Georgetown FinTech, a new student organization that promotes opportunities for students at the intersection of finance and technology, launches this semester with its first information session tonight at 8 p.m.
With graduate and undergraduate branches, Georgetown FinTech aims to expand opportunities for the community to work with FinTech, or financial technology, beyond the business courses newly offered at the university.
Tonight’s launch is intended to introduce the club and articulate its goals for the semester. This semester, Georgetown Fintech plans to recruit new members and offer on-campus and external events. The club also plans to partner with alumni and entrepreneurs to offer a professional perspective about this new field. Other initiatives include a biweekly newsletter and networking events through FinTech workshops available to its members.
Axel Khayat (SFS ’19) and William Ogden Moore (MSB ’19) were selected last year to co-found and lead the undergraduate branch of the club, which was originally created by a group of Georgetown Master of Business Administration graduate students.
FinTech has already started to expand into business programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and Georgetown has taken the lead in embracing this change, with course offerings that expose students to the growing sector.
The McDonough School of Business recently joined Stanford University as one of the first schools in the country to offer a FinTech and blockchain course as part of its undergraduate program.
The increased accessibility to the financial industry that this sector promotes was one motivation behind integrating FinTech into the MSB’s course offerings, according to Patricia Grant, senior associate dean of the MSB, at a December showcase previewing the club’s launch.
“I really believe in using tools that are at our disposal to do things smarter, and in ways that provide more access. FinTech to me provides more access to more people to be a part of the financial industry,” Grant said.
Students with a diverse set of interests can collaborate through FinTech, Khayat said.
“I cannot think of a better environment than Georgetown to approach these inquiries: an ecosystem where students, whose interests range from finance and business to policy, or technology, can all meet, exchange ideas and attempt to answer some of these questions,” Khayat said.
Because FinTech is an emerging industry, people involved can shape its impact on their surrounding community, according to Moore.
“FinTech is a growing field and a really interesting area to be in, and I think that it’s going to have a big impact on society going forward. I think the opportunity for us is to shape exactly what that impact is,” Moore said.
Jamie Russo (MBA ’19), one of the founding members of the graduate branch of Georgetown FinTech, studied finance as an undergraduate before starting work at a Virginia-based investment firm.
At the showcase, Russo said he has witnessed firsthand the growing effect technology has on the financial sector.
“Technology today is transforming financial services in a lot of different ways. It’s making the financial services industry easier to access for a lot of people,” Russo said. “It’s making information more transferable, faster. It’s providing access to people in under-resourced communities to access financial services in ways they might not have been able to in the past.”
FinTech is disrupting methods used by traditional financial sectors according to Gilles Hilary, a professor in the MSB’s executive program.
The FinTech sector has a wide-reaching scope, according to Hilary.
“FinTech is broader than what you have in your phone. FinTech is broader than the technical space. It has multiple applications,” Hilary said.
Because of FinTech, there is room for people of all professional and academic backgrounds to engage in its opportunities, Hilary said.
“This FinTech thing is not just for techies. I think that relates to the different functions that are impacted by FinTech,” Hilary said. “If you think of HR, for example, now you’ve got programs that will try to identify the skills that people have, what they should get and how we match the position with individuals, how we design training programs. That’s FinTech as well, but that might not be the part of FinTech you had in mind when you came to this session tonight.”