Blockchain is taking the world by storm and business schools are taking notice.
Master of Business Administration students can look forward to roles in investment banking, corporate finance, corporate strategy and business development after completing their degree. But an increasing number of business school students are keen on pursuing a less traditional route — the world of blockchain.
CNBC reported that students from top business schools in the US — Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania — are interested in exploring the blockchain space. They’ve even pushed for more on-campus learning opportunities such as extensive courses and the integration of blockchain into existing classes, according to the report.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is an “open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way,” according to the Harvard Business Review. It’s a public database of transactions made using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Therefore, blockchain keeps these virtual currencies in check.
The technology is drawing the attention of several industries, with financial services leading the way in blockchain adoption and investment, The Wall Street Journal reported. And in a survey conducted by Deloitte, 42 percent of executives in the consumer products and manufacturing industry plan to invest $5 million or more in blockchain within the next year. Similarly, 27 percent of technology, media, and telecommunications executives are planning to invest the same amount in the coming year. This equates to more jobs and opportunities in the blockchain arena.
In fact, the number of LinkedIn job advertisements for blockchain-related positions has soared to three times more than that of the past year, as reported by the Financial Times. This is great news for anyone interested in taking on a career in blockchain, including MBA candidates who want to veer away from the conventional finance or business path.
Business schools are also taking notice of students’ immense interest in blockchain. The Stanford Graduate School of Business will be offering its first comprehensive class on blockchain and cryptocurrencies in spring 2018, while The Wharton School plans to offer a broader blockchain course sometime next year, as reported by CNBC. Meanwhile, the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley will offer its first course on blockchain software in January 2018, according to an AFP release.
Other business schools already have courses and programs in place to address the need for further blockchain knowledge. At New York University’s Stern School of Business, MBA students can choose a dedicated fintech specialization, with a course on digital currencies and blockchain. The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University has an innovation and cryptoventures course aimed at students who want to create their own blockchain startups, according to the Financial Times. University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business launched a fintech course in 2016, with blockchain technology dissected as an emerging business model.
For their part, MBA students are channeling their interest into blockchain clubs. Students at Harvard Business School formed the Blockchain, Bitcoin, and Cryptocurrency Club, while Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business has a Blockchain Technology Club. The Wharton School has a student-led initiative known as Wharton Fintech. It brings together students and industry professionals through workshops, speaker series, panel discussions, hands-on projects and other events that discuss the latest developments, ideas, and trends in the fintech space — blockchain included. The initiative even helps students with career development, connecting them to fintech companies that offer internships and full-time employment.