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Rethinking Financial Inclusion: Smart Design for Policy and Practice, Short Course

  • Application Deadline
  • 5 days
, MA,
Despite three decades of innovation in financial services for the poor and an unprecedented global expansion in access, the potential of finance to reduce poverty, foster entrepreneurship and improve well-being has yet to be fully realized.


The challenge is to design financial products that meet the needs of low-income populations while ensuring the sustainability of financial providers. Government loans for the poor often meet with high default rates, while insurance products encounter very low take-up. Despite the promise and popularity of microfinance, recent studies have shown that the standard microloan fails to significantly reduce poverty and the most recent numbers show a first-ever decline in the number of microfinance borrowers globally. After decades of invention and investment in the sector, half the world’s adult population – and 77% of those living on less than $2 a day – still are without a single account with a formal financial institution.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 5 days
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

  • Design Challenges in Financial Inclusion
  • The Design Challenge
  • Who Must We Reach and How Do Markets Fail?
  • The Challenges of Financial Intermediation
  • Introduction to Group Exercises: Using Negotiation for Effective Product and Policy DesignGroup Work Session: Defining a Problem and Proximate Factors
  • Know Your Client
  • Case Study: First National Bank's Golden Opportunity
  • Lunch Session: Implementing Pro-Consumer Features Inside Financial Institutions
  • Behavioral Mapping
  • Group Work: Understanding Underlying Factors and Client Needs
  • Developing Design
  • Case Study: BASIX
  • Panel Discussion: Smart Design
  • Regulatory Design I: Frameworks for Regulation of Financial Product Innovations
  • Group Work: Developing Design
  • Behavioral Insights for Financial Inclusion


English Language Requirements

This programme requires students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Academic Requirements

  • Admission to this program is competitive and is based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility. 
  • Early application is encouraged. Qualified candidates are admitted on a rolling, space-available basis, and the program often fills to capacity. Because of the interactive nature of this program, the number of participants is limited. Applications received after the deadline will be considered only if space remains in the class. Because the time required to obtain a visa can be lengthy, we encourage applicants from outside the United States to apply at least 12 weeks before the program start date.

Work Experience

Tuition Fee

  • International Applies to you

    8500 USD/module
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 8500 USD per module and a duration of 5 days.
  • National Applies to you

    8500 USD/module
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 8500 USD per module and a duration of 5 days.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Cambridge

  • 1814 - 3760 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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