Ask a Boss: Launching Your Career in Global Development
This week’s letter comes from an undergraduate mentee. I’m sharing my response below, but I’m especially interested to hear from the community on this one, since 10 people will have 10 totally different paths to their global dev career!
Dear Bid Boss,
I’m an undergraduate student currently in an international studies program at a U.S. university. I’m so energized by a career in global development, but I have heard it’s a really hard field to break into and I don’t know where to begin. Other than study abroad (which I just completed for a semester) and looking for internship opportunities, what are some ways I can prepare for my career?
--Just Getting Started
Dear Getting Started,
Congratulations on finding something you’re passionate about! While you don’t need to necessarily begin to specialize at this point in your career, I do think it helps to have an angle for your approach that’s a little more targeted than the field of global dev as a whole. Begin to talk to folks in the field and explore real-world job opportunities, noting what aspects of them sound attractive to you and identifying the concrete skills you can build to position yourself. If you are a star writer, consider something like business development (not that I’m biased!). If numbers and spreadsheets are your thing, consider work in finance or costing. If there is a technical area that you are driven to learn about, there are likely opportunities available for student research or teaching assistant to dig in and gain more insights. Ideally these conversations will serve the dual purpose of building your authentic network in this field, as well.
Enjoy the journey of exploring both your own passion and the place where those passions can best be of service. The world needs more motivated question-askers like you!
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