Money matters in any organisation. One college has been producing the right professionals armed with the necessary checks and balances.
In today’s competitive world, proper financial management in development work has become an issue of great importance for institutions to effectively mobilise the available resources to achieve intended results. With the increasing project-based activities, BFIs, government and non-government agencies alongside corporate houses have been focusing on strengthening the development aspect of their financial management. Nevertheless, university level programmes related to development finance are scarce creating difficulties for institutions to get skilled workers.
To narrow this gap, National College affiliated to Kathmandu University (KU) introduced a Bachelor’s in Development Finance (BDFin) with an aim to produce financial analysts, development entrepreneurs and researchers. “The programme is designed focusing more on development aspects like management, entrepreneurship, finance and development,” says Madhav Prasad Neupane, Principal of National College. “The programme is different from other management programmes as BDFin enhances and develops business proposal writing and research skills.”
According to Mandeep Singh Basnyat, a BDFin graduate from the college, the practical approach of the programme exposed him to the different aspects of management. Basnyat who is currently working at telecom services provider Ncell as a Specialist at the company’s New Business Unit finds that the multiple approach of the course helped him to understand micro and macroeconomics.
National College has been running the BDFin since 2008. According to Neupane, the main objective of BDFin is to teach socio-economic development studies linking it with the financial management and entrepreneurial skills of the students.
“The programme takes a multi-sectoral approach with a special focus on development financing with the study of core management subjects,” outlines Ukesh Raj Bhuju, Director (Academics) of National College. Students can pursue their Master’s degree in any business related programme after becoming graduates of BDFin.
With Nepal adopting an open market policy after the political change of 1990, many BFIs began to establish themselves in the country. This situation led to the start of various management related university level courses. Later, cooperative financial, microfinance companies and activities of development agencies increased in the country creating a demand for courses related to financial management in the development sector. However, such courses did not exist.
“There were no courses to provide students with the insights on the financing aspects of development and investment in the country’s potential sectors,” Bhuju points out. He further says that the course was conceptualised to bolster financing in areas such as agriculture, hydropower and tourism, sectors that could notably aid in the economic development of the country. “Observing the need of qualified and skilled human resource, we designed the course and forwarded a proposal to KU. After receiving approval from the university, we started the programme in 2008,” informs Bhuju.
At present, BDFin offers a comparative advantage to students as there are no similar programmes being run by Nepali colleges. The four-year programme is divided into eight semesters including a 60-day internship in the first semester of the fourth year. Each semester runs for 16 weeks with the programme covering a total of 131 credit hours altogether.
The syllabus of the first semester of the first year of the course includes Microeconomics, English I (Writing and Vocabulary), Financial Accounting, Nepali I (Grammar and Writing), Linear Algebra, Concept and Theories of Development. While in the second semester, students are required to study Oral and Poster Presentation, Macroeconomics, English II (Literature), Financial Management I (Concept), Calculus and Application, Nepali II (Literature and research) and Statistics. Similarly, the first semester of the second year is composed of Business Communications, Nepalese Financial System and Regulations, Financial Management II (Skills and Techniques), Principle of Management, Organizations and Human Behaviors and Statistics II (Applied). Likewise, students are required to study Monetary Economics, Introduction to Econometrics, Taxation and Applied Accounting, Financial Market and Institutions, Investment and Financial Instruments and Marketing Management.
Likewise, the first semester of the third year includes Human Resource Management and Development, Public Finance and Economic Assessment, Micro Enterprise and Microfinance, International Finance, E-commerce and Risk and Insurance. Meanwhile, Disaster Management, Research Methodology, Private Sector Development, Natural Resource Economics, International Trade and Project Management are taught in the second semester of the third year. Coming to the fourth year, students get opportunities to work practically as interns in different companies and organisations. They are also learn Business Proposal Development and Writing, Integrated Project Impact Assessment and Elective I. The fourth year’s second semester composes of Project Work, Regional Financial System and Services and Elective II.
While conventional management programmes such as BBA and BBS focus on administrative areas, BDFin is focused on financial management through a development perspective. “With the recent amendment in the course, we also teach students about energy finance and management and cooperatives management that are timely and possess high scope in a country like Nepal,” Bhuju states. He adds that the college has been emphasising more on research as students will get a chance to test the theories practically.
BDFin is a multidisciplinary course that covers wide areas of management enabling students to acquire knowledge in both technical and financial areas. Graduates can choose to become entrepreneurs while also opt to work in NGOs/INGOs and development agencies. “Our students are also working in the corporate sector, trading houses and have been performing very well.” Some have also have gone abroad for further studies as well.
According to Bhuju, most BDFin graduates have been offered jobs at the organisations where they have worked as interns. “Our graduates are regarded as good performers by all employers where they have interned or are working.” He states that the job guarantee is 100 percent for BDFin students after the completion of their programme.
National College principal Neupane informs that 40 percent of the students are working in the banking sector and the rest are engaged in microfinance and development organisations. “Our students are also working in microfinance projects promoted by development organisations such as the UNDP,” he says.
The college takes admission in 40 seats in one intake. Students completing their higher secondary level from any faculty can apply to the programme. Students are required to go through an entrance exam held by KU and interview in the process of enrollment.
The total fee of the BDFin programme is around Rs 500,000.
National College located at Baluwatar runs the programme in morning shifts from 6:45 to 10:15.
Having gone through the article 'BDFin: The Right Tools for the Job' published in the 'New Business Age', I am very much liked the academic program. According to the Principal, Madhav Neupane and the Academic Director, Ukesh Bhuju of the National College, this program is very popular among the Bachelor level students almost all over the country. Besides this program, there are other two equally famous academic programs Bachelor in Development Studies (BDevS) and Bachelor of Social Sciences ( BoSS) at the same college.