Vikram began working in rural India two decades ago. He started his development career in 1990 as a community organizer of women’s self-help groups for the Deccan Development Society, a non-profit working in rural Andhra Pradesh, India. He then joined the World Watch Institute in Washington DC as a researcher, where he wrote articles on poverty and development. As a Fulbright Scholar in India in 1994-95, Vikram led on a government-funded action-research project that provided micro-credit to poor farmers for food security.
After extensive research based on field work and graduate study, Vikram founded SKS Microfinance as a non-profit in late 1997. He led the organization until 2004, when he joined McKinsey & Company in Chicago as a management consultant. In 2005, he returned to SKS when it converted to a for-profit company and led it from serving just thousands of poor women borrowers in one state in India to 7 millions across the country by 2010. Vikram subsequently left the company in 2011.
He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and English from Tufts, an M.A. in International Relations from Yale, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He is the author of the forthcoming book A Fistful of Rice; My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty Through Profitability.
Vikram has received several awards for his work with SKS, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in India (Business Transformation in 2010; Start-up in 2006), the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader award (2008), Social Entrepreneur of the Year in India (2006), and the Echoing Green Public Service Entrepreneur Fellowship (1998-2002). In 2006, Vikram was named by TIME Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people and was also featured on the front page of Wall Street Journal.