A Microfinance Institution Simulator

Developed for Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government by Gary B. Hirsch (Creator of Learning Environments) and Jay K. Rosengard, Guy Stuart, and Don E. Johnston, Jr. (Kennedy School)

SymBanc™ V.1 is the new simulation application that teaches the principles of successful microfinance management. Dynamic, highly interactive, and flexible, SymBanc™ allows users to make a wide range of decisions and see the consequences over time. Management choices include:

  • identification of the target market and design of loan and savings products;
  • staffing and allocation of complimentary resources;
  • creation, maintenance, and expansion of a branch network; and
  • optimization of funds mobilization and utilization.

The objective of each simulation is to achieve performance targets defined by the user, such as financial sustainability, customer outreach, or market coverage. After specifying basic Market Conditions, users advance the simulation, moving back and forth between the Decision Screens and the Results Screens and adjusting management decisions as appropriate. SymBanc™ can be used either individually or in small groups.

SymBanc™V.1 is only the first stage in the development of the microfinance simulator. SymBanc™V.2 will mirror the complex operating environment of microfinance institutions even more closely and will include enhancements such as:

  • an expanded range of potential clients and products;
  • a greater variety of market and regulatory environments; and
  • more forms of institutional organization and governance.

SymBanc™ V.2 will also include built-in teaching material and will be accessible over the World Wide Web. We invite you to participate in the development of SymBanc™ by trying it and giving us your suggestions for future enhancements. We would also be pleased to answer any questions you might have. Please contact Gary Hirsch at with feedback or inquiries. Enjoy!

Click here to download the simulation | User Manual (pdf)

SymBanc is part of the curriculum for HKS Executive Education training program, Financial Institutions for Private Enterprise Development