Katrina Noyes is a current fellow of the Emerging Markets Development Advisors Program in Jordan. EMDAP is a unique opportunity for students and recent graduates to contribute to emerging market business development by using their knowledge of business management practices to identify business solutions in diverse situations. MBA/MA students and graduates of International Development/Relations programs spend one year abroad in a developing country to work on a USAID project or directly with a community development organization. With the EMDAP application deadline approaching on May 25, 2012, we thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Katrina about her experience.
1. Why did you decide to apply for the Emerging Markets Development Advisors Program?
After working in finance and consulting in the U.S. for four years, I decided to redirect my career toward non-profit work. I completed my master’s degree and then began looking for professional opportunities that would provide me with international field experience in community development. EMDAP is focused on doing just that. I also had the flexibility that the program requires – when applying, you do not know what country or organizations you will be matched with. Moreover, EMDAP is implemented by a well-known organization and offers a cost-of-living stipend, health insurance, and language training.
I spent my first year with EMDAP at one of the King Hussein Foundation’s projects in the south of Jordan – the Aqaba Micro Business Incubator – where I worked directly with micro-entrepreneur clients. I decided to reapply to EMDAP for a second year to continue to learn about the Foundation and non-profit management from its main office in Amman, Jordan’s capital.
2. What do you think made your application stand out?
I believe that I have a good mix of technical skills, business knowledge, and academic experience related to international development. I made it clear in my cover letter and interviews that I am patient, flexible, and enthusiastic. These are three qualities that have helped me deal with both work and professional challenges in Jordan. I also made sure to thoroughly understand the job description for each position I interviewed for and give specific examples of work that I have done related to desired qualifications.
3. What tips would you give others applying for the Emerging Markets Development Advisors Program?
It is important that your resume is clear and, when possible, you should quantify your successes. Any examples of proposal writing and fundraising are always interesting to non-profit organizations that depend on donors. In interviews, show that you have a strong interest in working in other cultures and make sure you are able to articulate how the program relates to your short-term and long-term goals. For EMDAP, your resume should show you have diverse skills and interests that would be valuable to organizations working in different fields.
Finally, if you are interested in programs like EMDAP, you can apply in more than one year. Your chances of being hired will change from year to year depending on the positions available.
As an EMDAP fellow, Katrina Noyes works with the King Hussein Foundation in Amman, Jordan. She has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Colby College and a master’s degree in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute.
© Victoria Johnson 2012, all rights reserved.