Management Cone

The first step to becoming a Foreign Service Officer is choosing a cone, or career track. While every officer is a generalist and free to bid on any job in the world, doing jobs within your cone is vital to be promoted within the Foreign Service. The five cones are Consular, Management, Public Diplomacy, Economic, and Political. The first step toward getting a job as a Foreign Service Officer is choosing one of these cones. Here we’re looking at the Management Cone.

Are you doing a management job at an office somewhere? Do you like what you do, but wish your sole purpose wasn’t making someone who’s rich even richer? Maybe management is the cone for you. You can work with traditional job duties in exotic places. Management coned officers don’t spend a lot of time making foreign policy, but they serve their country every day in a different place providing the foundation upon which the rest of the mission is built.

I have never been a management officer. There, disclosure. There are quite a few management-type jobs that I would love to do; I can’t help but feel HR or budgeting experience could only help any supervisory position. The entire embassy relies on the management cone to keep everything running. Management coned officers tend to do General Service, Human Resources, Financial Management, and other duties.

HROs and FMOs do pretty much what their correspondents in the business world do. General Service Officers (GSOs) are a bit more unique to the State Department. They’re in charge of motor-pool, housing, and all the obscure things that keep our little outposts of America running.

The one downside to the management cone is that it is less focused on foreign affairs than the other cones. For some, that’s not really a negative, and there are always out-of-cone job options. This job is perfect for people who like what they do and just want to do it somewhere else, for someone else. I could be wrong; management-coned folk who know more than me are welcome to correct me in the comments!

Entry Level. Entry level officers will probably be assigned jobs as assistant GSOs. You will be managing! Many first tour GSOs have 70 or so local employees working for them. It’s a great way to see how the embassy works.

After Tenure. Tenured officers will do the duties I described above. At a lot of small and medium-sized posts, management officers can have several functions. The head of management at an embassy is the Management Counselor. With the current trend toward moving to new embassies all over the world, management is getting a lot of attention right now in the service.

The Exam. The job-related knowledge portion of the test focuses heavily on management skills. This cone tends to have a shorter post-oral exam waiting period.

<– Back to the FSOT Guide

From The Hegemonist


  1. [...] frontlines of American foreign policy. Each officer has a “cone,” or career track: consular, management, public diplomacy, economic or political. It should be noted that although all officers choose [...]

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