After Peace Corps, International Relations or International Business?

<p>I can't decide what I want to do for grad school after I finish my undergrad. I just finished my junior year at Cornell and am preparing for my senior year. I'm on track finish with a double major in Economics and Government and a double minor in International Relations and German Studies. I've already taken a fair amount of internationally related courses in both Government and Economics in order to get the IR minor (International Trade, International Monetary Economics, and next year I'm probably taking International Political Economy). </p>

<p>My immediate post-graduation plans are to do 2 years of Peace Corps service, which I'm in the process of applying for. After, I'm not sure whether or not I should pursue a graduate degree in International Relations and take courses under the general theme of International Political Economy or pick up more "practical" knowledge and go for an International MBA (or similar) program and take more finance/management oriented courses.</p>

<p>I'm not 100% sure of my career plans, and they'll likely become more refined over time (but then again, I am entering my senior year so I don't have too much time), but I have been thinking intensely about it. Right now my top career choices are something with international business relations/international trade. I'm thinking working for the State Department or the International Trade Administration and working with trade relations or working in international finance in the private sector with a firm like Deutsche Bank doing work in global finance and/or global banking and/or global markets.</p>

<p>So should I continue more or less my undergraduate studies and go more of the international affairs route or supplement my undergrad with more practical, business-oriented experience? Of what I listed above, I think I'm most interested in the State Department, which seems to lend itself more to a degree in international relations, but an International MBA seems to lend itself more to the other options (especially anything in the private sector). Looking over grad programs for International Relations, they seem to basically be repeats of what I've already taken (albeit at a higher level). Would an International MBA be a mark against me when applying to the State Department, especially in light of my willing have had Peace Corps experience?</p>

<p>Thanks in advance for any input/advice!</p>

<p>I'm thinking going the international political economy route sounds more like what you want to do based on your career goals. An MBA gives you a lot of options, but in the end it's still geared toward the business world. It sounds like you have more of an interest in the policy world, but the ability to jump over to the private sector is there as well.</p>

<p>I think the International Political Economy route makes more sense for my ideal career choices. I was looking at the International Trade Administration website, and International Business is something they look for in an applicant, though the rest of their list was all political economy related. The State Department, strictly speaking, just cares whether or not you have an advanced degree and all it technically means a higher pay versus just having an undergraduate degree. </p>

<p>I guess I'm kind of leaning towards an International MBA program after Peace Corps because it definitely seems to be a more flexible degree. I'm not sure it would necessarily count against me when applying to an agency like the State Department if I had instead a degree a Masters in some IR related field. Business is also one of the desired experiences for a State Department candidate as well. </p>

<p>I'm kind of feeling my undergrad experiences might be enough for the political economy prerequisites for a State Department and a business degree would supplement my experiences.</p>

<p>Well I think my advice would be to go with what interests you. And due to the complicated hiring process the federal government uses, I don't think you have to think too deeply into the "will they prefer international business or international political economy" question.</p>