Resources for International Students
As a preeminent research and teaching institution addressing global public issues, the Harvard Kennedy School attracts students from around the world. The great majority (approximately 90%) of international students on graduation take up professional opportunities outside the United States, usually in their home country. Overall, close to 50% choose to undertake summer internships outside their home country, choosing opportunities in the U.S. and beyond. In both the summer internship and full-time search, our international students’ varied combination of language skills, cross-cultural communication skills, and extensive international experience, in addition to their Harvard Kennedy School training, are proven assets.
Where do our international students and alumni go?
To review the employment choices of recent international graduates, See the Most Recent HKS Employment Report (link to PDF)
Students who are considering employment in the U.S. should familiarize themselves with the Work Authorization process for F-1 and J-1 visa holders. Understanding both the opportunities and limitations of the U.S. job search will guide you in investing your time effectively. We encourage you to meet with an Office of Career Advancement (OCA) career coach to discuss challenges and opportunities in the U.S. job search.
The Harvard International Office (HIO) offers detailed information for visa holders.
OCA hosts annual presentations for international students on U.S. employment issues in conjunction with HIO.
OCA services to support international students
- Create your Profile in JACK: Jobs and Careers for the Kennedy School, our career management system. Your completed profile guides OCA in sending emails tailored to your professional interests.
- Upload your HKS-style resume into JACK and participate in the Opt-In Resume Book(s) that best match your interests. Employers search Resume Books for specific profiles, including nationality.
- OCA offers support in drafting an HKS-style Resume, the first step in your search. OCA also gives guidance on drafting cover letters and/or personal statements required with job and internship applications, as well as crafting effective business emails. We offer printed support material as well as small group workshop presentations on job search skill development. Make an appointment with an OCA Career Coach or drop in during “Quick Question” time, offered daily.
- Develop (or enhance) your fluency in describing your professional goals and interests. OCA offers workshops on making an effective elevator pitch (the ability to quickly state your interest and goals should an unforeseen opportunity to do so present itself, for example, meeting an expert in your interest area while waiting for an elevator). See also the HKS Communication Program’s writing and presentation workshops and offerings.
- Recognizing the widespread interest at the Harvard Kennedy School in international institutions, including the international financial institutions and the United Nations system, OCA provides numerous opportunities to learn about their hiring profiles and procedures and to meet alumni and other professionals within the organizations.
Expand your professional network
Explore and expand your professional network: The Harvard Kennedy School is a global hub. Networking has been described by an expert as the North American term for the universal practice of building long–term, professional, reciprocal relationships. Embrace the opportunities to meet fellow students and other professionals in your area of interest.
- Professional Interest Councils (PICs) at The Harvard Kennedy School offer the opportunity to collaborate with fellow students with similar professional and policy interests and to share ideas and contacts.
- Join the HKS LinkedIn Group
- Explore the many regional HKS Regional Alumni Groups. They offer numerous opportunities to interact with the global Harvard Kennedy School community.
- The Harvard Kennedy School has secured professional membership for all students and alumni with Devex, a social enterprise launched by HKS students in 2000, which has become the largest provider of business intelligence and recruitment services to the development community. This membership will give you access to a job bank of available development positions around the world as well as a pipeline to practitioners in the field. Alumni may find information about joining Devex on the homepage in JACK as well as in the OCA Document Library in JACK. (Enter Devex in the keyword field.)