Great question! and I'm glad you're thinking about this well in advance. I have worked in the economic development space so I can tell you a bit about how to prepare. I actually got a phd in economics and then went to India and did research on economic development policies, conducting large field experiments. It was a great experience to see whether certain policies are impacting people on the ground or not.
I'm going to give you a few suggestions on how you should go about preparing yourself to work in the economic development domain:
Anand recommends the following next steps:
- Here are a few organizations you should research that do economic development work across the world- povertyactionlab.org, innovations for poverty action, world bank, 3ieimpact.org
- As an undergraduate, it would be great if you could connect with a professor at your school who does research on economic development. See if you can be a research assistant (RA) for any project with him/her. Being an RA will probably be towards your junior year when you've had some chance to take upper level courses.
- Take a few courses that deal with measurement and analysis such as statistics and econometrics. These are good skills to have. Many of the organizations may give you a test in a software called STATA.
- Lastly, volunteer at a place that helps the economically disadvantaged groups in your community. Having this experience will show that you have a passion for making an impact on people's lives.