USC: First to FinTech

Caitlin Tran | Daily Trojan

Caitlin Tran | Daily Trojan

USC alumni have done well in the Digital Age. From online dating with Tinder’s Sean Rad to cloud Caitlin Tran Headshotcomputing with Salesforce’s Marc Benioff to entertainment with Shonda Rhimes, there are Trojans leading the pack in a wide variety of modern industries. This year, Trojans are about to start being primed on the latest frontier: “FinTech,” also known as Financial Technology.

FinTech, as a phrase, encompasses quite a lot but generally refers to the segment of the technology startup scene that is disrupting banking, a field with components that hasn’t seen much change since the middle ages according to James Healy, vice president of FastPay. After Healy and Marc Hamud, senior vice president of GE Capital, approached the Marshall School of Business last summer about developing a course on the industry, they were given the green light and got to work on developing curriculum right away.

Starting on March 8, “The FinTech Revolution — Disrupting Traditional Finance” will begin meeting for three hours a week to cover topics including blockchain technology, the use of data and algorithms in emerging models of alternative lending and trends affecting wealth management services and other innovations in the field. Additionally, leading executives in FinTech will be visiting each class as guest speakers to share their thoughts on their business models and the industry’s future.  

Photo courtesy of USC Marshall School of Business

Photo courtesy of USC Marshall School of Business

In a recent Accenture report, it was found that global investment in FinTech is on the rise, skyrocketing from $930 million in 2008 to over $12 billion by the start of 2015. Europe, in particular, saw a tremendous growth rate in 2014 of 215 percent that translated to $1.48 billion. Unsurprisingly, similar interest was seen on the USC campus with all 35 seats being filled in the first week of its addition to the course catalogue; there is also a growing waitlist for the course.

Although the course, which is the first of its kind to be offered at a major U.S. university, is only offered for credit to MBA students this year, Healy and Hamud have received numerous requests from students to participate in the guest speaker discussions and are opening them up to all USC students.  Students who are interested in hearing industry leaders discuss disrupting the traditional financial system can sign up on Eventbrite using the following links:


USC FinTech Speaker Series

March 8th: RealtyMogul: Tim Li, CIO & Acting CMO, Elizabath Braman, Chief Product Officer

March 22nd: loanDepot: Chairman and CEO, Anthony Hsieh and Brian Biglin, Chief Risk Officer

March 29th: SoFi: Daniel Macklin, Co-Founder SoFi

April 5th: TBD: Equity Crowdfunding Executive

April 12th: PayPal: Dan Leberman, VP & General Manager, SMB North America

April 19th: Acorns: Jeff Cruttenden, Co-Founder Acorns

April 26th: TBD: FinTech Investors / Valuation Specialists

Caitlin Tran is a sophomore majoring in arts, technology and the business of innovation. Her blog tech column, Captcha, runs every Tuesday.