News from Ohio State University

Fintech conference explores frameworks shaping modern-day business

The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business has announced a new training program to help professionals and graduate students keep pace with the evolution of financial technology (fintech). Fisher unveiled the Fintech Micro-Credential at the Fintech @ Ohio State and Beyond Conference last Wednesday at the Fawcett Center.

The micro-credential encompasses a wide range of fintech, from mobile wallets to payment apps, crowdfunding platforms to cryptocurrency exchanges, said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher.

“Successful innovation means being in tune with the needs of our audiences,” he said. “The Fintech Micro-Credential, the first such offering by a university statewide, is an example of identifying a real need among industry and business professionals and then responding to that need by creating a convenient, relevant and accessible path toward personal growth and lifelong learning.”

College of Engineering Dean Ayanna Howard and Fisher College of Business Dean Anil K. MakhijaThe Fintech Micro-Credential is a two-course, 4.5-credit-hour program offered through Fisher’s Executive Education Department. The program offers participants the opportunity to explore the fundamentals of fintech and all the ways it connects with leading industries regionally, nationally and globally, Makhija said.

“The Fintech Micro-Credential represents Fisher’s latest step in our dedication to continuous innovation and workforce development,” he said. “With fintech representing the second-largest industry sector in Ohio … this micro-credential will help professionals and graduate students establish a critical, baseline knowledge of the technological levers and mechanisms that drive business and finance today.”

During the Fintech @ Ohio State and Beyond Conference, Makhija and College of Engineering Dean Ayanna Howard said the micro-credential is the result of a collaboration between the two colleges. The program was created using feedback and input from prospective employers in industries including financial services, consumer goods, health care, professional services/data analytics and insurance.

The consensus among these employers was that completion of the micro-credential – either as part of a larger program of study or as a stand-alone program – would position students to pivot to new roles that come with greater challenges, responsibilities and, potentially, more and varied job offers, Makhija and Howard said.

“It’s something that we’re excited about because it will be a new way of thinking about education,” Howard said. “How do we have a student who is also working to use their day-to-day experience in their classes and also get credit for it?”

The program features two courses – introduction to fintech, and AI and machine learning for business – with synchronous and asynchronous instruction throughout the one-semester program. Working with Fisher faculty and program partners, students enrolled in the micro-credential will complete one project in each course. 

In addition to the conversation with Makhija and Howard, the conference featured a keynote address by Timothy Massad, director of the Digital Assets Policy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School and former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and panel discussions with Ohio State faculty and industry professionals.

The event concluded with a presentation on Ohio State’s Student Fintech Innovation. The competition encourages students to deepen their exploration and understanding of the industry through hands-on experiences and fintech project pitches.

“Students are an integral part of Ohio State’s ecosystem,” said Bernadette Minton, professor and chair of Fisher’s Department of Finance. “They represent the future leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Students Benjamin Davis, Ryder Kemper and Benjamin Ware described how Ohio State’s annual President’s Buckeye Accelerator enabled them to launch Insider Viz. The application is designed to help stock market investors maximize returns.

Insider Viz was one of six student-run business ventures that won this year’s President’s Buckeye Accelerator, receiving mentorship from industry leaders and $50,000 to cover startup costs.

“The mentorship really is huge. We had access to executives, presidents of successful businesses,” Ware said. “It really is invaluable for the experience, from the perspective of a student.”

Enrollment for the Fintech Micro-Credential spring semester 2024 is open to all professionals who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree, including current Ohio State graduate students. For more information, visit the program’s website.