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4 High Paying Positions for International Relations Graduates

22 September 2017 No Comment

While international relations are a popular field of study, many wonder what career options are open to international relations graduates? Here’s a hint – most of them don’t involve becoming ambassadors and there are some opportunities open that pay rather well. Here are some of the most lucrative positions for international relations graduates.

The Fast Track to Management in a Multinational Company

A masters in international relations prepares you for jobs in international business and this puts you on the fast track to management in a multinational company. You have already been taught what you need to know to deal with teams around the world and deal with customers from anywhere. You don’t need to take classes on how to be sensitive to foreign cultures or given an overview of other nations’ laws, though you should learn more about a nation’s laws or work with an international legal expert when negotiating business contracts. If you choose to work as an expat, you’re certain to be promoted to upper management when you return because working abroad is seen as “paying your dues” to the company.

Note that if you already have a law degree or are considering law school, an international relations degree makes you eligible for working as a better paid international lawyer.


If you earn an international relations masters degree from a school like Norwich University, you’ve received much of the training that’s useful for working in intelligence. We won’t call it spying. We’ll call it collecting and analyzing data to understand what foreign competitors are doing, whether they are rival nations’ militaries or a foreign multinational strategically preparing to move into a new industry. If you work in foreign intelligence, you are serving your nation and typically do so from a desk. These jobs do require passing a background check.

Working in business intelligence means you could work for any major business anywhere, determining what your rivals are doing and giving recommendations on how the company could deal with it. And this doesn’t preclude the excitement of finding out who leaked your business plans or how your rivals are trying to develop the same technology as your employer.

Political Analyst

If you’re educated in international affairs, you can work as a political analyst. You may find work at a policy think tank, working as a professor or working for government officials to give them an educated opinion on how policy changes will affect various markets and groups. A benefit of this role is your ability to influence public policy without having to seek office yourself. Another is the ability to move between government departments and non-profit groups based on your interests and desired career path.


While rules and restrictions vary between administrations, lobbyists with an education in international relations can work as lobbyists for foreign businesses or governments. Whether helping a foreign company get permission to buy its American counterpart or lobbying for political positions on behalf of another nation, you can work as a de facto ambassador without having to leave home.

All these positions offer bright prospects and are some of the highest paying in the field. Make sure that you do your homework and see if any of these positions fit your profile before you choose a concentration.

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