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Old 05.12.2011, 23:07
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I'm an American currently studying international business as an undergrad. I've had a lot of french education so I know a decent amount of french, and I plan on studying abroad in Geneva through the Kent State program before I'm through with undergrad.

I am wondering what I should be doing for planning my graduate degree.

I'm aware that networking and building experience through internships are key in landing work for many intl orgs. I've contacted the Graduate Institute in Geneva about whether or not my academic track record will meet admission standards, and inquired about financial aid. Would it be easy as an american student to get a loan through a US banking institution in order to fund two ridiculously expensive years of studying in Geneva?

Then there are some that say I should be focusing on environmental sciences because what really is needed now is specialization of fields.

What do some of you think? I'm looking for as much insight as I can gather.

Forgot to mention that the Kent State program works to try to match applicants to internships with intl orgs. So ideally I would have one unpaid internship w/ an intl org before even beginning my masters program.

Last edited by Longbyt; 12.12.2011 at 06:37. Reason: same poster, consecutive posts
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Old 05.12.2011, 23:12
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

In the Italian speaking region ( TI ), USI has a Masters in Humanitarian Logistics, taught in EN by an MIT led team, course almost entirely taken up by NGOs that you might been keen to investigate.

http://www.mashlm.usi.ch/
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Old 06.12.2011, 02:23
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

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In the Italian speaking region ( TI ), USI has a Masters in Humanitarian Logistics, taught in EN by an MIT led team, course almost entirely taken up by NGOs that you might been keen to investigate.

http://www.mashlm.usi.ch/
I see that this program has a requirement of 3 years of related work experience. It seems many of the students already have worked for NGOs and etc. If I get an internship in Geneva while I study abroad for a semester through Kent State, do you think I will need more internships?
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Old 06.12.2011, 11:15
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

You would probably increase your chances qualifying in something, can I say, "less exciting", but which you still enjoy doing intellectually. For example, logistics, accounting etc. That way, you have less competition than for jobs in the more glamorous programme areas. This will work if, for the most part, you don't mind what you do, but you want to work for an organisation that has an interesting and worthy end goal.

If you want to study something more directly development or international related, then I can only recommend studying something broad, because its your contacts and work experience that will matter more than the field you're in, in my honest opinion, and the broader your field, the more scope you have to "get in" to the system.

Still, it's a bit of a tough road and funding for NGOs and international organisations in general is likely to tighten over the coming years. Good luck!
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Old 06.12.2011, 11:22
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

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do you think I will need more internships?
Internships as job experience... no one really cares about, but what is beneficial are the contacts you will make with fellow interns and more important the contacts and potential references you will make with future employers ( so if you can get a few internships.. or one long standing one.. you'll have better contacts. )

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Still, it's a bit of a tough road and funding for NGOs and international organisations in general is likely to tighten over the coming years. Good luck!
as Tantrum says.. yep... it's a tough road in all the orgs( I may even have to start doing some work )these days and yes the "less interesting" areas .. logistics, etc are always required..but one word of advice... languages.. At the moment alot of the orgs. are hurting for lack of skilled translators.. specifically Mandarin and Arabic.
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Old 11.12.2011, 23:36
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

Well just read this earlier, i'll link it in an english translation since this is an english forum.

http://translate.googleusercontent.c...bd4sq1Z0a3NhkQ

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Employment is stable in the International Organizations in Geneva

FIGURES | The job market fell by 72 persons (-0.3%) in one year.
Thank you all for your insight! I have two years to build my resume while in undergrad. I'm looking into starting a UNICEF campus group next semester and already have a core group of people interested.


Again I would like to thank each of you for helping me vision my future. I'm very grateful.


Moderator Edit: Link removed

Last edited by Longbyt; 12.12.2011 at 06:41. Reason: Links in new members' posts always look suspiciously like advertising to me.
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Old 12.12.2011, 10:01
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

The WHO are cutting hundreds of positions. Unesco will have to do similar (due to US and Canadian policies on the admission of Palestine to the organisation). But the reason I say funding will be cut is that due to demographics and excessive debt, the rich countries of the world - the ones that fund the UN and other international organisations - are going to have less money to spend. And cutting money sent to the UN will be easy for them to do, politically. And the employees at the UN with reasonably secure contracts will not be moving on.

When I managed to break into the UN, it was due to an excellent reference from someone high up in the organisation. Without it, I'd have had zero chance. And 180 people applied for the position, even though it was for a 1-year contract in IT with a moderate salary in a not particularly popular city for UN jobs. And I only got the job because the person they really wanted (who was already working there) was not liked by the top boss. After a big fight, he finally forced them to take 2nd choice, me! Most vacancies you see in the UN are not really open and are just advertised to meet some internal rules.

Other positions in this organisation had 600+ applicants.

Anyway, I don't want to put a damper on things, just some thoughts to explain why I say it's a hard road. You need some luck and a plan B. A lot of UN jobs - even for volunteers - require 3-5 years experience, so you could also look to jump in from there. Also look up the JPO programme for your country of nationality.
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Old 13.12.2011, 15:36
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

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The WHO are cutting hundreds of positions. Unesco will have to do similar (due to US and Canadian policies on the admission of Palestine to the organisation). But the reason I say funding will be cut is that due to demographics and excessive debt, the rich countries of the world - the ones that fund the UN and other international organisations - are going to have less money to spend. And cutting money sent to the UN will be easy for them to do, politically. And the employees at the UN with reasonably secure contracts will not be moving on.

When I managed to break into the UN, it was due to an excellent reference from someone high up in the organisation. Without it, I'd have had zero chance. And 180 people applied for the position, even though it was for a 1-year contract in IT with a moderate salary in a not particularly popular city for UN jobs. And I only got the job because the person they really wanted (who was already working there) was not liked by the top boss. After a big fight, he finally forced them to take 2nd choice, me! Most vacancies you see in the UN are not really open and are just advertised to meet some internal rules.

Other positions in this organisation had 600+ applicants.

Anyway, I don't want to put a damper on things, just some thoughts to explain why I say it's a hard road. You need some luck and a plan B. A lot of UN jobs - even for volunteers - require 3-5 years experience, so you could also look to jump in from there. Also look up the JPO programme for your country of nationality.
In other words, "not WHAT you know, but WHO you know"!
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Old 13.12.2011, 17:12
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Re: What to study to land work for Intl Org?

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In other words, "not WHAT you know, but WHO you know"!
No, it's mostly what you know AND who you know, with some exceptions.
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