Market Shaker

Finance is an area where the level of digital-driven transformation already has been profound — as anyone with a Reddit account could tell you. Meanwhile, as Wall Street searches for an edge, regulators are scrambling to keep up with the new risks and challenges associated with suddenly interconnected markets operating at high frequency. As a result, the knowledge and skills required in the industry are changing.

Traditional finance degrees fail to appreciate that technology is changing how startups get funded, how the markets move money — even what money is, as cryptocurrencies gain credibility. The newest roles in finance are going to quants, financial engineers and data scientists who understand mathematics and coding, and can design innovative solutions to new, complex problems.

At Stevens, our focus on finance and our close ties to nearby Wall Street have helped keep curricula and academic research ahead of industry needs, while giving students a network of industry leaders who actively seek out our students for demanding internships and jobs. Students are prepared to start their careers on the cutting edge through the infusion of technology into every finance program at Stevens, at the undergraduate, graduate or doctoral level.

Bob Hudak
Managing Director, Mizuho

As an advisory board member, Bob has been excited by a lot of what he’s seen at Stevens, especially how often he’s approached for suggestions on how to improve the rigor and relevance of the programs. CRAFT, for him, is going to the next level, both from a fintech perspective and for how closely Stevens is engaging industry along the way. “Stevens should be commended for being so proactive on machine learning and A.I. in finance,” Bob says. “In the end, this research initiative will help me make money. It’s hard to be more valuable than that.”

CRAFT logo

To further advance our work in finance, analytics and fintech, Stevens was recently awarded by the National Science Foundation a grant to establish, together with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the first-ever IndustryUniversity Collaborative Research Center on financial technologies. The Center for Research Toward Advancing Financial Technologies, or CRAFT, underscores the nation’s strategic investment in managing risks and unintended consequences of the emerging – and yet unknown – challenges facing the hightech financial services industry.

Already 16 companies have become members of CRAFT and are supporting its research projects. These companies include major financial organizations, like Bank of America, CME, Goldman Sachs, SWIFT, UBS, The Vanguard Group; technology and consulting firms, like Capgemini, IBM; and more. They are funding projects in areas of the focus of CRAFT, which include Cybersecurity, Applications of Machine Learning and AI in finance, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology, Smart contracts, Quantum computing, and more. At the same time, CRAFT is working to increase the number of member companies, and a number of universities are actively seeking to join CRAFT as university partners. As advanced technologies are rapidly shaping financial services and systems and impacting society at-large, commitment from industry partners and policy makers will help drive innovation in fintech, address the challenges impacting the fintech industry and help develop a diverse, exceptionally skilled high-tech workforce.

Led by Stevens, CRAFT is aiming to be a world-class hub of research, attracting top researchers and students, addressing the most important problems in finance and technology, and raising even further the reputation of the school and of Stevens.