The Haas Fintech Club is gearing up to host its first conference this Saturday, reaching out through the event to educate students, provide networking opportunities, and attract more diverse voices to the industry.
The conference, called Breaking into Fintech, will be held Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum.
The event includes speakers from Stripe, Chime, JPMorgan Chase, and Citi Impact Fund. Peggy Mangot, managing director of fintech partnerships and commercial banking at JPMorgan Chase, is the keynote speaker.
The Fintech Club, founded in 2016, now has more than 250 members, including 182 students in the full-time and evening & weekend classes. Each year, the club hosts the popular Fintech Speaker Series, treks to fintech companies, industry primers, and networking events. But this is the first year they decided to host a full conference to explore fintech’s range—from mobile banking and automated portfolio managers to peer-to-peer payment services such as PayPal and Venmo to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
“Fintech has such a wide spectrum, which is why we want to break it down,” said Jennifer Tran, MBA 23, vice president of the club. “MBA students are always looking for what’s next, and fintech has had a huge buzz in the last five to 10 years, in particular.” Tran, who interned last summer at Apple in worldwide product marketing, said fintech holds incredible possibilities for financial inclusion and empowerment.
“As a child of refugees to the U.S., I saw firsthand how my family struggled to navigate the financial system and how that impacted their livelihoods and opportunities,” she said. “I want to make this space more accessible and responsive to the needs of those who have been historically excluded from it.”
Petra Nelson MBA 23, vice-president of the Fintech Club, said that while the industry dates back to the invention of the credit card in the 1950s, the Great Recession of 2007 helped push fintech into new territory. Nelson, who interned at PayPal in partnerships and development, said fintech is making the movement of money cheaper and faster for consumers and businesses alike.
“Before Haas, I worked in nonprofit fundraising and microlending, and saw how difficult it can be for some to gain access to affordable financial services and build intergenerational wealth. I’d like to be a part of changing that.”
“After the financial crisis is when we saw that there were problems with the way that our financial system was working,” Nelson said. “A lot of startups were born in that era, trying to fill in gaps and figure out how they could innovate upon the sector.”
Conference panelists will discuss payment infrastructure, as well as the crucial role of fintech startups, founders, and investors in the industry.
“We’re seeing a lot more players in spaces that hadn’t existed before,” Tran said.
There have been calls inside and outside the fintech industry to diversify leadership. Conference organizers are hoping to reach more underrepresented students and women, and provide plenty of opportunities for networking with Haas alumni and industry leaders.
Register for the conference here: Events List (campusgroups.com).