Top-ranked business schools have hopped on the bitcoin bandwagon by expanding their course offerings on cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
The move to offer more crypto-related MBA classes was fueled by growing demand from students, as well as from corporate recruiters, especially those in venture capital.
Kevin Werbach, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, will teach a class in the fall of 2018 called “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Distributed Ledger Technology.”
“We’re at the point where there’s a critical mass to teach this domain,” Werbach told CNBC. “There will be a real phenomenon in business for the foreseeable future. And five years down the road, there won’t be too many major business schools that don’t offer similar classes.”
Stanford Business School is offering a class called “Cryptocurrency” in May 2018. Itamar Orr, a second-year MBA student at Stanford, applauded the expanded course offerings, saying it will help students once they go out into the workforce.
“Many of us will have to discuss blockchain at our jobs. It makes sense to teach it,” Orr said. “It gets you a competitive advantage; it’s an extra hammer in your toolbox.”
Venture-capital investment in blockchain startups ballooned to $911 million in 2017, up 88% from 2016, according to Pitchbook. Many recruiters from VC firms are actively seeking candidates who are knowledgeable about crypto technology and trends.
Bitcoin Price Escalations Fueled Interest
Susan Athey, a professor at Stanford Business School who’s on the board of Ripple, said the skyrocketing interest in cryptocurrency classes was largely fueled by bitcoin’s soaring prices in 2017.
“The fluctuations in the prices have everyone mesmerized: Just how did this happen? Many people have gone boom or bust. A that’s, of course, exciting, attracts a lot of interest, and motivates people to understand what’s going on.”
John Jacobs, a former Nasdaq executive who’s now the executive director of Georgetown Business School, said recruiters from Wall Street want job applicants who are well-versed in crypto. He said he “constantly” gets calls from recruiters asking, “We need people to understand how to apply blockchain technology.”
Even though bitcoin bulls like billionaire Mark Cuban think cryptocurrencies are useless, Jacobs said top MBA programs should prepare students for the growing demand in the market.
“Any world-class program is going to have to equip students in this field to compete,” Jacobs told CNBC. “It’s everywhere we turn around.”