‘I aim to foster financial inclusion with emphasis on financial literacy’
Lisa Hussain is from Guyana, South America and received a Chevening Scholarship to study MSc FinTech at the University of Kent. Here she explains her drive to transform financial inclusion in her home country, using her Master’s degree.
“When I first moved to campus this September, 5,000 miles from my home country of Guyana I was overwhelmed. Tired, homesick, nervous. It all got too much. I unpacked my things, laid on the bed and sobbed.
I’m from a small developing country and everything is different in the UK. In Guyana, where I come from, it is cash intensive, I wasn’t used to the processes and protocols even self-checkouts, chip card payments, and the transportation systems in UK, which are highly developed. It was new and exciting but at the same time it was a huge culture shock for me.
During my work experience, I was exposed to great areas of advancements that my country could be benefiting from, specifically geared towards the poor and underserved population, but I didn’t see these ideas being implemented or the motivation to have them implemented. So, to be an influence in this area, I decided that I needed further training and qualification. There I found Fintech and saw how it could accomplish my goal.
Given that my goal is to contribute to the further development of my country, the Chevening Scholarship was the perfect option for me. It offers financial support to study at UK universities – mostly one-year Masters’ degrees – for students with demonstrable potential to become future leaders, decision-makers and opinion formers. The process was intense and took me almost a year. Several detailed essays and an intense interview later, I’d got the green light!
Receiving the scholarship to study Fintech here at University of Kent was a real ‘pinch me’ moment and taking the decision to pursue study wasn’t an easy one. I am a graduate of economics from the University of Guyana and had a good job as an assistant financial analyst at their central bank.
I was over the moon to secure the funding and knew that Fintech was the course for me. Kent by far outshone the other options thanks to the service I received from the admissions department. Despite the time delays, I felt supported and any of my questions were answered swiftly. I felt part of the family before I even started.
It’s early days but Dr Hirbod Assa is providing a great overview of the fintech landscape for us to build upon as we move through the course. I’ve really enjoyed my recent module on financial risk management, which is proving to be incredibly important in the next 10 years due to Big Data implications.
Socially, I have shaken off my homesickness and have many friends and pastimes here at Kent already. I reached out to Student Support and Wellbeing Services, who really supported me to settle in and I volunteer at the Kent Community Garden as I am a lover of plants, and it really helps me to relax. I am also a member of the Hogwarts Society – fulfilling my love for the Harry Potter Wizarding world.
When I return to Guyana, I aim to foster financial inclusion with emphasis on financial literacy and, create modern products and services through my prospective Fintech Company as a long-term goal.
Experiencing the modern environment in the UK, I plan to take these ideas back home as well. Finally, as a woman in Finance, and area where women are unrepresented and underrepresented, I plan to pave a path for other women and young girls to make lasting positive changes for all women in Guyana.”
“My decision to enter the world of finance was driven by ethics”
Kelvin Asare-Obuobi is studying MSc FinTech and is co-founder of Syka Bank in Ghana. He is taking a Master’s in FinTech to boost the business into a global offering.
“My decision to enter the world of finance was driven by ethics. There are 31 million people in the country of Ghana, where I come from, and 43% have no access to banking services. Sure, the gap in the market made it a viable opportunity but being able to transform the lives of people in my home country was more important to me.
I cofounded Syka Bank in 2020 with a partner. We offer a banking account through a free and easy to use app for anyone who wants one. The product was built to a good level and to date we have made £150,000 in revenue. But I wanted to grow faster and boost innovation. That’s where a master’s degree came in.
It sounds sentimental, but I had a childhood dream to study at Kent. Aged 12 I came across a University of Kent brochure in the library at my school and after flipping through the brochure I fell in love with the scenery and became resolute I’d one day attend the university.
When I started to look around for MSc degrees, Kent was top of my list. Logging on to the online pages, I saw MSc FinTech was a fairly new course, and it seemed like the perfect fit. The application process was simple and I was really impressed by the course lead, Dr Hirbod Assa, who I met in my interview.
I am just a few months in, but already seen the impact of the course modules. Dr Assa is a great teacher and such a positive influence. He’s open my eyes to the possibilities of Blockchain. I’ve also been really inspired by his ability to lift a helping hand in anything to advance my progress and the collective progress of the class.
Juggling study and work isn’t always easy but being able to apply lessons from the classroom in a practical sense makes it worth it.I positive this would go a long way in the success of Syka.
Currently, through a strategic partnership we are present in about six African countries with around 3,000 users. My goal is to build a global business using the network and skills I have gained at Kent.
I am looking forward to what the rest of the year has to offer and being able to grow as a person, and entrepreneur throughout my Masters’ degree.”
Our MSc in FinTech has been developed jointly by industry leaders and academic experts and sets out to prepare graduates with a strong background in financial theory and integral understanding of the latest innovative technologies imperative in the sector.