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Course Descriptions

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Industry Preparation Core

MENG 540: Management of High-Tech Industries

Decision making in complex environments; emphasis on project analysis, complex investment analyses, strategic decision making where outcomes depend on high technology, and the role of decisions in product development. Management in high tech firms; emphasis on management of professionals, management of project-based and team-based organizational structures, and the role of the manager in expertise-driven organizations. 3 units.

MENG 570: Business Fundamentals for Engineers

This comprehensive course examines core and evolving concepts in the business fundamentals of successful technology-based companies including Business Plan Development & Strategies, Marketing, Product & Process Development processes, Intellectual Property, Accounting, Finance, and Operations. Students will learn the fundamentals essential to understanding all aspects of a business and will be able to converse in some depth in each of the areas studied upon completion. Other topics will include Supply Chain Management, Stage-Gate Development Cycles, Balanced Scorecards, Blue Ocean Strategy, and Disruptive Technologies. 3 units.

Technical Core

FinTech

FINTECH 501: Seminar and Workshops

FinTech students are required in their first fall term to complete one semester of the professional development Seminar and Workshops course, FINTECH 501. This course engages industry leaders in a speaker series on applied financial technology and entrepreneurship and requires the completion of four (4) professional development workshops throughout the term. 0 units.

Programming

FINTECH 510: Programming for FinTech

This class is aimed at students who want to focus on financial technology (FinTech) but who may not have a programming or even technical background. This course will bring students up to speed on programming, data structures, and algorithms. C++ is the language of choice in this class because C and C++ are very commonly used by computer engineers.

In order for students to make such impressive learning gains in the short summer course format, students must come prepared by having good programming skills in C. Novices should achieve this by completing the Coursera specialization Introduction to Programming in C before the start of the term. Those with some programming experience may also wish to complete the specialization to learn professional tools and acquire deep understanding of concepts taught in the specialization.

Students of all backgrounds will take a required self-assessment prior to the start of the summer term to assist them in choosing the right programming sequence. 3 units.

FINTECH 512: Software Engineering for FinTech

This course focuses on moving from small-to-medium software projects to the design ideas required for larger scale, maintainable code. We will start with core design principles, which we will see manifest in a variety of forms through the course of the semester. We will see these ideas emerge from smaller-scale design at the start of the semester to large-scale system architecture at the end. Testing will also be an important topic throughout. 3 units.

Finance

FINTECH 520: Financial Institution Products & Services

The course is designed to provide students with an understanding of finance and financial concepts, with emphasis on innovation and technological changes, that will provide perspective for future coursework in the Master of Engineering in FinTech. The initial phase of the course will utilize the history of finance as a basis from which to provide students with the requisite knowledge, and as important context, regarding the maturation of products and services used and offered by financial services firms.  To provide a good understanding of the trajectory of the industry the course will cover the monetary and financial system, primarily from a US perspective but with some global context.  Students will acquire the skills to develop; interest rate forecasting models, asset management methodologies, and time value of money applications among others.

The second portion of the course will focus on the institutions that comprise the financial services industry.  In addition to the structural position these firms occupy within the financial and monetary system, a macro understanding of the businesses of these firms will be discussed.  The class will delve briefly into the place that “non-banks” occupy, as this is becoming significant within the industry.  A brief review of the role of industry vendors/utilities is necessary to complete an understanding of this environment. 3 units.

FINTECH 522: Asset Pricing and Risk Management

Much of financial valuation is based on the tradeoff between returns (i.e., profit) and risk (i.e., the volatility of returns).  This core understanding of the correlation between return and risk permeates all areas of finance from banking to brokerage to investment management.

The primary purpose of Asset Liability Management within banking is to ensure that the bank is sufficiently capitalized to provide a cushion for risk exposure while continuing to enable growth and profitability. In this course, students will learn about various financial, macroeconomic, business, and technology risks, as well as the tools and methodologies for quantitative assessment of risk and performance. 3 units.

Electives

Technology Track

FINTECH 514: Secure Software Development

This course is about minimizing risk when creating software and will focus on the fundamental structure of a Secure Development Life Cycle (SDLC), the advantages and challenges of cryptography, then explore automated testing solutions. Students will learn to effectively manage risk in the process of creating software. Hands-on experience with specific technologies prepare students to make informed decisions about the design, architecture, and implementation of software. Assignments use automated vulnerability hunting tools. Students will learn the risk profile of the target software project, and an understanding of how these tools add value to the overall secure development lifecycle. 3 units.

FINTECH 533: Financial Engineering

Financial Engineering provides students the opportunity to pursue financial engineering design work in a team setting. Each student team utilizes, and builds on, skills acquired from work in Economics, Computer Science, and other disciplines, to complete a project based on students' own professional/research interests.

While many economics or financial projects simply present results and end there – possibly including a confidence interval – the project in this course should also address real-world concerns that would be of interest to a fund, policymaker, or other economic actor placing reliance on the project’s claims. Statistical accuracy – being right more often than not – is only one important issue. Many well-founded and accurate trading strategies and economic insights are impossible or impractical to implement in practice because their volatility is too high, the returns are eaten up by transaction costs, or they are not an appreciable improvement over an existing (and simpler) benchmark, such as the S&P 500. 3 units.

FINTECH 534: Quantitative Financial Analysis for Technology-Driven Investment Decisions

An introduction to the most important concepts used in quantitative finance. Students will learn to build practical financial models using MS Excel spreadsheets. This course starts with the most basic, and most important, portfolio and investment models used to evaluate risk and identify profit opportunities. Using Excel, students will learn how to build these models themselves, and to understand the decision-making inputs used by professional investors. The course has a practical focus - how to analyze prices of stocks, bonds, options and other financial instruments using the types of computationally sophisticated tools in wide use today. 3 units.

FINTECH 536: Robo-Advising

Robo-Advice brings investment services to a wider audience at lower costs compared to human advisors. Students will construct a very basic advisor using the Python programming language. This will be a short experiential case study with an open-source Python code. Student teams will develop a comprehensive venture capital investment memorandum for a real-world Robo-Advising startup. Teams will analyze the Robo-Advisor’s market environment, including the financial services industry, wealth management segments, competitors and channels; and, internal company characteristics, such as business strategy, asset allocation and portfolio composition, cost of customer acquisition, and financials. 3 units.

FINTECH 540: Machine Learning for FinTech

Explores the history, current environment, and near-term outlook of Machine Learning, focusing on the applications within financial innovation (FinTech). The course provides hands-on experience in applying machine learning tools in a number of situations, as well as understanding the applications across finance. This class will delve into elements of the current environment of Fintech and how machine learning has contributed to the disruption. The goal of this course is that students leave with not only knowledge but hands-on experience implementing machine learning to solve problems and observe how this tool works and where the present and future value may be. 3 units.

FINTECH 564: Blockchain

Blockchain technology is being embraced in finance and other industries as an encryption base for all types of applications.  This course explores the history, current environment, and near-term outlook of financial innovation (FinTech), focusing on applications of Blockchain technology. Topics range from digital stores of value to documents and transactions. Students will learn to formulate an accurate image and deep practical understanding of the capabilities and limitations of various blockchain techniques. Students will gain hands-on experience creating a simple Blockchain contract and will be able to converse on a practical basis about what Blockchain can and cannot do. 3 units.

ECE 564: Mobile Application Development

Explores the world of mobile application development with focus on the needs of engineers. Centered on Apple environment, with the development environment being on OS X and the target environment being an iOS device – iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch or Apple Watch. Real-world context focused on the common programming “patterns” for engineers in academia or business – standalone apps, apps connected to other systems, apps connected to the cloud. Covers fundamentals essential to understanding all aspects of app development. Taught in a team environment. Students required to present their project proposals and deliver an app as a final project. 3 units.

EGRMGMT 585: Fundamentals of Data Science

Students practice a critical business skill: analyzing real-world data and communicating actionable findings in a compelling form. This is a small group, project-based class. Students can design their own project (with approval of the instructor) or join one of a number of exciting projects already underway. Available project areas include: 1) financial fraud detection, 2) earthquake risk modeling, 3) analysis of eye-tracking data for medical diagnosis, 4) the latest methods for machine translation and speech recognition.

EGRMGMT 587: Data Visualization

This course teaches how to use data visualizations to improve communication. We will learn best practices for presenting the kind of discoveries and “calls to action” that are the primary aims of business data analysis. 

Everyone who completes the course will be able to make beautiful and effective data visualizations.

We will learn about human visual perception, in particular the science of how choice of color, form, and other design elements can assist pre-attentive information processing. We will learn to recognize the most common types of data-visualization metaphor, and rules of thumb for which are the most appropriate and effective to apply to different types of communications.

Students will learn to create their own visualizations using PowerPoint and Excel, as well as additional publicly-available data and free software tools, including Tableau. Students are not required, or expected, to have any prior software experience. The course has no pre-requisites. 3 units.

Technology Management Track

FINTECH 550: Emerging Trends for FinTech Services

This class will study the environment of FinTech services to understand and acquire assessment techniques to model the motivation behind, for example: individual companies and offerings, the technology that has enabled many of these companies, and the business models that frequently challenge the customer-service status quo.  Applications of Game Theory – the ways in which businesses compete in the financial marketplace – will provide significant insights into the strategic behavior of current and future FinTech companies. The ever-increasing pace at which technology disrupts long-standing business models will be reviewed in terms of both past, current, and possible future applications. 3 units.

FINTECH 552: FinTech Business Models

The goal of this course is for students to understand the business models in the major FinTech value chain segments (businesses include, but are not limited to, marketplace lending, neo-banking, robo-advisory, cryptocurrency, and other blockchain applications). In this course, we analyze the business models of selected FinTech companies with a special focus on the role of data. In some industries, such as banking, data has spurred and supported the new business models of the FinTechs. Therefore, data is most relevant for creating an overview of the actors in the FinTech and broader financial services ecosystem. 3 units.

EGRMGMT 512: Product Management

Central to optimizing shareholder value and revenue are a firm's product innovations and its portfolio of products and services. The Product Manager defines product vision and leads the cross-functional team that takes a product or service from initial concept to a market viable offering. The course places emphasis on "Thinking like a Product Manager" in developing specific strategies to support new and existing high tech products. It provides in-depth knowledge of the analyses, decisions, and implementation issues relevant to a typical product manager in a high tech company. The course is applicable whether you are a product manager in a start-up firm, develop B2C or B2B products or are responsible for high-tech services. The objective is to help prepare you for your first industry product management opportunity. A successful product manager needs a broad set of skills and this course is the first step in helping you develop those skills. Your new skills will be developed using a mix of individual and team-based assignments, case analysis and a project. Class participation and demonstration of critical thinking in written and verbal form are crucial to success in this class. 3 units.

EGRMGMT 572: Innovation Management in Tech Organizations

This course takes students through a variety of issues related to managing innovation in the context of a technology-based organization. This includes managing know-how and innovation processes as well as creating an organizational culture that fosters and supports innovation. Students study best practices and benchmarks but must develop their own approach to managing innovation given each unique situation, including the organizational strategy, the competitive landscape, the strengths/weaknesses of the employees involved, etc. Nonetheless, there are accepted practices and concepts that will help guide students in developing a deeper understanding of this area.

Learning objectives include:

  • Understanding the different processes related to innovation in a technology-based firm
  • How to create a culture of innovation in an organization
  • The critical role of champions
  • Key concepts of innovation strategy

EGRMGMT 576: Design Thinking and Innovation

The success of established companies and entrepreneurial ventures depends upon their ability to identify customer needs and then develop products and services that meet these needs in an affordable and effective manner. A disciplined design thinking process leads to successful innovations, particularly with regard to value creation and market impact. Starting with an understanding of empathy, ethnography, and interviewing techniques, moving on to the iterative process of defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing, and then developing final designs, this course is a highly engaging opportunity for students to develop a deep set of skills in design thinking and innovation and includes current approaches such as agile development, biodesign and lean startup. 3 units.

EGRMGMT 578: Designing Customer Experiences

In a rapidly changing and competitive global market, businesses must address complex cross-discipline questions such as "how do I successfully distinguish my business from competitors?" to remain relevant. Increasingly, the quality of a business' “user experience" offerings provide the key to securing loyal customer relationships and sustainable market differentiation. Companies such as Apple, Starbucks and Amazon understand that compelling customer experience is contained not only in the physical products they create but also in a system of complementary interactions and services. Effective customer experiences are not created by chance - they are designed. This endeavor requires systematic observation, evaluation, visualization, planning, prototyping and principled iteration to be successful. In this course, students are introduced to foundational design techniques and use case study discussions, readings, and hands-on projects to form an action framework and ‘personal toolkit’ for designing compelling customer experiences. In addition, students flesh out this framework through project-based assignments and presentations applying the principles of design thinking, human factors, design for usability, and interaction design to analyze, create, and present effective customer experience solutions. 3 units.

EGRMGMT 590.XX: Startup Fundamentals and Strategy

The course will teach students the framework for launching a startup company and developing a successful early-stage growth strategy. Selected topics to be discussed include company formation, valuation, equity distribution, team building, financing (dilutive and non-dilutive), intellectual property, product development, regulatory frameworks, product launch, early-stage sales and marketing, strategic partnerships, growth, and exit strategy. The key deliverables for the course are a thorough understanding of the "language" of startup companies along with refined skills for developing and executing a business plan. 3 units.

LAW 581: FinTech Law and Policy

Regulatory compliance in essential to all finance companies. The regulations have become cumbersome and automated solutions are needed to prompt action and self-identify potential non-compliance. Understanding the regulatory environment of Finance companies is critical and the class will explore the regulatory requirements for finance companies. 3 units.

Capstone Project

FINTECH 502: FinTech Capstone

The FinTech Capstone project is expected to be the culminating experience for the MEng FinTech program drawing from a spectrum of classes taken. Diverse teams of students will be tasked with designing and building a FinTech solution. Project ideas will be solicited from industry or will be the student's own start-up ideas. The deliverable for the capstone will be a working prototype and business plan that addresses an articulated need within FinTech. The interdisciplinary teams will consist of members who, between them, maybe pursuing the technology track and/or the technology management track. During this experience, students will identify specific challenges or areas for improvement in a particular financial service or product (e.g., customer needs, identified opportunity, regulatory constraints, ethical concerns, financial viability, cybersecurity, etc.) and develop technological solutions. The capstone team will present to a sponsor panel and/or an external review panel. 3 units.

Internship or Project

MENG 550: Master of Engineering Internship or Project

Internships are typically 8-12 weeks. The minimum hourly requirement for the internship is 320 hours, equivalent to 8 weeks, 40 hours per week. 

Projects require approval from your faculty advisor. Projects must fulfill the same learning objectives as internships. Individual programs/majors may have additional requirements or exceptions to fulfill the internship component of the program.

All internships/projects must:

  • Apply engineering principles to solving one or more problems outside the classroom environment
  • Define a problem and determine potential solutions
  • Appreciate the importance of organizational dynamics and work relationships
  • Practice professional communication both written and orally
  • Complement material presented in Master of Engineering courses
  • Include a self-assessment upon completion in MENG 551

MENG 551: Master of Engineering Internship or Project Assessment

This assessment course is the culmination of your internship or project work. You will prepare a substantive assessment of your internship or project experience via a written report and/or oral presentation. A polished analysis should include:

  • Problem or task conducted
  • Challenges faced
  • Solutions incorporated
  • Workplace communication and interpersonal relationship critique
  • Individual performance review