We have an incredible opportunity to be studying here in London, the financial technology (fintech) capital of the world. Located right in center city, Cass neighbors some of the fastest-growing fintech startups in the market. Our fintech society is a campus group designed to connect Cass students to this fast-moving fintech ecosystem, learn about new trends affecting different fintech verticals, and develop skills to help break into the industry.

As an American moving my life abroad to the UK to study, I experienced so much frustration with traditional banks and financial institutions. Setting up a student bank account wasn’t easy, and transferring my tuition money overseas was nothing short of a nightmare.  What was taking weeks with traditional banks took me about 20 minutes to accomplish with UK fintech firms like Monzo and Transferwise. These personal experiences of startups solving real-life challenges combined with my background in finance spurred my interest in running our Fintech Society.

A few weeks ago we hosted our first event titled “Disruption in Banking: the Future of Finance” at the Cass Bunhill Row campus. The Fintech Society collaborated with the Cass Careers team to set up an incredible panel of fintech experts including:

Eleanor Hasler – VP of Growth & Product Optimisation at Dozens
Martin Griffiths – Head of Fintech at Barclays
Murali Akella – Former Head of Banks at Transferwise
Valentina Kristensen – Director, Growth & Communications at OakNorth
Aaron Block – Project Leader for Fintech Operations at Expand Research, a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Company

I was a bit nervous hosting a panel in front of over 100 people, but we quickly jumped into a lively and thought-provoking discussion. Our panelists debated what has driven this disruption since the financial crisis, and how in just a few years small, innovative startups have fundamentally changed the way people interact with money. We touched on how large financial institutions are responding with innovation of their own, and how some fintech firms are staying ahead by focusing on profitability instead of just user growth. What really sparked our audience’s interest, however, was an honest discussion about the realities of working for a fintech startup. While the hoodies, bean bags, and office dogs are a plus, these can be challenging and demanding environments that require a broad set of skills.

After some great audience questions, we opened up our event for a fun networking reception with our speakers and other members of the Fintech Society. This gave all of our members an easy way to make real connections and take steps towards breaking into a career in fintech.

For more opportunities like this in 2020, please join the Fintech Society on the Cass Campus Groups website. We plan to host some more great events like this, so be sure to sign up and learn more!

Kyle Griffith, Full-time MBA (2020)