May 22, 2008

By Roey Gilberg

LOS ANGELES - A team of four UCLA Anderson students presented at the 2008 Chicago Microfinance Conference. The conference, titled “Competition & Collaboration: Expanding the Boundaries of Microfinance,” and co-sponsored by UCLA Anderson’s Center for International Business and Research (CIBER) took place Friday, April 18th at the University of Chicago.  The UCLA Anderson students from the Fully-Employed MBA Class of 2008 included Jill Fioravanti, Ann Le, Rajesh Sharma, and Yumna Siddiqi. The team presented its research on the growing microfinance market in India.

Their discussion touched on the operational needs of microfinance institutions, as well as the role of technology in potential microfinance solutions.  The team had already been working together on the subject as part of their Global Access Program (GAP) project, which focused on working with Oracle Corporation to study microfinance solutions in India.  “We’ve been working together for about a year and a half, so we had a really good rapport going in,” said Fioravanti.

Microfinance is the increasingly popular practice of providing financial services on a small scale to people living in emerging economies who are not served by traditional financial institutions.  Although their studies have centered on India, the Anderson students enjoyed hearing perspectives on microfinance issues all over the world.  “Microfinance is taking place all over the globe, so it was interesting to see all the differences and similarities,” noted Fioravanti.

Having presented at the conference, the Anderson students are hoping to continue their work in microfinance.  “The more visibility microfinance gets, the more people will see the social benefits involved,” said Fioravanti.  “There is a lot of opportunity out there for people to help entrepreneurs in developing countries.”

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the very best business schools in the world.  UCLA Anderson faculty are ranked #1 in "Intellectual Capital" by BusinessWeek and are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Furthermore, the finance faculty is ranked #1 in research publications in the four leading peer-reviewed journals by the Financial Management Association. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,600 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs.  Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 35,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

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