> Posted by Center Staff
The Harvard Business School-ACCION Program on Strategic Leadership for Microfinance began this week. This is the program’s sixth year of offering industry leaders the opportunity to connect with peers while engaging with some of the Harvard Business School faculty’s foremost thinkers in business strategy and management.
ACCION President and CEO Michael Schlein welcomed participants to this year’s April 25-30 program with these remarks:
Ladies and gentlemen, a very good evening to you all. I’m Michael Schlein, president and CEO of ACCION, and it’s a privilege to welcome all of you here tonight to the Harvard Business School-ACCION Program on Strategic Leadership for Microfinance.
Allow me to extend my warmest welcome, and my thanks, to the more than 60 new students who are with us this week, representing no fewer than 31 different countries.
Believe it or not, this is the sixth consecutive year that HBS and ACCION have been conducting this groundbreaking course. By the conclusion of this week’s class, nearly 400 participants from over 75 different countries will have participated in the training.
A list of graduates of this course would read like a veritable “Who’s Who” of the industry. By my count, more than 158 organizations have sent executives. No fewer than 75 of the participants have been the CEOs of those institutions. So, you are among very good company indeed.
This program is the first of its kind to provide high-level management and leadership training to the industry’s CEOs and executives, at what is arguably the world’s best business school.
The curriculum has been designed to address the seismic changes and the real-world issues that the success of microfinance is now asking all of us to confront: traditional and non-traditional competition; segmentation; branding; executive team development and motivation; equity investment; IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, the double-bottom line, risk management, and much more. All of these require strategic thinking at increasing levels of complexity.
I’m not sure there is anywhere better than Harvard Business School, with its “case-study” methodology, at which to do that.
Best of all, the program is led by two extremely compelling professors: HBS faculty members “Kash” Rangan, co-chair of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative. And Michael Chu, Senior Lecturer in the Social Enterprise Initiative, microfinance thought leader and pioneer and, I should add, former President and CEO of ACCION International. I have seen them in action, and believe me, you will enjoy every second, and come away much the richer for it.
By the end of the week, I know that they will have done an outstanding job of challenging you to grow as leaders. To find new ways to shape ideas into competitive solutions. To think, and to manage, differently in a business world whose only constant remains change, whether you’re located in China, Cameroon, Fiji, Iran, Kyrgyzstan or Brazil as I know for a fact that some of you here, indeed, are.
So – again, welcome. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy careers to travel to Cambridge, and to engage with us and learn new ways to make our collective work in microfinance more meaningful and more effective.