risk Management Program investigates traditional banking models as well as innovative tech startups that use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to amend a portfolio. This offers a holistic view of risk management that offers prospective financial planners the big picture.
  3. Investments
    This area of concentration gives students a well-rounded understanding of asset management, security valuations, capital markets, portfolio management, and the process of issuing securities with a master’s in finance. The curriculum incorporates at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge and is accepted by the CFA University Affiliation Program.

What jobs can you get with an MSF degree?

An MSF degree acts as a springboard to a successful career in finance. It’s possible to maintain a part-time or full-time job and simultaneously work toward the necessary credentials to encourage mobility on your career path. The following jobs are commonly held by graduates with an MSF degree:

  1. Investment Consultant
  2. Financial Analyst
  3. Finance Manager
  4. Career Consultant
  5. Capital Markets Analyst
  6. Management Consultant
Source: Financial Careers (2017). 6 Jobs You Can Land with an MSF Degree.

How to align with the FinTech era and the modern financial industry

In order to succeed in the FinTech era, you must expand your skill set and increase your earning potential with an online graduate degree in finance. The online master’s in finance curriculum prepares you with industry-demanded skills to enhance your professional trajectory including data-driven analysis, advanced financial concepts, ethical leadership and professional communication. Graduates of the Master of Science in Finance program are uniquely positioned for success. The program is both a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute University Affiliation Program and a Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) Academic Partner, creating a path toward coveted designations such as CFA and FRM.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in finance and want to become familiar with the latest industry technologies or even if you currently have a career in finance, it’s important that you find a program that focuses on real-world applications rather than getting lost in outdated theory. Some schools like Suffolk University Boston even connect students to a network of professional alumni that share their personal insights into the financial world as it exists today. Learn more about how you can attain an online master's in finance that could help make you a forward-thinking pioneer in the future of FinTech.


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