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FinTech: INSEAD, LBS, HEC Paris Are Pushing MBA Class Diversity With Prodigy Finance

The innovative crowdfunding platform provides international students with the loans they need to study abroad

In an increasingly globalized world, diversity is a crucial feature of any top MBA program.

Business schools are always looking to increase the percentage of international students. Yet, with banks reluctant to lend internationally, many students can’t get the loans they need to study abroad.

Prodigy Finance provides high-potential MBA and masters students with international post-graduate loans, widening the applicant pool for business schools and supporting student diversity.

Founded by three INSEAD MBA graduates, the financial technology – fintech - firm’s borderless, peer-to-peer lending model brings a global community of private investors and business school alumni together with students at the world’s top tier business schools.

“Prodigy know their clients, and they’re responsive to their needs,” says Irina Schneider-Maunoury, INSEAD’s associate director of financial aid.

A close relationship with Prodigy has helped to sustain the wide diversity of INSEAD’s MBA classes. In 2015, INSEAD was ranked as the most diverse school in the world by GraduatePrograms.com. Its MBA class is 95% international; made up of 78 different nationalities.


Irina (pictured right) is delighted with the crowd-funder’s contribution: “Prodigy Finance embraces the diversity of MBA classes,” she says. “It’s a much needed platform and a great source of funding for international students.”

Since its foundation in 2007, Prodigy Finance has processed more than $140 million in loans, funding over 4000 business school students of 112 different nationalities. Its repayment rate is in excess of 99%.

“Prodigy allows us to attract amazing international talent with very specific financial needs,” says Mathieu Cotton, associate director of MBA admissions at French Grande École HEC Paris, where over 92% of MBA students are international.

HEC Paris has a uniquely quick admissions process. Aspiring MBA students have less than 5 weeks - between application and admission - to source their funding, causing problems for some traditional loan providers.

“Prodigy Finance is good enough and fast enough to answer all our participants’ queries within our admissions deadline,” says Mathieu.

With Prodigy’s loans, the HEC Paris MBA is able to attract students from under-represented countries where economies are unstable and banks unwilling to lend. Out of last year’s 131-strong September intake, 30 students were funded by Prodigy loans. In January, Prodigy funded 18 students out of an intake of 69.


Since Mathieu (pictured left) first came across Prodigy in early 2014, he’s noticed an increase in HEC MBA participants from Africa, Latin America and some parts of Europe: “We’ve had students coming from Ukraine and Nigeria who were able to do the MBA because of Prodigy Finance,” he says.

Helen Foley, senior manager for financial aid at London Business School (LBS), is similarly impressed. When the school first introduced Prodigy to its students in 2013, loans were limited to MBA and masters in finance students. Today, LBS students on any program are eligible to borrow full tuition fees.

“Demand has grown year on year,” she says. “Now, just over 200 students are borrowing each year.”

Helen was drawn by the platform’s innovative business model, which sees loans communally funded by former business school students. She enjoys a collaborative working relationship with an MBA-founded company which truly understands the business school market.

Plus, Prodigy’s predictive lending model, which provides loans to students based on their future earning potential rather than their current credit rating, is popular at a school where MBA candidates can expect their salaries to increase by 100% after graduation according to the Financial Times’ Global MBA Ranking 2016.


“Having Prodigy as an option means our students are able to do something that otherwise wouldn’t be open to them,” says Helen (pictured right).

The LBS MBA has an international student make-up of over 90% with more than 60 different nationalities in the class.

“As a global school, we’ve always had an international student body and recruited from around the world,” Helen explains. “That’s something that Prodigy Finance has allowed us to continue to do.”

Prodigy Finance Ltd is an appointed representative of BriceAmery Capital Limited which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This document has been issued by BriceAmery Capital Limited as a Financial Promotion under Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.


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