FinTech in Academia: Are We Ready?

Financial technology (FinTech) becomes a major driver of the financial industry, permeating in both its financial and technology sector. In 2018, the FinTech industry is worth nearly $40B globally. While the Industry is increasing job opportunities worldwide, it is also facing uncertainties and major disruptions, and suffering from induced consequences.

The increasing demand for talent in the FinTech industry is being stimulated by the increase in the number of tech-savvy customers and e-commerce activities, and in the aggressive smartphone penetration. In Australia, the 2018 census of Ernst & Young FinTech Australia shows that 45% of FinTech companies are confronted with the challenge in sourcing qualified or suitable talent, and   the CEOs and founders of up to 50% FinTech companies point out that Australia lacks experienced start-up and FinTech talent. Moreover, in the developing country such as Indonesia, lack of qualified talent is one of the significant issues in this industry. In order to address this global shortage of talent within finance, we need to accommodate FinTech in our teaching learning domains. In the past, universities were primarily focused on teaching conventional subjects. However, the recent rapid digital transformation has prompted academic institutions to open new courses which prepare students to have a broader understanding of the underlying technologies in order to utilise the potential FinTech industry that create promising opportunities.

According to Linda Kreitzman, the program director of Haas’s Master of Financial Engineering in University of California Berkeley, the advancement of FinTech has led to a strong demand for students with an integration of multidisciplinary skills, known as the ‘full-stack quant’.  The multidisciplinary skills encompass a basic knowledge of banking, accounting, and technology from coding, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, finance intuition, and statistics.

Leading business schools across continents are answering the call to address the increasing demand for FinTech-related courses.  Stanford university provides courses on technologies that promote financial inclusion and MIT focuses on blockchain technologies.  Indonesian universities are no exception in terms of embracing the financial revolution, responding to the change of financial landscape. Based on my best knowledge, however, very few Indonesian universities have opened courses related to financial technology.

Singapore is claimed to be leading the FinTech education. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has invested $167 million in creating the top FinTech hub in the world for facilitating with achieving educational objectives. In universities, FinTech as an independent subject has been successfully incorporated into the curriculum through the university’s collaboration with top technology companies. I firmly believe the Ministry of Research, Technology, and Higher Education has set the agenda to reinvent and update the FinTech curriculum to keep pace with the rapid technological and financial developments. With the solid cooperation between governments, businesses, and universities on adjusting the curriculum, Indonesian students have more potential to become innovation pioneers that could reshape the future of finance and technology.


Sandy Arief

Lecturer of Accounting Education and PhD Candidate in Accounting & Corporate Governance of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

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