Is a breakaway from Tech consulting to economic development possible? What are your stories or stories you’ve heard? Thanks for all advice/opinion. 2 years in after college with recent promotion

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I’ve seen a few ex-consulting folks work for 2 years and exit to orgs like Grameen Bank - not sure if that’s what you’re interested in

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Usually in the development field, they want to see folks with on the ground experience doing something like Peace Corps.

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I assume by economic development you mean international development. For local/regional economic development, ie policy, there is a more straightforward exit ramp though you will still need relevant experience actually doing the work. Private sector solutions and toolkits frequently do not transfer as well to the public sector as some might think although consulting skills certainly do.

For int dev sector, you will need on-the-ground (field) experience and generally some sort of grad school qualification. These jobs are actually quite competitive despite being difficult in lots of ways and nowadays staffing rightfully favors being where the work actually is rather than doing it from afar. Much better for carbon footprint as well.

There are specialist consulting firms that do int dev (cf Dalberg, FSG, ADP practice at Accenture, Chemonics, Fintrac) but these generally do not consider you as an external hire without the international experience first.

If you are really prepared to commit to the sector and to living in a developing context, you will likely need to pick up the experience through a specialist rotational internship program (eg Kiva Fellows, CHAI, potentially some international JPO roles), including the implied pay cut. This is all enhanced if combined with a master's program.

If you are targeting big names (UN agencies including World Bank, other dev banks, BMGF) long run, you will need a masters minimum anyway to get through the door for nearly all the interesting jobs, especially if your home country doesn't participate in JPO schemes. And as I have found, in some areas a PhD is implied to open more doors.

Only direct on-ramp exception is if you get international or agency-as-client exposure directly through your current projects. Helps if you have an unusually comprehensive skill set in high demand from the tech background.

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My guess is transferrable skills alone will not earn you a spot. Either get on the ground experience (e.g. projects / secondments with relevant organizations) or relevant functional experience (e.g. PMO and apply for a PMO role)

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