We were invited by Imperial College London to join their Masters in Finance students for an afternoon of discovery, creative problem solving and debate here in Dublin Ireland, Thursday inside the very first week of the 2018 year.
Antuar was one of four Irish FinTech companies participating in the afternoon sessions along side 150 or 200 or the brightest students we've met yet.
The objective of the day was to offer the students an experience of problem solving inside active and growing FinTech businesses. Provide students with access to CEOs of FinTech companies to discuss, debate and explore what really moves the business and what blindspots can cripple a business.
If you have a bank account, please stand up.
I think it's safe to say at least 95% of the room were on their feet.
If you have NOT been inside a branch in the last 6 months, please sit down.
We may have had 10 people sit down. 150 still standing.
Looking around the room at 150 odd millennials standing to confirm that they had in fact, been inside a branch within the last 6 months, it was clear to me and everyone in that room, that branches most certainly have their rightful place in our omni presence approach to banking today.
We had 3 questions for the group of students who were allocated to us:
What are the top 10 cutting edge retail innovations taking place in FinTech
Does AI support or alter human behaviour?
How is FinTech changing the way we work, play, live?
Of course, it sparked great debate and commentary.
However, one of the most noteworthy comments was from a young man who was reflecting on why branches and specifically why branch staff are in fact so important to a customer when things are considered to be out of the usual or every day.
His response which was half statement, half question was this:
Do you think customers want access to people in the branch during special or unique transactions, because human nature prefers to have someone to blame when or should it go wrong?
I had a nano second to acknowledge this young man's level of insight and emotional intelligence before the group broke in to validate, further unpack and add to this particular comment.
We had a brilliant time.
We learned a lot.
We met some bright minds.
We got to hang out with the Imperial College faculty and staff which really was a pleasant and welcome change for a working Thursday.
No doubt they'll be back again. If they are, we'd be delighted to be invited back.
Wink wink, cough cough.
Special thanks to Eliska Jackmann for the invite and Dr. Lara Cathcart for the insight to make Dublin part of her student's experiential learning.