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.”