The Fintech Effect

Six courses that will get you clued up on fintech

Professor Eric Lander teaches a class at MIT in 2013 for a video produced by edX.
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The financial technology (fintech) sector has taken mainstream finance by storm. But a number of world-renowned education institutions have noted a lack in qualifications for the industry.

Fintech is an umbrella term for a number of tech innovations that aim to improve or simplify areas of the financial services. Those new to the sector can often get lost in the technical jargon that accompanies it.

CNBC has compiled a list of six courses that will help you understand and become involved in the sector.

Princeton University

People walk on the Princeton University campus in Princeton, New Jersey.
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Ivy League university Princeton offers an online course on 'Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies.'

The online course is intended to "separate fact from fiction" when it comes to bitcoin and its altcoin counterparts.

Several notable business figures from JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon to Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio have made damning criticisms of the digital asset.

Princeton's course was created by Arvind Narayanan, assistant professor of computer science at the university.

You can take the course free of charge.

New York University

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New York University's Stern School of Business has a number of courses on fintech that consider innovations in the sector, regulatory challenges and opportunities for growth.

Students have the option to learn about digital currencies, blockchain, robo advisors, personal finance and payments.

The business school claims the courses are applicable to those seeking careers in investment banking, sales, trading, international finance, social entrepreneurship and product management.


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Hyperledger is an open source blockchain project hosted by non-profit organization The Linux Foundation.

It is set to offer a course called 'Blockchain for Business: An Introduction to Hyperledger' that teaches eager minds about the ins and outs of the technology.

It also takes students through the process of building applications on top of Hyperledger's Fabric and Sawtooth distributed ledger platforms.

"Hyperledger and blockchain are two key skillsets that are increasingly in demand in today's digital world," edX CEO and MIT Professor Anant Agarwal said in the announcement of the course.

"Our global community of learners have told us that they are seeking courses to help them gain the career-relevant skills they need for the modern workplace."

The online course starts on October 25.

Oxford University

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The U.K.'s Oxford University, ranked by Times Higher Education as the number one institution in the world, made its fintech debut this month.

Oxford's Saïd Business School launched the Oxford Fintech Programme in collaboration with GetSmarter, which is owned by education tech giant 2U Inc.

Students on the course study a range of subjects within the fintech sector, including digital payments, regulatory technology, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

"We had to constantly change our materials, especially in a space like fintech, in order to keep up to date," Peter Tufano, dean at Saïd Business School, told CNBC in August.

"So it will have some timeless concepts, and we'll also work with practitioners to bring in timely information."

Imperial College

Imperial College London
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Imperial College London is another British university to have its own course dedicated to all things fintech.

Imperial's 'Fintech — Innovative Banking' course focuses on three key areas of the industry: blockchain, digital identity and digital money and payments.

It is targeted at those working in banking, especially managers, project directors and heads of strategy and innovation.

The program lasts two days.

The Open University

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The Open University (OU) has a short online course where students can learn about the origins of fintech and the role it has played following the 2008 financial crash.

Called 'Fintech 101: Understanding Financial Technologies,' the OU claims its program is the "first introductory course to financial technology."

The British university is unique in that it offers most of its courses online. Many of its classes can be taken in countries outside the U.K.

"Fintech is changing rapidly with new sub-sectors emerging all the time, drawing in new names and organizations taking a customer-centric view of financial services," Liz Moody, senior lecturer, executive education at OU's Business School, said in a statement when the course was announced.

"The course is designed to provide a comprehensive overview for people either working in or interested in innovating in this space creating products and access to services supported by technology."