The Program

The Emerging Markets Development Advisers Program is a fellowship sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). EMDAP is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE), the largest private, not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange agency in the United States.

EMDAP is an opportunity for current students and recent graduates of MBA/MA/MPP or other graduate studies programs (from both foreign and domestic universities) focused on international management/ finance/development or international affairs/studies to provide management assistance to various USAID-assisted entities in emerging markets.

EMDAP Advisers contribute to development in emerging market countries by using their knowledge of management practices to identify solutions in diverse situations. This contributes to achieving USAID’s objectives abroad—specifically, broad-based economic development.


EMDAP Advisers are awarded a grant that includes the following:

  • Monthly living allowance
  • Monthly housing allowance
  • Monthly transportation allowance
  • Language training where necessary
  • Health insurance
  • Round-trip airfare from the US to the host country
  • Option to the use of a laptop computer for the duration of their assignment
  • Other allowances that vary from country to country


  • One-year professional, hands-on work experience in an emerging market
  • The unique opportunity to network with international organizations and NGOs
  • Immersion in an overseas culture for one year
  • Enhance professional opportunities to work with USAID and its implementing partners

Eligibility & Timeline

Applicants are required to possess:

  • U.S. citizenship
    • Note: Non-US citizens are eligible applicants only if EMDAP has a position in their country of nationality.
  • A minimum of 2-3 years of work experience in such areas as: project management, marketing, social services, finance, Peace Corps, NGO or private sector experience, consulting, etc.
  • Be recent graduates (within 5 years) of a graduate studies program (MA, MBA, MPP, MIA, JD, etc.) OR current students who will have completed their first year of graduate coursework. Graduates and students from both foreign and U.S. universities are eligible if the university is accredited and offers an accredited program in international management/ finance/development, international affairs/studies or related subjects.
  • University approval for leave between the first and second years of the applicant's graduate program and the university’s endorsement of the applicant's candidacy if he/she will still be enrolled in the academic institution at the time of the assignment.

What is the typical timeline for the application process?

Once an assignment has been announced, interested candidates should submit their application, resume and recommendation letters within the specified time period. Applications will be reviewed by an EMDAP selection committee, and top candidates will have an in-person or phone interview with committee members. Selected candidates will then be considered by USAID, the implementing partner and the host organization for final selection. The exact timeline for recruitment and selection will depend on the needs of the assignment.

Who are the Selection Committee members?

The Selection Committee is composed of EMDAP Alumni and International development professionals who are prominent in the fields covered by the EMDAP Fellowship and actively involved in international relations. Please note that the decision of whom to move on to the interview stage of the fellowship is made solely at the discretion of the Selection Committee members.

What is the duration of the program?

Typical assignments run for 12 months.


To prepare Advisers for their assignments, IIE conducts a one week pre-departure orientation in August/September. During the orientation, Advisers become familiar with USAID, its mission and operation. They also participate in cross-cultural training, discuss logistical and settling-in issues, gather country and assignment-relevant information through research and meetings with USAID and other agency officials. Successful completion of the orientation is a prerequisite for participating in the EMDAP. Adviser in-country orientation, general settling-in assistance and ongoing support is provided by in-country supervisors identified by IIE in each host country.

EMDAP is designed to provide technical support in management practices to overseas organizations. By targeting assistance to the requirements of small to medium sized organizations that serve them, EMDAP supports the USAID strategy of human resource capacity building as an essential element for broad based, sustainable economic growth.

EMDAP staff in Washington work closely with USAID missions and host organizations to review candidate qualifications and match them with appropriate work assignments. Each Adviser serves for 10/12 months, sometimes longer, providing professional assistance to middle and upper management. Placements are made where USAID is present in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Eurasia.

Positions are based within local organizations and USAID implementing partners at the middle and upper managerial levels in such areas as:

  • Financial planning and cost control
  • Loan portfolio tracking and analysis
  • Production efficiency, inventory systems and quality control
  • Marketing, sales and import/export
  • Human resource development/management
  • Information systems and database management
  • Strategy development/implementation
  • Property development
  • Policy Analysis & Coordination
  • Public/Private Partnership Alliances


At the end of the assignment, Advisers still enrolled in a degree program return to complete course work at their respective university. This campus period provides opportunity for returned Advisers to share their impressions of working in a developing country with colleagues and professors.

Advisers who have already completed their degree program often choose to stay on to continue work in their host country upon completion of their EMDAP assignment or choose careers avenues with NGO, private or governmental organizations.

Application Documents

To join the EMDAP mailing list and receive notifications of potential assignments, please send a copy of your resume to Application materials will be distributed and posted when an assignment has been announced.

Applicant FAQs

EMDAP assignments vary year by year and are determined by the response of USAID field missions abroad. Usually, assignments span the globe, and EMDAP is able to place more than one adviser in each of the four world regions: Africa; Asia & the Near East; Europe & Eurasia; and Latin America & the Caribbean.

Q. When do the assignments take place?

A. Assignments can take place anytime there is a need for an EMDAP Adviser. However, traditionally most assignments begin in the fall.

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Q. What kind of companies do Advisers work with?

A. Assignments range from working with a growing NGO in Central America on human resource policy to marketing tourism for a small business in Amman, Jordan, to establishing international standards for shrimp exports in Bangladesh. Each organization brings provides a broad knowledge of financial, commercial and marketing techniques along with the willingness to learn from the assigned EMDAP Adviser. Often, Advisers work with non-profit foundations and non-governmental organizations who serve the local business community. Usually their role is to assist in the managerial development of these organizations and to aid integration and cooperation with local businesses and business-serving organizations.

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Q. What kind of features & benefits does the program offer?

A. Advisers are awarded a grant that covers: monthly living expenses; housing; language training where necessary; health insurance and one round-trip airfare from the US to the host country. They are also provided with the use of a laptop computer for the duration of their assignment. Other allowances vary from country to country. Benefits of an EMDAP assignment include:

  • Gain one year professional, hands-on work experience in an emerging market.
  • Benefit from the unique opportunity to network with international businesses and NGOs.
  • Immersion yourself in the overseas culture.
  • Enhance professional opportunities to work with USAID and its implementing partners.

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Q. Typically what kind of skills do advisers have?

A. Advisers come from diverse backgrounds though most share some of the following experience and training:

  • Graduate study in international affairs or management including international business, finance, economics, development, or NGO management;
  • International and/or overseas study or work experience with NGO's, private business, or the Peace Corps;
  • Foreign language skills;
  • Adaptability to a developing world - from business to social environment;
  • Interpersonal skills;
  • Interest and desire to learn and share experiences;

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Q. Is a foreign language required to apply to EMDAP?

A. A foreign language is not always requirement for EMDAP. English is often the chosen business language in the host organizations. However, some locations require a fluency in a second language (e.g. Latin America and various locations in Africa).

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Q. Does EMDAP offer any opportunities when advisers return home from assignment?

A. Upon return from the EMDAP assignment, there will be opportunities for creating linkage and contacts with USAID networks, including a debriefing meeting at USAID to present your assignment experience. EMDAP does not guarantee any sort of placement after the assignment is completed, but USAID shows great interest and preference to EMDAP alumni for continuing work and possible employment upon completion of an assignment. USAID implementing partners often make contact even before the completion of assignments to outstanding performers.

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Q. I have already completed my graduate degree a year ago; do I still need to submit a school endorsement form as part of the application?

A. If, at the time of your application, you have completed your graduate degree, you do not need to submit a school endorsement form. This form is only for enrolled students who will be taking a year off from their graduate program at the time of the assignment.

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Q. How are student loans handled during the time of my assignment? Are they given deferral status since I’m still a student but working abroad?

A. EMDAP can only provide a written letter verifying an Adviser's participation in the program and cannot sign paperwork download from various loan originating sites. Please check with your loan provider to ensure a verification letter will suffice to defer your student loans.

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