September 2, 2023

Finance Disrupted: MiF Sparks Startups

According to a recent Financial Times article, business schools are increasingly focusing on fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among Master’s in Finance (MiF) students, allowing them to explore startup opportunities and alternative career paths beyond traditional finance roles. This shift has been driven by various factors, including the success of fintech startups like Stripe and Revolut, financial crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing interest in environmentally sustainable and socially responsible businesses. Many students are recognizing the potential for innovation and disruption within the financial industry and are seeking ways to integrate entrepreneurship into their finance education.


Students like Martim Gois, a co-founder of Valpas, found that their MiF education equipped them with valuable skills to manage cash flow and scale their startups. However, there is a growing demand for more practical guidance on fundraising and bootstrapping, areas where many budding entrepreneurs face challenges. While MiF graduates often pursue careers in established financial corporations, some are now attracted to smaller, digitally disruptive firms and startups, particularly given the fintech sector’s substantial funding growth, even in the face of recent economic downturns.


Educational institutions are responding to this demand by incorporating entrepreneurship-focused modules into their MiF programs. For instance, Durham University Business School’s New Venture Creation module helps students develop the necessary skills for launching and sustaining a business, with a strong emphasis on ethical and sustainable business practices. These modules aim to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of entrepreneurial finance, growth strategies, execution intelligence, and exit strategies.


Moreover, business schools are expanding their support systems to help finance students launch their own startups. The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship has witnessed a surge in finance-related student startups applying to its accelerator programs, resulting in the creation of fintech companies like Sigma Ratings, Almond FinTech, and CashEx. Similarly, schools like Grenoble Ecole de Management have established incubators that help MiF graduates launch businesses focused on sustainability and positive societal impact.


However, many believe that entrepreneurship should be fully integrated into the curriculum rather than limited to specific modules or programs. Alexandre Prot, a co-founder of Qonto and an MiF graduate from HEC Paris, suggests that entrepreneurship contests, campus meetups, and interactions with successful entrepreneurs could help foster an entrepreneurial mindset. Some alumni also stress the importance of addressing the financial challenges startups face in their initial years, suggesting that theoretical and practical courses on these matters could be beneficial.


Furthermore, graduates highlight the need for a broader understanding of finance that encompasses evolving trends and challenges, including environmental considerations, new governance models, and emerging financial relationships based on trust and transparency. They emphasize that the financial industry is shifting toward more environmentally friendly and socially responsible assets and business practices, necessitating a broader vision from future financial leaders.


Overall, there is a consensus that entrepreneurship and finance-related ventures require interdisciplinary expertise, which can be challenging to find among faculty members. Nonetheless, the demand for education that combines finance and entrepreneurship continues to rise as students seek to leverage their financial acumen to create innovative solutions and contribute to a more sustainable and innovative financial landscape. Ultimately, business schools are adapting their MiF programs to provide the necessary skills, knowledge, and support for aspiring entrepreneurs within the finance sector, allowing them to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions with confidence and competence.


If you’re interested, Financial Times has also ranked the top full-time Masters in Finance for 2023. If you’re thinking of applying for an MiF, contact us today and speak with one of Admitify’s expert coaches!