February 13, 2020
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Photo by Fabian Grohs on Unsplash

As companies embrace data science and machine learning, these technologies are becoming more disruptive. Facebook changed the landscape of social networking and advertising using an advanced technology called deep learning, Amazon is redefining the meaning of customer satisfaction with predictive analytics, and big data is allowing Uber to optimize its driver matching experience for users.

In this evolving digital world, the Fox Department of Finance understands how professionals in finance will need skills that may not have been required in their roles in the past. In 2019, the specialized master’s programs in finance added dedicated data science and machine learning for finance courses with ongoing use cases throughout the curriculum.

John Soss, associate professor and academic director of specialized master’s programs in finance, sees the curriculum change as mirroring business trends. Business analysts are now tasked with making critical decisions based on large volumes of data that require new skills as a result. Integrating finance and data science skills like Python and SQL accounts for the transforming role of finance professionals and allows our students to stand out in the job market.

“We are at the forefront of offering industry matched graduate studies in finance with required core data science and machine learning courses for all finance masters, not just those with a mathematical finance concentration,” Soss says. “Finance has evolved and in the same way, data science is interwoven throughout our masters in finance curriculum.”

With an already unique curriculum and program calendar design, cohorts take a set sequence of courses that build upon each other toward an extensive body of knowledge, which now further accounts for the financial technology revolution reshaping the global economy. With an applied project approach, students explore how data science is evolving in areas like credit risk, customer management, financial planning, portfolio management and algorithmic trading.

Another confirmation for updating the curriculum is the addition of readings in financial technology in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program’s body of knowledge. The Fox masters in finance programs attractively simultaneously prepare students for the CFA and Financial Risk Management (FRM) exams. The recent changes to the finance masters curriculum underscore this program’s advantage. 

The school’s dedication to staying on the cutting-edge of the financial sector extends beyond the classroom. In spring 2019, Fox co-sponsored the conference Business in a Digital World with the CFA Society of Philadelphia. Among the distinguished speakers was Amir Ahmadi, head of AI, machine learning and data science, Enterprise Advice at Vanguard. He highlighted how AI can be used to provide personalized financial planning at optimal costs.

In January of 2020, Fox MS scholars explored digital disruption on an immersion trip to San Francisco, visiting various companies to learn firsthand about the impact that data analytics has had on industries such as marketing, finance and human resources. During many of their site visits, the students connected with fellow Owls, as Temple University alumni at Facebook, AstraZeneca and Google led interactive presentations.

“It was a great, experiential way to see, directly from Temple graduates who are pioneering this space, why data science is important,” adds Soss.