Georgetown Students Receive Awards at IFC Finance Data Competition

Georgetown students on stage at the IFC accepting their award

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Two teams of Georgetown University students received awards at the 2019 International Finance Corporation MSME Finance Data Competition. The competition focused on MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises), which make up the majority of private sector employment in emerging markets and often have difficulty receiving credit and other payment services from financial institutions.

Held at IFC headquarters in Washington, D.C., the competition comprised three challenges. Georgetown students received recognition in two of the challenges.

One team, consisting of Keisuke Adachi (MBA’20), Sybil Simbulan (MBA’21), Roxane Peloux (MPP’20), and Hangyul Song (MSFS’20), won best research proposal for their presentation on the gender gap in MSMEs in developing countries. “Our research proposal used digital infrastructure to increase the access of women to finance and hopefully reduce the gap between the number of women and men owning MSMEs,” Simbulan said.

The second Georgetown team, consisting of Yashodhan Agarwal (MBA’21), Jameson Ondrof (MBA’21), Gaia Ceriali (MiM’20), and Daniel Wanjira (MSFS’21), won second place for their work in creating a standardized definition of MSMEs across countries. Currently, each nation has its own definition of micro, small, medium, and large enterprises, which makes it difficult to enact global change.

“Our innovation was to recode the data around size definitions of these enterprises, some of which was qualitative, into quantitative numbers for all countries,” Ondrof said. “This allowed us to obtain a most common size definition for each of the type of enterprise, which gave us our definitions.”

Ondrof benefited both personally and professionally from the experience. “The competition gave me an opportunity to use data analysis tools that I hadn’t explored previously. I continued to grow in my ability to effectively work with other professionals to achieve a goal,” he said.