About the Center

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“Wall Street Sign (1-9)” by Vlad Lazarenko (Own work) | Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“This Project Center is a great stepping stone for motivated students who are looking to make the transition to a career in the financial services industry.

It provides both the student and sponsor with an opportunity to accomplish a real world project while being a part of a unique college experience.”

| Jason Tondreau | Millennium Management | WPI Wall Street Project Center Executive Advisory Board Member |

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CIA Director rings the opening bell at the NY Stock Exchange in honor of the 65th anniversary of the CIA. | Photo by The Central Intelligence Agency | Public Domain

PROJECT CENTER OVERVIEW

The WPI FinTech Project Center is devoted to solving real-world operational challenges for major financial services firms related to the intersection of technology and finance.

Each year in the WPI academic B-Term between October and December, WPI undergraduate student teams complete Major Qualifying Projects (MQPs) with investment banking and other financial services firms.

As a result of these 9-credit, full-time, senior-year, capstone projects, students gain practical, business-driven design or research experience within their major area of study related to finance, management, technology, or mathematics.

Although students work full-time onsite at sponsor firm locations in New York City and elsewhere, this is not an internship program.  Instead, the Wall Street Project Center offers students and firms a supervised academic and business project consulting experience.  Student participants work in teams of two to three on focused projects of operational significance to their sponsor firms.  Project teams are organized to include students with relevant coursework and experience related to the specific problem to be solved at the sponsoring company.

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Greg Friel, Managing Director of Barclays, (center) with two WPI project team members.

The students complete a substantial project deliverable related to technology, data, and finance for the sponsoring company, while they also complete an extensive academic analysis and paper with the input and oversight of Faculty Advisors from their major programs. The Project Center Director and Faculty Advisors collaborate throughout the process with the corporate sponsors to ensure that the assigned deliverable meets the firms’ expectations and that it meets WPI’s academic quality standards for an MQP.

Students are selected by the Project Center faculty through a competitive application process in the year preceding the MQP.  The process takes into account students’ past project and work experience, academic success, in-person interviews, and a written application.  In recent years, the Wall Street Project Center has had among the most applications of any MQP centers at WPI.

Project teams are interdisciplinary and may be comprised of students from any of the following majors:

  • Management
  • Management Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Mathematical Science
  • Actuarial Science
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“Wall-Street” by Sparkx 11 (at English Wikipedia) | Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons | Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

As part of the WPI project-based learning model, students receive substantial guidance and support from Faculty Advisors in their major areas of student.  One of the strengths of the WPI Wall Street Project Center is the intensive preparation students undertake in collaboration with their corporate sponsors and their Faculty Advisors before they arrive at their sponsor firms. This allows student teams to complete complex projects that generate real, value-driven results in a 7 to 8 week academic term. Ultimately however, the students’ personal passion and ingenuity truly drives the success of these interesting and challenging initiatives.

Although most projects take place in metropolitan New York City or in Cambridge/Boston, MA the FinTech Project Center has also managed projects in other locations globally, including (for example) London, England and Glasgow, Scotland. We are happy to consider supporting projects in the United States or internationally, if they meet the academic goals of the MQP at WPI, and if they involve the linkage of finance, business, and technology in the financial services sector.


In April 2016, the Angelo Gordon Team 2 (Hui Zheng and Jiacong Xu) were awarded first-place recognition for their 2015 project. The second-place award went to the Barclays Team 1 (Rong Tang, Johanna Thomas, Paul Calimari, and Fangming Ning). Hui Zheng is shown here presenting the Award Selection committee comprised of Executive Advisory Board Members and Wall Street Forum Panelists.

ANNUAL “FINTECH FORUM” & PROJECT AWARDS

Each year in April, the Wall Street Project Center hosts its “FinTech Forum” on the campus of WPI in Worcester, Massachusetts. Senior executives from sponsor organizations and other financial services firms join students and faculty to discuss the role of technology and innovation in financial services.

A panel discussion open to the full campus is the featured event of the day.  The panel, consisting of financial and technology executives, addresses current events in the financial sector and the unique strategic challenges associated with financial technology.  Many of the panelists also serve in an ongoing basis as members of the WPI FinTech Executive Advisory Board.

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Our 2016 Wall Street (FinTech) Forum panelists from left to right: Silvia Velasquez Casado (Goldman, Sachs & Co.), Jey Amalraj (JP Morgan Asset Management Inc.) Scott Burton(Angelo Gordon & Co.). Greg Friel (Barclays), Loren Taylor (Barclays), and Andy Clark (BNP Paribas).

During the day of the FinTech Forum in April, the Executive Advisory Board (including project sponsors) views presentations by the student teams from the previous fall (B-Term), and this group of business leaders chooses the best overall projects for the previous academic year.  The top projects are awarded certificates of recognition. Students may include this recognition on their résumés, along with the professional experience that they have gained from their project work.  The selection process for awards is highly competitive, and both sponsors and students appreciate the opportunity to celebrate their achievements.

 


FINTECH EXECUTIVE ADVISORY BOARD

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WPI FinTech Executive Advisory Board Members Andy Clark (left) Greg Friel (right) participate in a career forum at WPI in March 2017 sponsored by the Foisie Business School and Career Development Center.

  • Jey Amalraj | OppenheimerFunds
  • Scott Burton | Angelo Gordon & Co.
  • Andy Clark | BNP Paribas
  • Greg Friel | Formerly of Barclays
  • Anup Menon | Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Jason Tondreau | Millennium Management
  • Silvia Velasquez Casado | Goldman, Sachs & Co.

The FinTech Project Center strives to meet the current and ongoing business needs of the financial services industry and the academic needs of the students who participate in sponsored projects.  The Executive Advisory Board helps the Project Center meet these objectives.  It is comprised of executives from past and present sponsor firms and other financial firms and other executives who support the broader WPI FinTech Collaborative.  The members of the Executive Advisory Board provide the Project Center with feedback on the industry and its changing strategic, technological, and project management expectations. This feedback is extraordinarily helpful in ensuring the relevance of the Project Center to its student participants and to its corporate and other sponsors.


WANT TO LEARN MORE?

If you are a firm or organization in the investment and financial services sector that could benefit from a creative, problem-solving team of students focused on issues related to the intersection of finance and technology, please contact us to learn more.  Or, if you are a WPI student interested in participating in the Project Center, please let us know.

Contact the Center Director: Kevin Sweeney (Email: kmsweeney@wpi.edu | Mobile: 413-427-7416)


Present and Past Sponsors

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