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Heider College of Business establishes Finance and Technology (FinTech) major

Heider College of Business signDigitalization and Big Data have been huge disruptors in the financial services industry over the past decade. Due to technology’s growing importance in financial markets, Creighton University’s Heider College of Business has established a new major – Finance and Technology, or FinTech, to provide finance students with a curriculum in which traditional finance coursework is complemented with technical knowledge and skills.

“Compared to five years ago, the field of finance has become far more data driven in all subdisciplines of finance,” says Lee Dunham, PhD, associate professor of Finance and initiator of the FinTech major. “Consequently, having finance majors just acquire the relevant finance ‘textbook knowledge’ is increasingly becoming insufficient to be competitive in the workforce.”

The FinTech undergraduate program is among the first of its kind in the United States and will begin in the fall of 2019. The program will not only make students more competitive in the job market, but it also will provide them with a thorough understanding of how technologies are disrupting traditional financial institutions, and how institutions are responding. FinTech students will be given the opportunity to practice in an environment that melds finance principles with technical skills, while educators bridge the gap between classroom theory and real-world practice.

Tapping into his industry leadership and expertise, Dunham attended multiple FinTech conferences and met with several firms in Omaha and New York City to ascertain what specific skills Creighton graduates need to remain competitive in the changing finance industry. He also consulted fellow Finance professors and practitioners, in addition to Business Intelligence and Analytics (BIA) faculty, to determine the best course selection. The faculty concluded the new major would consist of five finance courses and five technology courses, all of which would be closely linked to technologies used by firms in the financial services industry.

Nearly half of the FinTech curriculum is comprised of newly-developed classes, including Python Programming, Machine Learning, Blockchain and Foundations of FinTech. Two new BIA faculty have been hired to help support the program.

Eighty percent of students in the Heider College of Business come from across the country, and 50 percent of those students get their first job in Omaha.

Dunham is currently working with employers to funnel students into internship opportunities specifically geared toward FinTech. The Startup Collaborative, with which Heider College of Business has an established partnership, has a new FinTech Fellows Program in conjunction with First National Bank of Omaha.

Dunham hopes the FinTech major will provide students with the necessary skill set to possibly originate a FinTech startup and participate in the FinTech Fellows Program. Students who declare a FinTech major will enjoy the advantages of traditional finance majors. They will be eligible for the New York travel course and can apply to the Portfolio Practicum program.


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