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International Development

A post on Top-Consultant’s Forum  for management consultants asked for advice on moving out of industry and in to international development consultancy.

Here’s my response.

You’re not alone in wanting to move into international development consultancy. It seems to be the current career path of choice – along with setting up your own business – for Millenials.

But you’ll need more on your CV than just a gap year digging a well in an African village.

Having a Masters in development economics, development studies or similar is pretty much the basic entry requirement. You correctly identify the LSE, but there are a number of other good UK and US schools .

Switching straight out of industry isn’t recommended. Most of the work you’ll be doing is with foreign governments, so central government experience is better. Or coming from a UN graduate programme. Or out of a heavyweight development charity. Or a mainstream consultancy which offers development work (eg Accenture).

There are plenty of international development consultancies operating from London, attracted here for a share of the UK’s international development budget of £12bn. Take a look at DFID’s website for the various programmes, and the consultancies on its suppliers’ list. Some of them hire at a junior level. Try approaching them and see what they make of you. You might be lucky. Or investigate the ODI Fellowship scheme, or Tony Blair’s AGI

Before pressing the send button, however, consider:

  • Salaries are lower than mainstream management consultancy.
  • Projects are in ’fragile and post-conflict  states’.

If those drawbacks are not dealbreakers for you, then I think you’ll find international development consultancy personally and professionally rewarding.  And there are long-term career prospects in a sector which, sadly, will only get bigger.

You can view some of the roles we’re handling in the sector here.

Or get in touch via , 020 7419 0909 / + 44 207 419 0909

Catriona looks at the appointment of Laura Kuenssberg as Political Editor of the BBC………

The recent appointment of Laura Kuenssberg as the Political Editor of the BBC attracted considerable media attention, mainly because she is the first woman to be appointed to this role.

Predictably there has been much discussion around the diversity angle; however it caught my attention for several other reasons too. Firstly, I like to see Scottish people do well in life! Secondly, it is interesting to note that Laura left the BBC in 2011 to join ITV and then returned to The BBC on Newsnight in 2014.

It set me thinking about the question – “Is it a good idea to return to a former employer?” Certainly, in this instance it has worked in Laura’s favour and from my window on the world in BLT Towers I have seen people leave and then very successfully return to an employer at a later stage in their career. I have also seen people return only to quickly realise why they left in the first instance!

What do you think folks? Have you ever returned to a previous employer and with what results? Would you consider doing so? Or is it better to leave, take your friendships with you and move on never to return? Let us know your thoughts …….


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