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International Development Consultancy

#1 International Development Consultancy
08/08/2015 11:17



I am currently working in industry (1 year out of University) but am looking for a switch into consultancy. What is really attracting me is the field of international development. I love the idea of working with governments to solve real world problems whilst living in a foreign country for extended periods of time.

These are the kind of companies I have been looking at:

From what I can gather it seems that most people go into this field after some substantial experience in other fields such as consultancy or working for an NGO.

Does anyone have any experience in, or knowledge of, the industry or have any advice as to how I should proceed?

I have started the process of applying directly however a lot seem to say a masters degree in Economics or similar is required.

Is it worth doing a diploma and then a masters in economics (2 more years studying), like this:

or just get stuck in get into consultancy (or another industry) and get experience that way

Thanks in advance

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#2 RE: International Development Consultancy
20/08/2015 16:11

Don Leslie to Sidetracked (#1)

You’re not alone in wanting to move into international development consultancy. It seems to be the current career path of choice – along with setting up your own business – for Millenials.

But you’ll need more on your CV than a gap year digging a well in an African village.

Having a Masters in development economics, development studies or similar is pretty much the basic entry requirement. You correctly identify the LSE, but there are a number of other good UK and US schools.

Switching straight out of industry isn’t recommended. Most of the work you’ll be doing is with foreign governments, so central government experience is better. Or coming from a UN graduate programme. Or out of a heavyweight development charity. Or a mainstream consultancy which offers development work (eg Accenture).

There are plenty of international development consultancies operating from London, attracted here for a share of the UK’s international development budget of £12bn. Take a look at DFID’s website for the various programmes, and the consultancies on its suppliers’ list. Some of them hire at a junior level. Try approaching them and see what they make of you. You might be lucky. Or investigate the ODI Fellowship scheme, or Tony Blair’s AGI

Before pressing the send button, however, consider:

Salaries are lower than mainstream management consultancy.

Projects are in ’fragile and post-conflict states’.

If those drawbacks are not dealbreakers for you, then I think you’ll find international development consultancy personally and professionally rewarding. And there are long-term career prospects in a sector which, sadly, will only get bigger.

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#3 RE: International Development Consultancy
09/09/2015 23:24

Sidetracked to Don Leslie (#2)

Hello Don Leslie,

I would first of all like to express how grateful I am that you have taken the time to reply to my question and am sorry that it has taken me this long to respond.

I must say that I was somewhat surprised to see that you responded to my post as, funnily enough, it was your job advertisements and videos on the BLT website that first got me acquainted with this industry.

To answer your question as to whether a lower salary or working in 'fragile post conflict states' is a deal breaker for me, it certainly is not. In fact I feel like my interests have slowly been steering towards this industry without even knowing it exists.

I would not have initially contacted you as I am fully aware that you do not really deal at graduate level and surely have not got the time to talk to every graduate that wants to get started in this industry, however, I would be immensely grateful if you would be so kind as to answer a few more questions I have in regards to how you think I could get into this industry.

Kind Regards

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