By Daniel McAuley and Steve Weiner
Daniel McAuley and Steve Weiner are first-year MBA students at The Wharton School and Co-Founders of Wharton FinTech. Prior to Wharton, Daniel was a Financial Engineer and Director at Verus Analytics, and Steve spent six years in the US Navy’s Submarine Force and worked at Goldman Sachs.
Wharton is all about doing what you want. Whether that’s networking, learning, running a conference, recruiting, traveling, starting a company or some combination thereof, Wharton gives you the opportunity, and the resources, to tailor your experience. Students here have a lot of options and latitude but that means that we are largely responsible for making Wharton a place that attracts and engages the kinds of peers that will continue to make it as stimulating and entrepreneurial as it is today.
This environment gave us the opportunity to start a student club focused on an industry that we are both passionate about. Financial technology, or FinTech, was a space that we had each worked in before coming to Wharton, on both the investing and operational sides. After spending time talking to our classmates during Pre-Term about our experiences and what was going on in FinTech, we quickly learned that we weren’t the only people on campus that wanted to learn more about the intersection of technology and finance and get in front of the companies and investors driving innovation in the space. This was the genesis of Wharton FinTech.
Demand from within Wharton and industry itself has driven incredible momentum in a short period of time. Over the last three months, Wharton FinTech has grown to nearly 200 members. We have hosted guest speakers from NewFinance and WRDS, and our VP of Education, Sasha Dobrolioubov, has delivered educational sessions on both the peer-to-peer lending and personal financial management markets. In November, twenty club members joined a trek to New York to visit with FinTech firms and venture capitalists, including Betterment, SecondMarket and FinTech Collective. The Wharton FinTech blog has also been a huge success, with 16 articles posted in 16 weeks, and nearly 1,000 unique visitors during the last month alone. And we were very busy on Twitter! We are also proud to have been supported by our founding sponsors: Infrastructure Group, Pave and WRDS.
When you’re passionate about an idea, there’s nowhere to pursue it that’s quite like Wharton, which is why we will continue to add value to the FinTech industry while providing exciting opportunities for our members. Next semester, Wharton FinTech is heading to the West Coast to meet with FinTech startups and investors in San Francisco and Palo Alto, including Nerd Wallet, LendUp and Mattermark. We will be offering the opportunity for students to engage with Prosper on an independent study project, and bringing speakers to campus from FinTech firms such as Chain, Aspiration and Tilt. The club will also be hosting another sponsored social, and we are working on educational content around payments, blockchain economics and FinTech social impact.
None of this could have been possible without the commitment and dedication of our peers. Wharton FinTech is driven by students for the benefit of students and in this regard it is reflective of Wharton as a whole. If you want something to exist here you just have to find other people who share your vision and work hard to make it real. For us, that was Wharton FinTech, for you it could be anything.