Capital One is teaming up with NYU for diversity initiative

NewYork - Partnerships between banks and universities are becoming more common. Not only are companies provided with an avenue to recruit young talent, but they also remain ahead of the curve when it comes to incorporating new technology into their businesses.

"We're always out there talking to different universities," Adam Wenchel, co-lead of Capital One’s Center for Machine Learning, told me recently. "We're very fortunate in this county to have a great collection of top-notch universities."

But the McLean, Virginia-based bank's most recent partnership is unique.

Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) is teaming up with New York University by becoming a founding partner for what's being hailed as a new diversity initiative.

Capital One will also provide travel funds to disseminate research at conferences and seminars,

A lot of the newest tech innovations come out of academia, Wenchel said, adding: "NYU was on our radar because of their history of excellence ."

NYU's teaming up with Capital One also speaks to a broader trend — the importance of diversity in the workplace.

While some companies — Deloitte, for example — have downplayed diversity groups for women and minorities, others are doubling efforts.

"Capital One takes diversity very seriously," Wenchel said.

NYU CDS director Richard Bonneau provided some perspective as to why the program is crucial, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

"These scholarships are a quanitfiable way to increase diversity," Bonneau said, citing the importance of working with industry players like Capital One. "We don't approach or work with companies that aren't able to provide cutting edge products to our students," he added.

Specific areas of research that will be explored include mathematical statistics, computational statistics, data visualization and other subsets of machine learning such as deep reinforcement learning.

"A lot of what we do stems from making decisions based on data," Wenchel said. "Machine learning provides us with way to make much better decisions and create better customer experiences that were never possible before."