Talking Fintech With 160 Students at Dauphine University!
Our Head of Content, Lea Jakobiak, was invited as a Speaker to talk about building a colourful and successful career in Fintech!
I'm now old enough to tell stories that start: "When I was young"...and things were actually competely different. So here goes!
When I was a young, 18 year old university student at Oxford Brookes in 2003, tech and IT was a world away from what it is now.
Most of us didn't have our own computers, and we all went to write our dissertations in designated "computer rooms". By year 3 we eventually got PCs and MSN seemed absolutely revolutionary. The fact that you could chat to other people online, instantly was incredible.
Fast forward 16 (gulp) years and student life looks very different. This is what I realised as I got an invite to be a Speaker at a Dauphine London panel discussion about fintech.
Lina Rebouh, our Moderator and student at Dauphine, is currently studying Fintech, and specialises in Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain! I was amazed to hear this! I was hugely impressed by how much Lina and her fellow students already know about innovation in finance.
And that brings us to the panel discussion, which looked at just that; how technology such as blockchain is changing banking & finance as we know it - and the opportunities that this offers for graduates.
I was in good company, the other 4 panelists were all actual blockchain and A.I experts.
What I brought to the table was slightly different; I have been lucky enough to interview some of the biggest fintech players and watch their journeys unflod. Take Tom Blomfield, CEO of Monzo for example. I interviewed him when Monzo was just starting out, in a tiny office in East London. And look at him now, as they say, one of the biggest and most successful fintechs out there!
Or take EyeVerify. We interviewed them at trade shows for years. They were always there, a bit goofy, handing out merch. They famously got a 100 million dollar deal with Alibaba - and the rest is history!
It's also been incredible to see how the big players now want a piece of the fintech pie, such as basketball player Shaquille O'Neal or singer Will.i.Am, who both are fintech investors.
So I've seen how it is possible to take an idea that aims to disrupt the system, and make it into a successful reality. This was my main message for all the students, to simply take their idea and go for it - because success DOES happen!
I also touched on all the trends I've seen unfold; cryptocurrencies, A.I, blockchain, data, regulation, open banking and so forth.
Working in fintech is exciting, it moves fast, and it's genuinely changing the world we live in.
Fintech solutions can help the unbanked, tries and tackle financial inclusion, and first and foremost puts the customer first, rather than the financial institutions.
This was my second message. Being part of the fintech industry is for the most part, being part of a great, positive movement.
So thank you Dauphine London for having me, and I hope it has inspired a few students to go and forge a colourful and interesting career in fintech!