Dr. P.V. Viswanath



Economics/Finance on the Web
Student Interest

  Courses /  

FIN 680V/ FIN 360:
Microfinance and Small Business Financing in India


Report on the class's trip to India. This report is put together from write-ups from several individuals.

Day 6: Manamai, Mahabalipuram

On Friday, we headed back towards Chennai where we made a visit to Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM) in Manamai, near Mahabalipuram. We started off the day by first meeting some students who are all one month away from completing their one year MBA programs. All the students have undergraduate degrees and between 3-11 years of working experience. After meeting the students we ate breakfast and then participated in a tour of their beautiful campus.

After the tour we went back into the lecture hall, where the GLIM students gave a presentation on Micro-finance. They explained how they all worked with several micro-finance institutions such as Hand in Hand and the Hope Foundation. They showed us a video of the work they participated in throughout the year which they term "Great Lakes Karma-Yoga".


Ping-pong diplomacy at GLIM


Founders of the Hope Foundation, which operates a private school at far right, teachers from the school at far left.


Hindi-chini bhai-bhai -- Pace students from China with primary school students from a nearby school. GLIM students perform karmayoga work at the school


Pace faculty, students and GLIM students

Pace University students also gave a presentation on Micro-finance in India and China - what China can learn from India. India and China share many similarities, such as a high GDP growth rate, and populations of over 1 billion. In addition, both countries have a majority of their population in rural areas.

The founders of the Hope Foundation School, as well as primary school children studying there from were also in attendance for our presentations. Hope Foundation is an NGO that has been in existence for 17 years. HFS started out by providing free education to a fishing community impacted by a recent Tsunami. The founder of HFS spoke about microfinance lendingin the fishing community. He explained that HFS was originally a completely free school, which thrived on donations, but as donations began to dwindle he wanted the student’s parents to begin participating in the tuition payment for their children. He explained that in order to help these poor parents help with providing funding microfinance loans were given to the parents. He explained that his experience has taught him that microfinance lending works best when small loans are provided.

We ended the session with an open forum discussion on Micro-finance in India.  We talked about how microfinance has provided a helping hand for people who did not have access in the past. We spoke about how advances in technology such as cell phones have improved access to information in rural areas, such as farmers who could now get faster access to the asking price of their crops.

As previously stated my study of Microfinance has been my most memorable educational experience, to date.  I walked into my first Microfinance class with little knowledge of the field and walked away with a wealth of knowledge that could not have been attained in classroom environment.  I hope one day to be able to bring some of the practices learned from Microfinance and Small Business Lending in India, to help the poor people of my country, Jamaica.

Traveling in India


Waiting to board the train at Kanchipuram -- do we have everything? Everyone?


At Mumbai airport, waiting to board the plane back to New York