AEI Reviews | Glassdoor

AEI Reviews

Updated February 17, 2017
54 reviews

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4.1
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AEI President Arthur C. Brooks
Arthur C. Brooks
15 Ratings

54 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Interesting work and free breakfast and lunch for interns (in 13 reviews)

  • Good internship program, including free breakfast and lunch, speaker events, etc (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • No room for improvement or full time employment from an internship, no stipend (considering some interns work 40 hours a week (in 5 reviews)

  • Experience really depends on the team you're working with (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good place to network"

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

    I worked at AEI (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Networking, politics, enjoyable working environment, good food

    Cons

    coworkers can be low efficient sometimes


  2. "Great social environment and mission, but really strange management structure + lots of infighting"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AEI full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Great social environment (I made many friends here). Really has the environment of "everyone is a family."
    - People take the commitment to academic freedom very seriously, which bolsters AEI's reputation
    -The scholars do great work and are taken seriously by policy makers and peers at other think tanks
    - Beautiful new building and lots of perks (heavily subsidized, almost-free breakfast and lunch, free snacks, free gym in the building, frequent free staff happy hours hosted within the building)

    Cons

    -Decentralized to a fault. The management structure at the top is 5-6 VPs who all basically rule by committee (Foreign policy VP, comms VP, economics director, development VP, etc.) When disagreements arise between them, no one above all of them makes a final judgment call, making many disagreements just intractable. That trickles down to more junior levels because you become asked to fight for your team's goals and priorities, but no one above your team and other teams steps in to resolve it. Different departments can often feel like warring fiefdoms, and the same problems are hashed out for years on end without resolution.

    - Some employees lack tact and political correctness and have made comments that could be seen as offensive at many/most other workplaces, under the guise of being anti-PC culture.

    - Lots of strong personalities that can be difficult to navigate, and lots of political infighting. Unclear how certain managers became managers in the first place.

    Advice to Management

    Potentially rethink management structure whereby different departments operate almost completely autonomously. If two departments are having conflicts regarding goals and priorities, someone above both of them needs to step in and make clear what the final decision is going to be.

    Also, if two departments are having conflicts, upper management should be more willing to talk to each other instead of sending junior employees to go fight battles on their behalf.


  3. "Political Economy Intern; American Enterprise Institute"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Policy Analyst Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Policy Analyst Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    AEI offered me the most formative and memorable internship experience I've ever had. If you enjoy being surrounded by a bunch of smart, policy-oriented, funny, and kind people AEI is a great place to intern. There are ample networking and professional development opportunities and an AEI internship can serve as a springboard into many different industries.

    Cons

    Living in D.C. without a salary is tough, but AEI does everything they can to accommodate- the interns I worked with even got travel stipends along with the typical (and amazing) breakfast and lunch.

    Advice to Management

    Try to pay interns at least a little!


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Conference Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AEI full-time

    Pros

    Great opportunities to grow and take on new challenges.

    Cons

    Limits to upward growth, but great first job.


  6. "Excellent workplace"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Professional staff
    - Opportunity to learn
    - Quality research work
    - High-profile events
    - Excellent cafeteria

    Cons

    - Promotion and salary increase not on merit

    Advice to Management

    Award employees with bonuses and annual salary increase based on merit


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great work experience right out of college"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AEI full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Awesome hands-on work experience with smart colleagues. You get to engage with top politicians, businesspeople, researchers, and more. In my experience, AEI offers great professional opportunities for recent college graduates.

    Cons

    Depending on your role, limited growth opportunities professionally.

    Advice to Management

    Arthur Brooks is awesome.


  8. "Summer Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    People and Culture-- AEI's internship program is highly competitive, and the people they hire reflect that. Fellow interns and supervisory staff are congenial, hard-working and very smart. Top quality people allow AEI's guiding mission of rigorous debate and open intellectual exchange to permeate through its doors. With great people come great culture.
    Work-- While each intern's work will vary per scholar assignment, and though the work can sometimes get a tad menial and a bit number-crunchy (most, if not all, internships are like this at this stage of your career), intern responsibilities are generally substantive and immersive, especially compared to other similar institutions. If you're looking to dip your head into a specific field and really learn something, this is the place.

    Cons

    Really none come to mind. The internship program could do a bit more to facilitate intra-intern bonding, but at the same time, AEI interns are treated squarely as adults by design, so to expect the intern coordinators to coddle you through weekly icebreakers and such would be counterintuitive.

    Advice to Management

    None! AEI is a very well managed shop.


  9. "Electrical Engineer"

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

    I worked at AEI full-time

    Pros

    Good systems. Consistency of work by all.

    Cons

    Inconsistent work flow incoming to the company


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Near the top of the heap for thinktanks"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at AEI full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Sense of family
    -Pay can be decent if you push for it
    -Mostly interesting work
    -Decent managers at higher levels

    Cons

    -Starting salaries are low
    -Less a meritocracy and more a clique
    -Not a ton of room for advancement past a certain point

    Advice to Management

    Please hire managers with actual experience. Just because someone has been around a while does not make them management material.


  11. "Great place to work before grad school"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at AEI (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Many opportunities to forge deep friendships with peers in the office.
    -Lots of mentorship opportunities available, and lots of support and guidance available to those applying to grad school. Unlike most other workplaces, AEI understands that most of its entry level staffers will be in and out after 2 years. You don't have to hide the fact that you're applying to grad school. In fact, the better you do in the application process, the better your position will look to future hires down the line, so the incentives are compatible.
    -The cafeteria.
    -Opportunities to write and get published in both AEI and external mediums.

    Cons

    -Not a great deal of room for advancement beyond 2 years for entry-level staff
    -Work varies greatly depending on department/scholar. You may be working in stata and doing research all day, or you might be stuck planning events and doing expense reports. Ask around before committing to work for a specific scholar.
    -For such a small organization, there is an enormous amount of bureaucracy. It is difficult to get anything accomplished on short notice, and it's next to impossible to negotiate your way around standard operating procedures (many of which have been in place for years, and some of which hardly make any sense at all.)
    -Many important departments (conferences especially) are understaffed.

    Advice to Management

    -Better communicate differences between RA roles in a given department to potential hires. Not all Econ, Defense, etc. RA roles are the same.
    -Try to streamline internal procedures (e.g. for planning an event.)



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