Center for Strategic and International Studies Reviews | Glassdoor

Center for Strategic and International Studies Reviews

Updated May 4, 2017
75 reviews

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4.4
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Center for Strategic and International Studies President John Hamre
John Hamre
51 Ratings

75 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Many opportunities to network and interact with colleagues at other think tanks and in government (in 10 reviews)

  • I was able to learn a lot during my internship related to the areas that I want to specialize on (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Limited full-time hiring opportunity for international students (in 9 reviews)

  • Most internships at think tanks are unpaid (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Think tanks hold prestige and CSIS is no different. The employees are mostly alright people.

    Cons

    A basic manager position at Target pays more than most positions at CSIS. Program coordinators and research assistants tend to stay much longer than I would expect it to be economically feasible in a city like DC. These positions do not have upward mobility within CSIS as research fellows are recruited from individuals in government who can bring projects/funding with them. I was able to leave and start at an entry level position in government with a salary comparable to a CSIS director--which as you can see on glassdoor is not an impressive amount.

    I would advise international students to avoid CSIS as, beyond the poor salaries, they will not sponsor H-1B and I don't think an internship here will give them a leg up elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    In order to attract top tier employees, you need to offer competitive salaries.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great jumping off point, but no long term prospects"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Learn a lot
    Increase research abilities
    Good for networking

    Cons

    No long term prospects
    Depends what program you work for as to how much you'll enjoy it and learn

    Advice to Management

    Management is stretched thin and on the whole don't have time for junior staff

  3. "Poor Management, No Growth Opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant
    Current Employee - Research Assistant
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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.


  4. "Good Place to Start Out"

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

    Pros

    Fast paced, lots of interesting work going on, lots of young people, access to high-level talks/interesting work.

    Cons

    Institution is not well-run, Board can be out of touch, and the financial priorities can come across as out of whack.

    Advice to Management

    Add diverse, younger board members.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "If you're going to work here, be strategic..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Establishment has a well-known name.
    - Can be a good stepping-stone to something else.

    Cons

    - VERY top-down! Be prepared to have no voice or influence.
    - Fine for 1-2 years as a junior staffer, but pay is low and they will not invest in you, help you grow, or help you with your job hunt (unless you get lucky with a good director).
    - Very poor management.
    - Under developed processes and systems...most things are made up as you go along.

    Advice to Management

    Listen more to staff and help them develop skills that will actually be helpful/useful.


  6. "Great mission, poor management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Brilliant research directors, fantastic network opportunities, and unparalleled exposure to the foreign affairs community.

    Cons

    Shortsighted management, lack of institutional support for projects and implementation, terrible salaries with little opportunity for advancement.

    Advice to Management

    Provide a medium-term career track for mid level employees, take reviews seriously, and think about how to manage down as well as up.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "A good place to work...for a while"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Washington, DC
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    At CSIS, you are always dealing with very interesting and important issues. It is definitely nice getting paid to take an objective look at some of our nation's most important problems.

    Cons

    This is not a long-term career. Unless you have a Ph.D. and are a leader in your field, you will never be a scholar. Basically, you will never advance beyond an assistant position in which a significant portion of your time is filled with administrative work.

    Advice to Management

    Research associates should receive more competitive pay. Also, the organization should better utilize associates' expertise, which is often pretty considerable.

  8. "Research Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smart people, interesting subject matter.

    Cons

    Inconsistencies between central management and individual programs.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Generally a good place for an early career job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Many workshops and career development opportunities. Surrounded by foreign policy experts--allows for networking opportunities and ample learning opportunities. If you can find the time to attend events for other program areas, they offer a great learning opportunity. Exposure to government agencies such as USAID, State Department, Department of Defense, as well as contractors.

    Cons

    CSIS is very decentralized in terms of operations, which means that each person's experience depends heavily on which program he or she works for and which program directors and fellows he or she works with. Pay is low. Lots of administrative and event planning tasks.

    Advice to Management

    Generally offers good opportunities to young, hard working people, However, certain programs are run much better than others, which can signifcicantly shape an employee's experience.


  10. "Intern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    Pros

    Chance to gain experience in the international affairs field; smart, knowledgeable colleagues; opportunities to publish

    Cons

    Despite the number listed on Glassdoor, there appears to be no pay for the vast majority of interns here, regardless of your background and skills. (Keep this in mind if/when applying.)

    Advice to Management

    There is an understandable desire for all employees to commit to full time, rigorous work, with no outside commitments. Please understand that if interns are not paid, these conditions are simply unreasonable, if not impossible altogether. By refusing to pay interns, you're both limiting the commitment an intern can make as well as missing out on some of D.C.'s most talented young people.


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