Joji George, Deputy General Manager at Shikhar Microfinance based in New Delhi, India shares his experience on Executive Education at IIM-Ahmedabad in an Interview with XEDGlobal as something that is Invaluable.

With Close to 12 years’ experience in Finance, George now works with Shikhar Microfinance, that operates in the Northern Parts of India providing microcredit services (joint-liability-group model) and life insurance to economically backward communities living in slums, rural and urban villages. The organisation has currently extended operations to 5 States and 200 Location covered by 26 branches.

George truly believes in the vision of the company to empower communities by providing financial services and livelihood opportunities to the underprivileged segments of our society. During this exclusive conversation with XEDGlobal, George recommended that attending the Open programme on “Managing Inclusive Finance in India” by Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad was the ideal opportunity for anyone in Finance.

Can you give a brief about the Executive Programme you attended at IIM-A?

This was a week-long programme conducted by IIMA on “Managing Inclusive Finance in India”. It aimed at providing an insight into the Challenges involved for Financial Inclusion for the unbanked sector.

During this week-long programmes, we had several open discussions and interactions based on real-life case studies.

We discussed topics like Inclusive Finance in the context of Globalisation, Regulatory Environment and Organisational Forms, Challenges of Managing Financials Inclusion, Behavioural Finance Application In Finance Product design, Risk and Credit Risk Management in this sector.

The programme was a combination of classroom study and also involved an interactive teaching and learning approach based on real-life case studies. This pedagogy combined with classroom study made my learning experience very effective.

How would you describe your overall experience?

The Programme was impressive, the topics were interesting, interactive, and designed to motivate participants to think outside of the box.

The faculty comprised of Professors from IIMA and IIMB, they brought incredible insight and perspective to solve complex issues. Also, the inputs from guest speakers (including Deputy. RBI Governor) were very insightful and thought-provoking.

Why did you choose to apply for this programme?

Ensuring financial inclusion with the amount of grass-root level problems in the rural population of Northern India is challenging but the focus Indian government has on improving financial inclusion offers massive potential to entrepreneurs and organisations like ours. That is why when IIM-A offered this programme it was an apt opportunity to understand the challenges and solutions from a different perspective. Having said that, to be very honest any programme conducted by IIM-A is a dream come true for any finance professional in India.

Can you describe some key takeaways from the program?

This programme has helped me in designing financial products according to market needs and also to understand the market behaviour. It also helped me understand the financial issues and appropriate solutions of communities at the bottom of the pyramid far better than what I understood before the programme.

How do you plan to apply the learnings to your organisation?

Firstly, I would be involved in training the team and passing down the knowledge which I have gained from the sessions. We will be preparing ratios and different statistics to be submitted to our regulatory body, which was complex earlier, but now with this programme, it will be able to simplify the logarithms.

Would you recommend this program to someone who is considering it?

This programme would definitely be recommended for aspiring or mid-level executives in Finance sector especially in the rural financial services.