Alumni Fintech Journeys: Thi Hong Van Hoang

We are meeting with our alumni to talk about how learning about Fintech impacted their careers and changed perspectives. In this blog, our Co-Founder Tram Anh Nguyen Trieu invited a special guest, Thi Hong Van Hoang. She is an Associate Professor in Fi­­nance at Montpellier Business School and here, she shares her story on her journey into Fintech.

– What is your background? And what is your current job title and missions?

I have an academic background – I obtained a PhD in Finance in 2010 at the University of Orleans, in northern France. My current position is an associate professor in finance at Montpellier Business School, in southern France. I teach corporate finance and financial markets to students in the second year of the master’s programme. My second mission is to carry out and publish research articles in scientific journals.

– What was the turning point that made you want to change your job functions?

I did not try to change my job because I’m lucky to have a very complete and rewarding job. This professor-researcher job is, from my point of view, “complete” because it requires a wide range of skills, including the ability to learn continuously, transmit knowledge, have effective oral and written communication, and especially this job offers the opportunity to meet students and professionals from different backgrounds. All this is rich in experiences and stimulations.

– What did you learn the most during your journey into Fintech?

As a professor-researcher, we need to constantly update our knowledge, especially in a world that is changing so rapidly with new technologies. Thanks to the training offered by CFTE (Foundation of Fintech, AI in Finance, and Extrapreneurship), I was able to measure how new technologies are changing the jobs in the financial sector, whether in banking, insurance, or asset management. Behavioural skills and data management are becoming increasingly important, alongside technical skills. This allows me to adapt my teaching method to develop these skills for my students. For that, we go even further with the “learning by doing” principle through case studies, a portfolio management challenge, the collect and analysis of real data on the Bloomberg terminal, etc. The students will also develop more soft skills through works in groups. Additionally, the focus is on the development of oral and written communication through the pitches and reports preparation.

– Beyond the popular media image of fintech, what was the most surprising aspect for you?

What I did not imagine before taking CFTE courses is perhaps the crucial role of scientists and academics in the development of Fintech. Indeed, through interviews with experts in CFTE courses, I realised that many academics, in computer science, statistics and econometrics, are present in FinTech. This is indeed very close to what we do in academic research in empirical finance, namely data collection, econometric simulations, and the interpretation of results. In addition, the programme “Extrapreneurship” of CFTE, more entrepreneurship-oriented than the two other programmes, also allowed me to work with other financial professionals in order to build a development strategy in the Asia Pacific for a startup in Regtech which is Onfido. That was one of the reasons why I chose to follow this programme. What I have not imagined before is perhaps the ultra-competitive and challenging environment of FinTech and Regtech in Asia.

– What is the best advice you would give to someone who want to change their job in finance and who wants to develop their own career?

I think that it is necessary to have the will to learn continuously, an open mind in order to identify new opportunities that we did not suspect, and finally perseverance.

– Is it more difficult to train yourself and change your job in the finance industry in terms of adopting technical skills?

I do not think so because technical skills are only part of what needs to be done. I think that it is necessary to know what technology can do to be better prepared for future jobs for which having only technical skills is not enough. For example, to develop a new application using artificial intelligence, we first need business knowledge to be able to set the programming code and learning mechanism of the machine. So, I think that business knowledge and data management will be very important skills.

The interview was originally published in French in Finance Mag.

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