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Proper academic training is the first step. This means obtaining an undergraduate degree in international affairs; however, there are fields closely related to international affairs that might also be relevant such as international development, international trade, international finance, international economics, security studies, and regional specializations. A masters degree makes one more competitive when seeking jobs. Many people with this background seek careers in government, multilateral development banks, the UN, NGO's, consulting, commercial banking, and academia. Positions with such entities often involve policy formulation, advising various ministries within countries, drafting reports to help government officials make decisions, and assisting businesses, clients and customers.
A good understanding of geopolitics and macro economics, as well as writing and analytical skills. College and graduate level courses in international relations, politics, economics, and statistics are all important. For me personally, I studied English Literature and Political Science in college, and then got my Master's degree in International Trade Policy. These degrees formed a great foundation for my career in international relations. I also had the benefit of great internship in Washington DC while I was in graduate school. I worked for free during the internship, but it was really worth it to get the experience and make lifelong contacts who have provided great advice and guidance throughout my career.