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Microfinance and Development (19CIE00810)

General information






S semester

ECTS Credits:


Teaching Staff:

Group Teacher Department Language
Susana Balet Robinson Ciencias Sociales ENG



Previous Knowledge

No prior knowledge in microfinance is needed. The course is very introductory and prepared for people who are not close to microfinance nor finance.

Workload distribution

Workload distribution
- The course consists of 5 days of class, each one three and a half hours long and in situ.
- The course implies therefore a total of 17,5 in-class hours, including lectures and participatory sessions. The remaining credit hours correspond to independent study and work (individual and in groups).
- Students will need little time to prepare class sessions.
- Students will need to give in an individual final assignment (2 pages) and might have to work in a team project which will also be an important part of the evaluation if its finally included as part of the course.
- This course represents 2 ECTS credits. 17,5 hours are in-class, while the rest of the work load corresponds to activities to be implemented outside of the classroom.


This course will approach students to the management challenges that are faced by projects and organisations that aim to create a positive social impact in society. It will be tackled how management tools can be used and actually are needed for achieving sustainability of social projects. Projects which aim is not the profit maximization but the social impact optimization.

This course has a VERY practical approach. It's based on real examples and learnings are shared through the analysis of actual market cases. The idea is to bring the real microfinance industry into the classroom and focus on microfinance management best practices. There is hardly no theoretical framework neither financial calculations.

Course Learning Objectives

This microfinance course is not about financial calculations neither Excels, nor ROI nor ROE... This microfinance course shows how microfinance is a tool for creating opportunities within the most vulnerable groups in society with the aim of avoiding financial and social exclusion. It's about how to use management practices for the promotion of economic and social development. This course tackles how microfinance can create opportunities with and for people from vulnerable groups in society in order to overcome or avoid poverty and exclusion. Moreover, it also tackles how, on the other hand, microfinance can also be destructive and even harm people when is not appropriately managed.

Upon successfully completing this course, students should be able to:
- How to apply management tools and knowledge (like for instance a marketing plan) with the main aim of not just achieving sustainability of a project but also creating positive social impact in society.
- Achieve greater awareness on beneficiaries (clients) and their needs.
- Have developed a personal sensitivity, allowing them to identify their own values and also reflecting on how values can drive business management.
- This course permits the development of critical thinking together as systemic thinking.
- Have their own opinion towards microfinance, sometimes a very controversial industry.

This course has no strong theoretical background neither financial calculations. The approach is based on real practices of microfinance programs around the globe, both in emerging and in developed countries.


1. Introduction to microfinance and objectives of the course

The aim of this course is to present the microfinance industry.
It has been proved that microfinance can be an extremely powerful tool that can help communities develop not just economically but also socially. Nevertheless, microfinance can also be very destructive...

2. Grameen Bank in depth & Social Entrepreneurship

3. Overlook at the microfinance industry and looking close at the client

4. Good management of microfinance to achieve development - Innovation in microfinance

5. Social Impact and Performance Evaluation - Course evaluation and wrap up

Relation between Activities and Contents

1 2 3 4 5
Class Attendance and Participation          
Individual Assignment          
Team Project          


Activities & Methodology
In order to facilitate the integration of the key learnings sessions have been designed in order to be dynamic. Students will be invited to debate actively and express their own opinions and reflections. Within other materials and methodologies the following will be used:

Guest speaker
Possibly Case study
Possibly there will be a team project
Individual assignment



Description %
Class Attendance and Participation 25
Individual Assignment 30
Team Project 45

Assessment criteria

General criteria:
- Demonstration of individual and profound reflection. Building of own discourse.
- Demonstration of having integrated the main aspects related to solving the principal challenges faced by the industry.
- Accuracy and professionality
- Appropriate application of management, business skills and business knowledge.

Final team project grade will be composed by:
- peer evaluation 10%
- common team grade 90%

Students will be asked to attend and participate actively in the sessions.
Grading class participation is necessarily subjective. However, we try to make it as "objective as possible". Some of the criteria for evaluating effective class participation include:

1 Is the participant prepared? Do comments show evidence of analysis of the case? Do comments add to our understanding of the situation? Does the participant go beyond simple repetition of case facts without analysis and conclusions? Do comments show an understanding of theories, concepts, and analytical devices presented in class lectures or reading materials?

2 Is the participant a good listener? Are the points made relevant to the discussion? Are they linked to the comments of others? Is the participant willing to interact with other class members? Is he/she present during the discussion or are they busy with laptop or other devices such as mobiles?

3 Is the participant an effective communicator? Are concepts presented in a concise and convincing way?

The teacher will mark positive (+) or negative (-) interventions and attitude of the students.
Positive + = Good contribution, shows reflection, own constructed discourse and good listening
Negative - :
- negative contribution, the contribution demonstrates that the person hasn't been listening to his colleagues or professors or the comment is out of scope.
- Usage of laptop or mobile phone.
- Not respectful with his/her classmates, teacher or guest speakers.
- Does not follow neither participate actively during the proposed activities or events.


All of the materials will be uploaded in the Moodle website of the course. Such as:
- Banco Compartamos Case Study
- Microfinance Yearly Outlook?

Timetable and sections

Group Teacher Department
Susana Balet Robinson Ciencias Sociales