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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Full-time Part-time

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. Helpful (1)

    "Generally a good place for an early career job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


  2. "Intern"

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

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

    Pros

    Great exposure to senior staff who are experts in their fields, often practitioners at some point

    Cons

    Poor pay, little room for advancement without a higher-level degree


  3. Helpful (1)

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

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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.


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  5. "Life-changing internship. Apply here."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Intern in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Incredible smart and engaging coworkers. Nonpartisan analysis to real threats. Limited grunt work.

    Cons

    None. This internship was amazing

    Advice to Management

    Try to create a more effective internship-to-job pipeline. All of the interns that I worked with would have loved to come back, but almost none were offered job opportunities.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great office with like-minded, very intelligent, and knowledgeable people!"

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

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

    Pros

    I am in a regional office so have gotten to really strengthen my knowledge of that region. The directors and senior staff at CSIS are very smart, well-connected, and approachable. The overall atmosphere of CSIS is very dynamic and laid-back. They do a good job at fostering the feeling of being part of a community.

    Cons

    The work can be a little monotonous and some days are a bit slow, but I feel like that that is the nature of working at a think tank. not all full-time internships are paid.

    Advice to Management

    There should be a standard amount of pay for all full-time interns, regardless of office. Otherwise, really enjoy working at CSIS.


  7. "Interns are Valued Members of Team"

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

    Pros

    Interns aren't just given busy work

    Cons

    Difficult to get back into company following graduation

    Advice to Management

    A bit more of a mechanism for Interns to get back in as employees would be helpful


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

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

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

    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


  9. "Intern and then Research Assistant at CSIS"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    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.


  10. "Great place to work, especially for young people"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Work directly with leading experts in your field
    Many opportunities to network and interact with colleagues at other think tanks and in government
    Fairly good young development programs
    Lots of room for advancement if you look for it
    Really smart coworkers

    Cons

    Mid-level salaries
    Lots of turnover with changing administrations


  11. "Great organization - a fabulous stepping stone for a career in international public service"

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

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

    Pros

    You'll meet amazing people
    When you demonstrate efficacy in your job, your responsibilities grow
    The organization has a very flat culture
    The network is unparalleled in the IR field

    Cons

    The fundraising woes that all non-profits experience are apparent at CSIS as well. Additionally, when I was there, there was very little opportunity to move from junior staff positions to mid-level positions internally.


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