HBS-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance

Shaping the next generation of inclusive finance leaders

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Contact hbsaccion@accion.org for updates on the 2024 application process


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Engage with foremost thinkers in business strategy and management at a pivotal moment in inclusive finance.

The Harvard Business School (HBS)-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance provides high-level management and leadership training to those who are reshaping the financial system for underserved populations by expanding access to critical financial tools.

The intensive six-day program offers leaders from around the world—spanning the private, public, and social sectors—an exceptional opportunity to connect with outstanding peers, engage with HBS faculty’s leading experts, and gain insights from rapid shifts in the inclusive finance space amid unprecedented global challenges. The HBS Executive Education learning model immerses participants in a transformational experience that combines the best of strategic thinking with the most important advances in financial inclusion, digital technology, and impact investing to elicit a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges in the years ahead.


This program brings together CEOs of leading microfinance institutions, executives of mainstream banks, technology entrepreneurs, investors, financial regulators and managers of developmental agencies and specialized network leaders, from across the globe, to better understand the past, gauge the present and envision the future in the digital age.

The program is designed to provide participants with an understanding of the key factors behind the success of some of the current leaders of the microfinance revolution and extend their thinking to the emergence of the new fintech models enabled by the digital age. In doing so, the program will explore some of the more innovative models around the world. Building on that platform, the program seeks to draw lessons, both for incumbents and challengers, on possible strategies to attain success and avoid failures in bringing financial access to the majority of the population.

The program also addresses key strategic issues arising from the dual goals of economic and social value creation:

  • How new business models in this space—especially technology-enhanced models—succeed or flounder
  • How to successfully compete in highly competitive markets
  • How to balance one’s social mission with financial considerations
  • How to stay abreast of rapidly evolving products and delivery channels
  • How inclusive financial service providers are helping vulnerable populations enter the digital economy

Participants will learn primarily through the case study approach as pioneered by HBS. Through these guided case discussions, participants work collaboratively to identify practical business strategies from the experiences of leading institutions. Prior preparation of the cases is essential, reinforced by study groups in the morning before classes and at lunchtime. Participation in class is central to the learning experience. Forced to take a stand and then reflecting on how it is impacted by their peer’s point of view enables participants to think in ways they would not have otherwise. These novel insights then become lessons to apply to their own institution upon returning from the Program. Decision makers from the case studies often join participants in the classroom—either on site or via video link—to engage in live dialogue and dive deeper into key dilemmas.

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Participants take part in active discussion and workshop groups during the program.
Participants take part in active discussion and workshop groups during the program.

Eligibility and Benefits

The program provides a dedicated platform to learn from distinguished faculty and connect with like-minded peers from around the world at Harvard Business School’s campus in Boston. Program benefits include:

  • A platform for financial inclusion leaders within financial services companies, government agencies, support organizations, and knowledge institutions to discuss, share ideas, and gain new expertise
  • An intensive six days of learning using the world-renowned HBS case study methodology, learning from and analyzing the decisions of financial inclusion leaders at critical moments
  • Access to distinguished HBS faculty and subject-matter experts in business strategy and management
  • The opportunity to expand your network and to connect with like-minded peers from around the world facing similar issues and to learn from their experiences

Who Should Apply

  • Microfinance and financial institution executives and managers
  • Impact investors
  • Fintech entrepreneurs
  • Policymakers and regulators
  • MNO and telecommunications providers
  • International development/financial inclusion practitioners

Why You Should Apply

  • Bolster your strategic thinking about serving clients at the base of the pyramid by analyzing real-life cases
  • Re-evaluate your role and the role of your organization in the financial inclusion space
  • Deepen and expand your knowledge of business strategy and management alongside like-minded peers and the foremost thinkers in the field
  • Raise the caliber of your leadership skills
“My experience at HBS is unforgettable. This training provides an opportunity to detach from everyday work and reflect on some of the ‘macro’ issues related to ‘micro’ finance. Having the opportunity to discuss and analyze challenging aspects of the industry amongst a sophisticated group of practitioners and qualified lecturers has allowed me to bring back fresh thoughts on how best to address challenges my organization is facing in its complex environment.”

Dates and Fees


The 2023 HBS-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance will occur between March 26-31, 2023.


The application cycle for the 2023 program will open on December 1, 2022 and close on December 22, 2022.


The program cost is $8,850 USD including tuition, fees, housing, and meals. Attendees will need to pay in full to be considered accepted into the program. Airfare is the responsibility of the attendee.


A limited number of partial scholarships are available to participants who otherwise cannot attend because of the cost. Please note that we are unable to offer scholarships to all applicants who apply. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please indicate so in the application.


For general questions, please see the program FAQ, or contact hbsaccion@accion.org

“The blend of industry players provided a platform for cross fertilization of ideas and enriching experience. The diversity of participants across continents was a great asset and opportunity. Indeed the environment at HBS was conducive for learning and for sure through the executive training and experience sharing, we will change the world.”

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