Press release

University of Oxford and Esme Learning Champion the Future of Fintech with the Oxford Digital Finance Executive Education Series

Sponsored by Businesswire

Saïd Business School (SBS), University of Oxford and Esme Learning, the AI-powered digital learning platform, have introduced the Oxford Digital Finance Executive Series: a dynamic set of six-week online executive education programmes. Financial executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals supporting the financial services sector will choose three out of five courses in the series to help them navigate the most critical challenges facing their industry in coming years, with more programmes expected to be added shortly.

The global fintech market is expected to reach a market value of $305 billion by 2025. This lightning-fast industry growth means there is a greater demand for fintech talent who can manage emerging technologies. To ensure their place in the future of work, business leaders across financial services industries will need to keep pace with rapidly evolving updates in AI, Open Banking, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and cyber security subsectors.

“The global financial services sector is undergoing large-scale digital transformation, creating billions of dollars of opportunity for technologically savvy executives, and career risk for people who fail to adapt to this change. The Oxford Digital Finance Executive Series helps prepare professionals for success in this rapidly evolving environment,” said David Shrier, CEO and co-founder of Esme Learning.

To complete the Series, learners must take the core Oxford Fintech Programme, as well as two of four related elective programmes of their choice in either AI in Finance and Open Banking, Blockchain Strategy, Cyber Security for Business Leaders, or Platforms and Digital Disruption. Learners who have completed prior Oxford Fintech, Blockchain Strategy, and Cyber Security (formerly known as Cyber Futures) programmes are eligible to enter the Series as accelerated students.

Successful participants will receive a certificate for each course completed, in addition to the Oxford Digital Finance Executive Series completion certificate. This set of four prestigious certificates issued by Saïd Business School, University of Oxford indicates the substantive fintech skill set achieved when undertaking three of the Digital Finance programmes.

“Experience has shown change is accelerated through cross pollination of perspectives,” said Caroline Williams, Director, Open Executive Education, SBS. “The launch of this critical development pathway showcases the benefit of acquiring multidisciplinary lenses to seize opportunities or navigate challenges successfully within a transformational environment.”

See below for details on each programme. Additional programme presentations are confirmed to run in 2022:


  • Duration: 13 October – 7 December, 2021
  • What you learn. Gain knowledge of recent and ongoing changes in multiple domains within financial services. Learn frameworks to help you build a strategy for a new fintech venture. Acquire the necessary skills required to tackle new regulations and the digital disruption in financial services.
  • Who you will learn from.

    • Saïd Business School Programme Directors: Nir Vulkan, Associate Professor of Business Economics; Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
    • Guest speakers, including: Jeremy Allaire, CEO and co-founder, Circle; Anastasiya Kizima, VP, Innovation and Emerging Technology, Barclays; Ricky Knox, CEO and founder, Tandem Bank; Greg Medcraft, Director, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD-OCDE; Snejina Zacharia, CEO and founder, Insurify, Inc.


  • Duration: 13 October – 7 December, 2021
  • What you learn. Examine the potential and power that AI can bring to the financial services industry. Learn to think strategically about AI and understand its business impact as access to financial data becomes more open. Explore what is happening in the major financial centres and regions that are leading the way in Open Banking.
  • Who you will learn from.

    • Saïd Business School Programme Directors: Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Martin Schmalz, Associate Professor of Finance.
    • Guest speakers, including: Maria Axente, Responsible AI Lead, PwC Frontier Lab; David Roi Hardoon, Senior Advisor for Data and AI to the Union Bank of the Philippines; Simone Koo, COO and founder, Team Credit & Finance; Alexandra Mysak, Director of Financial Services, Databricks.


  • Duration: 22 September – 9 November, 2021
  • What you learn. How blockchain works and how it’s being used today. How cryptocurrencies and tokens are created, and tactics of market winners. Why Central Bank Digital Currencies are important, and what they mean for business and for society. Where established organisations can employ blockchain to maximise value creation. How blockchain ecosystems and communities are cultivated. What you can do to shape your own blockchain market strategy
  • Who you will learn from.


  • Duration: 13 October – 7 December
  • What you learn: Learn the necessary skills required to create a cyber resilient business model that builds trust in the system. Gain knowledge of recent and ongoing changes in multiple domains within cyber security.
  • Who you will learn from.

    • Saïd Business School Programme Director: Sadie Creese, Professor of Cyber Security, Department of Computer Science.
    • Guest speakers, including: Alison August Treppel, Executive Secretary, CICTE; Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions, Mastercard; Patty Hatter, SVP of Global Customer Services, Palo Alto Networks; Allie Mellen, Security and Risk Analyst, Forrester Research.


  • Duration: 6 October – 23 November, 2021
  • What you learn: Mechanisms for digital platform success. Internationalisation strategies. Impact of industry conditions on performance. Ethical issues, regulatory developments and data laws. Tools for evaluating a platform-based venture.
  • Who you will learn from.

    • Saïd Business School Programme Director: Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.


Courses, produced by Esme Learning in collaboration with Oxford faculty and staff, will feature high-quality video instruction from esteemed Oxford faculty; interactive, timely media such as podcasts and articles; and correlating formative assessments that test knowledge retention.

Courses on Esme Learning are thoughtfully crafted with learning design principles that emphasise measurement and feedback. Learners have numerous opportunities to immediately apply course knowledge via live simulations and small group exercises that emulate work scenarios. Esme Learning’s AI coach leverages 15 years of cognitive science research to intelligently analyse small group peer interactions and suggest individual feedback per learner to ensure productive and rewarding group collaboration.

Register and learn more on the Oxford Digital Finance Executive Series site, powered by Esme Learning.

About Esme Learning

Esme Learning is transforming the future of digital learning through AI. Leveraging over 15 years of research on group collaboration, Esme Learning courses deliver an immersive and collaborative executive learning experience with some of the best universities in the world. Each course blends high-quality video, live simulations, interactive media, and small group exercises with top learning design principles. Through Esme Learning‘s rapidly growing portfolio of courses, executives gain technical skills and learn business best practices from experts across a wide range of frontier fields such as fintech, cybersecurity, AI leadership, and health tech. Esme Learning is backed by Adit Ventures. For more information, visit our website at:

About Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of new and old. We are a vibrant and innovative business school, but deeply embedded in an 800-year-old world-class university. We create programmes and ideas that have global impact. We educate people for successful business careers, and as a community seek to tackle world-scale problems. We deliver cutting-edge programmes and ground-breaking research that transform individuals, organisations, business practice, and society. We are a world-class business school community, embedded in a world-class University, tackling world-scale problems. Learn more at