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The universities that will get you a top fintech job

You never know who you could meet at university; the next great startup CEO could be sleeping in your very dorm. 

Fintech is no exception, there are commonalities between the universities attended by the CEOs of the largest fintech unicorns in the world today. A few universities show up more than once. One university (no surprises for guessing it) shows up five times. Getting into these universities puts you in elite company.

We looked at the CEOs of 42 fintechs worth over $1bn, where they studied and what they studied. These are our takeaways:

Harvard and Oxford dominate

Harvard graduates dominate the executive teams of traditional finance, of course they were going to do the same in fintech. The first name to mind is Tyler Winklevoss of crypto firm Gemini.

It's Harvard Business School rather than Harvard University that leads though. Remitly CEO Matt Oppenheimer, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Grab CEO Anthony Tan all attended HBR.

Oxford University graduates are just as common. GoCardless CEO Hiro Takeguchi, MoonPay CEO Ivan Soto-Wright, Lendable CEO Martin Kissinger and Tyler Winklevoss (again) are the standouts.

Dropouts exist (but are rare)

For students on the verge of dropping out, be warned that fintech is not big tech. Very few of the top CEOs didn't finish the courses they started, but some of them are very noteworthy.

Bolt CEO Markus Villig began working on his startup before even joining The University of Tartu and dropped out at the end of his first semester.  Robinhood CEO and Stanford graduate Vlad Tenev also enrolled to do a PhD at UCLA but left to work on his ventures with co-founder Baiju Bhatt

You might be surprised to find the CEO of the worlds largest fintech, Stripe, was a dropout too. Patrick Collison attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but dropped out of starting the business. 

Fin > Tech when choosing your degree

If you want to be a fintech CEO, you're going to want to study Economics. 21 of the 42 CEOs are economics or finance graduates, making it the most popular degree by a significant margin. That was far more than the STEM graduates we counted. 

Some studied a combination of STEM and economics. Revolut CEO Nik Storonsky studied applied physics and economics for seperate degrees at the same time while Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong studied a dual bachelors in  economics and computer science. 

Don't be afraid to express your passions through your studies however. iCapital CEO Lawrence Calcano studied a BA in economics and theatre while Thought Machine CEO Paul Taylor studied linguistics for a PhD.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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