Texas Tech University

Ambassador Nagy Speaks to International Business Students about the Foreign Service

April 1, 2003

Ambassador Tibor P. NagyAuthor: Donneva Crowell

Ambassador Tibor P. Nagy recently spoke to the International Business Society at their monthly meeting. Nagy, the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia, told students about his experiences with the Foreign Service and also informed them about career opportunities with the Foreign Service.

"I haven't had a single day in my thirty year career when I regretted being in the Foreign Service," Nagy said as he spoke to the students about life in the Service, which he describes as "not just a job, but a lifestyle." Nagy discussed how it might be considered a hassle to move every few years, but that "the adventure of getting to know the world is more than enough compensation for that."

Nagy also informed the group about security concerns and about how Foreign Service people get assigned to various places, although they are allowed a great deal of input into the locations at which they will serve, depending, for instance, on whether they want to focus on a specific region, like Asia, Europe, or Africa, or whether they want to serve in as many different locales as possible. "The Foreign Service is among the very few jobs where one feels in actual physical contact with history," Nagy told the students.

Nagy told the students that if they are interested in the Foreign Service, the first step in that process is taking the Foreign Service Exam, held once a year in April. Once a person has made it through the exam, which consists of job-related knowledge, English expressions, and biographical inventory segments as well as a written essay segment, he or she must decide which employment track to choose: management/administrative, Consular, Economic, Political, and Public Diplomacy. According to Nagy, this is an important decision and applicants should carefully inform themselves before making a career track choice in the registration for the Exam.

According to information from the U.S. State Department, successful candidates will take the next step, an Oral Assessment with reference to their chosen career track. Hiring is based on requirements in each of the five career tracks and candidates compete for appointments from their chosen career track where their composite Oral Assessment score determines their relative position on the career track register. In FY 2003, the Department of State plans to hire 96 Management/Administrative Officers, 101 Consular Officers, 100 Economic Officers, 105 Political Officers and 112 Public Diplomacy Officers. The Written Examination covers job knowledge in each of these career tracks but does not test specifically in any one area.

Although there is no language requirement to join the Foreign Service, the State Department does welcome those who are proficient in one or more languages. Those who pass the Oral Assessment can raise their ranking on the List of Eligible Hires by passing a language test in any foreign language used by the State Department, which can even be conducted over the telephone. Finally, prospective job applicants will be required to go through a background investigation for security as well as medical clearances.

"I am delighted that Ambassador Nagy has brought to our students and is bringing to Texas Tech these wonderful opportunities of the State Department and the Foreign Service," said Dale Duhan, Director of the Rawls College International Business Program. According to Duhan, International Business students are a perfect fit for Foreign Service because they have an administrative background as well as the cultural knowledge of other countries. "It's probably easier to teach cultural etiquette to a Foreign Service officer than it is to teach business management."

Nagy was born in Budapest, received a BA in political science from Texas Tech in 1971 and an MSA from George Washington University in 1978. Before serving as Ambassador to Ethiopia, Nagy served as Ambassador in Guinea and prior to that, as Deputy Chief of Mission in Lagos. Ambassador Nagy joined the Foreign Service in 1978 as a management analyst in the Bureau of Personnel. After serving as a general services officer in Lusaka from 1979-81, he was assigned to Victoria, Seychelles, for two years as administrative officer. He was a post management officer and systems administrator in Washington for a year and was assigned to Addis Ababa as administrative officer from 1984-86. For the next six years, he was Deputy Chief of Mission at Lome (1987-90) and Yaounde (1990-93).

Ambassador Nagy is set to become the executive director of Texas Tech's Office of International Affairs and the International Cultural Center in June 2003.