Senior Specialist

MarketShare Associates
  • Location
    Washington or Denver, D.C.
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Jun 10

Position description

Who we are:

MSA is a socially-driven global consulting firm. We provide innovative solutions for the private sector, government and civil society to improve, measure, and communicate the economic and social impacts of their investments.  We believe market dynamics have a strong impact on how people live their lives.  Our vision is to improve economic systems in order to reduce poverty. We recognize complexity and as such, use a systems approach to design solutions that work within dynamic environments. We work collaboratively with our clients, serving as brokers of creativity to help catalyze systemic change.

We take a bespoke approach to every engagement, developing tailored services for clients around action research, monitoring, strategic advisory, evaluation and thought leadership across five topic areas: market systems development, jobs and trade, economic empowerment, financial inclusion and impact investing.

Since 2009 we have worked with a wide variety of clients and partners in dozens of countries across six continents.

Our work:

At MSA, our staff build results measurement systems for development programs, social enterprises and impact investors; research power dynamics and their influence on market behaviors; train client staff to think more systemically about the problems they seek to address; pitch MSA’s services to new potential clients; write thought pieces; and brainstorm new approaches to old problems. Regardless of task, our focus on disrupting the status quo demands critical engagement.


Who we want:

MSA seeks a driven professional with strong economic development, private sector development, or market systems experience to join the team in the position of Senior Specialist, in either the Denver, Colorado or Washington, DC office, or remote location for the right person.

MSA is growing – this opportunity offers significant potential for the successful candidate to grow with us, assuming progressively greater responsibility with MSA. 


The nature of the role:

This is a full-time position that will report to a Practice Lead. For the first 6 months, the position will be about 60 - 70% technical i.e. client work; 30 - 40% business development, and 10 - 20% operational and administrative. The role is designed to support someone’s professional growth within MSA and to have the position at 80-90% technical within a 6 month period.  We hope to find someone who wants to learn quickly and grow with our firm into a more advanced technical position.


We are looking for someone who finds fulfillment in:

  • Supporting economic development and market systems differently. There are some known good practices in how to promote effective market systems. We like these. But we also believe that the best work is born of creative thinking.  We want someone who is comfortable challenging themselves to find unique and context-specific solutions to old problems. We want our team to think outside the box, pushing the boundaries of what seems possible.
  • Thought diversity.  We are mission-driven and love applying systems-thinking to our work.  Yet, we are not dogmatic and tailor our approaches to solutions that work best for our clients and draw from various development fields and perspectives.  A great fit for the team is someone who can apply creative solutions from a diversity of approaches such as from market systems, private sector development, resilience, economic growth, social inclusion, etc.
  • A focus on learning and practical application. We want someone who not only likes to learn themselves and think outside the box, but have ways to help our clients to continuously learn and utilize their data.  We need people who enjoy distilling complex approaches into simple and practical activities to match on-the-ground realities.  This means you see good data as a means to an end, to influence interventions, to influence policy, to change practice and a means to create more meaningful social impact for all.
  • Embracing complexity and adaptation. We work on a lot of projects that measure changes at the systems level.  We love this work.  In order to actively do this work, you likely enjoy seeing the bigger picture of your work, thrive in complex environments, but have the ability to quickly distill complexity into useful tools and systems in order to get things done. You also enjoy helping those around you to digest complexity and help them navigate how they can practically play their part in achieving project goals.   
  • Workshopping and co-creation. We do not do research for research’s sake.  We like action research that leads to better decision-making, project performance and eventual social impacts.  All MSA technical team members enjoy working with our partners and clients to get better results.  This means we need to be good listeners, get our partners’ buy-in and always think about how to engage with them in a process of co-creation. 
  • Being a research and data nerd.  We want someone to join the team who loves qualitative and/or quantitative research and enjoys analyzing this data.  This person loves research methods, designing surveys, good interview and focus group discussion guides, collecting data in-country, and all of the deep analysis that follows. Knowing how to do all of this from a market systems perspective is a major bonus.
  • Driving forward client relationships.  This person enjoys working with the internal team, but will spend significant time engaging and collaborating with clients. Being communicative, diplomatic and having the ability to navigate people-dynamics is critical to succeed in this role.  Previous experience having led on an assignment including leading the client relationship aspect would be preferable.
  • Time and budget management. We believe in what we do. And we know our clients rely on us to use our time wisely.  This role will manage projects, meaning guiding a team of people including MSA team members and subcontractors to complete high quality work.  Being organized and understanding project management practices like tracking level of effort and budgets is key to success in this role.
  • Working in a rapidly expanding company. Our company is small, but we are growing rapidly.  If you enjoy fast-paced working environments and engaging in strategic discussions, we are a good fit. If you are looking for a place to work with the same daily checklist and regular work, this is not the position for you.


  • Bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, international development or related field
  • At least five years of significant experience in market systems, private sector development, trade, economic growth and/or inclusive business programming in emerging economies
  • Experience providing technical support to international development projects – preferably with USAID, DFID, or a multi-lateral organization
  • Experience supporting project management functions, such as managing budgets, managing local consultants, and following donor rules and regulations
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including experience drafting reports
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work and build relationships with team members and clients from diverse backgrounds
  • Strong primary and secondary research experience including research design and implementation

Other desired characteristics:

  • Graduate degree in economics, finance or another relevant social science
  • Experience with leading private foundations, DFID, or USAID specifically in market systems development, economic development or private sector development projects
  • Experience working for a consulting firm and managing consulting projects
  • Experience designing and leading trainings
  • Proficiency in another language, preferably written and oral Arabic, French, Spanish, and/or Portuguese
  • Experience working and living in developing countries


Other information:

This is a salaried, full-time position that will report to a Practice Lead. This position will be based in Denver, Colorado, or Washington DC, or remote for the right person. It will require approximately 25-35% travel.

The salary range for this position is: $60,000 – 90,000 USD.  Where a candidate falls within this rage is based on previous years of experience and versatility i.e. number of required and desired characteristics as well as expected capability.

Application instructions

Deadline to apply is June 22, 2020. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. To apply, please send your current CV to [email protected], indicating the position title “Senior Specialist" in the subject line. If you have not heard back within 2 weeks after the application deadline, please send a follow up email to [email protected] and copy [email protected]We want to make sure no emails get lost in cyberspace!


Please also include a cover letter (maximum one page) explaining your interest in this role and answering the following questions:

  1. What do you see as the most important innovation in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning?
  2. List the three things, in order of impact, that you would bring to MSA to take us to the next level.
  3. Which of our values most resonates with you, and why?
  4. What professional achievement are you most proud of?
  5. Are you legally authorized to work in the United States? If not, where are you authorized to work?
  6. What is your location preference?
  7. What are your salary expectations for this role?
  8. Where did you learn about this role?