Design thinking workshop: Investment banking & capital markets students focus on innovative tools to integrate crypto-assets in investment portfolios

Design thinking workshop 2The students of the MSc in Investment Banking & Capital Markets program recently took part in a day-long design thinking (creative problem solving) workshop organized at the Techshop Ateliers Leroy Merlin (Lille). This was organized in the framework of their course focusing on the computer programming language Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

After a visit of the “Techshop” (a place dedicated to design and creation) students were split into eight groups of 2/3. Their task: to come up with “innovative programming tools to enable investors to include crypto-assets in their portfolios.

In the form of a poster they were asked to explain the problem that they intended to solve, as well as the process (inputs/algorithm/outputs). Each of the groups were given three minutes (through a poster) to pitch their solution and demonstrate how it could work. The four best proposals, based on votes by the group, were then selected. The selected projects included a tool to protect a cryptocurrency wallet, and a tool for finding an optimal composition of different types of funds.

In order to stimulate creative thinking and real-life situations they could face in the business world, teams were changed in such a way that each could benefit from the inputs of new members. This enabled them to push forward with their proposal.

Tech shop 4The eight newly reformed teams were then given the mission to rapidly integrate their new members to develop an improved version of their project. In the space of 90 minutes, they had to design a new 3D prototype of the project (using different materials made available to them). To finish the workshop, each team was then asked to pitch their 3D prototype in front of a fictive panel of potential investors.

Quote from Renaud BEAUPAIN, Associate Professor of Finance and Academic Director of the MSc in Investment Banking and Capital Markets: “The TechShop is a place where students can unleash their creativity in a way that serves the development of their projects. I was impressed by their level of engagement throughout the day and particularly by the creativity they have shown to convey messages in non-traditional ways. I am looking forward to seeing their final prototype when the course ends in December. They will be given the chance to demonstrate their final solution, based upon the feedback they received during the workshop and reflecting the contributions of all team members.

Quote from Loïc Plé, Deputy Director for Pedagogy and Academic Development: “I have been very happy to participate in and observe the impact of that day on the students’ learning process. It is always impressive to notice how much materializing an abstract process enables the students to go further in their reflection. Also, exposing them to real-life conditions and challenges is always something that they appreciate. It enables them to think reflectively upon their behavior in such contexts, which favors deeper learning”.

Testimonial from Sara El Jabri, student in the Master of Science in Investment Banking and Capital Markets:

“The TechShop experience was a sneak-peak at project management in the professional world, through a structure that allowed us to gain a fresh perspective regarding our VBA projects. The goal was to help us adopt a ‘think outside-the-box’ mind-set. It made us realise that finance is not only numbers, excel worksheets or powerpoints: it is also an art that can be expressed in so many different ways and tools. The TechShop environment is set to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit, particularly through a great variety of resources, and creativity-friendly workspaces. This experience taught us a lot about the importance of adaptability, quick-thinking and efficiency, constituting highly needed soft skills in the investment banking industry.”

The Master of Science in Investment Banking and Capital Markets explores how global capital markets function, what drives the value of their securities and how recent regulations are changing the way they operate Through its unique design, including interactive lessons in our Financial Markets Lab, this program enables students to develop the technical skills required for a successful career in the investment banking industry.

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