2017 was a banner year for blockchain. Estimates show that venture capitalists upped investments in blockchain 88% last year. But while professionals race ahead into the exciting and turbulent intersection of technology and finance, academics have been reticent to embrace the fast-moving field of cryptocurrency.
Yet, with increasing demand for training in cryptocurrency and the technology underlying it from both industry and increasingly, students, the country’s top institutions are now racing to set up blockchain business schools to give their MBAs a competitive edge on the job market. Blockchain is not only the future, but it’s affecting our lives now.
Students Lead Charge To Establish Blockchain Business Schools
Throughout the 2018 academic year, top MBA programs around the country overhauled their curriculums to introduce courses on digital currency and blockchain. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, U Penn’s Wharton School, and Georgetown University’s McDonough School all added full-time courses or expanded existing courses on crypto.
But it was students who led the charge to introduce those courses. Many already recognized how blockchain business schools will impact the future. Indeed, employers in the financial sector are already demanding the new skill set from MBA graduates.
“Many of us will have to discuss blockchain at our jobs,” said Itamar Orr. Orr is a Stanford business student who spearheaded the campaign to get crypto courses offered. “It makes sense to teach it.”
Blockchain Business Schools Will Help Mainstream Crypto
Educating and training an entire generation of business school students for financial careers in cryptocurrency and blockchain will have a significant impact not just on the industry but on the mainstream appeal of these technologies.
And if the trend in higher education takes holds, those transformations could be massive. For example, 7% of the 32% of Stanford MBA graduates who go into finance specialize in venture capital. In 2017, VC investments in blockchain startups topped $911 million in 2017 alone.
So student interest in studying blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is definitely there. In a few years, business schools without such courses will be the exception, not the rule.
In addition to deepening professional interest in venture capital and cryptocurrency exchanges, blockchain business schools could also propel the technology into other sectors. Blockchain’s applicability goes well beyond financial markets and could revolutionize other industries, from logistics to energy to medicine.
And that, in turn, could affect a cultural shift in how people do business globally. Blockchain will affect business models, capital raising, contracts—at this stage, the possibilities seem endless.
Business Schools Will Take Blockchain Beyond Finance
Due to its popularity in the financial sector, it has so far been business schools that have taken the lead in educating students in blockchain technology. But an MBA who specializes in cryptocurrency or blockchain would be an asset for any industry, not just banking. Now, 18% of college students have invested in crypto.
“The impact of blockchain is causing multiple seismic shifts across many industries,” says Andreas Park, associate professor of finance at the University of Toronto. And students with their ear to the ground have made blockchain an exciting and fertile field for academic inquiry. Whether in computer science, engineering, law, medicine—students are starting their own blockchain and crypto clubs. They’re working with faculty on independent projects.
Ultimately, the outgrowth of formal courses in blockchain ratifies the undeniable influence this technology has and will have. Blockchain business schools are positioning themselves to be pioneers in this massively transformative landscape. And it won’t be long before other academic fields establish their own blockchain courses and start giving advice. Even Yale said this is the best time to buy bitcoin and MIT‘s research initiatives are heavy on blockchain and crypto. As, well as NYU will offer cryptocurrency major this fall.