GenDev alumnus Daniel Rodriguez and Muhammad Yunus, Founder of the Grameen Bank
EXPLORING MICROFINANCE AT THE GRAMEEN BANK
The following is a short story by GenDev alumus, Daniel Rodriguez, about his time in GenDev and his internship at the Grameen Bank:
I joined GenDev back in 2014 when I was a rising junior. Being from Costa Rica, I was very interested in learning how financial systems work when the social and physical infrastructure is far from optimal, as it is in most developing countries. During my time in GenDev, I was involved in monitoring the existing loans in Ecuador, and scouting possible new loans in an urban slum in Nairobi, Kenya. I ended up becoming the CFO during my last year in the organization. Furthermore, we started exploring new possibilities to lend money to the local community in Lexington. I must say that my learning experience was amazing.
On-campus, I learned how to manage the financials of an organization, how to work as a bridge between the organization and the possible borrowers, and how to organize things in a way that they made sense for a whole group of people. Being an Economics major, I wrote my thesis on the main determinants of financial inclusion in Costa Rica.
I must say that my off-campus was even more enlightening. Through the sponsorship of the Johnson Opportunity Grant and the Woolley, I had the chance to intern at the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, the most important microfinance bank in the world. I worked there for a month and a half, where I got to see all of their products and services right in the villages where they are offered. I learned about their operations, the cross-subsidization techniques, their social enterprises, and their partnerships with foreign companies to diversify into other fields through which they can provide many Bangladeshis a better life. I was also very lucky to meet Prof. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. After this amazing experience, I also had a chance to attend the conference Lend for America in Washington DC with other GenDev members, during which we got to network with other organizations, learned about interesting potential services and brainstormed ideas to streamline our work.