Saturday, April 7, 2018

Top MBA programs beef up cryptocurrency courses to keep up with demand

MBA programs at Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, and Georgetown are adding more blockchain and crypto classes in 2018 to keep up with demand from students.

The move is also being spurred by recruiters, especially in venture capital, which saw an 88 percent increase in blockchain investments in 2017, according to data from Pitchbook.

Some of the top MBA programs in the world are adjusting their curriculum after last year's mania around bitcoin. 

Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business are expanding classes in digital currency and blockchain to keep up with demand from students and their future employers.

Stanford's business school, ranked No. 1 in the world by the Financial Times this year, is adding a new full-time course in May. The class, called "Cryptocurrency," was a grass-roots effort by students.

Stanford added the course, which closed with more than 50 people on the waiting list, according to the university site.

Part of the interest comes from Stanford's funnel into venture capital. Of the 32 percent of MBA graduates who chose to go into finance, 7 percent went to venture capital, according to the university's 2017 employment report. VC was the second-most-popular choice behind private equity at 15 percent. Only 1 percent of graduates went into investment banking.

Venture capital investment in blockchain start-ups increased by 88 percent year over year in 2017, reaching $911 million, according to data from Pitchbook.

Wharton, which is ranked No. 1 by Forbes and No. 3 by U.S. News and World Report, is also adding a class in the fall. "Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Distributed Ledger Technology" will be taught for the first time as of 2018 by professor Kevin Werbach.

Wharton alumni work at crypto and blockchain start-ups Ripple, Bitmain and Coinbase, all of which he guessed would recruit students who eschew careers on Wall Street.

It's not just venture capital and cryptocurrency exchanges looking for a deep knowledge of blockchain.

Wall Street and consulting firms that recruit out of the D.C. schools are also demanding a new skill set. 

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