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

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

  • Lieberman amy

    Amy Lieberman

    Amy Lieberman is the New York Correspondent for Devex. She covers the United Nations and reports on global development and politics. Amy previously worked as a freelance reporter, covering the environment, human rights, immigration, and health across the U.S. and in more than 10 countries, including Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, and Cambodia. Her coverage has appeared in the Guardian, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times. A native New Yorker, Amy received her master’s degree in politics and government from Columbia’s School of Journalism.