As i write this at 5am, I do sometimes wonder whether choosing to study finance was the right decision. It’s a a highly rewarding course but the schedule can be a tough one, especially for an online student. For example, I’m writing this article with only one month of classes left before my final graduation and during a dream internship in Paris. So, what better moment to take a trip down memory lane?  

Well then, lets dive into where my journey into the wide world of finance all began… 

 – insert ominous music –   

A healthy dose of economic awareness never did any harm.

STEM Finance vs Finance Electives in my MIB 

I did my first master’s in London as a Master’s in International Business student. I knew from the get-go that after my bachelor’s I wanted to expand my financial knowledge. I hadn’t gained sufficient knowledge to assess whether it would be a viable career path or not, but even if it didn’t, a healthy dose of economic awareness never did any harm. 

So, when the choice of summer electives popped up on my calendar the choice turned out to be slightly more complex than anticipated. Like most people I had no idea of the difference between STEM and non-STEM finance electives. The latter focusses on the more “canonical” routes in finance and creates solid bases.  

But I discovered that the former actually focuses on boosting your corporate finance knowledge by pairing it up with coding and excel skills truly relevant for your future career. 

By this description you can probably guess which one I chose. While I did miss not having a Private Equity or Investment Banking course at first, I still got the foundational knowledge I was looking for with a CV boost in technical skills. 

Coding seemed miles away from my world…but by the end of my electives I was hooked.

Insider tip: If you specialize in STEM, you can take an additional 5th elective that can allow you to undertake an additional course. I recommend adding both R and python courses to your electives mix to boost your CV. 

STEM Finance vs STEM Business Analytics 

Naturally, learning the coding behind the theory spurs another question as to why not choose to specialize in business analytics directly. To be honest, by the time I had asked myself that question seriously I had already finished my electives. Coding seemed miles away from my world but by the end of my electives I was hooked. I also knew I didn’t want it to be a core element of my career but more of a personal project on the side. I wanted to explore this new tech world but my way and at my own pace.  

I always knew that what I wanted to get out of this master’s, and consequently these electives, was something I could easily apply to my existing skillset. I wanted to push my boundaries and discover my technical limits in a safe and fertile academic environment that would allow me to grow on both a personal and professional level. 

I believe Finance STEMs helped me on 2 matters: having a more holistic view of finance and expand my general knowledge of upcoming changes in the finance market. This was the perfect cocktail for someone like me who doesn’t want to become solely focused on an analytical career path. 

Insider tip:  All STEM courses can give you useful tools, but finance STEM have a more transversal application in corporate positions. This makes them a better investment especially if you still aren’t sure about your path. 

Tech is reshaping the world.

Disruptive Innovation: FinTech & Machine Learning vs Data Visualization 

Admittedly choosing fintech at this point might seem slightly lazy of me, yet having the same course taught by a different professor with a different scope of what is unquestionably a vast subject has always its perks. Clarity of concepts is how I would define courses this second year. Choosing Disruptive Innovation instead of Business Analytics proved to be the best way I solidified the fintech concept learned thus far. 

By this point I was also certain that I didn’t necessarily want to build a career in the financial services or tech industry. I found how these notions helped me gain a better understanding of the underlying dynamics of most industries, especially now that tech is reshaping the world.  

Insider tip: Developing a strong fintech understanding behind the industry and company you are applying to will give you a better understanding of their strategic plans and how it affects the department you are applying to. 

With the possibility of starting to learn code right now we can upskill at a steady and comfortable pace.

Technological literacy vs non-technological literacy 

This has been the constant topic of discussion in most classes, with the first option generally winning. With the timeline for adoption of tech in all sectors reducing drastically to a 5–10-year horizon, the impact it will have on our future is massive and upskilling is crucial for our future careers.  

With the possibility of starting to learn code right now we can upskill at a steady and comfortable pace following the market trends. With job applications now focusing more and coding languages than foreign ones, I am definitely investing on the learning the former! 

If you’ve had your interest piqued and want to learn more about Fintech and coding then a Master’s in Business Analytics at Hult could be a logical next step.