Jeffrey Riecke

The Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance: From Harvard Business School and Accion

The following post was written with support from Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director of CFI.

After eight programs spanning over 500 participants from roughly 100 countries, we are proud to announce that the annual executive education program jointly run by Harvard Business School (HBS) and Accion is now accepting applications for 2014. The program will take place April 21-26, 2014 at the HBS campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This year, the program has a new name. It is now the HBS-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance. This name change confirms a shift in course focus and approach that has been underway for some time, from an exclusive focus on microfinance to a broader financial inclusion scope.

Today’s financial inclusion landscape is changing rapidly, as new entrants, disruptive business models, and deeper understanding of client needs all challenge conventional wisdom. It is an exciting time, with new possibilities for reaching more people with an increasing array of financial services. For leaders steering their organizations through this landscape, the pace and magnitude of change may look overwhelming. In this program senior financial service providers will benefit from the guidance of some of the world’s best business minds to better understand the possibilities and the pitfalls of a more complex financial services marketplace. Policymakers, regulators, and investors will find it valuable to get a closer look at how the industry is evolving in countries around the world.

The course is an intensive week-long immersion. At the core of the program are cases drawn from microfinance and inclusive finance, as well as examples of business at the base of the pyramid. The program employs the famous HBS case method approach in which participants work through real-life situations and decisions while exploring the key issues shaping financial inclusion. Class discussions get everyone involved. They are engaging, thought provoking, and sometimes even inspiring. The HBS-Accion Program is led by HBS faculty members V. Kasturi Rangan, co-chair of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and recent chair of the Marketing Department, and Michael Chu, Senior Lecturer in the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and recognized microfinance leader, together with other HBS faculty members.

Previous participants have included leaders from technology providers, rating agencies, fund managers, microfinance institutions, traditional banks, and NGOs. Past participants also include policymakers and central bankers from Zimbabwe, Peru, Nigeria, Fiji, Azerbaijan, and Malaysia.

For more information, including details on how to apply, please visit, or email

Editor’s note: this post was originally published on CFI’s blog. It is cross-posted with permission.

financial inclusion, microfinance