Ask me Anything Fintech Program & Financial Blockchain Programme by IIM Calcutta & TalentSprint
Good evening one and all. Today we are present here for an Ask me anything session on the FinTech and financial blockchain program with I am Calcutta and talentsprint. So we have hareesh with us, who is our alum from Cohort One. Parrish is also a director with Pfizer. And you guys may all have your questions ready, or you may also post it on the chat for us to take it up in the end. An introduction on myself I am Sharda Iyer and I have been a part of talentsprint ever since 2019. I am a counselor for the FinTech and the financial blockchain program with I am Calcutta ever since the start of the program, wherein the cohort started back in 2019. May. So, over these two, two and a half years, I have counseled hundreds of candidates and that I have given them insights on the course benefits of taking up this course at their juncture in their career. So we'll start quickly with an introduction of hareesh hareesh humor please take over.
Thank you, sir. Good evening, all my name is Harish Karunakaran. I work for a company by name Pfizer. I've been in the financial technology space for almost 20 years plus now. And as I mentioned, I was you know, one of those as part of the first cohort of this course. So in all of us who joined that took a chance, right, we didn't know what we are entering into. And yeah, I should say, you know, obviously, it has been a great experience. And that's why I was happy to be part of this evening session when, you know, the talentsprint team reached out to me saying, Okay, I'm more than happy to, you know, connect and share the experience with the next cohort. And now, all of you who are interested in pursuing this course, so happy to address any queries that you have today.
Right, thank you so much for a wonderful Kickstarter. Ah, so how do you if you can just quickly throw some light on what exactly as a part of your career that you're doing? And since I'm sure your since since you work out of a FinTech domain, and what are the trends, which you are currently seeing in the FinTech space, specifically in India? I mean, I know there's so much of buzz around on the rec tech, inshore tech, wealth tech. Right. So if you can quickly throw some light on that.
Yeah, I mean, you know, and it's a very, very, you know, there's no two ways about it, right, right, from the IPOs, which are out there, which are from FinTech companies, you know, or companies, which are tech companies with a, you know, obviously payments or a, you know, financial angle attached to it, right. So every company out there today, which is a startup, or every company, which is a large enterprise today has something on the other to do with FinTech. Right? So there's no escape from that. You know, I mean, there's no business out there, which cannot do away without payments, which cannot do away without financing, which cannot do away without insurance. Right. So these are three building blocks of finance, which are now embedded into, you know, every institution through, I would say FinTech, right. So that's a very high level, if I may put it that way. So the opportunity is immense. If you look at the kind of job roles, which are getting advertised in the market today, you get to see FinTech rolls coming from companies, which you don't connect to them as FinTech directly, but they're all wanting wanting to be part of the new FinTech revolution, which is happening in the market, right? If you are sitting with data today, that that is, you know, data is oil, it's not something which you know, we can ignore. And that same data is what drives FinTech eventually, right. So if you have data, you can utilize the data to, you know, kind of understand the context behind every transaction that is happening. When I say transaction, I'm not talking about payment transaction, I'm talking about buying and selling, which is happening. And hence, you can actually, you know, enrich that data to offer a lot of financial products, using the technology behind it. So I think that's where world is moving, in terms of, you know, contextually offering FinTech at the point where the customer is interacting with you as a business, right. So, so it's immense, the potential is immense. The word digital is right across every industry. And hence FinTech is right across every industry. That's the way I see.
Right, thank you. Thank you so much. How How has the market changed? Now, of course, I mean, two years down the line, we've we've had the pandemic situation in picture. How has the market changed? Or maybe how is the market adopted the FinTech space in here? Both from the business side, and of course, the consumer side in Yeah.
Yeah, I mean, I mean, you know, I mean, while the pandemic is unfortunate, even in our lifetime, but I think for payments for FinTech. Right. I think it has been and for digitalization on an overall basis, right? It has been one of the biggest boosters, right so anybody who's not having a digitalized business today, whatever segment you are in, you are out of the race because You just cannot, you know, be in touch with your partner it is consumer, it is business, if you don't have a way to digitally interact with them digitally, take your business forward. Right? So it has been in a while the consumer, if I talk specifically from apaiser perspective and you know, does know that we are in where we acquire, you know, transactions. At the merchant side, obviously, the volume of transactions went down lock downs, were counterintuitive for sure, because businesses are not open people were less revenues to spend. So obviously from that perspective, the volume of business probably has come down during this period. But the amount of digitalization the amount of adapt adoption of contactless ways of doing business, contactless ways of doing transactions have just gone up, right. So businesses, which had no way of doing something paperless has gone paperless at any rate. So all those are getting ourselves prepared for as the business has opened up as the world open up, opens up as the travel opens up. I think we are going to see a tremendous increase in business volumes through these digitalize processes which have been established during this lean period. Right. So every business has adopted, those are not adopted, I'm sure don't exist anymore, or they won't exist in the time to come. So I think I think you know, while pandemic by itself has been a big disaster, and hopefully we'll all come out of it victoriously soon. I think it has been a big boost for digitalization, FinTech and adoption of, you know, I would say payments, going through digitalized banking, for sure. Writing overall, right. I mean, it has been a big boost, even look at look at investments, you know, I think the traditional investments have gone away. Today, people are happy to go and even look at cryptocurrencies, without probably really understanding what is the risk behind it? What are we investing, but people are willing to experiment, right? Because that's traditional business off, can I invest into a commercial establishment? Can I invest into my third house? I think that thought process has started changing, right? People are willing to experiment, people are looking at new financial products. And all of them are purely, you know, if I would say 100% digital products, right. So So it's interesting, the world is changing? Definitely.
Of course. So with with that, next is a question which I would probably want to put on the program that we particularly have in here. So this is a combination of FinTech with blockchain. So do you think it's the right way to probably put FinTech and blockchain together under one heading? And if the answer is yes, you will, you will also comment on how the blockchain technology is kind of transforming the financial services in here.
Yeah, I mean, you know, when when I enroll for this course, right, I should be honest, I think I did not. When I looked around I at that point of time, at least today, I do see a lot of, you know, courses which have this kind of a combination, but I think it was very innovative for IBM and you know, talentsprint to come together with this combination, right. And as somebody who has been in the FinTech world for almost 20 years, I think for me, blockchain was still a kind of unknown, right, in terms of what was the intricacies behind it? What is the potential behind it? Where is the world headed in terms of blockchain, etc. Right. So I was quite curious to understand about blockchain. And that was the reason I definitely one of the reasons why I definitely enrolled for this course, when it when I decided to do that right, two years ago. So is it a good combination? I think so. Because, you know, these are two ends of the spectrum, if I may put it that way, right. FinTech is happening today, blockchain probably will becoming will become the happening thing in the years to come. Right. So you're just being prepared, right? You're just being prepared to be in the midst of what is happening today around you, and be prepared for that. And with that, I side into the future in terms of Okay, if somebody is coming and talking to you about let's keep, you know, bitcoins away and keep the cryptocurrencies away, right. That's given people have different understanding people have jumped into it, not jumped into it. I don't want to get into it right. Personally, I am not invested. Right? Because probably, with the understanding that I have from this course and with the understanding of blockchain, I personally don't believe cryptocurrency is where I'll put my hard earned money, right. But tomorrow, if a central bank digital currency is the way to go, which I firmly believe is where the world will move towards. Right. And if it is going to be built on blockchain technology, I think I have a fairly good understanding of talking about it, seeing where the use cases will adapt, and then eventually, right. I mean, do I trust that technology? Do I trust something which is built on blockchain? The answer to it because of what I learned in the course and whatever I, you know, learned over a period of time after that, I would say yes, I think I think it's important to have that understanding it is important to, you know, keep learning about it, and be ready as and when the world has actually truly adapted blockchain in its commercial sense. I don't think it has done that, but it will over a period of time, right. I think that's the direction the world is moving towards. Well, it's it's more of being prepared for the future than you know, for what is happening today. That's the way I look at blockchain
right So what what what made you choose this program I'm particularly since this was also, you know, a combination of FinTech and blockchain and I kind of myself remember where and you know, we kind of started back in 2019 with I am Calcutta and talentsprint together on this program, why FinTech was a part of your thought process at that point of time.
Okay, I mean, you know, in my case, I think, you know, it was more about it as suppose being offered through I am. So, you know, aspirationally having an Iam tag attached was always meaningful, I thought, right. And that's one second, they were not too many courses at that point of time, which had this combination of FinTech and blockchain and giving you a what you know, for, for example, while I claim myself to be a FinTech professional, my focus within FinTech is there are a lot of domains within FinTech. Right, I have been more focused on payments. And, you know, that has been my specialization. Right? So getting a slightly wider spectrum, into insurance into the capital markets. Right. I think, when I saw all those were being covered in this course, I thought it made a larger sense, again, data analytics, you know, the, you know, the ability to be part of a cohort and doing some projects together, I thought, those are the kind of causes that we should be part of right, it is not about just, you know, just listening to professors talking to you, and you kind of, you know, in the typical traditional way, learning what they are teaching you, I don't think that was the intent behind this course. And thankfully, it didn't go that way. Right. I what I really cherish about this course, after I participated is that experience that you gain out of interacting with your cohort. Now, obviously, reflecting from your experiences, and then learning together, right, so all those were wonderful. Some of the expectations that I met, but I mean, going back to your question, yes, I think it was all about probably attaching a tag, a, you know, from an IMC, which was the biggest move for me at that point of time, for 20 years of experience, if I had an I am tag added to what I have already gone through and you know, getting it polished, I would say, right, and have a, you know, institution like I am certifying that he or she is somebody, you know, who has gone through a professional certification around it, I thought it would add a lot of value. And I should say, yes, within my circle of professional circle, I think I get looked upon, or whatever taxes, you know, it brings along.
How do you think hareesh the traditional banks have opened up to the FinTech space? I'm sure there will be a lot of challenges to so if you may throw some light on that.
I mean, you know, I mean, you know, in fact, it'll be it'll be interesting to note that you know, some of the small banks, I would not call them traditional, they are the old small private sector banks, right. They are in India, India context, right. They are probably the leaders to adopt FinTech though they suddenly saw this as an opportunity to be in the market fast because they're nimble. You know, they can adapt, take decisions faster, it's all about decision making, too, right? You get to hear a beautiful use case from a FinTech, could you kind of make a decision to move forward with them right, and have the right Risk Management Framework behind to ensure that this program doesn't, you know, cross the lines that it is supposed to cross? Because you are eventually responsible to answer with the regulator. So as long as you know, so in India, most of the large banks probably are trying to do FinTech themselves. And the small traditional banks have actually gone ahead and created programs with the fintechs. Right. So they are actually fast, nimble, have created more programs in the market, whereas the traditional banks are trying to adapt and become a FinTech themselves. Obviously, you know, some of them have tried to use FinTech companies to build solutions for them. That's a PDF gone. But going into the market together, I think it is the traditional smaller banks have done better, if you if you ask in terms of creating new programs in the world.
Right. So how do you see the power of the first cohort? What do you think are the major key takeaways of the program for you? And also, how did you implement the learning of the program in your day to day business as such?
Yeah, I think, you know, let me address the first question, which I partially answered in the last, you know, last session. So I think, you know, I every time I get this question, I you know, you whether it is from, you know, people who want to join the schools or any, let's say from USA, I think, first thing that comes in my mind is that, you know, the, the joint learning, right, and especially the way the program is structured to make you do projects for every subject that you're going through, right, I think those projects, doing it as part of a cohort, and the learning that you get from the combined experience from the team, which is doing this course together, right? Because everybody comes to a diverse work experience, and they have their own learnings that they have had through their career. That all comes out while you reflect to the in that project, right? So there's no better learning than that. And obviously kudos to professors in a while some of them are very good in terms of their academic knowledge and in It is more about the academic rigor they bring in, there are a few others who actually mix the industry knowledge along with the academic rigor they have. So you know, depending on their style of teaching, I would say, you know, obviously, you do get the best out of all of them, right? How how much you give into the course, they'll also give you that much more. So I think it is how much you get involved in the cost that much more you get out of it, right. So that's one single message that I want to deliver to the team, which is listening to all talk here, right. So don't don't shy away from getting involved. And you may not know everything, that's okay. But give your best and learn from whatever you get from, you know, that cohort that you have, obviously, the professors are SMEs in their respective areas, you know, assimilate as much as you can, right? Maybe we are all cross that age, where you can learn formulas, that's okay. But you know, get as much as you can from that, right. Because ultimately, it is retesting your ability to learn at whatever age and, you know, experience that you carry today, right? With experience with age, sometimes you tend to say, I cannot learn anymore. But I think courses like this will reassure you that no learning is for your life, right, you will continue to learn. And believe me, I mean, I've been continue to read so much around the subject, even after the course, that you know, I just had the confidence that, you know, I'll never stop learning. Let me put it there. And obviously, you'll apply that in your day to day lives, in your work environment, any new subject that you get. So in my company, I get called upon for ideating? For sure. Right. So that's something which is a big change for me. But I'm not restricted to a domain or a knowledge that I have, I have an open mind to actually learn and reflect back on that. I think, I think maybe it was there with me, probably this course helped me to refine it. Let me put it that.
So I personally remember that, you know, we had a very great start with regards to this program. Since it was also first cohort, we kind of started with 100 people in class. I'm sure you were associated with varieties of people in there people probably from different streams of business, people from different backgrounds in there. So if you would be able to throw some light on your peer group, what kind of people did you associate with? And how, as a group as a group of 100 people? How did it actually benefit you?
Yeah, absolutely. I think I think, you know, I mean, the group was quite diverse for both in terms of the industries they came from. Right. And, you know, we had people who were VC, you know, angel investors. We had people who were, you know, trying to look for a job change, people who wanted to get into FinTech, people who have been, you know, like, never been in the FinTech world for many years, people who are bankers who are trying to adapt to, you know, the new FinTech world, because they have been traditional bankers, and being challenged by the word FinTech itself. They wanted to move, because they know there's no more banking without technology. And and they wanted to adapt to that. So I think it was a great mix different, you know, levels of experience. People, I think we had cohort, people coming in from Dubai from Singapore. Right. So even some international, you know, participants by Sure. Yeah, I think I think I think it was a good diverse group. And and we are still in touch. That's the best part. Right, the cohort of 100, I would say at least 3040 offers are quite actively in touch with each other. We exchange our thoughts, we do bring opportunities to each other, whether it is in the form of business job, whatever. So, so i think i think i think, you know, that, you know, like minds meeting together, hundreds of us together in one room. And obviously, thanks to the format at that point of time, I don't know, whether or not today, you know, the new cohorts have the ability to be at the IMC campus, you know, if they have, that was one of those brilliant experiences that I still recall, were two times we could be in the campus be together? You know, I mean, that that definitely helps in the bonding. Right? And good memories for sure. for a lifetime. Yeah.
So how should we get a lot of senior Professor professionals asking if you know, this is the right age for them to take up this program? We've majorly had people with 3030 plus years of experience asking this question, and I've had a tough time convincing them because they usually feel that, you know, we're not too sure if you know, this would be the right programs. In theory, there's gonna be pretty much a mixed crowd in there. So the we have people from various backgrounds now we have people from the traditional banking space. We have people from finance, we have people from technology background, and with the kind of experience that they knew we have, do you think it makes sense to probably have all of these different kinds of people under one roof?
Absolutely, I can reflect back to the court. We were right. We had people who are retired right in our cohort, right, unfortunately, you know, who was about to retire, one of them actually lost their life. So, you know, very recently due to COVID. So, I mean, we had different age groups in the group, the way I see this, you know, people who are in 30 years of experience, they bring the, you know, huge amount of knowledge and experience from the, you know, the non FinTech world, typically, right. 30 years ago, there was no FinTech to the extent You know what we talk about FinTech today, right. And then you will have in the same batch people who have probably five to 10 year experience, who are at, you know, you know, very actively involved with fintechs today, or want to do something on their own in the FinTech world. So if if, with 30 years, you are actually deciding to take up this course, I'm assuming it is not for another job. It is probably for, you know, investment purposes, or for getting involved with fintechs that are as an advisory level or maybe you want to start a FinTech of Europe, probably you will find you're in a batchmates you will find you're not batchmates I would say your co founders here, right, you may want a technologist as part of your new journey, right. And you may find some of them because everybody is coming here are passionate about FinTech, and that's why they're joining this course. So it's it's meeting of like, my like minded people together with a common interest of FinTech there. So you know, it's co learning, right, you might have ideas to exchange with them, you might learn from the both sides will learn right person with a 10 year experience, I would never look upon him, I would definitely look upon him to learn, rather than kind of, you know, you know, enforce my learning onto him, right. So I think age is in the mind, if you're here to take up this course, there is a purpose behind it. And I'm sure you will find a reason why you you know, you will find a, you know, benefit out of being this course, which is linked to your purpose, right? So it's all about defining why you're picking up this course with 30 years of experience and then see how you can gain out of diverse people in this group. Right.
Right. Also Harish? I I mean, you know that, you know, the you have done two projects while you were doing this program, there's a major capstone project that you had done towards the end of the cohort. So how do you think that was worked upon? You may, please talk a little about that. I mean, how did you go about choosing a particular topic? What are the guidelines given by I am Calcutta professors? And how did you as a group come up with a topic? And what kind of research was done behind the capstone project that you had proposed?
Yeah, I mean, you know, I mean, obviously, the guidelines came from the professor's, then the time was short, I should be honest, maybe because it was the first cohort and you know, we are trying to contain everything in that six month time frame, right. So, by the time we got the guidelines, and by the time we had, I think I recall, you know, it was kind of last minute for us, right? And when we are told, you guys won't figure out your project, right? That was like a challenge. Because where do you go and find that, you know, project, which will meet all those guidelines, and we'll still have the meet, when we finally deliver the project, right, it shouldn't be meaningful for the, you know, institution, as well as for all of us as a group. Right? So thankfully, you know, you know, most of us came from the industry, had the experience had the connector. And luckily, in the group that I was in, there was somebody who was working for a microfinance company, and they were doing something very interesting on the fraud management side. And, you know, we thought, probably, we should dig deep into that and propose that as the project with the professor and Professor liked it, they obviously, you know, professors had their views in terms of how to enrich it. And yeah, I would say, you know, given, given the time constraint we had, I would say, we delivered a fairly decent project, right, if we had a little bit more time, I think, you know, at that point of time, we would have delivered a much better outcome. But yeah, maybe over a period of time with the next cohorts, I'm sure that we're about redefined. I knew, probably, the outcomes were much better. But that's the that's the recall that I have. I mean, it was interesting, valuable, you know, the ability to go and look for a project ourselves that it will visit the learning, right? If you're told when do this, that is different, right? Here we are to go and find the project, validate ourselves that it was worthwhile doing it, we can apply the learnings into it, and come up with a good outcome. Right. So that itself was a learning I would say, and I think that should not change, right? Because everybody is going to be part of this project. I don't think they are fresh out of college ideas are either in FinTech or they are doing something with an aspiration to be in FinTech. So between the cohort, you should be able to always find projects in the market yourself. Right? Obviously, if I am can help. That's fine for people who cannot get it. But I think you know, that's part of the learning.
Of course. How do you How does a FinTech company or I should probably put it this way, what should FinTech companies particularly consider when they evolve their product? Or probably they kind of what changed their product?
Okay, I mean, that's a very broad question. So really think about it. I mean, I think you know, as long as you are actually solving for me, there's a very, very simple thumb rule, right? If you're actually solving for a real problem statement out there. And your persona against whom you're actually trying to solve for is actually validated that yes, indeed, I have this problem and what you're trying to solve is actually solving the problem, right? Then you should go and build that product right? Or you should go ahead and make that change. If you don't validate these two right, some times you believe, okay, this is a problem change. But belief is one thing, but going and actually revalidating that that's exactly the problem statement that the persona is, you know, the person or the business is actually facing right now, no boy in building it right in the backend. So it's all about being very close to that person, or the business segment for which you are actually building a new FinTech product, or modifying your existing vendor product. Unless you do that validation in person, as a founder, or as a person who is part of the product management team, right? You shouldn't go and make that change. So that's one thumb rule, right? It sounds simple, but many people don't do it, right. Because it's all assumptions based on facts. And then you build the product, and then take it to the market and realize, Oh, my God, you know, half of my assumptions don't hold true anymore. Because there's also a time to be in the market, right? By the time you need to have that constant check. So that agile philosophy, again, very important, right? bring bring products in two weeks, if you can, right, and see if it works. It's okay. It may not be the, you know, end user worthwhile product, that's okay. But you know, bring Sprint's into the market, see whether it is worthwhile, right. So those are important, because printing is all about being a giant, being fast, being nimble, you know, being relevant at the end of the day. So, by the time we bring it to the market, please keep checking the limits of what you're doing. Right.
Well, I also have a question. I'm so sorry, I missed it kind of. This is probably a continuation of the previous question that I had asked you on that capstone project, you may also pick up Pick up your answer from that. I'm sure you would have come across interesting FinTech ideas, or probably a lot of potential that was there in the FinTech space, particularly. So either while you did while you were doing the FinTech program with I am Calcutta probably after that. It's almost two years plus, after you've done the program, I'm sure you would have come up with n number of interesting ideas in there. So would you be able to give us some insight on that?
Okay, I mean, it's a very broad topic. And you know, I mean, you know, yeah, I mean, you know, I mean, okay, let me talk about, you know, ideas which I come across in our own, you know, in my own industry, right. I mean, I would probably go and ride on some of the credit card use cases, right? I mean, if you really think about credit cards in the past, right, it was all about getting a physical card in your hand, right? And then that will take seven, eight days, 10 days after you apply in the bank, and then it will come to you by a post and then you start transacting, right. So today, you know, you you will see in the market, there are no fintechs out there, you can actually apply online, and you will get your card instantaneously, right onto your mobile phone. And then you can start transacting with that same card, then and there. It's a right so that that's a leapfrog in terms of our financial product used to be get delivered in a physical form through a bank, which used to take seven to eight days, suddenly being changed to three to four minutes. And I can talk about number of clicks you do, right? Maybe you do four to five clicks. And that said, you did your other authentication. And it is not because a bank innovated, right or FinTech innovative, it is a whole country evolving, if you see, right to innovate in in the financial space, the infrastructure in the country has also evolved. And thankfully, India is leapfrog there, right, whether you call it the presence or Slayer, the contactless layer, other layer, whatever, right? All those are available in this country, right. And that is only not, it's only growing. Tomorrow, you'll have account aggregators, you will have something called Open credit enabled network in this country, all this is basically ensuring that, you know, you are able to do what you call, you know, flow based financial services. That means there's a data flowing, and based on the data, a bank is able to intervene into the data and offer financial products at that point of time. So, again, going back to this right today, if there are transactions happening on Amazon, you know, banks are able to lend, do you know, both to the merchant who is selling as well as they are able to lend to the person who's buying right on that platform? It's amazing. Earlier, lending would mean the seller would apply to a bank and then get a loan approved to do that's gone, the bank is saying, Here's your loan, do you want to take it? Because I see your data already? I know, I've been on this platform for, you know, many years, I have historic data. And that's good enough for me to underwriting. Right? So it's proactive, it's at the point of sale, it is probably, you know, more of a concern base rather than you apply. You just have to say yes, and the money is available, right. So, you know, most of the use cases are becoming embedded in that sense. You know, it's in a simple use case, right? You're taking an all out trip. And again, you know, these are things which we see in real. Suddenly, as part of the trip, you're about to micro insurance sold to you. All you're saying is either you're saying yes to it, or you're untucking about saying I don't want it if you don't Take your body insurance for that, right? So it's already sold to you, it's financial, no product being sold to you as part of that all our trip that you're booking, right. So, similarly, there'll be more and more use cases in which will get embedded into, you know, whether it is a matters of the world. You know, it's more about financial products getting embedded into the digitized digitization of industries right. So, Allah is one example right? Similarly, you will see this kind of use cases happening in you know, pharmacies, right in that part of the world, right, you got this pharma apps out there, again, financial products are being sold under that right. So every industry, as it goes through, digitalization will have FinTech getting embedded under that. And hence banking being banking products being made available as part of those flows, which are, which are not banking clothes, that is your normal day to day, you know, business that you're going about. And financial products will start getting attached to that. That's how the world is evolving, right? So that's why FinTech is taking so much of prominence. It's all about banks, making their products available through open banking, API's, etc. and embedding those flows into every industries. digitalization. I don't know whether I covered it at a broad umbrella level. But that's that's all the use cases I want.
Thank you so much.
The other participants in the webinar, I would just request five more minutes for Mr. Harish, I have two to three or more questions to shoot. And then I would probably pick up questions from the chat, which you've posted in there. Sure. The others can also continue posting questions, I would quickly take it up the moment I finish it. So the next question for you hareesh would be when you look at people in this space, what are the qualities particularly you look at before hiring them?
I think I think buying one is you know, willingness to learn and unlearn. In this phase, so fast moving, you know, if you continue to believe that you know everything, then you are outdated, right? So I would consider myself as student every day I start my day, right? I would want to, you know, keep an open mind. Listen, understand, we learn if required. And because, you know, it is it is very fascinating to me, right? Because what I knew 10 years ago, and what I knew 20 years ago, in principle may be still relevant, but not in the context of technology anymore, right? So, so it's very important that Omar I hire, I first checked, his ability to learn is the ability to keep up to date, you know, in terms of how technology is changing, right, his ability to understand the process, because in the businesses that you would encounter every day would be very different. If you are not somebody who can map the process behind that business, there's no way you're going to digitize that business. If you cannot digitize that business, or you cannot think about digitizing that business, there's no way you're going to apply FinTech on it right. So that's the way I look at it. And this one criteria, I would definitely look at, in terms of, you know, anybody who I will hire, right, his ability to look at business processes, and you know, ability to digitize those. And obviously, when you get when you do that you're obviously learning about a new business, you cannot do it without, you know, mapping that business into it. So that's one
what are the major takeaways as a student from this program, Harish? I mean what what kind of skills or knowledge as a student would one develop at the end of the program is only in the line of FinTech or probably they can also, you know, imbibe the given knowledge and implement something in their line of business may or may be consulting, or any other stream of business.
Absolutely, absolutely. I think I think, you know, no learning, you know, any learning can be applied across the different interests at every individual aspect, in my current capacity as an employee, I apply, you know, the learning in whatever I could do within the company, but at the same time, I do, you know, help out fintechs in my personal capacity, right. So, the learning that I apply there is very different with a different context in mind, right. So, yes, you know, Indeed, indeed, it can help both in your, irrespective of whether you're working for a FinTech company, or a company which would eventually interact with the FinTech to deliver something in the market. Right. Or it could be just pure play, you're interacting with banks, banks are today fintechs in a way, right. I mean, they are no longer the traditional banks, right. So if you ever interact with banks, then if you have a background of FinTech, obviously, your conversation will become that much more relevant. The outcome of the conversation would be very different from somebody who is naive about you know what FinTech is all about. Right. So you will, I think, I think it is definitely I mean, you know, you can apply your learning, depending on what your personal interests are, what, under what context you are interacting, right. So, yeah, I don't think there's learning Rule, no useless in any context.
So for each Next, we may probably pick up few questions from the chat. The first question for you is from Mr. Mahesh sanghavi. Who says that how is this course relevant for somebody in the corporate banking or wholesale lending space?
Yeah, I think I think good point. I don't think this goes at least when I didn't talk too much about corporate lending, it is more about retail. Right. So I would put it this way, Mahesh, I think it is all about, you know, the course gives you the opportunity to bring your learning, let's say in the corporate side, which is not really digitized today, that is where the opportunity to digitize actually exist in the real banking world, right, you should bring in some of the non digitized use cases into the projects, and try and see how you can solve it with as an you alone, solving it, try and solve it with fight and people along with a professor guiding you, right? So use it as an opportunity to take back something into your industry, and then probably, you know, apply it in your real world, right. So that's the way I look at it, because the Corps by itself is not guiding you to say, pick up a use case in corporate banking, right? It gives you a framework, it's up to you to bring your use case from your industry, apply it with your cohort, and take some learnings back into the real world. So that's the way I look at it. It won't teach you about corporate banking. You're an expert, I'm sure being in that
question from Jenny, Andrew, how much and world FinTech can disrupt in the lending domain in the financial services?
Oh, if you look at it, I think you know, if payments was what was getting disrupted at least two to three years ago. Every disruption that is happening today is about lending use cases, right? I'm sure you've heard about things like buy now pay later, you know, open credit enablement network happening in India. Right. And then all the tons of FinTech you know, lending apps which are come in the country, which has become, in a way a headache for RBI today in India context, and it was a big headache for you know, Chinese banking regulators in the past, right? Everybody knows, if you had to make money, you have to lend in banking, right? That's the essence of banking, or you have to sell some products and make some commission out of it, right? There are only two ways interest income, or you know, your fee income, right? These are the only two incomes that banking world is used to. And that is exactly the income lines for a FinTech to. Right so fee line, there is always a you know, deficiency in terms of how much you can innovate how much you can keep cross selling, but obviously, if you can increase your lending pie, and if you can be in more use cases for lending, obviously, you make more money. And that is where more most of the FinTech use cases are coming out today, most of the FinTech companies are innovating today. And VC funding is also coming in today. So yeah, lending is next to three years where you know, a lot of money will already flowing, it'll continue to flow, I believe.
Next Harish? We have a question from Mr. Mukesh. What kind of projects are typically taken up as a part of the program? And what kind of low hanging fruits you see going forward in the FinTech space? I mean, partially, the first question is something that you've already taken up, but
yeah, I mean, you know, I think I think from a project perspective, you know, I mean, as I said, right, I think you need with the course gives you the freedom to go and pick up your subject, right. Some of them are, you know, mandated. So you'll have to definitely stick to what the course says. But majority of it, from what I recall, we had the flexibility to go and choose the project that we wanted to choose, right. So that's where you know, the cohort, your own experience, right? You have a large team, you're part of a large team. So obviously, I don't think there'll be dearth of ideas, it's all about qualifying which idea you want to choose, and then apply your, you know, minds together to complete that project, across the different subjects that this post, you know, covers. And, you know, if you are really struggling to find a topic, obviously, I'm sure the professors are there to help and guide you. Right. So that that will be there. But I don't think you will need to go there. Because the cohort is typically very wide with enough ideas. What is the second question about what is the low hanging fruit on? fintechs? Very difficult to say, right? I mean, it's a million dollar question, right? If everybody knew, it was very easy to ask for that money from VCs and, you know, be in that space. Right. But yeah, I think going back to the subject, you know, I think lending lending, use cases payment use cases insure tech. So these are these are areas, you know, obviously reg tech, right. Reg tech is a hot topic. These are the areas where, you know, we see a lot of use cases emerging. I wouldn't call any of them as low hanging because, you know, you have to still innovate within those two, you know, create your own differentiation, right? I don't know. I got your question, right. I didn't understand exactly what you meant by what is the low hanging in FinTech, right?
Right. So hurry up, go to the next question from Mr. Sanjay, how this program can add value for career progression to those who are not having experience in the FinTech domain?
Yeah, I mean, if you don't have experience, you have to start somewhere. And I would say this is a good start. Right. Yeah. But I IMC, you know, in a certified program that you have gone through, obviously, you, you know, you have the experience of having done, I would say, at least 1015 projects in the FinTech space, although more on the theoretical side, probably not on the practical side in terms of actually actually having developed something right. But that's okay. I mean, you know, you at least are confident enough after this course, to say, I don't have the experience, but I have invested enough time to get myself retrained. And I'm out here in the market for opportunities, right? So you have to look at it that way, right? You have to make a start somewhere, nobody's probably going to give you a FinTech job, you'll be lucky. If you get it, definitely grab it. Or if you want to be a FinTech yourself, you need some basic grounding, right? Look at this course and the experience that you gain out of it. As it start. That's all I will say it's a long journey then.
Next, we have a question from Depeche Kumar. He says if he's a banker working in a public sector bank with a background in the credit management of large corporate, but FinTech and blockchain since it is the next big thing happening in the market, how is this program going to help him in his career progression in the credit domain? I do not have any technology background? Please, would you also be able to throw some light on the project programs that can be that are covered under this course?
I think broadly address this right. So it's very difficult to say that, you know, how do you get some you know, if you are very keen to learn about your specific domain, right, then do find out you know, courses which are out there and you know, in the market, which are very credit, you know, focus right, this is not by any means focused on credit alone, right? This is giving you an overall flavor and fintechs overall flavor about blockchain, right, and then giving you the freedom to choose the projects that you want to bring into this course, and learn from the professor's learn from the code, right? So, you know, it has no by no means a very, you know, direct course about a particular subject. Right. So, if it's, you know, if I have to learn about, let's say, payments, and you know that to in retail payments or payments, in corporate world, or if I have to learn about corporate credit underwriting, I wouldn't come for this course, right. That's not the intention, it is to broaden your horizon, you know, get a much bigger flavor about what is happening in the FinTech world. And then when you go back and do what you do in your own, you know, official life, some of this can be applied. That's all I will say, right? I mean, everything may not be relevant. Some of it can be applied. But why is he versa, what you already know, in your corporate world, you might be able to apply that in your projects in this course, that's all I will say. And get something out of it right? To go back and probably reapply in your official life. So give and take as I said, right. The more you give, you can take back something.
I used to have another question from Mr. Manish Bose. He says he wants to understand how blockchain is particularly helping in the payment payment industry, like Internet payment gateway and other payment domains like UPI and POS
from in blockchain directly is not helping at this point of time when it comes to payments. Because, you know, if you really see blockchain use cases are more about secure data sharing. So it is more being applied in you know, in the in the supply chain financing world, it's in the trade finance world, right? Where you have multiple stakeholders, you need to traditionally exchange documents, right in a physical form, or it used to take a lot of time if there is a blockchain network which is being created, which, you know, on which this data is being made available between these different stakeholders to do it faster, simpler, right, in a trustable way, that's where the blockchain use cases are actually evolved right, in the payment space for whatever reason, right? The blockchain use cases, in the true sense outside cryptocurrencies to really evolve right. There are cbdc Central Bank digital currency use cases happening between, you know, corridors, not globally, but in corridors right between Saudi and UAE, between certain pockets, it is happening, right. But I think, as I said, blockchain, especially on the payment side is for the future. So, you know, maybe a UPI would probably, you know, I'm just making it up right up, I could probably tomorrow, transmit central bank digital currencies, through that those payment rails, nothing stops them right. But for that central bank, digital currencies need to be established first, for which RBI needs to take a decision, whether it is it is going to be on a blockchain or not right. We are in that evolutionary stage. If you start reading about it, if you don't know anything about blockchain, I think you will not read about it right. At least today. I'm talking about it because I'm at least reading about it. Tomorrow, practical use cases might come. I will get involved in the right. I think it has to be well today. I don't see it happening around my life. If that actively so for me, it is knowledge for the future knowledge to keep myself updated, be relevant as and when it happens. I'll pack it there, right? In terms of how I personally see.
How do you shop very frequently or the own most asked question in the chat says that I am a banker and I belong to retail banking, or maybe a traditional banking side of business. And with around 10 to 12 years of experience, what kind of career opportunities can I look forward to after doing a program on FinTech and blockchain?
I think I think, you know, if you remain a traditional banker, sorry to say this, you know, I think you carry about to come to an end, right, because there's a limitation in terms of, you know, how much of a traditional banking will remain in the inner time to come, right. So, you have to definitely evolve. Now, whether you're going to do something on your own, you're becoming a, you know, because FinTech companies sometimes are run by very young professionals who probably do not have the banking experience, right. So, you have to connect to them, you have to understand what they are trying to build and probably a knowledge is very, very useful for that team in terms of understanding risk management in banking, they probably have zero understanding of the manual credit underwriting, again, a very, very specialized banking subject, right? If a pure technology guy may not really have, you know, much appreciation about what happens in a risk underwriting process, know, how do you look at the data, or you look at a document and interpret it and, you know, finally, evolve it into, you know, score, right. So, they will need people who understands pure banking, right. And similarly, if your banker should understand that, for which, that is essentially where you're bridging this gap, right? It goes like this gives you an opportunity to interact with them, with such people mutually, and, you know, try to learn from each other, so that in the real world, you have a better representation of such conversations, that will actually happen, right, so, I'll put it that way. So you don't shy away from, you know, transforming because there's an opportunity to transform you will either transform by working with a FinTech or being in courses like this, where you get a chance to learn on the go, because there are people from FinTech, who is going to interact with you. So it's an opportunity to transfer.
Harish, we have a question from Mr. Narendra Agarwal, who asks, Will the course cover some basic understanding of technologies like AI, IoT, cloud, etc? I mean, how technical the course be? Do we need to be equipped with coding? Or how does it how the what what is the course? Exactly? Focus on?
Yeah, if it has to do with coding, I would not join. Right. So that's the first thing. So the you know, the way I see it, it's a course offered by a Management Institute. It is in no way a technical, you know, course, by any sense, at least this particular course, right? If you want to really learn about data analytics properly, I am sure there are courses out there even I am acid, I'm sure talentsprint as many and you know, there are different courses, which will make you a technical expert in those specific domains. Right. Here it is, again, more about the flavors, it's about the concepts. It's about applying it in a you know, personal scenario, what are the potential outcomes that such technologies can bring? in a particular use case in a particular industry? You get a flavor in just no way. No technical course. That's the way I would summarize it. Yeah, it you know, if you want to pursue technical courses in specific domains, this course would have given you some flavor. Or if you're purely a technical guy, I would say rather go for a course, which will make you a specialist in that particular domain, that you want to really make your hands dirty from a you know, doing it perspective, right, executing it possible. That's, that's a different course.
How do you have a question from sorry, Hirsch, who says he's into funding of large corporate, where the structure product as per client's required? How FinTech is going to affect the large corporate funding?
Sorry, I allowed to say that no, this is not my area of expertise. So you know, not be fair for me to comment in terms of how it will impact that particular domain. But all I can generalize, is, you know, when you are an expert in that field, I'm sure you know, the corporate funding, I'm assuming you're talking about syndicated funding extra, and wherever. That's where I was going back to that basic criteria, right? If somebody asked me to go and innovate, create a FinTech use case in this field. I will talk to somebody like you to first understand what are the different processes that you run today to make your business happen? I will document the process, I will see where are the areas where there is a manual process still exists? And see what kind of technology can be brought in in those manual processes to see, you know, whether there are waste changes in the process, whether there are opportunities to digitize that process. I'll go step by step like this right? And then look at what are the technologies Maybe I'm not the right technologies go back to my technology colleagues to see what is the right technology that can digitize that use case, right at scale with enough security applied to it, so that that entire process actually becomes, I would say digitized. And in the process, you call it a FinTech enabled process. Right. It was earlier, probably a lot of manual work today, how can I transform it into a digitalized process? Right, so that's all I can generalize it, I wouldn't be able to come in specifically, until I know, what is that exact business process that you're on today? In terms of you know, funding corporates, as the final outcome.
Next we have a question from prepass who says How well do you judge the world is moving towards cashless as well as cardless? Oh, well we are progressing is it as a country is it is that the country Yes, as a country How well do you think we are progressing towards moving cashless and cardless?
I think I think we progressing quite well in terms of you know, percentage of cash transactions being converted into you know, use cases being converted into digital transactions for sure. But, you know, on the hind side, because our GDP is growing, we are growing as a country, I think the cash economy is also growing right? I mean, so it's not that you know, the, the cash the circulation of cash is coming down, it is in fact going up and I look at the statistics, right, but at the same time the percentage of digitalization is also going up. So I think I think we are indeed positioned to go cashless as we go along. And an RBI is doing a lot of great things they're coming up with, you know, new umbrella entities I'm sure you heard about in the news, they want more NPC eyes to be in the country. The whole idea is you know, again, you have three more UPI is not just one up in the country right? How can we how can you enable more transactions payment rails in the country right, all these are to ensure that more and more use cases are getting digitalized in the country, more and more payments are going cashless. So sure, I think better than many other countries in the world, I think India is better positioned to go cashless, you know, obviously, subject to, you know, we are we are operating at a very, very large scale, as a country. So, obviously, you know, the percentage growth will only happen over a period of time. But yeah, we are driving a huge growth, thanks to the ecosystem, thanks to RBI. Thanks to be targets that government of India setting banks every year. Right, I think I think I think it is happening at a rapid pace, much more rapid pace than many other countries keeping probably China is an exception, right there is different because of whatever, you know, reasons under which they operate. But as a democratic country, I think you're doing great, wonderful job.
That kind of gets me to my next question to you, which I was pretty much inquisitive to ask. I was, you know, reading an article which kind of mentioned that, you know, we looked for no physical banking in the next, say, five to seven years, there wouldn't be any banks with FinTech discomfiture, Is this true? I mean, do you really think that the changes that the FinTech industry are getting into the typical banking industrial banking sector are so quick that we would probably not be able to see a typical bank in the next 510 years?
If somebody like, you know, if a country like Singapore tells me this? Or if you're applying this to Singapore? Maybe maybe maybe five to 10 years? Maybe the number of branches would be so, you know, so less? That, you know, you can call it there's no need of a physical bank anymore. But I think that is not the context in India. Right. India, as we call it, Bharat as we call it, the rural as they call it, I think I think we are, you know, 10 years, to me, at least, I'm no crystal ball, you know, gazing guy, but I feel practically looking at it. I think I don't see that, you know, tomorrow and State Bank of India, you know, suddenly saying, No, all my 45,000 branches are vanished. I don't see that happening. Right.
But is the chain too quick? I mean, the way the FinTech industry is evolving, are probably the way we are accepting the FinTech space in India is pretty quick.
Well, you know, different way to answer this is, you know, definitely there'll be a lot of, you know, branchless banks in operation, for sure. We'll have digital only banks, right? We will have a good amount of the millennial population. Who would possibly ask all of us, what is the branch right? You know, we also can kind of ask, When did we visit a branch probably maybe, maybe used to be the right you in the COVID. world we are in? The last thing you want to do is visit a branch, right? So yeah, the branch is 11. But maybe coming from the non millennial. Now, the bottom line, right? I would say, Yeah, I have a comfort that there's a branch if there's an issue. I know I can walk them right through for me, it's more about that. But maybe the person is banking world. It's a different context, right. Maybe there are 10 reasons I would walk into a branch even today right? Because the digitalization has not happened to that extent that Sure, but having said that, you're right, the pace at which it is happening is very, very fast, the banks will have to keep a balance between the number of branches that they need to keep open. And they probably need to open in the future. And, you know, what exactly do you provide in a branch which you cannot provide? In a digital context? Right? It will, you know, I think it has to evolve, there will be few things I'm sure. Like, for example, you know, I'm taking a very, very traditional example, right? I mean, you all have lockers, I don't know how that will get digitized, when except that you don't walk into a locker in the future. Right? If you're a digital asset, it will become digitized. That's an extreme case scenario, but long way to go right. Gold, which in I'm sure all of us have in Indian households will remain in a locker for some time to come. So, I think branches will remain contextually for certain use cases. Definitely, I'm taking 111 year probably an odd example, which I just quoted, but there will be many such examples for which you may still need a physical branch bank or a bank branch, right probably more of advisory services, where you want to have a face to face meeting for whatsoever reason could be in the business context rather than in a consumer finance context. But otherwise, yeah, you know, the changes, so fast that we will probably see like in the number of branches going down for sure, even in India may not be vanishing. Sorry, I think I think you know, Sarah, I would also have to excuse myself, if you can kind of take one last question.
Yes. Yes. last final question for you Harish?
This is a question from a participant who wants to know that he she works out of a sales or a credit sales credit background. So, do you think this course is useful for such people?
Sorry, from sales and credit background, less sales or credit background? Credit background is going to be a relevant course for them.
Yeah, I mean, you know, in many industries, you know, I mean, the, I would say, you know, the way digitalization will happen as if you are an excellent sales guy, and if you understand the sales process, similarly, if you are an excellent credit person, and you understand credit processes, so well, right, you are so relevant in terms of automating those processes for the respective banks or the FinTech use cases, right? So it's all about translating the knowledge that you have in the physical world, or a technology company or technologist to convert it into a digitalized process. They will definitely rely on you, right? If you are and if you are equally FinTech savvy, making yourself aware in terms of what are the possibilities in the FinTech world? I think yes, I mean, you will make a transition yourself right. Because in many cases, probably the sales role is gone, because the customer is doing self service. Right, you would expose a you know, in I'm just taking the context of the industry I am in right we have a merchant acquiring business earlier, there used to be a sales team, which used to go and collect this, I would call the physical application which used to travel into the physical offices get scanned, then the credit underwriting team looks at the physical document and the image and they do the underwriting, maybe an Excel sheet, maybe in a tool, whatever, whatever. Today, your thought processes, which got completely digitized by the surgeon will fill up the application himself on his phone on a mobile application. And he submits his documents can uploads no personal intervention, it comes to the credit underwriting team. And as long as we have got rule engines, which are defined to underwrite this application, so all those applications can actually get underwritten, I would say 100% without a manual intervention. And this is because there was a brilliant credit underwriter who had the knowledge was passed on to the system, and you know, created a system which can do it autonomously, right? So this is how the world is evolving. So if you remain a traditional salesperson or traditional credit person, you will start losing relevance. So rather get updated, start applying your traditional knowledge into the new world and be part of the New World. That's the way I see. It's an evolution. Of course,
thank you so much Harish? I am I'm sure you were all the more patient in there. And you've taken so many questions for us in this last one hour. The session was, of course, very insightful. And I'm sure we have been able to you have been able to share your peace of mind in there in terms of your experience that you've had with the course. And the benefits, of course that you've landed up. So thank you so much for being around. I hope it was useful for all. Absolutely.
Thank you so much.
I read through if you can quickly launch the poll and quickly close up. So I'll take your lead. Thank you so much Harish thank you so much
Watch the entire interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f1GCmwDgLQ