Center for Strategic and International Studies

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Center for Strategic and International Studies Reviews

Updated April 10, 2015
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  1. A great place if you land well

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern

    I worked at Center for Strategic and International Studies as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are some pretty amazing people at CSIS, and if you are able to work with them, you'll have a great experience. My director was totally committed to us interns, to his staff, to scholarship, and to making a difference in the public realm. I learned more from him in a semester than I learned in 2 years of graduate school.

    Cons

    Every program is totally independent, so experiences are all over the board. My friends on the Asia team rarely saw their bosses. There are some other programs that don't seem to do much. Another friend ended up ghost writing stuff for his boss without much guidance.

    Advice to Management

    A little more consistency among programs would make CSIS even better, especially if experiences were consistent with the experience I had.

  2. A great learning experience

    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern

    I worked at Center for Strategic and International Studies as an intern

    Pros

    Got a great window into how the think tank works works and honed my writing and analytic skills.

    Cons

    Not necessarily a con, but expect to work hard.

  3. Great experience and learned a ton, but no upward mobility possible

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Current Intern - Intern in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Center for Strategic and International Studies as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Meet and work with top people, comfortable and friendly office culture, lots of opportunities to attend events and learn something new, great for resume building

    Cons

    There aren't any opportunities to move into a permanent position unless someone else leaves, and that's very rare. Further, some interns are paid and others aren't, which strikes me as unethical even by internship standards.

    Advice to Management

    Use some of your resources to retain good people who fit in well, which will also reduce transition times between internship pools.

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  5. Amazing people, great think tank

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Intern in Washington, DC

    I worked at Center for Strategic and International Studies as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Great people, extremely intelligent and focused, but also fun
    - Good work-life balance
    - Access to Senior Fellows who took your comments seriously and valued your input in meetings
    - Ability to propose research projects

    Cons

    - Depending the chair you work for, the team can either be extremely academic and uptight or much more relaxed
    - Very focused on events, which, while important, can sometimes replace actual research
    - Limited opportunities to advance

  6. Great think tank that can open up the world of Washington to junior staff

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC

    I worked at Center for Strategic and International Studies full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Get to work on projects of consequence
    Access to world-class scholars, government officials, etc.
    Smart and dedicated co-workers
    Good camaraderie among junior staff
    Ability to work across programs if one demonstrates proper knowledge and interest

    Cons

    Junior staff hit a ceiling from which they usually cannot be promoted

  7. Poor Management, No Growth Opportunities

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant
    Current Employee - Research Assistant

    I have been working at Center for Strategic and International Studies full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Easy hours (9-5), good exposure to range of issues and events. Can get your name on reports which looks good for graduate school.

    Cons

    Very poor salary. No opportunities for personal growth unless you work in HR or operations, even then very limited. Management cares very little about junior staff and despite seeming like a great place for junior staff in terms of having debate clinics, leadership training, etc. very little of this actually translates into real opportunities. I felt very undervalued despite being a hard worker.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in junior staff. They are smart, bright and capable people. Give them more growth opportunities instead of paying so heavily for senior staffers who do so little.

  8. Intern and then Research Assistant at CSIS

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at Center for Strategic and International Studies full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very prominent and well-resected organization in DC.
    Great opportunities to meet scholars and politicians from across the world.
    Potential to work closely with prominent scholars and have a hand in their work.

    Cons

    A great deal of the experience is completely dependent upon which program you are in, since each program is its own little fiefdom. If you intern or work for a great director/fellow, than you will have a great experience. Otherwise, your experience may vary.
    Doesn't pay particularly well, even when compared to similar positions elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    Potentially develop some kind of infrastructure internally for employees to grow, since CSIS's employment structure (like that of most think tanks, unfortunately), is shaped like an hour glass. A lot at both the top and bottom, but very little chance to grow internally.

  9. Grants good experience in the international affairs and policy sector

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Center for Strategic and International Studies

    Pros

    Friendly atmosphere, good work-life balance

    Cons

    Lack of projects in certain terms

  10. Had a good experience here.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Anonymous Intern
    Current Intern - Anonymous Intern

    I have been working at Center for Strategic and International Studies as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Have a lot of chances to meet important people. Good environment. Work/Life balance. Everyone is very friendly. Learn a lot and have many chances to talk to different program and department.

    Cons

    It is not a perfect place for long-term career development. There is a high turnover rate. Every week I can receive farewell emails. A lot of employees choose to go to another organization or company or seek for a high degree.

  11. Great organization overall, but YMMV depending on your program

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Center for Strategic and International Studies full-time

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Hard-working, fast-moving environment that attracts very qualified, capable people. CSIS produces top quality research, attracts amazing speakers, and has real influence in the policy community. Depending on your program, junior/mid-level staff can have a significant amount of research, writing and management responsibility.

    Cons

    Many programs have to work hard to make budget every year, so the financial stress level can be high depending on your program. The operations departments are relatively small, so sometimes it can be difficult to get answers to administrative questions and there is not as much opportunity for collaborative work with different program areas as there could be.

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