Senior Research Manager – MSME

Employer: LEAD at Krea University

Location: Chennai

Reporting to: Principal Economist, LEAD at Krea University

Assignment type: Full-time position

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience

About Krea University

Krea University is an emerging liberal arts institution offering multidisciplinary undergraduate programs which equip students to find their niche in the fluid, interconnected world of development. ‘Krea’ means an action-oriented approach in Sanskrit. The world-class University is home to the School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences (SIAS), IFMR Graduate School of Business and LEAD.

LEAD at Krea University

LEAD, an action-oriented research centre of IFMR Society (a not-for-profit society registered under the Societies Act), leverages the power of research, innovation and co-creation to solve complex and pressing challenges in development. LEAD has strategic oversight and brand support from Krea University (sponsored by IFMR Society) to enable synergies between academia and the research centre. LEAD is a collaborative hub that brings experts from diverse disciplines and sectors together to develop innovative solutions by harnessing innovation, technology and analytics.

About the Position

We are seeking a qualified, motivated, self-sufficient, and thorough Senior Research Manager for our MSME vertical. The main responsibility of the Senior Research Manager will be to manage and lead a portfolio of research projects under the supervision and with the support LEAD’s Principal Economist. The Senior Research Manager is expected to regularly provide project updates to the funders, research partners and other stakeholders. Apart from ensuring the diligent management of the project and the successful implementation of project activities, the Senior Research Manager is expected to lead the development of a steady stream of high-quality research outputs (briefs, articles, infographics, blog posts, etc.) from all project activities.

The successful candidate is adaptable, quick-to-learn, and comfortable working under pressure and meeting tight deadlines without compromising quality and thoroughness. She or he will also have excellent communication skills (both verbal and written) in order to be able to present their research to various stakeholders and in various national and, possibly, international platforms through a wide range of mediums.

Finally, the Senior Research Manager will support the Principal Economist to develop and expand the team’s research agenda and grow the team’s research portfolio, with the opportunity of leading/pursuing other research activities.

Roles and Responsibilities

Directing a broad research portfolio

The Senior Research Manager manages a portfolio multiple research projects under the broader theme of MSMEs & Entrepreneurship and interacts with various potential local, national and international partners.

Apart from managing the projects the Senior Research Manager will work on designing research projects, preparing research proposals, identifying sources of funding, for research studies conducted with partner organizations. As part of this responsibility, the Senior Research Manger may lead a dynamic team of Research Managers and Research Associates working on these projects.

Ensuring dissemination and policy outreach

Beyond research results, the Senior Research Manager is responsible for ensuring research results are effectively translated into practice and policy decisions. This involves conducting workshops, producing innovative dissemination material and actively engaging with practitioners, policy makers, banks and international organizations involved in the sector.

Contributing to LEAD’s management and overall strategic visioning

The Senior Research Manager will work closely with the other staffs at LEAD and the Principal Economist on overall management and strategic visioning for future work in MSME & Entrepreneurship research. S/he will participate in developing potential research ideas, identifying funding sources, and partner organizations. The Senior Research Manager will be responsible for representing LEAD at seminars, conferences, the press, and meetings with various key sector stakeholders. While taking complete ownership of some projects in the MSME & Entrepreneurship research agenda, the Senior Research Manager is an integral part of defining the direction of LEAD.

Other Responsibilities

Senior Research Manager will work closely with research, funding and implementing partner and other staffs to perform a variety tasks including, but not limited to:

  • Overseeing the implementation of the research study, in association with the partner organization on the topic of MSMEs & Entrepreneurship
  • Managing teams: Recruiting, training, and supervising the team
  • Maintaining relationship with partner institution or other at both headquarters and field levels
  • Maintaining relationship with partner academic institutions whenever required
  • Ensuring quality of data during data collection and assisting with data cleaning
  • Conducting data analysis using statistical methods
  • Identifying and collecting useful administrative data
  • Disseminating preliminary and final research results through publications, conferences, and/or innovative methods such as podcasts or blog articles
  • Take part in capacity building activities at LEAD (at least 20% of time)

Qualifications and Skills

  • Master’s Degree (or higher) in Economics, Finance, Business, Development or related field is mandatory.
  • At least 7-8 years of management and/or research experience in doing research in MSMEs in an international development context (or related fields).
  • Flexibility and ability to deal with uncertainty. Adaptability to project needs and schedules
  • Strong analytical skills and a solid understanding of quantitative research methodology
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English. Indian language skill is preferred.
  • Independent worker; takes initiative to lead and manage multiple tasks and propose solutions with minimal supervision
  • Can maintain an organized and structured work style in a fast-paced environment
  • Willing to translate research into practice for highest impacts on the ground
  • Motivated to travel to various places in India
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and willingness to interact with a wide range of individuals ranging from MFIs and NGO leaders to bankers and finance regulators
  • All nationalities can apply
  • Preferred Qualifications and Skills
  • Econometric Analysis
  • Knowledge of an Indian language
  • South Asia regional experience
  • Academic research experience
  • Familiarity with experimental research design and varied data collection methods
  • Project management and financial management
  • This position is based in Chennai- India, will require travel to other parts of India. Compensation
  • LEAD provides a highly competitive salary in the industry.

Application Instructions

  • Deadline: Applications are being accepted and reviewed until the position is filled
  • To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample.
  • Please direct queries and applications to with the title “Senior Research Manager- MSME” in the subject line.