Has anyone done the Peace Corp?

This is probably a long shot, but has anyone here been in the Peace Corp or done something similar? I’m vaguely entertaining the idea, and I think now would be the only time in my life where I’ll have the opportunity without giving up too much other opportunities.

And if you get put into some sort of financial planning for community development roles, would that satisfy CFA work requirements?

My friend did Peace Corps in Africa before going to graduate school. Joining Peace Corps, in my opinion, is like buying a Lotus Elise. If you have to think about the decision at length, then don’t do it. Digging ditches in mosquito ridden, politically unstable areas is not fun or glamarous. It’s not worth it unless you truly believe in the economic rationality of sending college educated US people to do manual labor in Third World countries (among other things).

Also, satisfying CFA work experience is quite possibly the worst thing to consider when making this kind of decision.

I don’t think manual labor is common for most of the Peace Corp programs. The particular ones I’ve looked in are community development, financial planning for enterprise development, teaching English, etc. I wouldn’t mind doing manual labor if I knew it was making a serious contribution to society, however.

Haha I figured fulfilling the CFA work experience was a long shot, but worth the ask.

Did your friend go straight to grad school after Peace Corp? Does the Peace Corp experience help in regards to admission to grad programs like MBA?

Peace corps sounds really interesting with the one problem being it’s unpaid…

wait, does it at least provide all the food, clothing, housing??

Yes, food clothing housing is provided. And I think you get a per-diem stipend as well.

There used to be something where you get a small lump sum at the end, but it’s not the amount that would make anyone decide to do it for the money. I think it’s more to give you some money to cushion your transition back to regular life. I don’t know if they still do that.

And I don’t think there’s all that much manual labor anymore, unless you specifically say that you’re open to it or would like to do something fairly physical.

They still give you $7,425 once you finish the 27 months. The money isn’t really a concern or even a bonus for me. If I do it, it’s for the cause and maybe grad school prospects. I couldn’t care less about the money.

That part has always confused me. I also feel similarily about Teach for America.

My grandmother (technically my step-grandmother - she married my grandfather later) was one of the first peace corps volunteers. She’d just lost her husband to cancer and wanted a change of scene. I believe she was in her mid or late 50s at the time, and she went to Tunisia to work on some kind of education project. She said it was a great experience for her.

There are people in this world that are not driven by money you know… College educated doesn’t mean your goal in life is to find a stable job and make lots of money. If some people find self-purpose is to serve those in need with their physical bare hands, then so be it.

You seem to have really interesting stories in your family. Do you have an unsually large family or really successful people? haha.

Absolutely. As cliche as it may sound, I really want to use a good amount of my lifetime to help the less fortunate, and contribute to something greater than just myself and my desires. Whether my contribution would be worthwhile is up for debate. But what’s important to me is that I’m able to build on something that someone else started, and hopefully more people would build off what I will do.

I’ve been considering working in something that builds a stronget network of micro-lending in developing countries. Maybe Peace Corps could give me some influence and motivation in that regard.

There are a number of great reasons to do Peace Corps:

  • To help you get into an elite MBA program
  • To impress the ladies
  • To have an interesting life experience
  • To feel good about yourself

But if your goal is to actually HELP PEOPLE in developing nations, it’s an incredibly inefficient way to do so.

If you actually want to improve the world, follow the Bill Gates / Warren Buffett model: be as successful as you can in business, and then donate a portion of the money carefully, where it will do the most good.

I suspect that a single donation of $5000 would do FAR more good in the developing world, than would a donation of two years of a young american’s time.

Why is the Peace Corps so sought after by elite MBAs anyways?

I’m not sure, but I have a handful of theories, including:

  1. It’s great for a b-school’s statistics when students go from a $10,000 pre-MBA salary to a $100,000 post-MBA salary.

  2. Business school admissions essays about adventures in Congo are more interesting to read than the average essay.

The schools seen to have a similar affinity for veterans of the U.S. military.

Between my wife and I, we have several members of the extended family that are Peace Corp babies. Apparently there’s not a lot to do for entertainment when you’re not working.