This post was written by Samuel Harrison, current MIF student.

Following the excellent and thoroughly enjoyable IE arranged trip to New York in January this year, the next trip in the calendar is Ghana. Students from the 2011 Master in Finance that opted to go, will provide intellectual capital and a spare pair of hands, so to speak, to two Microfinance Institutions or MFI’s in the up and coming African nation.

The MIF programme administration arranged this trip in liaison with some 3rd parties and deemed it worthy of final project status. As a result, students who decided to go to Ghana can use it as their final project for the master and in lieu of a dissertation of something similar.  Along with nine others, I have been selected to go on the trip, and subsequently we have been broken down into two teams and begun analyzing our respective MFI’s in anticipation of some tough and difficult working conditions in Ghana. We will spend ~10 days in the country formally known as the Gold Coast, working and hopefully, seeing some of the sights as well!

The task we have been assigned is to audit, conduct stress tests and broadly analyse these lending institutions and then return to Madrid where we will present our findings and pitch the institutions to leading venture capitalists. The pitch will be conducted, not only as a way to judge our final grade but also in the hope of securing funding for the MFI’s, to help improve their chances of future expansion.

Those who are going get the benefit of a fantastic learning experience, life experience and indeed, perhaps the chance to make a real difference. Getting the final project completed at the same time is simply the icing on the cake. We touch-down in Accra, Ghana in less than a weeks time!