New tech and more numbers: Is your global development grad program keeping pace?

By Amy Lieberman 28 July 2015

Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Administration students with their mentor at the Ford School. What should students and universities be doing to keep up with the changing demands of the global development sector? Photo by: Ford School / CC BY-ND

The Master of Development Practice program at the University of California, Berkeley, is far from Washington, D.C. and New York-based hubs for international aid, development and diplomacy.

But the distance may help students in the 4-year-old program think outside the box, according to director George Scharffenberger.

Many students are now considering jobs at startups, consulting firms, think tanks and look for opportunities at other private sector entities before seeking out gigs at well-established aid organizations. The curriculum at Berkeley’s small program follows suit, placing a heavy focus on quantitative rigor, innovation and emerging technology trends.

“We are in Silicon Valley and that whole buzz has affected us,” explained Scharffenberger in a phone interview with Devex. “We are seeing the potential of technology and information, innovative finance, global supply chains and social entrepreneurship to contribute to positive change. Our students are looking at [other] opportunities in addition to CARE or Save the Children and the like.”

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About the author

Amy Liebermanamylieberman

Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.

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