Ending Extreme Poverty Through Microfinance: A Chicago Booth Alumnus’ Approach - Sold Out

International Roundtable

September 20, 2012: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

The majority of microfinance-directed foreign investment currently flows to institutions where the "middle" poor live. A much smaller portion of investment flows to regions where most of the poorest of the poor – the Bottom Billion -- live. The traditional market investment model results in the majority of microfinance investment continuing to serve more of the "global middle class": the four billion people living above $1.25/day and up to $10/day or more. It does little to address the needs of the Bottom Billion.

To accelerate the provision of quality microfinance services to those who need it most – for whom access to financial services to manage meager assets and extreme vulnerability may be a matter of life and death – Tom Coleman and his team bring to market a new investment model to help bring microfinance services to more Bottom Billion people who are capable of benefiting.

For over 15 years, Booth alumnus Tom Coleman has worked with microfinance organizations including Finca International, Shorebank Corporation, Opportunity International, Grameen Foundation, and the Microfinance Information Exchange (the MIX). His consultancy work has led him to meet with microfinance professionals from all over the world and engage firsthand with issues concerning microfinance operations in the field. Plan now to learn how microfinance invests in scalable, sustainable and market-based solutions to financially empower the extremely poor.


Gleacher Center
450 Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, Illinois

Driving Directions:


300 East Illinois Street (AMC Theater-River East Self Park Garage)

$6.00 after 3:00 pm on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday for a 12-hour period

Garage: Self Park Facility

Payment: Automated; at pay-stations by cash or credit card or upon exit pay by credit card only.

To receive discounted rate: There is a card validator at the first floor security desk of the Gleacher Center. You will only need to insert your parking card in the validator and the new price will be automatically applied. When you leave the lot you will be charged for the lower $6.00 fee.

Detailed Directions:

Garage is located next to PJ Clarks and below the AMC Theater.

a) When traveling east on Illinois cross over Columbus and enter the Garage on the left (north) side of the street

b) If driving west on Grand (north of Theater), you can enter the garage ½ block before Columbus on the left (south) side of the street.


No Charge


Register Online

At times, we need to upgrade the room size to accommodate you so registering in advance helps make things go smoother.

Deadline: 9/20/2012


6:00 PM-6:30 PM: networking

6:30 PM-8:00 PM: Presentation

8:00 PM-9:00 PM: Drinks at The Midway Club, Fifth Floor

Speaker Profiles

Thomas C. Coleman (Speaker)
President and CEO, Bottom Billion Fund

Thomas Coleman is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Bottom Billion Fund. He worked as an economist at the Chicago Board of Trade for sixteen years, where he was Vice President of Research and Development. Under his lead, the CBOT sustained a record-breaking number of successful new product launches, including the first options contracts in the industry for both financial and agricultural products, as well as the first risk management systems for options. He went on to consult to the microfinance industry, providing financial and strategic expertise to world leading microfinance organizations. For over fifteen years, Thomas has worked with microfinance organizations including Finca International, Shorebank Corporation, Opportunity International, Grameen Foundation, and the Microfinance Information Exchange (the MIX). His consultancy work has led him to meet with microfinance professionals from all over the world and engage firsthand with issues concerning microfinance operations in the field. He is a regular lecturer at microfinance conferences and on university campuses. Thomas received his MBA with a specialization in Economics and Finance from the University of Chicago, where he also completed Ph.D. coursework in Economics.


Karl L. Buschmann 
847 310 0412

Other Information

Networking is a key benefit of attending. To that end, a table will be made available for literature and handouts. Bring your business cards, brochures, handbills, literature, resumes, and publicity for placement on the table.
After many years of service, Sophia Kholodenko is stepping down as Co-chair. Karl Buschmann welcomes inquiries from Booth alumni who would like to get more involved in running the International Roundtable. Responsibilities include:
--Regular attendance
--Programming: identifying interesting topics and securing speakers
--Administration: writing publicity, publicizing events through the University and roundtable email distribution list channels, and coordinating with the Alumni Office
The Illinois International Business Calendar is one of the comprehensive lists of events in the Chicago area. For a free PDF copy, send an inquiry to The calendar can also be viewed at
for Speakers?
Karl L. Buschmann
847 310 0412
To subscribe – or unsubscribe – to the International Roundtable Publicity Distribution List:
Career Management:
In transition? Looking for a job? Come to the networking session for information exchange.
Upcoming Sessions
Mark your calendar for upcoming International Roundtable sessions on the third Thursday of the month in 2012.
The Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2012
Notable & Quotable
Peter Wood on how to ask a good question, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, March 30.
Peter Wood writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, March 30:
Last Wednesday I attended a debate at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, at which three men engaged in a lively, literate, and deeply-informed exchange. After they finished and the moderator opened the floor for questions, the usual thing happened. The questioners by and large had no questions. Instead they offered up prolix piles of words that led nowhere in particular. Some sought to show off what they mistook as their own superior knowledge. Others scolded. A few got lost in their own labyrinths. The closest we came to a question was the j'accuse rhetorical jab more or less in the form, "Don't you agree that you are an ignorant buffoon?" . . .
Events open to public response these days are swamped with people who don't know how to ask questions. . . . Television and radio producers acknowledge this by filtering questions in advance or asking would-be questioners to submit their interrogatories in writing. We lose something important in this filtering. The questions that get asked are the ones moderators pick out to make their own points. We would be better served if people could ask their own coherent and pertinent questions.
Here's how. . . . You have not been invited to give a speech. Before you stand up, boil your thoughts down to a single point. Then ask yourself if this point is something you want to assert or something you want to find out.
There are exceptions, but if your point falls into the category of assertion, you should probably remain seated. "Mr. Nixon, you are unworthy of being president" is not a question. "Mr. Nixon, what else would you have done as president if Watergate hadn't gotten in the way?" is a question. . . .
Likewise, never offer up a roll call of your own facts or belabor them into a Perry Mason pseudo-question. "Mr. Malthus, are you aware that as economic development proceeds, birth rates decline, and that crop yields can be multiplied by a factor of x with the proper use of fertilizers, genetically-enhanced hybrid species, and market-based incentives?"
Weigh the usual interrogatory words in English: who, what, where, why, when. If you can begin your sentence with one of these you are more than half-way to a good question. "Who gave you that scar, Mr. Potter?" "What is a black hole, Mr. Hawking?" "Where is the Celestial City, Mr. Bunyan?" "Why are you wearing that letter, Ms. Prynne?" "When will our troops come home, Mr. Lincoln?" . . .
Don't engage in meta-speech. "I was wondering, Ms. Steinem, if I might ask you a question that I am really curious about." Go directly to the question. "Ms. Steinem, who is the man you admire the most?"