Why Did We Create an Investment Management Track?

January 16, 2024

The Investment Management Track will respond to a critical need for stronger entrepreneurs, founders, and ultimately, potentially investors.

Venture investors seek to add value by helping their portfolio companies “Cross the Chasm” into commercial viability. In building Fin Capital, founder and managing partner, and Master of Engineering in FinTech program advisor Logan Allin (Trinity ’03) repeatedly discovered another chasm, the knowledge gap present in many founders, particularly technology and product leaders, as they journeyed through the startup lifecycle. While possessing deep technical domain expertise, they struggled with Investment 101 topics such as investor decision-making, company structuring, raising equity/debt capital, financial analysis, legal/regulatory issues, and others. Engineers equipped with these skills will make far stronger entrepreneurs, founders, and ultimately, potentially investors themselves.

In his operating roles in banking and the mortgage capital markets, Executive-in-Residence Marvin Chang had repeatedly witnessed the critical import of investment management knowledge in driving successful outcomes. As a change agent, he steadily pushed to enhance the quantitative and technical skillsets of those involved in making decisions. Over his tenure, he had helped engineers themselves “Cross the Chasm” from the back-office cost centers to front-office profit centers.

Having achieved significant momentum in the Duke Fintech Technology and Technology Management tracks, the executive director of the Duke FinTech Program, Jimmie Lenz, DBA, recognized that the increasing reliance on FinTech in Investment Management is driving greater demand for engineering-trained talent. In collaboration with Logan and Marvin, he established the thesis for the program’s new Investment Management track.

“Our goal is to empower our students to access entrepreneurial and investment career paths more ably by rounding out their knowledge base with the requisite business and investment skills. These students will gain fluency in all aspects of the investment value chain throughout a company's lifecycle,” said Dr. Lenz.

Our first course rolled out for the track is Alternative Investment I in Spring 2024, which builds upon the modular construction that is the hallmark of the FinTech program. Our objective is deploying amongst the future cohorts of FinTech engineers who can flexibly be “analysts who can ship code” or “founders with investment management fluency.”

In an industry where technology and finance are increasingly intertwined, there's a critical need for individuals who not only understand financial principles but also how technology can be leveraged to innovate and improve investment strategies. This program aims to bridge the gap by providing a comprehensive education that combines both disciplines, preparing students for the evolving challenges and opportunities in the FinTech sector.