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Learning Blockchain Basics at EMBA Global Network Week

During a week-long exchange program in Singapore, Manish Pandya ’25 learned from blockchain experts by day and explored local markets with his family by night

Between their first and second years, MBA For Executives students at Yale SOM have the exciting opportunity to travel abroad for Global Network Week (GNW), engaging and collaborating with fellow students from other Global Network for Advanced Management member schools.

I chose to travel to the National University of Singapore (NUS) to attend the GNW module “Blockchain Applications in Finance,” a unique program that introduces students to the fundamentals of digital assets and blockchain. Daily activities designed by Professor Emir Hrnjic emphasize peer-to-peer learning through engaging classroom discussions, insightful guest lectures with real-world applications of material covered in class, and interactive team activities to prepare for end-of-course presentations.

Recent developments in the financial sector, including the rise of instant payments and smart contracts, offer career-enhancing opportunities for fintech professionals who develop a deep understanding of blockchain technology. The immersive GNW experience enabled me to interact with renowned professors, practitioners, and industry leaders from the financial sector. I was joined by three fellow Yale EMBA students, as well as students from other schools across the globe.

My wife and daughter joined me on this trip across the world and were able to participate in many aspects of the GNW experience. Our evenings were free to explore warm and welcoming Singapore on our own. The program team organized an exciting river cruise family event and shared excellent recommendations for dining, shopping, entertainment, and other excursions. When I wasn’t in class, we visited local hawkers’ markets, incredible shopping malls, and rooftop restaurants at the majestic Marina Bay Sands.

A group of students in a classroom
A group of people in a city at night
A group of people standing in front of a whiteboard
A group of students posing in front of a National University of Singapore building

What I loved the most about the program was the balance it struck between knowledge and networking. I deepened my knowledge of blockchain technology by interacting with peers and faculty in the classroom. I also participated in thoughtful discussions with guest speakers such as Eric Anziani, the president and COO of the cryptocurrency exchange, who highlighted the company’s commitment to compliance and responsible innovation.

Team projects also provided ample networking opportunities. We got to know each other and learned about the inspiration and aspiration of each team member for pursuing an business degree. For a final presentation about technology developed by the blockchain network Chainlink, we identified individual strengths to leverage. I am thankful for my team’s excitement, enthusiasm, and engagement.

As I transition to the second year of my program, I am excited about applying blockchain fundamentals to drive innovation in the financial industry, and I feel empowered to enhance my career and explore innovative ideas for entrepreneurial opportunities. I am fortunate and thankful for the opportunity to learn about blockchain developments from financial leaders across the globe.