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Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Metaverse: finance increasingly digital

Edited by Second Time
Edited by Second Time

Digital skills are increasingly in demand. Especially in finance, banking and insurance. But what are the characteristics of the ideal professional? We talked about this with professor Federico Rajola, director of the Center for Research on Technologies, Innovation and Financial Services (CeTIF ) and the Master's program "Financial Innovation: FinTech, AI, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Metaverso," which, has been profoundly renewed, starting with the name.

Why is it important in the financial sector to have full command of topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and the Metaverse? What roles do - and will - these themes play in the industry?

"According to the European Commission's DESI-Digital Economy and Society Index 2022, today only 54 percent of Europeans possess basic digital skills: a full 26 percentage points below the average compared to the target set by the European Union by 2030; on the other hand, the demand for digital skills in Italy is continuously growing to the point that our country, together with Spain, expresses the highest demand for professionals in the field. 

Banks and insurance companies, by virtue of their driving role in the economy, are not only looking for young digital professionals, but are also being called upon to significantly upskill and reskill staff to cope with innovation in their products and services. Against this backdrop, there is an emerging need to train professionals with skills in the areas of Big Data and artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity, metaverse, but also tokenization and decentralized finance as well as digital business and digital marketing."

The phenomenon is also confirmed by the publication a few days ago of the World Economic Forum's "Future of Jobs Report 2023," which, taking a snapshot of the macro trends that will drive business transformation over the next five years, notes that the main evolutionary driver will be precisely the adoption of innovative and "frontier" technologies.

In fact, Financial Institutions estimate huge investments in the adoption and operational implementation of these technologies; according to reworkings of data Cetif, the most sought-after professionals in the field in the coming years are expected to be precisely specialists in Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, but also specialists in Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, in Digital Innovation and FinTech and in Digital Marketing."

There are numerous new features in this edition of the master's program, starting with the name. What are the most important and significant ones?

"The Master's program in "Digital Innovation & FinTech: the Digital Transformation of the Banking and Insurance Sector" was the first master's program in Italy to deal extensively and comprehensively with the topics of digital innovation in the banking and insurance sector. Seven years later during which we have trained hundreds of professionals - with placement rates of over 90 percent for the postgraduate version and graduation rates of over 92 percent for the executive version - the financial ecosystem has profoundly changed and will continue to do so in the coming years.

TheOpen Innovation paradigm and the FinTech phenomenon have now become an inescapable and integral reality of the day-by-day of practitioners and industry professionals, but they are no longer the only evolutionary phenomenon to pay attention to.

The renaming of the Master's program in "Financial Innovation: FinTech, AI, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Metaverse" reflects, as a whole, the renewal of the Master's program, which aims to train professionals capable of reading and interpreting industry innovation finance a 360°. 

The Master will therefore be strongly renewed in terms of content and will have a new international perspective, but it will also be characterized by an enrichment of the Scientific Committee of the Master itself (which from this year will also see the participation of Dr. Renato Dorrucci, Executive Director, Group Head of HR Development Policies and Learning, Intesa Sanpaolo and prof. Antonio Sorrentino, adjunct professor of Information Systems to Support Business Decisions, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan) and by a renewal of the initiative's partner companies (more than 30 high-profile realities that actively contribute to the realization of the Master's program by offering internships and collaboration opportunities to students, providing scholarships and sharing specific expertise and use cases) in the direction of creating an increasingly close meeting point between the demand and supply of skills from our University and players in the ecosystem finance".

What is the sketch of the professional that the Master's program aims to train? What is the profile that will be most sought after by companies in the sector in the future?

"Once again this year, the Master's program will be held in two parallel editions: a postgraduate version for undergraduates and recent graduates eager to enter the world of work with a training path that combines academic excellence with field experience (internship), and an Executive version, ideal for managers and professionals in the financial sector called upon to respond to the process of change driven by digital transformation. Both versions, designed with a smart and flexible formula that allows study commitments to be reconciled with professional ones, prepare participants for some of the most in-demand roles in the financial ecosystem: Digital Innovation Manager, Digital Technology Specialist, Business Data Analyst, Digital Project Manager, Developer, Cybersecurity Analyst, as well as startuppers in the FinTech world."

In addition to traditional classroom lectures, what are the training activities and strengths of the Master's program?

"The learning experience of the Master's program has always seen one of its strengths in the Faculty of excellence that boasts not only the collaboration of the University's colleagues, but also of leading top managers, startuppers and entrepreneurs who bring their testimonies on the main evolutions of the sector; the teaching will also see important innovations in the format and teaching methodologies that will help accelerate students' careers thanks to the conduct of lectures in the metaverse and in immersive classrooms, laboratory activities with Chat GPT , mentorship paths and career services increasingly in line with the participants' demands.

The Master's program has also always offered students the opportunity to participate in two labs: Big Data & Advanced Analytics LAB (with the aim of strengthening the skills of understanding, using and applying data in the financial sector) and FinTech LAB (to strengthen the entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship skills of students who will be called upon to create a real startup during the Master's program).

In addition to participation in networking events and Company visits, the Master's program requires each student, whether young or professional, to immediately translate what they have learned into professional experience. Young recent graduates will then enter through the Master's program into leading companies in the sector through a professional internship experience, while professionals who participate in the Executive version, will be guided and supported in the realization of an Innovation Project that will allow them to "bring and be protagonists" of their company's innovation."

The Master's presentation describes the collaboration with Israeli startuppers and the collaboration with ProSpera. Can you explain specifically what this is about? What are the Master's relationships with businesses and, more generally, with the world of work?

"Additional feather in the Master's cap will be the active participation of visiting professors, startuppers and entrepreneurs from Israel, who have always been champions of innovation, capable of expressing growth rates for startups and FinTech that become industry leaders (so-called unicorns) in just a few years. Startup Nation professionals will add value to the training through their deep culture and vision on digital innovation and will also offer students the opportunity to extend their network through Study Tours in Israel. This is made possible through the recent establishment of an innovation hub at Cetif Advisory in collaboration with JEF (Jewish Economic Forum), which recently opened an Office in Tel Aviv specifically to generate value in digital transformation through the Israeli startup ecosystem.  

With regard to the collaboration with ProSpera, which has been going on fruitfully since the first editions of the Master's program, this year the Association's support will be provided in the realization of mentorship and coaching paths created for the students by leading top managers in the industry."