Jun 22, 2018

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Oxford Fintech Programme – A Webinar with David Shrier

The field of financial technology (fintech) is growing rapidly. Financial Innovations are disrupting the existing marketplace with the changes they bring across the fields of commerce and markets.

As business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs build a strategy to future-proof their organisations for the changes brought by fintech, there is a growing need to educate oneself around the technology in order to remain part of the broader conversation.

Preparing for the Future of Fintech

The Oxford Fintech Programme, presented with Oxford Saïd Business School in collaboration with GetSmarter, is designed to equip participants with the tools to help them remain on the frontier of this disruptive technology. Through the highly interactive online campus, participants are guided in the skills they need to prepare for future opportunities in fintech, both for existing organisations and new business ventures.

The programme material is guided by industry experts and practitioners, and continually updated to ensure each programme presentation addresses the latest in fintech technology. Participants interact with the content through traditional didactic methods such as programme notes and video lectures, as well as interactive opportunities for collaborative and peer-to-peer learning, such as ongoing group projects and class discussion forums.

A Live Q&A with David Shrier

Programme Co-convenor David Shrier is a futurist, author, and Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School. He hosted a live webinar, where prospective programme participants could hear more about the programme and pose direct questions in an interactive forum. In this one-hour webinar, Shrier discusses the content covered in the programme, the time commitment required, and the ongoing group projects. He also fields a number of questions around the business applications of the areas of fintech covered in the programme material.

To learn more about the Oxford Fintech Programme, view the webinar recording below:

The disruptive implications of fintech are varied and far-reaching. If you’d like to future-proof your business venture, register for the next presentation of the Oxford Fintech Programme.


Click to view the complete webinar transcript.

 Okay. Hello everybody. So, hopefully you should be able to hear me and we shouldn’t have an echo, and we should be able to get started. So I’m David Shrier. I’m co-convener of the Oxford Fintech programme, and its sister programme the Oxford Blockchain strategy programme. Thank you for taking time to to join us.

So, this is a 10-week online programme from Oxford. Through it, we give you exposure to a variety of transformational technologies and tools and businesses that are reshaping Financial Services.

Globally, we take you around the world and talk to entrepreneurs, investors and corporate executives who are making the new phonetic ecosystem. It will, as I mention, be a 10-week programme you’re going to put a fair amount of time into this. You know, it’s typically 10 to 15 hours a week of effort. I tell people that you get out of it what you put into it. So, it is certainly possible to do a lot less, and still get some benefit from the programme.

But you’re going to take the time, you’re going to spend the money. I encourage you to put more into it, and you will find that you get more out of it, both in terms of deeper exploration of the material that we provide you with, and the interactions with your fellow students and the online forums and in person. Meet-ups around the world in terms of the exploration of your own.

I just got a note from the team, got a box in front of the camera. Sorry, just camera. We have…I won’t take you through the improvisation for our camera set up for this webinar.
But, we’ve had a fun morning. That’s the problem with this approach. Bear with me guys. Sorry. Okay, here we are. I promise you, the professional camera crew, they had things like tripods loudly or mikes and other things rather than this webinar set up we’ve got going this morning.

So the programme has a tremendous amount of content material. The more that you interact with it, the more you’ll get out of. There are different payment options. So, you know, you can do a full pay, there are various discounts. You also have multi-payer options if you can’t afford to pay all at once. The way that we’ve designed this programme, we give you a little bit of an introduction, where you start to understand what some of the key trends are, and a broader framework for how to think about the financial system. And how it’s being changed. We form you in groups of, let’s say, four or five people, and you pick a particular topic to pursue in-depth over the full programme.

And that’s your Capstone project. You can either develop a business plan. And, you know, the PowerPoint deck the model and have something you can walk away from that you could go and pitch people with, and I have had past students get venture capital funding, get corporate funding get corporate funding from their own corporate boards, join accelerators.

There’s been a lot of success that people have had by using this model of a structured pedagogical approach, where we give you frameworks and worked examples of interviews over. Entrepreneurs around the world who are building new businesses as well. Your Capstone, where you pursue an idea in depth and we give you the tools to figure out how to do that alternatively, you can elect to do a strategy roadmap.

This is more useful. Say you’re a corporate executive inside a large bank or insurance company, and you’re trying to think about the implications of fintech for your organisation and what your organisation should you do about it. Or you have entrepreneurial leanings. You’re someone who would like to start a business, but you haven’t figured out exactly what your idea is, or even what area of fintech you want to pursue.

And so the the strategy roadmap is a great way to assess the landscape and then pick something that you then could pursue as a fan Tech business. When you successfully complete the programme, you get a certificate of attendance. So, from Oxford, from the University of Oxford and Said Business School.

So you do get a certificate when you successfully complete the programme. Successfully complete the programme means that you have a point score of at least fifty percent or better. We grade this programme on the European grading system. So, those of you who are used to the American system, probably are going to say if it’s less than the 90% then something’s wrong, and it’s not working. I’m not learning anything. That’s because the American system has had a lot of great inflation. I’ve been teaching the American business schools and technology schools for 17 years. And there’s just an expectation. Of course, you can get an A if you just show up.

We don’t give a transcript in the Oxford blockchain or fintech programs when you don’t give, we don’t give letter grades, that you sort of take away with you. If you successfully complete it, you get a certificate. You will have a numerical score on HSN, and on your Capstone, that’s intended to help you figure out.
Basically, where you need to improve, or you need to focus and invest more time into and where you have got the material covered. So, it is for your own diagnostics. It’s not certainly something that we provide any formal representations around, but it is something that we think is helpful.
Okay, now let me get into the questions. Every question that has been submitted. If you put questions to the comments, they will get added sort of to the end of the list.

Okay, collaborative group work. Could you provide an example of how the process works in practice include details of what collaboration tools will be used?

All right, so you’ll be in a group. We encourage people to use live video chat as much as possible to coordinate their group. That’s because you get social signals from each other and we found that people work better in teams if they have that trust built from a live video interaction. So, Skype or Google hangouts or something like that. Now that said, although that’s something we recommend, not everyone does that. There are people who have completed the programme using WhatsApp or shared Google Docs or other kinds of apps. But the primary collaboration tools for your group work, rely on recommending that you use live video chat

In addition (and that’s just a few programmes), there’s AVS. You can consume the videos from instructors at any point during the week. Modules that each content is released in and your assessed around. You can see the videos, you can read the material at any point during the week, but when you get put into groups, you schedule with your group a mutually convenient time. We do try and put you in a groups that are around a geographic time zone. North-south bands across the globe and that way it’s easier to coordinate schedules, but if you want, you can ask to be put into a different band. I had one student who was in New Zealand and he asked to be put in a group with people from New York and London because he wanted to hear about what was going on in fintech in other places around the world.
We also have online forums. In addition to the group work, we have these environments in which you can interact with other students and hear what they have to say, and get answers from both instructors and the tutors that help guide you through your journey.

Next question: “It would it be helpful having data on fintech companies. Do you have any data to share or do you provide access to specific database of fintech companies?”

I’m not sure what you mean exactly by this question. We do provide you some information around fintech companies. We are not trying to duplicate the work of venture capital screening tool like CB insights, instead we would direct you to look at their website as an example or look on AngelList – there are a bunch of companies listed there or look on LinkedIn. I’m not sure what you mean by the question. We certainly don’t curate a proprietary database. That’s not the point of the program and frankly, if we did, it would be out of date almost immediately because people are constantly launching new fintech businesses. Instead, what we try to do, is provide you some examples of some successful fintech entrepreneurs, whether that be Nick Ogden who founded a business that led to WorldPay and announced running a company called ClearBank, or Suresh from Crayon Data. We have people from all over the world who have their successful entrepreneurial journeys, we share with you, in terms of the different kinds of fintech businesses that they’re building. We also have investors and corporate executives who, in turn are supporting the growth and development of the fintech ecosystem, as well as corporate innovators. People like Veronica Lang who leads technology innovation in the CTOs office at UBS and other places. You can hear from a variety of perspectives. That’s what we do, but we’re not trying to do an exhaustive catalogue of all the fintech companies in the world. That’s not our role.

“Will all lectures be recorded and available for access at a later date? I travel frequently and I’m worried about missing a lecture in the air.”

As I just said earlier, all lectures are pre-recorded and so, for sure, you can deal with it. As long as you can get to a computer sometime over the course of the week, then you’re okay. If you go off the grid for more than a week, then you got a problem. But yes, definitely, if you have flights for business or such, most of our students are working professionals. The average student has more than 15 years of professional experience. So, a lot of people who are doing this on the side of the day job and we have the program to accommodate that.

“When will the next online course start? I’d be interested in joining in the fall.”

The next one is starts next week in February, and then there’s one in March and you know, we anticipate a few more runs over the course of 2018 to be a fall cohort that you could join.

“Are there any face-to-face meetings organized for UK-based students?”

Absolutely, there’s a very vibrant and dynamic meetup group in London. If you live in Glasgow or something, you guys can think about starting the Scottish Tech meetup group. I’m not sure if we have one up there, but I do know that there’s a group in London that’s quite active and there’s a robust alumni community. In addition to your own, you will join a cohort of innovators in fintech from prior runs of the program, and have a chance to network with them as well. This is really nice, this Alumni network and these people stay in touch with each other for years and continue to interact both on LinkedIn and in-person.

“How will the online campus work and what are the requirements for completing the program?”

The online campus has videos, it has readings, it has links, it has discussion forums. Several hundred people in the program will be divided up into cohorts of 100 – each cohort will have a tutor. Then within that every single participant in the programme gets assigned a Success Manager who helps you day-by-day to make sure that you’re keeping up with the assignments. As I said earlier, you get broken into small groups to work on your group project and that’s usually like three to five people and even directly with each other both in the campus and other collaboration tools. We release modules weekly – every week you get a module which has videos, written material, and assignments. These assignments include quizzes, include short essays, and then for the big chunk of the program, there’s a capstone project that includes PowerPoint Deck, financial models and an explainer video. You have to sort of submit all of those in pieces over the several weeks and then you have final submissions towards the end.

“I’m a banker with transaction banking, trade finance, and cash management background. How can this course help me in being useful in my line of business?”

I know for a fact that all three of those areas of transaction banking, banking, trade finance and cash management, are being disrupted by new technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, even quantum computing which is on its way, and we cover all those in the program. We help you understand: “What are these technology disruptions that are going to change financial services in all of its different areas and what can you do about it?:  In addition to the overview of prediction markets and new kinds of currencies and new kinds of market structures, we also provide you with some frameworks to be able to develop either a business plan or a strategy roadmap for how you can respond to this disruption, and change and take advantage of it. So, absolutely it will be useful.

“Once companies leverage new technologies like blockchain, bots, AI etc and obtain massive operational savings, will the market landscape change? Will we see a reduction of corporate debt-issued less IPOs and less capital increases?”

So, the short answer is, what we are seeing currently is increased access rather than decreased access to Capital. IPOs in particular, initial public offerings, may possibly even go down because access to private Capital will go up. So we are seeing equity crowdfunding and tokenized funding, also known as initial coin offerings, which I personally believe is a security. So others will argue with me, but I think, I feel, it should be regulated like securities. But all these things will actually increase access to Capital rather than decrease.

So the exciting thing about the ICO wave, for example, is that you’re seeing businesses get funded with significant amounts of money in markets that you normally would never see getting funded. You see a business headquartered outside of Silicon Valley getting a lot for its startup business plan. So likewise, I think you’ll see bigger organizations – Telegram is a great example – they want to do a 1.2 billion dollar ICO, and they could go public. Normally you’d see figures like that in a public offering or even in private Capital placement with a sovereign fund.

The folks, whether it’s at ADIC, the Abu Dhabi Investment Corporation, or Temasek in Singapore or wherever, you have lots of folks who, sorry in Malaysia, you have lots of folks who are raising big amounts of money in these kinds of offerings. But instead, you’ve got someone who’s saying I’m gonna go out to masses of crypto holders and raise 1.2 billion dollars that way. So I do think the landscape will change not only from these cost savings, but from new forms of syndication and new sources of capital. I don’t think it’s going to be a reduction. I do think we’re going to see difference, and that’s exciting. That means opportunity.

“Does this programme seek to address compliance and financial crimes risk in the fintech space?”

We definitely do talk about rank tech and regulation technology, and compliance technology is a part of that. And we touch on some aspects of AML, KYC, and money laundering. And know your client. So if that’s what you mean, does this programme seek to address them? Absolutely we address them.

“Is this programme exclusively focused on compliance?”

By no means – we also touch on policy and regulation. This is a book we wrote actually for an earlier version of the class. I know I recognize YouTube clips of text, but what it says is ‘Frontiers of Financial Technology’. So if you go to Amazon, or you go to visionaryfuture.com, there’s a 60-page chapter in there about regulation and fintech and I think you’ll find it interesting as well.

“How would you define fintech for the purposes of this programme?”

It’s often used interchangeably with blockchain, cryptocurrencies, etcetera. When define fintech broadly, it’s not only blockchain or cryptocurrencies, but is also things like artificial intelligence and advanced analytics and many other areas. In our view fintech is; a fintech company is a company that’s in financial services, but derives the majority of its revenue through a technology enabled platform. So to give you an example, you know, and I used this example earlier – UBS is not a fintech, UBS uses a lot of technology but its primary business model is derived from these face-to-face interactions with a lot of you know, whether it’s investment bankers working with people, or asset managers working with clients. It’s a technology enabled company, but it’s not a fintech. In contrast, a company like Lending Club is a fintech; or Starling Bank is a fintech; a company like Monzo is a fintech. So Monzo offers banking services for sure, but it’s an entirely digital platform and technology is in the DNA of the organization.

All right, here are some more questions that have come in. “What prerequisite knowledge of finance and economics is required before starting this programme? Are there any prerequisites before commencing this programme?”

There are no prerequisites. It’s helpful if you know something about something, and you’ll get more out of it the more sophisticated you are. So if you look at my LinkedIn profile, if you follow me on LinkedIn, I have a series of short articles that I’ve posted over the last year-plus, and you’ll get a lot of benefit if you look at those. They’re little 300 to 500 word articles about different topics in fintech and analytics. So that would be useful for you to do a little supplemental reading just so you’re prepared when you walk into the programme. I also recommend by the way, you sign up for our newsletter because we’ll email these directly to you every couple of weeks as I come out with new ones. So let me suggest that you sign up for our email newsletter. It’s free.

Okay, will the focus be on corporate-to-corporate payment systems, or will the primary focus be on the faster-moving consumer-to-business payments, or consumer-to-consumer payments? The answer is all the above or none of the above. I mean, we’re not exclusively focusing on corporate payments or consumer payments. We’re giving you an introduction to fintech that covers many things.

“Can you recommend any books or articles to read in advance or in parallel?”

So I suggested ‘Frontiers of Financial Technology’. If you go to visionaryfuture.com you’ll see some other books that we’ve written as well. They’re not fintech specific but they touch on fintech related topics like digital identity, and data management, and cybersecurity. But the ‘Frontiers of Financial Technology’ book is intended to be a survey that gives you a quick overview of a number of key areas. The one thing that it does not cover, we wrote it a couple of years ago, is crowdfunding – crowd capital. We are working on a new white paper on crowd capital and will be able to send it out to everybody in the programme when it’s ready, which should be in early April. So if you sign up for the programme that starts February 28th, you’ll get the crowd capital white paper before other people do. We’ll incorporate it into a new edition of the book eventually. But there’s other stuff that’s been written. There were only so many things we covered in the first edition, but it’s a good way to get started. So between my blog and the book that’s a nice way to get started. Beyond that, there’s been a lot of,
the reason we wrote the book is we weren’t happy with any of the other things we saw out there. We thought there wasn’t a great textbook for the class, so we created one.

There is an interesting book that’s not specifically about fintech, but has profound implications for fintech, and it’s called Social Physics. It’s by my co-instructor, Alex Pentland. He’s a professor both with MIT and also a visiting Professor with Oxford at the Saïd Business School. Social Physics is essentially about transformational big data that’s changing the way we manage societies.

Professor Pentland is a fascinating guy, he advises the UN Secretary-General, the Board of AT&T and also the 10-Cent Research Institute on how to use big data. He’s someone I think you learn a lot from.

“Can you elaborate on the depth of your coverage of blockchain?”

I’m not sure how to answer that question as we go. We definitely cover blockchain. My fin type book for example, three chapters are on blockchain out of the total of – let’s see how many chapters do we have here – a total of eight chapters. That’s probably proportionate to where it’s covered in the programme, it’s impossible to talk about fintech without talking about blockchain, because it is something that is being used widely in the industry, but we by no means exclusively focus on blockchain.

You can build a very interesting fact that’s entirely about analytics. The fintech that I run, distilled analytics, is not a blockchain company. We do advanced analytics using artificial intelligence. There are lots of different kinds of fintech and we talked about lots of different kinds of fintech in the programme. It does not restrict it to blockchain.

But if you’re interested in blockchain, we definitely cover it. The other thing to bear in mind is that this programme you customise to your own needs. We have the frameworks and strategies, we talked about kind of the financial system, and how it works.

But if you decide you want to work on a blockchain-related business plan; we provide you the tools to support that and that’s how you would get more depth on blockchain, if that’s what you’re looking for. If you want to do something on Quantum Computing, then you can do a project in Quantum Computing and not talk about blockchain.
It’s entirely up to you. This is where you decide on how to curate the optimal learning experience for yourself. All right.

“How do you choose between Oxford blockchain and Oxford fintech?”

Well who says you have to choose – you could take both. I think if you took both of them at the same time, it would be challenging, because it’d be a lot of work. It would be full-time job, but you could do that. The Oxford blockchain strategy programme goes into a lot more depth on blockchain specifically, and on how to develop a strategy for dealing with disruptive change through technology. The Oxford fintech programme has a goal of guiding you towards launching a new enterprise, whether it’s a business or a corporate venture within a big corporate organisation.

The outcome that we expect is a little different. 10 weeks of blockchain is actually in six weeks. Some people struggle to commit 10 weeks to a programme, which is likely a shorter one for fintech. But we felt that the depth was important for the, sorry shorter one for blockchain, but we felt that the depth was important for fintech that we cover the all of the elements of creating a successful business plan to be able to launch a new enterprise.

Okay, can you elaborate on your depth of coverage? I just talked about that.

What are some good to know fields before starting the course? Well, I mean, it’s helpful that you have some understanding of financial services. We deliver the programme on the assumption that you don’t know. Getting one topic in particular, but knowing something about financial services doesn’t hurt, or knowing something about technology.

Fin is both in tech. You could come in as a technologist who’s trying to understand financial services to get better, we give you tools to do that, and knowledge. You could be someone who’s a financial services executive who wants to understand technology impacts better and we support that as well.

“How is Redcat going to be covered in the programme?”

Well, we have a module on regular tech specifically and the former head of compliance for Goldman out of Government Affairs. Sorry, for Goldman Sachs. Europe leads that module Lisa. She’s also on the advisory board for Oxford, School of Law and Finance, and an expert advisor to government; multiple governments and companies regarding tech related issues. We have a very good sort of subject matter expertise around redcat. It’s one of the ten modules specifically focused on rank.

We also cover tech property technology that Sandra, another Oxford faculty member, talked about – you know, market disruption, we talk about money and currency disruption. We talk about: infrastructure, middle and back office, and financial system disruption. The outline in the course information package gives you the specifics on each of the modules that we will cover in this programme. If you haven’t downloaded the course information pack, I do encourage you to do so.

“What percentage of the programme will be dedicated to online lending?”

Not a lot. I mean, we will talk about online lending, we will also talk about online lending in the context of building successful financial businesses. This is not a class in online lending, but we certainly you know, touch on the subject.

It’s part of what Peter Tufano, one of our professor’s instructors and also so the Dean of Oxford Business School was so excited about – Oxford fintech; that he personally decided to teach one of the modules. He will provide a framework for decomposing the financial system and understanding feedback in the context of how the financial system works. He would call lending, moving money from tomorrow to today. I suppose savings are investing, which is moving money from today to tomorrow.

Alright, how’s the programme to explore ownership concepts? I’m not sure what you mean by that question? If you mean, will we tell you what percentage of your startup you should own versus investors? We don’t really go into a lot of depth on that. If you mean using blockchain for property ownership, providence, we do talk about that. I’m not sure, what you mean by that question?

Does the programme cover the topic of what are the efforts to start a fintech? Yes, it does. The programme talks about how to – so someone just said that the link to the newsletter is not working. I’m going to ask the GetSmarter team to please post the correct link for the newsletter so that they can sign up.

I think it’s… by the way, let me double-check this, but I think if you go to – let me see what happens, I think if you go to Oxford… I’m sorry, if you look at the very bottom of the page, you’ll see at the very, very, very bottom of the page where it’s Oxford fintech. It says: newsletter signup, first name, email address and subscribe; use the big pink subscribe button. So that’s where you can sign up for the newsletter. Let me go back to the questions. All right.

Are we are going to learn about coding? No, you are not, we do not not a programming class. There are many excellent programming classes online. I happen to think well of Code Academy but, there are many that do a good job. What we try to do is provide you with a business context around launching a financial enterprise, whether that’s a new fintech free-standing company or a new financial initiative within an existing company, you know, a corporate innovation effort within a large enterprise.

“As I work internationally with my clients, is there flexibility to work during GMT daytime versus evenings or weekends? Most of my evenings are fully booked. Will this hinder my participation?”

No, well not, you can work in this class at any time of day. What I suggest is that you request to be put in a group with someone who is in either, you know, Asia like, uh, Singapore or Hong Kong or North America if you want a time shift because those groups will tend to be more time shifted than, you know, UK groups you’ll see, you’ll see, a lot of people are available evenings and weekends. So it’s up to you but I’d suggest you just make sure that you talk to your Success Manager and get put in a group with people who have similar sort of time of day as you because we try and group people by time zones. So we try and put people in groups for their projects so that they are sort of synced up with each other. The content of the programme, my lectures, the guest experts, the quizzes – all that can be done at any point, you know during the week.

So every week we’ll release a new module. You can do your work at your own pace, any time during the week, but for your group activities, you’re put into a group of three to five people you can ask to be assigned to a group that sort of fits your schedule. And you know, we should have probably 500 people taking the programme this go-round. So, you’ll have a lot of options in terms of these little groups of three to five, you know, we should have 100 groups or more.

“From your experiences and network, what are your views on B2B phonetic trends specifically that are worth paying attention to, or which communities are worth engaging with to seek opportunities for solving the BB fintech arena?”

Gosh, I mean that you know, it’s a hard question to answer because they’re a couple of different answers. So, all of the big banks are trying to figure out how to deal with vintage big banks, big insurance companies, big non-bank financial companies. They’re all trying to figure out what to do with fintech and they all need help. So there’s lots of opportunity in areas like supply chain management and trade finance and you name it. I mean, it’s too many to list here. I also happen to think that there’s opportunity around small business fintech, right? And that’s another sort of play on this idea that you know, small medium-sized enterprises hold. 95% of them are insufficiently served by the financial services industry. So there’s this huge potential for value creation if you can serve their needs.

“The role of digital identity and adhering to privacy regulations is becoming a big factor for fintech. Can we coexist and do business securely in an ecosystem where there isn’t full adoption and implementation of digital identity across all players? What more needs to be done to get digital identity of mass adoption regulation and stronger government participation?”

This is a tough one. I spend a lot of time in the area of digital identity, by the way, in fact the purple book here that sits on my shelf, Trust Data is about the new digital identity and data management system. What I’ll say is as follows: government action certainly can sort of force people to adopt something. So if you look in India at the Aadhar project people are being forced to adopt the digital identity, there can be problems with that. So the entire Aadhar database was improperly secured, and it was accessed. So 1.2 billion identities were accessed a couple months ago. So, I’m not sure if I want to lean on the idea of having governments force people to do it, I’d much rather offer something that’s useful to people and have demand pull it through. But that’s just a personal bias. Certainly government action can drive more meaningful adoption, but take a look at smartphones; you know smartphone penetration is getting to be near total, and that’s not mandated by the government. That’s just because it’s this incredibly useful thing that’s gotten less and less and less expensive. So now even you know, the poorest countries on the planet can see significant Android phone penetration. So, okay moving on.

“The blockchain is set to enable business networks for the future and is a key technology enabler of immutable trusted transactions with untrusted parties. How can supply chains be radically pivoted to participate sooner rather than later. What are you seeing as the barriers of entry at this stage?”

You know, the main barrier to entry is is culture. There are tremendous cost savings in time efficiencies that blockchain can drive in supply chain management and more broadly not just blockchain but other technologies as well, but it takes force of will and it takes market dynamic.

I will gave an analogous example. So this is not a one-to-one example that this is an analogy of how supply chain can be radically pivoted. So, Tommy Meredith is a friend of mine. He was the CFO of Dell who, when he took over, this is back the first time that they were building the business.

So Michael Dell had started Dell computer in his dorm room and started growing and growing and growing. He was growing it to be a significant, primarily mail-order business, so e-commerce business, and Tony was brought in to help so, professionalise.

Someone’s having a hard time finding the book. So if you mean my book go to VisionaryFuture.com and all three of my books are posted there if you mean Sandy Pentland’s book, it’s called Social Physics, and it’s Alex Pentland. But the different tiers of financial technology book, The Blue Book that I held up here before you find this on Visionary Visionary Future and then you know that’ll link you through the book page and you can download it on on Amazon.

So, getting back to supply chain. So Tommy Meredith came in and he looked at Dell and at the time had 2,000 suppliers and its supply chain was a shambles. There were just way too many people and so he got all his annual supplier meeting. They said, “okay. It takes too long for us to get what we need. We run out of stuff and our supply chain is too complicated.” So, this time next year – this was in about I think 98 or 99 – this time next year, there are going to be 200 of you, and you’re all going to be making more money, and we’re going to be working better together.

And he did it. He radically reshaped Dell Supply Chain. But that’s because he had authority, and he provided leadership, and he had a vision, and he executed on that vision. So, he had to change the culture of the suppliers, but the economic incentive was very big.

There’s one question just came up of saying, I don’t have 15 years of experience, can I still take the programme?

The answer is absolutely. The average is 15 plus years of experience, but it’s like a bell curve. So we have people with a lot less. I had one time, I ran the fifth program, I had a 19 year old, who had a fantastic time, he was the star of his group, and I had a 65-year-old. A very wide bell curve of people and experience levels, but the broad middle is someone without 15 years of experience, but certainly you will be able to get a lot out of it if you have less experience.

So that’s my take on supply chains, is just that culture will be the main barrier to change. Vision and Leadership can help solve that problem. But the technology is here now, it’s capable now, and the cost savings are very real.

I think we just have a couple more questions but certainly if you have other questions, feel free to post them in the chat. “What will the Capstone in group projects take place – during specific weeks of the 10 week period, or run throughout the 10 weeks?”

The answer is yes. So the Capstone project is due, I think it’s in week 9 or week 8, at the very end, and we scaffold you through week by week. Here’s the section we’re working on this week, but you start that process in week three. So most of this you’re getting both course content – here’s what’s going on these different areas of fintech – and also backboning that with work on your Capstone in parallel.

So the first time we offered the programme, we gave you the content up front and then we had you work on the Capstone in the back for six weeks. People complained that there wasn’t enough fintech content, that it turned into a business planning class. So this time around we’ve continued to offer this fintech industry perspectives frameworks and content throughout the ten weeks, while you are building your Capstone in parallel, and then we had people complain that there was too much work.

So, I take that as a lesson. You can’t please all the people all the time, but we have worked very hard to balance, both your focus on your specific Capstone, and giving you breadth and depth across over 60 guest experts in every sector of financial services. So it is rigorous; it is an Oxford program.

Um, the Dean of Saïd said to me, the best learning occurs when you put students in the zone of discomfort, which means we make it hard enough that you actually learn something meaningful from it, and you take away true value from participating. But we don’t put so much on it that you end up not being able to finish or getting disillusioned.

So, we walk that line, but prepare yourself. This is a rigorous programme because it’s being offered by Oxford, one of the oldest universities on the planet, and a source of knowledge and excellence for centuries. And we want to give you tremendous value. You’re all very busy, you have other things you can do with your time. We want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth if you take this programme, and we think you will, and student completion rates and student satisfaction rates tend to reflect that point of view that people really like this and it really does deliver substantive value.

I guess I’ll wrap up with this last question, unless people have others: “you specialized in unleashing organizational growth in many companies from various industries, including GE, Walt Disney Ernst and Young, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Clearly somebody who read my bio. How do you view the potential effect? And how would you relate your past contribution to each global industry. How would you relate your past contribution to each global company in the other industries?”

Well, the potential of fintech is tremendous. I think that there is a lot of of potential here just on cost savings alone. It could be a hundred billion dollars US a year. So, there’s a lot of potential value. The upside potential is even greater, so 100 billion dollars a year is just the cost savings that could be derived from this kind of programme of instituting fintech into a business, but in terms of creating new businesses and opening up new markets, the numbers are even bigger.

So if you think about it, 3.5 billion people in the world are either unbanked or underbanked. So those are all people who benefit from better Financial Services. 245 million small and medium-sized Enterprises are underbanked or unbanked, so just the lending gap alone globally is over 10 trillion dollars, and there’s more if we think about other ways to grow the market – those two things were just in the areas of sort of banking services. We haven’t talked about asset management. We haven’t talked about insurance. We haven’t talked about real estate, the many other areas of financial services. So real estate is going to be transformed by fintech; real estate is over 200 trillion dollars US of nominal property value, and all that’s going to change with fintechs.

So I think that there’s a lot of potential, and it’s hard to quantify other than say “really really big.” How do my past experiences contribute to this? Well, let’s not forget, I’ve also done fintech. So one of my past experiences was when I was brought in by Dunn and Bradstreet, which is a company that has credit information on large and small businesses.

At the time, the business had four business lines of negative organic growth, and my job was to figure out a fifth business line. So that was an interesting experience, that was definitely a fintech. We figured out a way to build a new business from inside Dunn and Bradstreet, with minimal startup investment, that generated 20 million of EBITDA by its third year. So that was an example of corporate innovation leading to the creation of a new fintech capability for an established data services company.

I’m not going to go into how each of my experiences informs what I do, but suffice it to say, I’ve worked on billions of dollars of these innovation initiatives, and also done a bunch of startups, and I’ve tried to bring the best of what I’ve learned from those experiences, both the successes and the failures, to bear on what we’re talking about in the fintech programme. I’m hopeful that the knowledge and the frameworks derived from those experiences will be useful to you as you seek to shape either your own corporate innovation or your own startup company.

Well if we don’t have any more questions, I’m going to ring off shortly.

“Is the programme business case study driven or learning about forecasting?”

The answer is yes, so we don’t use the case method – this is not Harvard Business School – but we do use worked examples and interviews with executives to give you a sense of how they have approached a particular area or problem. We also give you tools for thinking about market forecasting, and references to look at in terms of market forecasts, and you can develop your own projection or forecast of what you’re going to go explore. So both, I think, was the answer that question.

I hope you all join us. Again – it’s OxfordFintech.org

There’s lots of information about the programme. There’s a course info pack you can download, and I do encourage you to sign up for the newsletter, which is on the very bottom of that page. If you go all the way down you can sign up to the newsletter and then we’ll send you – I write a 300-500 word column every couple of weeks, and so that that’s something that I’d be happy to have you as our a member of our audience. All right, thanks everybody. This has been fun, and I hope to see you next week or in a future iteration of Oxford Fintech.

Filed under: Career advice