Pushing my boundaries with Certified Expert in SME Finance
Online Master / 19 February, 2019
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Certified Expert in Digital Finance Class of 2019
Maxime is an SME Banking specialist with more than 12 years of experience in the Benin Republic financial sector. He is Alumni of the Certified Expert in SME Finance and is now enrolled in the Certified Expert in Digital Finance.

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My encounter with Frankfurt school first started in 2017 after one of my colleagues, who attended the 2015 Summer Academy, informed me of the courses offered by FSDF e-Campus. After reading the SME Finance course description, I immediately knew that I would have to sign up. The content is highly relevant to the challenges of SME and the banks in developing and emerging countries. This course is in line with my personal objective of being an international specialist in the field of SME Finance. I knew it would also be an opportunity for me to take advantage of the experience of the lecturers and my fellow classmates.

Accessibility and flexibility

Indeed, the courses offered by FSDF e-Campus are flexible and accessible. This is very useful for executives working full-time. That being said, there are still a few deadlines to follow in order to successfully complete the course. And if you don’t keep up with the schedule, your study advisor will send you friendly email reminders informing you of the upcoming deadlines. I was very impressed with the personalized services that they offer in order for students/participants to manage their time wisely.

Building my own SME tools

The SMEs in developing countries are constantly evolving and primarily in the informal sector which means that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to collect credible, financial information. Therefore, the CESF experience was really helpful in terms of capacity building.  I had always been in search of a formalized and standardized methodology to collect non-financial information from SME to balance with financial information, which was frequently untrustworthy. The course helped me develop skills to check the sources of information and build tools to carry out plausibility check. Now, with my colleagues, we are using the same methodology to collect information from SMEs which allow us to efficiently assess a loan request. Additionally, the course was beneficial in terms of practical advice to improve the recovery actions and design early warning signals.

Finally, this was my first experience of attending a class in English trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. Successfully completing this course is a great achievement for me and now I feel more comfortable with professional English with regards to finance.

Why digital finance has become my new challenge?

I have now enrolled with the class of Digital Finance. In a nutshell, with the new financial technologies (Artificial intelligence, big data, analytics, biometrics, Blockchain or internet of the things), the rules of the game in the financial sector are going under tremendous and continuous change. I don’t think that I would be able to effectively pursue my career in SME Finance without a solid background in digital finance. Therefore, I joined the new CEDF (Certified Expert in Digital Finance) course to expand my knowledge in the field of SME Finance and to help banks, MFI and SMEs to ensure their digital transformation.

I am confident that I will not be let down with the quality of the programme. Looking forward to continue learning and pushing my boundaries.