The innovations and rationalizations made possible by digital technology continue to transform the financial services industry. To help prepare skilled professionals and entrepreneurs who will shape a tech-driven future, three HKUST schools have combined their strengths to create a new master’s degree in Financial Technology (MSc in FinTech) Program.
For Hong Kong to maintain its position as one of the world’s financial centers, both its well- established and its emerging businesses will need to keep pace with developments in the field of FinTech. However, this will be impossible without talent possessing the new skill sets required (which frequently straddle more than one academic discipline). In the light of this, HKUST Schools of Business and Management (Business School), Engineering, and Science, have come together to launch their new program starting from the 2019-20 academic year.
The Deans of the three schools engaged in this exciting new joint collaboration are all enthusiastic about the opportunities that will be available to graduates.
“This program combines statistics and data analytics knowledge from the School of Science, expertise in AI and machine learning from the School of Engineering and finance and management knowledge from the School of Business and Management, to equip students with inter-disciplinary skills for the new digital economy,” says Professor WANG Yang, Dean of Science.
Professor Tim CHENG, Dean of Engineering, concurs. “The market is looking for talent with business knowledge, programming and data analytical skills, as well as engineering know how, such as in the form of AI skills,” he notes. “This is exactly what we aim to equip our students with in the MSc in FinTech Program.”
“Given the pace of technological change and the application of new developments in innovative products and services, the Program will closely track what’s happening in the real world”, Professor TAM Kar-yan, Dean of Business and Management, adds.
“We will incorporate cases and group work in students’ assignments and exams, so they can put into practice what they have learned,” he says. “We will also host talks from industry professionals so they can share their experience in the field and keep our students informed of the latest developments.”
A career launchpad
With new technology and innovations competing with the traditional ways of doing business, many companies in the finance sector are now looking for skilled FinTech talent to help them deliver new categories of products and services - or existing ones in a more user friendly and cheaper fashion.
Many of the most significant professional bodies are also looking to incorporate FinTech-related areas of expertise into their curricula, with, for example, the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute adding the topics of big data and data analysis to its 2019 exam curriculum.
To cater to these needs, the MSc in FinTech curriculum includes a range of core and elective courses run by the three HKUST Schools. The core courses cover essential areas of knowledge including: Corporate Finance, Investment Analysis, FinTech Regulation and Compliance, AI for FinTech, Blockchain, Data Analysis, Financial Data Mining and the Foundations of FinTech.
The list of electives offered will be announced at the start of each academic year, but examples include Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and their business applications; FinTech: Algorithmic Trading; Optimization in FinTech and Statistical Machine Learning.
The Program will also offer practical support to students who will soon be in-demand graduates: “We’ll have a professional career service team for our MSc in FinTech students, offering, among other things, workshops on interview skills, career coaching and a placement service. We’ll also lineup internship opportunities, where appropriate,” says Professor Tam.
What’s more, he adds, other skills taught in the program are intended to help students stay abreast of developments in FinTech long after they’ve completed their studies.
“Universities need to equip students with the latest knowledge possible, while, at the same time, equipping them with the soft skills required for lifelong learning, as they will need to continue to adapt and acquire new knowledge in this fast paced and dynamic industry,” he explains.
Getting on board
The program will offer one-year full-time and two-year part-time study-mode options. A global recruitment drive for the program has begun, with a target of 40 students for the first cohort. These numbers are expected to gradually increase across subsequent intakes.
The program fees total HK$300,000, but scholarships will be provided on a case-by-case basis to well-rounded candidates with outstanding academic performances.
The profiles of successful applicants for the full-time and part-time programs differ, but all applicants should have gained a bachelor's degree, in any discipline, from a recognized institution, or an approved equivalent qualification. A background in programming and mathematics would be an advantage.
Typically, students on the full-time program will be fresh graduates, or those with little work experience, while those studying part-time are likely to be working professionals with at least one year of postgraduate work experience.
To know more about the program at: