Finca International Reviews

Updated April 15, 2015
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3.6
23 Reviews
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Rupert Scofield
10 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Finca International

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Good cause, nice people, interesting work

    Cons

    Unpaid, sometimes you work on a project that will not happen...

  2. Helpful (1)

    The most rewarding experience of my career and I would highly recommend it!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Global Communications Position in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Global Communications Position in Washington, DC

    I worked at Finca International full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Global team and mission. At FINCA you get to work with a truly diverse, global team where, despite such different backgrounds, everyone shares the same goals and mission. That may seem like a platitude, but at FINCA you will hear several languages spoken in every office (including D.C.) and will work with people from a couple dozen or more countries, but the mission is very clear and everyone is unified towards it. FINCA is also at the leading edge of the microfinance sector, as well as in new, related areas, so it is an exciting place to work, especially now.

    Kinda kumbaya, in a good way. Precisely because FINCA is such a tight-knit group with a unified mission to improve lives, FINCA is one of those rare “feel-good” places to work. There is very definitely a strong family feel here. Not in an overwhelming or cloying way, but in a supportive, warm, trusting and friendly environment where you could very likely develop some life-long friendships. (I felt like I was leaving home when I departed.) At the same time, everyone works very, very hard. But hard work well done is definitely rewarded and acknowledged throughout the organization.

    Continually new perspectives. In most positions you will have the opportunity to interact with staff working all over the world, often in remote areas of developing countries. (Literally 99% of FINCA’s staff are based “in the field” on four continents.) That global interaction is an irreplaceable, culturally enriching experience that will make you see the world in a new way. Talking with my comms and marketing colleagues in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America, and learning how each of them thought about or approached any given issue (work-related or otherwise) was fun, fascinating, eye-opening, and instructive . . . and almost a daily occurrence at FINCA. I deeply cherished that constant diversity of interaction and perspectives at FINCA, and in those interactions I made friends from around the world.

    Professional development. FINCA goes beyond most orgs to provide unique professional development opportunities that are related to the job, such as temporarily assigning staff (should they desire) to other countries to gain local experience and bring new skills to the region. FINCA has also implemented an extensive women’s initiative with very real deliverables to help women staff grow professionally. For example, they recently held an interactive webinar with about 100 FINCA staff from 20 countries exchanging ideas during an online presentation by a renowned women’s empowerment coach (who donated her time to FINCA).

    The Harvard of NGOs. FINCA hires only the very best. You will find some of the brightest minds in international development, microfinance, and the respective fields of each employee here. So while the hiring process may be extremely selective and require hard work to make the final cut (in some cases, if you are a finalist candidate you may be asked by the department manager to complete case studies or fairly extensive screening assignments), the result is one of the most high-performing teams of professionals you will ever work with or meet, in any field. This makes for an intellectually stimulating environment, but it is not for the faint-hearted. (See “Cons” #1 below)

    Cons

    Steep curves. The learning curve can be steep (depending on your department), especially if you don’t have a background in microfinance or at least in international development. This is more of a warning than a “con” in that, if you can, study up in advance. There are many good courses, books and online resources on microfinance, and they will serve you well.

    Limited travel. Because FINCA is doing everything possible to keep rates low for its microfinance clients, it has cut back considerably on operational costs like international travel. Some people appreciate not having to spend 36 hours to get to the middle of nowhere and then get on a return flight 12 hours later, but if you are looking for opportunities to do a lot of travel to far-flung places (which is in fact where FINCA’s field operations and clients are located), don’t expect to travel there on a whim or without a very good business case.

    On your own. Again, this is a con or a pro depending on what you want and your style. FINCA is itself a dynamic, global entrepreneurial venture (its founder/CEO Rupert Scofield practically invented “social entrepreneurship”; he literally wrote THE book on it, etc.), and a hyper-entrepreneurial culture is pervasive and evident at FINCA. I happen to love that kind of environment, and frankly, coming from much more conservative and bureaucratic employers it took me a while to adjust to FINCA’s welcoming world of “think it and try it!” (At first it seemed too good to be true, but it’s real and is like a Silicon Valley/Google version of an NGO.) Because so many new ideas are constantly being developed at FINCA, and new roles are often created to work on those new developments, you will not find the typical entrenched and bloated infrastructure that you may have come to rely on. So if you aren’t the kind of person who is comfortable making things happen on your own steam – and without a playbook or an extensive internal matrix to fall back on – this may not be the right place for you. But it’s a great place for the right people (and at the right time).

    Advice to Management

    Keep on doing what you’re doing!!

  3. Helpful (1)

    Social Enterprise and Financial Innovation Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Current Intern - Anonymous Intern

    I have been working at Finca International as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Working as an Intern at FINCA International enable me to learn about microfinance and social business development. I learned a lot from supervisor and teammates.

    Cons

    As a not-for-profit organization, FINCA International is not as efficient as for-profit organization. Also, salary is not optimistic.

    Advice to Management

    Increase efficiency

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  5. Non-profit run like a business

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Finca International full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -good benefits and salary
    -smart colleagues
    -travel opportunities

    Cons

    -unbalanced work/life
    -limited career growth
    -politics can consume you

  6. Working at FINCA is a risk to your career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Researcher
    Current Employee - Researcher

    I have been working at Finca International full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Working to help poor and vulnerable clients in developing their countries to improve their lives is very fulfilling. Many interesting people from all over the world with interesting stories.

    Cons

    Where to begin. Strategically adrift. Lack of clear vision from the top. Opportunities for growth are few and do not depend on your performance. Opportunities for performance are poor because you will likely not be provided with the tools you need to do your job adequately. Then you will be blamed by management for not performing. Lack of client focus leads to mediocre performance in many countries.

    Advice to Management

    Treat employees better, in order to lead to a client-focused organisation. And do it quickly.

  7. Highly Committed Hard Working People

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Finca International

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Committed to good values and principles.
    The organization is evolving in interesting directions. It is expanding its expertise and opening new lines of business. Trying to be a leader in the field and responsive to clients.

    Cons

    Perhaps a bit disorganized due to overly lean staffing. Lots of travel and unpredictable work schedules can be challenging for some employees.

  8. Temp worker

    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor

    I worked at Finca International as a contractor

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great mission, long standing organization demonstrates its ability to be flexible and work in many places.

    Cons

    Bit of confusion when dealing with the management

  9. unethical upper management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Analyst in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Finca International full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great work environment
    Smart people

    Cons

    no morals
    you will get kicked to the curb in a heartbeat!
    no loyalty

    Advice to Management

    be ashamed of your actions!!!!

  10. Great people, great mission

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director, Direct Marketing in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Director, Direct Marketing in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Finca International full-time (more than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    * FINCA gives you the opportunity to work with a group of intelligent, high-energy professionals who are committed to making the world a better place.
    * The compensation is on the low-end for non-profits in the Washington DC area ... and yes, I consider that a "PRO" ... far too many non-profits in DC pay their staff too much.
    * FINCA offers most of its employees reasonably flexible schedules and the ability to work from home (though I prefer to keep regular hours and to work out of the office).
    * FINCA gives talented employees the opportunity to advance.

    Cons

    * For some employees/positions, the travel schedule can be burdensome.
    * Formal training opportunities are extremely limited for HQ staff and mentoring is all but non-existent.

    Advice to Management

    FINCA is investing a ton of money in providing training for staff working in operations. I agree that this is where the most time and money should be spent, but it would be great if more time and resources were dedicated to improving the skill sets of HQ staff.

  11. Helpful (5)

    Stay away; there are too many well-deserving organizations needing your valuable skills and experiences.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I worked at Finca International full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - HQ offices are in a convenient location.
    - Some of the employees are extremely bright and hardworking.
    - Many of the entry-level and mid-level employees are really good people.

    Cons

    - Even if you're eligible for a performance-based bonus, if your department isn't, you don't get any bonus.
    - Employees are greatly underpaid by industry standards. While most employees consider it a problem, management is "researching" ways to address it.
    - Despite high performance reviews, there was no raise.
    - Employees are valued as much as the printers that are always breaking down.
    - Employees aren't allowed to have personal lives. Most employees complain that there is no work-life balance, so the CEO jokes that wouldn't be a problem if people just gave up one part (life) of the equation. An employee who brought his new bride to a quarterly board meeting for their honeymoon was celebrated as a committed employee. It was said that when you marry a FINCA employee, you marry FINCA.
    - Biggest con, there are serious ethical issues at this organization starting with the leadership. If you truly care about making a difference and helping others, go somewhere else.

    Advice to Management

    Get new and ethical blood into the leadership ranks.

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