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MIA prospective student and DoS/DoD/etc questions

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Basic background: I am a Military veteran, I spent 6 years in the service in a highly technical rate before leaving the military and going back to school to get my Bachelors. I graduate in about 2 months with my B.S. And I've been accepted to (I'm told its a good school) MIA program. I studied Geology, Environmental, and Earth sciences as well as minoring in Asian studies (studying Language and Asian Econ politics in general). I spent four years living abroad during my time in the military and have traveled extensively. Study abroad during my undergrad in India doing some work with human rights NGOs as well as spending a summer studying language overseas. My interest is in American foreign policy and security studies and so on. It's a broad field but you get the idea about my background and education I hope. I will be 33 when I graduate (I know that's actually about the average age for new FSOs but what about the rest of this sort of field? Too old considering my background?)

My question for people working or studying in the IR (broadly, though if there's someone with specific experience in security that would be great) field is: Realistically, since I have a military background in a technical field and my various other assorted experience what are my prospects for finding work as a FSO or work with the DoD or in the IA community after this two year program, all things above considered?

Thank you for time and any information you can provide.

Edited by UnawareInGeneral
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I've worked as a civilian for both sides of the field.


With your background, I'd recommend you work in DoD rather than State, largely because State won't be able to use all of your skills. They really are all diplomats. (I'm a former FSO). If you're not concerned about utilizing all your skills, then keep considering it.


You're definitely not too old to be an FSO. I had people in my A-100 class who were in their 50's, right around the cutoff age. We had several in their mid 30's, and many in their late 20's. I was the second youngest in my class at 25 or 26. We also had several military veterans in my class.


You are definitely qualified for DoD work, especially analysis, it sounds like. And in areas sorely needed.


State almost doesn't care what your background is, although foreign language in a critical language like Mandarin will literally give you points and rank you higher on the hiring list. Beyond that though, you most likely won't use your Mandarin for more than a couple tours total. Instead, they'll teach you something else. For State, you have to be able to show that you are a flexible, open-minded, value-driven, and calm person of integrity who can get along with anyone, including your own "interesting" colleagues.


Having come from DoD into State was a little difficult. The cultures are extremely different. The priorities are different. And in my brief time in each, I found that, although both Departments make fun of the other Department... People in DoD seemed a lot more willing to actually put aside those differences and collaborate, at least on the surface. People in State did not seem to be too excited about interagency collab, even when DoD was picking up DOS slack in areas like public affairs, outreach, and culture (granted, State is sorely underfunded, given its mission).


(It's DoD and DOS, btw, they even have different editing/formatting conventions!).


In any case, if you have more specific questions, I'd be more than happy to share more.



I recommend leaving out as many details as you can though, considering your potential trajectories. Feel free to PM me also.

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