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HomeTechSchools are pushing their efforts to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset in the...

Schools are pushing their efforts to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset in the financial world


When Martim Gois enrolled in his master’s degree in finance, he might have expected a career in banking or bonds – no bugs. But last year, Valpas, the company he co-founded, raised $1.6 million in seed funding to expand its business and provide a technology-based, pesticide-free solution to tackling bed bugs.

“Managing cash so you don’t run out is a critical function in a start-up and the masters in finance have helped us develop and scale to more than 30 destinations, and 100 percent growing year over year as we operate profitable operations,” said Gois, who met most of his leadership team while studying at Business School of Aalto University in Helsinki.

“But,” he adds, “it would have been really helpful to have had more hands-on help with fundraising and bootstrapping — and maybe bringing in some entrepreneurs as practice professors who have left or even failed!”

Caught the bug: Martim Gois says his finance masters helped him develop his start-up Valpas, which uses technology to tackle bed bugs

Many Masters in Finance (MiF) graduates go on to successful careers with large financial firms, but some seek a more entrepreneurial path. Some have been inspired by the success of start-ups like Stripe and Revolut, and while fintech investment has slowed in recent months, global fintech funding will exceed $75 billion by 2022, according to CB Insights.

Recent financial setbacks and the Covid pandemic have also prompted many finance graduates to rethink their career plans, says Professor Sami Attaoui, head of the finance department at Neoma Business School In France.

“After these crises, some graduates shifted their interests from banking careers to risk management and investment funds,” he adds. “But others are also drawn to careers in digitally disruptive small-to-medium businesses.”

The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, which provides expertise and support to entrepreneurial students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports a 50 percent increase since 2020 in the number of entry-level finance-related students applying for their capstone accelerator, MIT delta v. executive director, Paul Cheek, says fintech companies have launched as a result of his support, including Sigma Ratings, Posh Technologies, Almond FinTech, Zumma and CashEx.

FT Masters in Finance Ranking 2023

1686503966 854 Schools are pushing their efforts to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset

The ranking has 18 categories, including value for money

Find out which schools are in our top 55 ranking pre-experience postgraduate finance degrees. Also read how the table is put together and read the rest of our coverage.

Most business school incubators welcome start-ups founded by MiF students. Bee Grenoble School of ManagementFor example, the incubator has helped one graduate start a company that produces reusable menstrual pants, and another to start a venture that helps village mayors access government funding. “Fifteen years ago, our graduates started companies to make money – today they often launch them to build a more sustainable world,” said Stéphanie Boyer, program director for the MSc in Finance at Grenoble Ecole de Management.

Schools have also added entrepreneurship modules to their MiF programmes. In the United Kingdom, Durham University Business School‘s New Venture Creation module helps students build some of the competencies needed to start a business, exploring entrepreneurial finance, managing growth strategies, execution information and exit strategies. Program director Saadat Saeed says students are encouraged to develop ventures based on ethical, sustainable and responsible business practices.

But for Alexandre Prot, co-founder of French challenger bank Qonto and graduate of MiF HE Paris, entrepreneurship should be a fully integrated part of courses. “There are many ways these courses can foster an entrepreneurial mindset,” he suggests, “from entrepreneurship competitions and campus meetups to conferences for interacting with successful entrepreneurs who can share their stories and experiences.”

Alexandre Prot, co-founder of French challenger bank Qonto and a MiF graduate of HEC Paris

Par for the course: HEC Paris MiF graduate Alexandre Prot says entrepreneurship should be a fully integrated part of coursework

Hubert Pellerin, co-founder of the flexible job platform Parents on Board, says his MiF from Paris Ieseg School of Management gave him “a range of in-depth knowledge and hard and soft skills, essential for running a business”.

“However,” he adds, “it might be a good idea to take theoretical and practical courses that cover the major financial issues that start-ups face during their early years – and perhaps bring in a business angel who can vision and points of attention.”

There should be more courses on how the world of finance evolves, says MiF graduate Sylvain Pages Edhec Business School which launched corporate finance company AltfinPartners and software as a service (SaaS) Altgency. “Edhec has a brand that is highly respected by banks and investment funds in France and we were able to recruit a third of our staff from the school.

“But finance is also about building a new world based on more environmentally friendly assets, on companies with new governance models, on new financial relationships focused on trust and transparency. This world needs to be imagined, carefully planned and shared to develop the financial structure that will support it.”

Masters in Finance Ranking 2023

Schools are pushing their efforts to encourage the entrepreneurial mindset

Find out where business schools are this year arrangementlearn how the rankings are adhered to and read the rest of our coverage.

It’s a view shared by Audencia MiF graduate Jean-David Bar, co-founder of the royalty-based crowdfunding platform We Do Good. “Over the past few years, revenue-based financing has become a global trend, blockchain technology has become virtually mainstream, and environmental concerns are leading to carbon footprint accounting. Future finance leaders need a broader vision than they have now.”

That’s a bucket list for business schools to consider. “Entrepreneurship and finance often require interdisciplinary expertise,” says Saeed van Durham, “and finding faculty members with both academic qualifications and relevant industry experience can be challenging.”

Madeleine Bjørnestad Røed, who studied before her MiF at NHH Norwegian School of Economicspoints out that a career in “big finance” itself can be the place to develop a business idea.

“Yes, a fundraising course for start-ups and more contact with venture capitalists and accelerators during my studies probably could have helped me,” says Røed, who co-founded social media and investment platform Stack by.me after going into investment banking worked . “But I never would have worked in finance for eight years without my masters in finance, and then I would never have had this idea — or the competence to execute it.”

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