A master's in international development: Still necessary?

By Rebecca Webber09 April 2012

Graduates of Georgia Tech. Photo by: Will Folsom / CC BY

In 2008, Madalina Pruna landed an internship with the European Commission. Charged with assessing the impact of Chinese investment in Africa, she traveled to sub-Saharan Africa for her research.

“My first observation was that most of the people working in bilateral or multilateral development organizations had a master’s degree – either in international relations, international development or development economics,” she recounts. “My second observation was that I needed a better framework for my work.”

Spurred by these two insights, Pruna, a Romanian citizen, decided to go back to school even though she already had a bachelor’s in marketing and a master’s in communications. In May of 2012, she completed her master’s in international development at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“I think it is becoming more and more of a requirement,” she says, “which is frustrating.”

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About the author

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Rebecca Webber

Rebecca Webber is a Devex correspondent based in New York City. A graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she has covered news, women's issues, politics, health and personal finance for publications such as Psychology Today, Parade, More, Real Simple and Glamour. She also teaches writing for Mediabistro.


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