10 February 2011

How to Get a Job in International Development

I just spoke on a panel to some Yale undergrads on this very subject, along with some real people, as if I was some kind of real person too! Mainly because about 12 of my more accomplished colleagues couldn’t make it, but I will totally grab almost any opportunity to blather about international development.
My main message was basically “study economics.” Not only is it a fun gratifying subject which will teach you lots about the world, and specifically about the question of why some people are rich and some people are so poor, but it also happens to be quite good for getting jobs.
Specifically, economics degrees can get you jobs with the British Government, the Government of Southern Sudan, and Innovations for Poverty Action, just like me, amongst many other glittering career options.
My other message was, “ok fine, if you don’t want to study economics, then a) learn some kind of useful skill, and b) just go.”
“Just go” sounds a bit scary but I know so many people for whom it has worked out, in all sorts of different jobs, and really what do you have to lose?
Thankfully the panel all pretty much agreed. With perhaps the exception of my passion for economics.
For more good advice, go and read through Dave Algoso’s collection of career advice from smart people like Chris Blattman and Alanna Shaikh.


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