In a nutshell: India and Russia seem likely to become increasingly important over the next few decades — politically, militarily, economically, and technologically. Because of this, we expect that helping Western institutions better cooperate with Russian and Indian actors might be highly impactful, especially if you’re early in your career (and therefore able to spend the next decade developing relevant expertise and advancing your career).
Sometimes recommended — under-researched
This career is potentially high-impact, but we haven't yet researched it enough to recommend it confidently.
Based on a shallow investigation
Why might becoming a Russia or India specialist be high impact?
We’ve argued that because of China’s political, military, economic, and technological importance on the world stage, helping Western organisations better understand and cooperate with Chinese actors might be highly impactful.
We think working with China represents a particularly promising path to impact. But a similar argument could be made for gaining expertise in other powerful nations, for example Russia or India. If you’re at the beginning of your career, it may even be valuable to think about which countries are most likely to be particularly influential in a few decades, and focus on gaining expertise there.
This is likely to be a better option for you if you are from one of these countries, or have spent a substantial amount of time there. The best paths to impact here likely require deep understanding of the relevant cultures and institutions, as well as language fluency (e.g. at the level where you might be able to write a newspaper article about longtermism in the language).
If you are not from one of these countries, one way to get started might be to pursue area or language studies (one source of support available for US students is the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships Program), perhaps alongside economics or international relations. You could also start by working in policy in your home country and slowly concentrate more and more on issues related to the country you want to focus on, or try to work in philanthropy or directly on a top problem there.
There are likely many different promising options in this area, both for long-term career plans and useful next steps. Some of the options laid out in our article on becoming a specialist in China could have promising parallels in other countries as well.
Want one-on-one advice on pursuing this path?
If you think this path might be a great option for you, but you need help deciding or thinking about what to do next, our team might be able to help.
We can help you compare options, make connections, and possibly even help you find jobs or funding opportunities.
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Learn more about becoming a Russia or India specialist
Want to consider more paths? See our list of the highest-impact career paths according to our research.