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Career Insight: Education

A master’s in international development: Still necessary?

By Rebecca Webber09 April 2012

Four years ago, 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. This May, she’ll complete 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

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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