Microfinance Consulting

BMGT448N and LASC 448W:  Microfinance consulting in Nicaragua (3 Credits)

Spring Break, 2015 - Undergrads studying abroad with Karen Hallows in Nicaragua. They will be meeting in teams with their entrepreneurs soon to begin their plans to help them best utilize the microfinance loans each received.

Program Dates March 13-22, 2015 (During Spring Break)
Mandatory Pre-Departure Meetings will be held from 1-3 pm on Nov. 14, Feb. 20 and Mar. 6 
Destinations Managua, Granada, and surrounding areas, Nicaragua
Faculty Karen Hallows
Program Fee $2,650 | Scholarships available
Application Complete Online Application
NOTE: Admission of students with complete applications is on a competitive basis and application review will take place during the one week period following the "last day to apply" date. Admissions notifications will be sent on or after the decision date. APPLICATION & SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE IS OCTOBER 1.
Syllabus Sample syllabus | 2014 Itinerary

Smith Business Magazine Article: Microfinance in Action

A laptop, several mannequins and the know-how of 11 visiting Smith School students were all it took to help Roxana, a small entrepreneur in Nicaragua, expand her in-home clothing business. The students accomplished this feat on their study abroad course to Nicaragua in January 2012, helping Roxana and several other local entrepreneurs get a financial leg up. Read more.

NicaraguaJoin “Microfinance Consulting – Nicaragua” during Spring Break 2015 and impact real businesses with your business knowledge. Students in this course will be paired with Nicaraguan students from Universidad Americana, a bilingual business college to work on consulting projects for local organizations as well as local entrepreneurs.

1) CONSULT FOR A MICROFINANCE ORGANIZATION: In last year’s course, student teams provided consulting for Opportunity International (a micro lending organization) to develop a generic business plan and market assessment tools. Student teams this year will expand and continue consulting services to other microfinance organizations.

2) CONSULT WITH LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS: Students will extend and continue consulting services to new local entrepreneurs. Last year’s teams worked with local entrepreneurs to develop business plans and revise business, strategies and reorganize their business structures.

3) EXPLORE NICARAGUAN CULTURE: During the Winter Term Break in 2012 students visited an active volcano, art galleries, artisan shops, a chocolate factory, enjoyed the local cuisine, folklore dancing and music, as well as surfing, swimming and zip lining.

Here’s what some students said about the 2012 course to the Nicaragua...

Read a student's blog with photos from the 2014 course.

What else do you need to know?

PROGRAM DETAILS: International flights should not be booked until confirmation of course acceptance.  Once registered for the course, students are advised, but not required, to purchase refundable airplane tickets to counter any inconvenience caused by a change in unforeseen circumstances. Oftentimes, students have made their travel arrangements through STA Travel, a discount student travel agency. Details for an optional group flight from Dulles International Airport to Managua will be made available asap.  Each student will, however, be responsible for payment in full of their own flight.

THE COURSE PROGRAM FEE ($2,650) includes UMD tuition for 3 credits; lodging in a shared accomodations; transportation in and around Managua for scheduled activities; on-site support and orientation; costs for any mandatory academic and cultural excursions and/or activities; most group meals; professor and partner fees; pre-departure meetings and excursions; UM Education Abroad services; International health insurance, including medical evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage.

Not included: personal expenses, a few meals, optional trip insurance and international airfare. Students are responsible for obtaining and paying for their own visa and/or entry fee where applicable. 

PAYMENT FOR APPLICATION & PROGRAM FEE is divided into three separate charges that are collected accordingly: 

  1. A non-refundable $50 application fee payable online by credit card is due at the time of application.
  2. Upon acceptance into the program, a $250 non-refundable deposit payable online by credit card is due within 10 days or less. The exact due date of this deposit will be communicated when student is accepted. Applicants understand that when he/she pays this deposit after being accepted into the program, it is deemed to be a commitment of participation. This deposit is non-refundable under any circumstances.
  3. The remaining program fee balance will be due upon Education Abroad's registration of student into the program. This amount will appear on the student's account and will be payable before the end of the next billing cycle. See UMD's Education Abroad's website for other refund and withdrawal rules.

Any scholarship monies awarded by Smith will be credited to the student's account once the charge appears on his/her account. All efforts will be made to have the scholarship monies credited prior to payment due date.