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Relevant experience?


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I am sorry to ask this again, I did not get any feedback, probably because my query was way too incoherent.


I am an international student from a developing country and have a 4-year experience as a foreign correspondent (news) at a developed country. Is this considered a relevant international experience for MPA or MA IR adcomms, provided that I emphasize in the SOP my willingness to work at UN or another international organization?


Furthermore, does this kind of experience limit me when it comes to choosing concentrations at the grad school? For instance, I have an interest in energy issues. If I state my intention to take this particular concentration (say, Energy and Environment at SIPA), won't the admissions get suspicious of me recklessly diving into the stuff I probably have little idea about?


The thing I want to do is to look less like a career changer in the eyes of adcomms.

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I think, like a lot of experience, it depends on how you frame/sell it through your resume and statement of purpose. Did you cover any stories dealing with policy? Did you have to do a lot of research into those policies you covered? All the adcoms know about you is what you tell them, and while I would never recommend you stretch the truth on an application, I do think it's to your advantage to highlight  areas you know they're looking for.


As for the the second question regarding limiting your choice of concentrations, I would say no it won't. Please take this answer with a grain of salt as I'll be a first time applicant to grad school, but I would be very surprised if, after admitting you, the school didn't let you choose a concentration because they didn't think your experience lined up.

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Working as a foreign respondent sounds prima facie like excellent work experience for I.R. and won't need to be justified. 


Many students are also expecting to change or better define their career paths after doing an I.R. degree (this student included), so that's not usually a problem either. The key is just to put together the pieces of how your prior experience motivated and prepared you for the career change, and then explain how your studies at school X fit into your plans. 

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