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A successful career in international affairs or international relations requires a broad understanding of the complex issues facing today’s leaders—from geopolitics to economics, to security, to the environment. International affairs professionals must grapple with challenges that straddle conventional sectors and borders.

The online Master of Global Business Administration (GBA) from The Fletcher School at Tufts University provides a foundation of knowledge in these areas. You will also develop the professional skills that support an international affairs career path, including negotiation techniques, communication skills, analytical abilities, and an innovative mind-set

The GBA program will help you build the management expertise and contextual intelligence that, combined, can advance your international relations career.

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As a student in Fletcher’s online GBA program, you will expand your perspective by understanding how business and international relations intersect. You will build a knowledge base in economic, political, social, environmental, and legal issues, while developing the management skills to move ahead in an international relations career.

International relations careers span many types of work, including foreign policy, international development, negotiation and conflict resolution, security, intelligence, and work in the nonprofit and multilateral sectors.

Foreign Policy

The analytical skills and political context you will gain in the online GBA program support roles where knowledge of policy, defense, intelligence operations, and public diplomacy are critical.

Foreign policy professionals work in the public and private sectors as well as in multilateral organizations and nonprofits. They analyze issues of interest to their constituents and may hold roles including:

  • Policy analyst or adviser for a governmental department
  • Economist analyzing trends for a government or company
  • Foreign service officer or diplomat
  • Policy researcher for a corporation or nonprofit organization
  • Political risk or security adviser

International Development

In Fletcher’s online global business program, you will build a foundation in innovation and global economics that can help you improve the livelihoods, access to resources, and quality of life for individuals living in conditions of poverty around the world

Professionals working in international development may work in a traditional NGO setting—whether for a grassroots NGO or a large relief organization, for a company looking to enhance its social impact, or for a multilateral organization like the World Bank or UN. Development jobs include:

  • Disaster relief coordinator
  • Infrastructure engineer
  • Economic policy analyst
  • Environmental scientist
  • Corporate responsibility professional
  • Humanitarian aid program manager
  • Program monitoring and evaluation specialist

International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

In the online GBA program, you will develop communication and negotiation skills as well as the topical knowledge that can help you work toward resolution of complex international issues such as religious conflict, human rights issues, rule of law, post-conflict reconstruction and democratization, and transitional justice.

Conflict resolution professionals may hold jobs such as:

  • Mediator, arbitrator, conciliator, or ombudsman
  • Communication and liaison officer
  • Foreign service officer or diplomat
  • Program and response coordinator
  • Field facilitator

Security and Intelligence

In the online GBA program, you will gain a background in international strategy, geopolitical risk, and security issues that support an international security career. Work in this field might include mediating conflict, tracking threats, proposing new policies and safety measures, and analyzing trends.

Security and intelligence professionals may hold job titles such as:

  • Intelligence analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Counterintelligence officer
  • Culture and conflict researcher
  • Political risk consultant

Nonprofit Management

In the online GBA program, you will gain a background in both the international topics and management skills you need to manage a mission-driven nonprofit organization. Work in this field requires that you are able to manage a complex organization or people, processes, and finances, as well as understand deeply the issues you are looking to support.

Nonprofit management professionals often manage programs, budgets, and strategy for organizations that focus on issues such as:

  • Food security
  • Refugees and migration
  • Financial inclusion
  • Climate change and environmental sustainability
  • Economic development
  • Human trafficking
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Learn more about how Fletcher’s GBA program can equip you with the skills in business and international affairs to advance your career.

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Some of the most well-known international relations careers exist in the public sector, but there are also many opportunities for careers in international affairs in the private, nonprofit, and multilateral sectors.

Careers in the Public Sector

Public sector employees work to maintain social stability by keeping law and order, promoting trade, developing urban areas, solving crises, and other important tasks.

Most international relations professionals in the public sector work at a federal government level, either in a department focusing specifically on issues of state or foreign affairs, or in a policy role for other governmental entities.

Hiring processes for the public sector can be highly structured and may involve specific examinations or acquiring security clearance.

Examples of international relations careers in the public sector may include foreign service officers, diplomats, and intelligence analysts.

Careers in the Private Sector

Private sector companies often operate across borders to stay competitive in the global economy. Understanding global business practices and the socioeconomic factors that influence those practices is a significant asset to a company looking to expand or stay current in this global landscape.

Private sector companies incorporate international affairs professionals into their strategy work, within policy departments, as a part of new market development, supporting social and environmental responsibility efforts, dealing with supply chains, or in government affairs work, among others.

Examples of international relations careers in the private sector may include corporate responsibility professionals, communication liaisons, and consultants.

Careers in the Nonprofit Sector

Organizations in the nonprofit sector, or NGOs, are mission-driven and focus on social needs, such as preventing human trafficking, conserving wildlife, advancing food security, providing economic stability, and expanding educational opportunities.

Because nonprofit organizations often operate with lean staffing, these organizations need employees who have a variety of strengths, including project management, budgeting, and topical knowledge.

Examples of international relations careers in the nonprofit sector may include program managers, disaster relief coordinators, and policy researchers.


International relations salaries vary widely by job title, sector, and amount of experience. Private sector organizations often are able to offer higher salaries than those in the public or nonprofit sector. You may be able to earn a higher salary with additional field experience and a graduate degree.

Many international relations professionals move between sectors throughout the course of their careers. The ability to multitask and bring a variety of skills to the table will serve you well in each sector in a complicated international landscape that changes quickly.


Develop the enhanced expertise in business and international affairs to advance your career.