Fintech Industry Draws More MBA Graduates

Fintech Industry Draws More MBA Graduates

Part of the reason for this development is that fintech founders are looking for well-qualified staff at business schools, the Financial Times reports. Many of those founders went to business school. Giles Andrews, British founder of peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa, and Taavet Hinrikus, the Estonian-born chief executive of online foreign exchange marketplace TransferWise, are INSEAD (France) MBA graduates. Jeff Lynn and Carlos Silva jointly developed the business plan for equity crowdfunding business Seedrs as part of their MBA course at Oxford’s Saïd Business School (UK).

About a fifth of hires from the international MBA class at IE Business School (Spain) last year were made by financial services companies. The fintech industry made 5% of those hires, up from none last year. A 2015 Goldman Sachs report estimated USD 4.7 trillion of financial services revenue was at risk of displacement from financial technology groups.

Graduates are drawn to these fast-growing young ventures where their decisions count and mark them out as a vital member of the team, Irina Zilbergleyt, IE’s director of talent and careers, told the Financial Times. The trend presents investment banks and consultancy firms with competition. According to Zilbergleyt,

One of the biggest talent acquisition concerns of big banks is losing top talent to fintech and other technology companies.

Nick Hungerford, an MBA graduate and founder of Nutmeg, the online wealth management service, returned to the UK straight from the Silicon Valley campus of Stanford Graduate School of Business (US) to start his company in 2011. Eight of Nutmeg’s 78 staff are MBA graduates, including two product managers, its chief marketing officer, chief architect and head engineer.

Another proponent is Niels Turfboer, who held senior posts with ABN Amro and ING before completing a joint MBA, split between a year at IE and a year at New York University’s Stern School of Business (US). He became interested in tech start-ups that tried to disrupt the markets his former employers were operating in, and is now managing director for the UK and Benelux at Spotcap, a US-based online lender to small businesses.

MBA graduates are unlikely to join fintech companies in the expectation of high salaries. Many, particularly those who have worked in private equity, understand start-ups operate differently, Nutmeg’s Hungerford says, adding that:

In the UK, people are a lot less familiar with having remuneration based on equity rather than cash and a bonus, but not among MBAs, who come with an understanding that equity can be a more valuable reward.

Other attractions for MBA graduates include the opportunity to see first-hand how to set up and run a fintech company. Slava Kremerman, an INSEAD graduate and former strategy consultant for Aon, worked for Hungerford at Nutmeg for three years, moving through several senior roles and receiving mentoring support, before quitting to found an online jobs-matching service for supply teachers, called Zen Education.

He was one of these guys who works for 15 hours a day, Hungerford says. The deal was that, if he came to work for Nutmeg, Hungerford would in return teach him how to start a business.

Source: The Financial Times


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