The Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance is launching an app called Finiverse that helps students figure out the true cost of higher education. Finiverse will broaden students’ understanding of college debt and demonstrate the many paths they can take to finance their higher education.
Alhaji Bah is an MBA candidate at Wharton who works with the Stevens Center to develop Finiverse. In the photos shown here, Alhaji and the Finiverse team give a demonstration of the app to students at Big Picture High School in Philadelphia.
Read our interview with Alhaji below to learn about the app, his experience working with the Stevens Center’s interns, and the impact Finiverse will have on the world.
What is your role in launching the Finiverse app?
Alhaji Bah: My role is to support the launch of the app and drive our go-to-market execution. This includes providing feedback to our development teams on the user experience, acquiring user-feedback from students, and creating training materials and content for end users/students.
What first interested you in Finiverse? Why did you decide to dedicate your time to this project?
Alhaji Bah: I’m passionate about helping students, particularly those who come from underrepresented and underserved communities. As someone who was a first generation college student, I also understand how mysterious the college application process can be, especially the funding of college. Finiverse seeks to help students understand the cost associated with the schools they’re interested in, what funding will look like from various sources, and help students explore the potential outcomes of their decision through simulations. I believe this is something that would provide value to any high school student considering whether or not to attend college or in the process of applying to college.
How would a tool like Finiverse have changed your own college process? What do you think is unique about this tool for high school students?
Alhaji Bah: Finiverse would have impacted my college process in several ways. First, I only applied to state schools because of the sticker price of private schools. Finiverse not only shows the sticker price of schools, but it also accounts for the aid schools provide. For example, Penn will meet 100% of student’s demonstrated needs. Additionally, I would have a much better idea of what I would be paying for during the four years of my undergraduate education. Lastly, Finiverse would have given me insight on what to expect long term from both an earnings and a student loan payment standpoint.
What have you learned from working with the Stevens Center’s interns? What advice do you have for them?
Alhaji Bah: The interns I have worked with have been fantastic. They come from diverse backgrounds and have been a mix of high school and college students. I’ve enjoyed their commitment to Finiverse and their excitement to continually improve the app. They’re full of energy and eager to share what they’re working on. One piece of advice I would give is to stay passionate about the things you pursue, and never listen to the little voice that’s constantly sowing doubt. You’re more than good enough, and this will be true even when you’re questioning yourself.
What impact do you foresee the app having on high school and college students?
Alhaji Bah: I could see Finiverse being the go-to app for all high school students considering college. Students weighing the investment of college will be able to have an in-depth understanding of what the ROI looks like. Students who have decided to go to college will be better informed in their decision process and will have a better understanding of which schools to apply for based on costs and funding. And students who have already selected their dream school and major will have an idea of what life after school will look like from a financial standpoint. Finiverse also gives students an easy way to see the projected income of countless professions, which makes it a great place to start for career exploration.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Alhaji Bah: The Finiverse team is fantastic! Jill, Emily, Sophia, the students, Professor David Musto, and everyone else on the team is just amazing to work with. Every interaction, school visit, meeting, engagement is extremely fulfilling, and that’s due to what we’re trying to accomplish, but also the people doing it.
Explore Finiverse here.
Learn more about Finiverse on Wharton Stories.
Visit the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance.