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I have been reading posts regarding Masters in IA, IR and ID; and even one about career change by Nicole. However I haven't come across any one making  transition to IA from an engineering background.

I graduated in Electrical Engineering with a CGPA of 7.6 (India) in 2014 from a top 20 private university in my country, after which I've been working for an insurance company as a technical consultant. I worked my way through college as my father's pension (he's retired on medical grounds) could only partially provide for my and my brother's education. My main goal throughout college was getting a job at the end of the course to help my family's finances, and I did decently well. I have been doing well at my job, however after certain incidents in my life, I wanted to change my career path to international development and gain a Masters in IA, IR or ID, and since my father again has a job, I'll be able to continue my studies.

I do not have a working experience in this field, but to make up for the education divide I enrolled myself in 2 MOOCs from Coursera (about to complete), with certificates from the providing universities and am also attending a 2 week program about UN and global challenges (complete with end exam and thesis) at IHEID, Geneva in Jan'17 amounting to 6ECTS. Also, during college I help set up a bio-gas plant in my village (internship/project) and have taught spoken English to foreign nationals for 8 months. I tried to get volunteer experience at an international Location, but due to my financial situation, I could not pay for the experience.

Is it possible to get into a prestigious university program with my profile? My target colleges are: IHEID, SciencesPO, Maastricht University, King's college London, SOAS and University of Warwick.

Language Expertise: English (Native/Bi-lingual efficiency), Hindi (Native/Bi-lingual efficiency), French (Beginner; 2 years at school)

Many Thanks

Note: Any comments or ideas on how to enhance my profile are welcome.

Edited by PostGrad17

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I didn't apply to any of the schools you listed, and I don't know how the Indian GPA translates to a 4-point scale, but I think the softer aspects of your background are definitely competitive. Even at SAIS, there were a handful of students whose only "IR experience" was an unpaid internship or two.

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I have a MA in Intl Environmental Policy and worked for several years in international development as my degree was focused on sustainable development. In my 5+ years in the field, I met many people with various engineering degrees who were working in international development. For example, IFC, UNDP, and other international organizations have numerous projects in infrastructure, sustainable energy, industrial energy efficiency and such that would benefit from people like you who can tie together technical expertise into specialized fields within development. 

Thus,  I think if you make such as argument in your statement of purpose along with the steps you've taken towards gaining knowledge already, I am pretty confident you would be a competitive candidate especially considering your language and cultural background. 

I suggest looking at job postings and publications from international organizations or other institutions you'd be eager to work in to see the work they do and the skills they require. Try to identify projects that you'd be particularly suited for with your EE background. Also try and study topics in project management. While working in the field, I found that understanding basic engineering actually helped a lot as I was dealing with energy efficiency. To successfully manage and assess the project, it was necessary to have some science background. My boss's boss at the intl organization actually had a degree in engineering and not development so don't be discouraged.

Having specialized training in engineering,economics, law and such actually work really well together with knowledge of policy implementation in real world settings, so argue for that in your applications. Because most of the major institutions in the field have MA as a basic requirement to even apply for a job, not a lot of people go into development policy grad programs with significant experience. I'd also suggest looking at development economics, international policy as well. LSE has an excellent program.

Feel free to PM me if you need more info. Good luck!

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