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NC State and PNC Leadership Series Sheds Light on Fintech

Approximately one year ago, North Carolina State University announced PNC as the official bank of NC State University. More recently, NC State and PNC teamed up to create a bi-annual event to bring together academic and industry leaders for cutting-edge discussions around relevant, timely business challenges.

With support from the NC State Poole College of Management, the inaugural PNC Thought Leadership Series was held September 20 in the Piedmont Mountains Ballroom in Talley Student Union. The event tackled the emergence of financial technology, fintech, in the banking industry and explored different perspectives and solutions.

“We live in a time of big data and technology but don’t always know how these topics impact us. We hope today’s fintech conversation will shed some light on some of these issues,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president for the Eastern Carolinas region in his opening remarks.

“What better place than NC State – with its history of science, technology, engineering and math – to have this important conversation.”

Richard Warr, interim associate dean for faculty and academic affairs and finance professor at Poole College, moderated the panel discussion and Q&A. Panelists were:

  • Dave Passavant, head of innovation, PNC Bank, CEO, numo
  • Carl Ryden, CEO, PrecisionLeader
  • Alessandra Scafuro, assistant professor, NC State Department of Computer Science
  • Lewis Sheats, assistant vice provost for entrepreneurship; executive director, NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic, and associate professor of practice at Poole College.

The panel discussion covered a variety of banking and fintech topics including common misconceptions, blockchain technology, areas of growth and innovation, and how startup companies engage with larger banks.

Key Takeaways

1. Artificial intelligence is changing the future.

“Artificial Intelligence gives you better insights. Better insights give you better coaching, and better coaching gives you better bankers,” Ryden said when deliberating the insights that artificial intelligence provides large banks.

2. Fintech benefits the customer.

The panelists unanimously agreed that large banks have an edge in servicing the customer. Sheats shared his belief that the customer will ultimately be the biggest winner as fintech continues to emerge.

3. Students should arm themselves with analytic skills.

During the question and answer portion of the event, students were able to ask what opportunities are available for them in fintech.

Passavant shared his opinion that data and analytics are going to be everywhere and that students should be as technically adept as possible, even learning to code, to remain competitive. Developing expertise in cybersecurity will prove to be indispensable in the fintech industry.

4. Universities can play a role in shaping the future of fintech.

“Real-world, team-based learning opportunities set students up for success. The real world is messy, and systems are dynamic,” Ryden said. “This prepares folks to be successful and ready for the messiness that is the real world.”

Poole College looks forward to the next installment of the PNC Thought Leadership Series and connecting our students and community to leaders in the industry.

“One of the hallmarks of NC State and Poole College is the many ways in which we partner across academics and industry to make a lasting impact on our world,” said Frank Buckless, interim dean and KPMG Professor of Accounting.