By Mary Beaulieu, Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Career Advancement

Students and alumni network at Federal Careers Day
Students and alumni network at U.S. Federal Government Careers Day, an event hosted by the Office of Career Advancement.

Pursuing a degree at Harvard Kennedy School is all about career development. Given the diversity of interests and experience among HKS students, the process of taking your next career step will be a unique journey—and we’re here to help along the way. From setting goals to negotiating a job offer, the Office of Career Advancement (OCA) is your partner as you move through HKS to your next professional opportunity. Together with HKS faculty members, staff, alumni, research center affiliates, and, most of all, your classmates, we help you to pursue a career that makes a difference in the world.

What professional development resources does OCA provide?

One-to-one career coaching is the cornerstone of OCA’s work. Our career coaches provide individual coaching, access to potential employers, job search skill development, and guidance on building a strong network to support your career interests. 

In addition, we bring employers and alumni to campus for information sessions, industry-focused career fairs, and one-on-one or group career chats throughout the year. 

Examples of Recent OCA Events

  • U.S. Presidential Management Fellowship Information Session
  • U.S. Federal Government Careers Day
  • Washington, D.C. Networking Night
  • United Nations Alumni Panel
  • World Bank Alumni Panel
  • Climate and Sustainability Alumni Panel
  • International Development and Human Rights Alumni Panel
  • Careers in U.S. Foreign Service
  • Design Thinking Your Career Workshop
  • Effective Interviewing Workshop
  • Negotiation Workshop 

OCA’s support doesn’t stop at graduation—HKS alumni can also consult with OCA coaches as their careers progress.

four panelists and a moderator seated in front of a crowded room of students
Panelists discuss their careers working in the federal government during U.S. Federal Government Careers Day. 

How do HKS students find jobs and internships?

We maintain an online job bank and career management system, JACK (Jobs and Careers for the Kennedy School), to help our students find jobs and internships. Throughout the year, we screen and post approximately 3,000 targeted jobs and internships, making JACK a powerful tool for identifying unique opportunities and potential employers. In addition to JACK, the HKS Alumni Directory and LinkedIn Group (open to students, alumni, faculty and staff members, and Executive Education participants) can be valuable resources for building a dynamic professional network.

What do students do after graduating from HKS?

The career paths of our graduates are vast and varied. In fact, 85% of the employers hiring HKS graduates from the Class of 2023 hired only one graduate, reflecting out graduates’ diverse career trajectories.

Each spring, our office releases an Employment Snapshot report showcasing data about our most recent graduating class. I invite you to explore the Class of 2023 Employment Snapshot report to learn more about how our graduates are making an impact.

Fast Facts about the Class of 2023

  • 535 employed graduates are working in 46 countries and territories and 32 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C.
  • 88% of graduates were settled by November 2023. (Settled refers to those who are employed, pursuing further education, running for office, or not seeking employment.)
  • 71 graduates are working in the U.S. federal government across 24 departments and agencies. The top federal government employers include the U.S. military, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Department of Defense.
  • 45 HKS graduates accepted roles in international governments around the world, including 23 national, 5 state or regional, and 2 city or local governments.
  • 131 of our graduates entered nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations engaged in areas including climate change, community/economic development, education, health, technology, workforce development, housing/homelessness, and human rights.

Graduates’ Post-HKS Employment by Sector

pie chart showing percentage of graduates in public/IGO, private, and nonprofit/NGO employment sectors


Is funding available for summer internships?

Yes! The Summer Internship Fund provides support to students undertaking an unpaid or minimally paid (eight-week or longer) internship in a public sector organization (IGO, national, regional, state, local, tribal) or in a non-governmental organization. Students enrolled in two-year programs can apply for summer internship funding in the spring semester of their first year.

What unique professional development opportunities exist for HKS students?

There are many, but one of the most exciting is the Michael S. Dukakis Governors’ Summer Fellowship. The Dukakis Fellowship allows students to serve 10-12 weeks in U.S. governors’ executive offices between their first and second years of graduate study. More than 150 Dukakis Fellows have participated in the program since it began in 2007.

Read their stories

Carolyn worked in the Governors Office of Connecticut on initiatives related to workforce development as an Economic Development Strategic Policy Fellow.


Austin worked with the Governors Office of Utah on mapping the state’s public education data landscape, identifying ways to increase educator diversity, and evaluating state-level school governance.


Amanda worked with the Governors Office of Missouri on creating the state’s new Office of Childhood in support of the governor’s priority to enhance early childhood education.

Image Credits

Winston Tang

Read Next Post
View All Blog Posts