The challenges of the ongoing global pandemic and a year of online learning did not deter Harvard Kennedy School students from putting their new skills and training to the test in Summer 2021.

Rising second-year MPP, MPA/ID, and MPA students reported working in summer internships—some remarkably in two or more—across sectors, policy areas, and industries, including government, international development, education, finance and financial technology, consulting and advisory, and technology and science. Some received a stipend from the HKS Summer Internship Fund, others from the school’s research centers and initiatives

Our students tackled local and global challenges by taking on relevant, timely, and, perhaps to some, surprising internship opportunities, illustrating the broad applicability of an HKS education.

We are proud to share some of their stories.


If you are a current HKS student, you can find a complete list of 2021 summer internships here, positions held by students, and their contact details (HarvardKey login required). You are welcome to follow up with them directly with questions about their experiences.

Summer 2021 Internship Highlights

About 92 percent of employers hired only one HKS student summer intern, which reflects the unique career trajectories of our students. And four employers where students interned (IDinsight, Instiglio, Siklus, and Vot-ER) were founded by our alumni. 

Read our Summer 2021 internship highlights to learn more about some of our students' experiences.

Summer 2021 internships

* reported by 233 HKS students, some of whom worked in two or more internships this summer


Sector Breakdown of Summer Internship Employers

Public 41%, Nonprofit + NGO 33%, and For Profit + Private 26%. Public sector consists of 16% National and Federal Government; 14% Intergovernmental Organization; 6% Regional, State, and Tribal Government; and 5% Local, City, and County Government.

Location of Summer Internship Employers*

Outside the United States 29% vs. Inside the United States 71%

* even if interns worked remotely


Remote vs. In-Person Internships

remote internship 65%, remote for part of the internship 18%, and in-person internship 17%


Master in Public Policy

In the two-year Master in Public Policy (MPP) Program, students learn how to understand complex global and local policy problems and construct concrete solutions.

Sector Breakdown of MPP Summer Internship Employers 

Public 50%, Nonprofit + NGO 34%, and For Profit + Private 16%. Public sector consists of 21% National and Federal Government; 9% Intergovernmental Organization; 10% Regional, State, and Tribal Government; 9% Local, City, and County Government; and 1% political campaign.

Top Industry Destinations for MPP Students (in order)

  • Government
  • Education, including interning at Harvard and HKS
  • International development
  • Finance/Financial technology
  • Consulting/Advisory and advocacy/Public interest
Who hired MPP student interns?

Alpaca VC
American Institutes for Research
Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)
Bain & Company 
Bank of America 
Berlin Rosen
Beyond Capital Fund
Black and Pink Massachusetts
Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative
Boston Public Schools 
Brands on a Mission
Bridges Impact Foundation
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Center for European Policy Analysis
Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Center for International Policy
Center for Strategic and International Studies
City and County of San Francisco
City of Buenos Aires
City of Chelsea, MA, Public Schools
City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice
City of Chicago Mayor's Office
City of Chicago, IL
City of Fort Collins, CO
City of Leipzig, Germany
City of Norman, OK
City of South Bend, IN
Colvin Run Networks
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Asian American Commission
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Public Health
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Governor
Daily Caller
Death Penalty Information Center
Donor Direct Action
European Union Parliament
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Global Impact Investment Network
Global Labor Justice | International Labor Rights Forum
Government of Liechtenstein, Mission to the United Nations in New York
Government of Minnesota
Habitat para a Humanidade - Brasil
Harris County, TX  Judge Lina Hidalgo
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Harvard Kennedy School (5)
Harvard Kennedy School, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (2)
Harvard Kennedy School, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government / Yale University
Harvard Kennedy School, Office of Career Advancement 
Harvard Kennedy School, Office of Professor Brian Mandell
Harvard Project for American Indian Economic Development
Harvard Project on Workforce
Institute for Community Living
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Justice is Global
Kairos Power
McKinsey & Company
Miami Dade Government
Millennium Challenge Corporation
Mountain Pursuit
National Black Child Development Institute
National Head Start Association
National Park Service
Natural Resources Canada
Organic Farmers Association
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Persistence Plus
Physicians for Human Rights
Pine Street Inn
Progressive Turnout Project
Rockefeller Foundation
Rockefeller Foundation
Regional Organization for Peace, Economics and Security (ROPES)
São Paulo State Department of Economic Development, Science, Technology and Innovation
Social Finance
Southern Ute Tribe
Stand Up America
State of Louisiana
State of Missouri
State of North Carolina, Governor's Office, Policy Team
State of North Dakota
State of Oregon
State of Utah
State of Vermont
State of Wyoming
Thomson Reuters Special Services
Transport Canada
Trickle Up
Two Sigma
United Nations (2)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations, Executive Office of the Secretary-General (Political Unit)
United Nations, Executive Office of the Secretary-General
U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (2)
U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Education (Office of Elementary and Secondary Education/Office of Rural, Insular and Native Achievement Programs)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Budget
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
U.S. Department of State (3)
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Office of Security and Human Rights
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Organizations, Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs 
U.S. Department of the Air Force, Office of the Legislative Liaison
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
U.S. Senate, Office of Senator Martin Heinrich 
Vannevar Labs
Vera Institute of Justice
Viridis Terra
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
The White House, Office of Management and Budget
World Bank (4)
Read about MPP students' internship experiences, in their own words

Brian worked on Waymo's Public Affairs team, which is helping to grow positive public sentiment and trust around autonomously driven vehicles.


As a Michael S. Dukakis Governors’ Summer Fellow, Amanda worked on the creation of the state’s new Office of Childhood


Tessa reported it was all-hands-on-deck as the U.S. Senate tried to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a reconciliation package.


Sebastian worked with the Sabeti Lab to develop a global strategy to educate communities on the importance of participatory digital health tools. 


As a Michael S. Dukakis Governors’ Summer Fellow, Austin worked on the different facets of Utah public education.


Arielle conducted a historical review of American Indian federal policies and reports dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.


Sarah designed and directed the Asian American Commission (AAC)’s AAPI Women in Politics and Public Service initiative. 


Akshay worked with Medicaid agencies in U.S. state governments on the policy framework to expand and improve services to eligible Medicaid members. 


Master in Public Administration/International Development

In the two-year Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) Program, students are trained to be the next generation of leaders in international development.

Sector Breakdown of MPA/ID Summer Internship Employers 

Public 36%, Nonprofit + NGO 38%, and For Profit + Private 26%. Public sector consists of 9% National and Federal Government; 25% Intergovernmental Organization; and 2% Local, City, and County Government.

Top Industry Destinations for MPA/ID Students (in order)

  • International development
  • Finance/Financial technology
  • Education, including interning at Harvard and HKS
  • Government
  • Consulting/Advisory


Who hired MPA/ID student interns?

Afya Pamoja 
Asian Development Bank
Better Govs
Bezos Earth Fund
Boston Consulting Group
Botho Emerging Markets Group
Center of Studies for Human Development
City of Nashua, NH
City of Recife, Brazil, Women's Secretariat
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
EY Infrastructure Advisory
Government of Albania, Prime Minister's Office (2)
Government of Bhutan
Government of Chile, Ministry of Finance
Government of Dominican Republic, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSME
Government of India, Reserve Bank
Government of Togo, Ministry of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation
Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator
Harvard Kennedy School (13)
Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab
HBK Capital Management
IMAGO Global Grassroots
Institute for Health Policy Studies (Instituto de Estudos para Políticas de Saúde)
International Finance Corporation (IFC) (2)
J-PAL (Jameel Poverty Action Lab)
Korea International Trade Association
McKinsey & Company
NITI Aayog
Numida Technologies
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (3)
Paul Ramsay Foundation
Persistent Energy
Public Digital
Rockefeller Foundation
TCW Group
United Nations (2)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations, Executive Office of the Secretary-General
Victory Farms Kenya
Vista Equity Partners
Vital Strategies
World Bank (6)
World Food Programme
Read about MPA/ID students' internship experiences, in their own words

Diana contributed to the research and writing of the OECD’s Annual Africa Development Dynamics report.


Varun worked in WFP's Strategic Partnerships Division to foster partnerships with national governments and development actors such as the World Bank and IMF.


Gina redid Siklus's financial model to reflect their new focus on mobile delivery and customer growth as the main revenue driver.


Lavanya researched how to reorient the existing agriculture and health policies to tackle unhealthy foods at a global level, especially in India.


Diego worked on a project with other two people at Numida, and built a proprietary credit score to evaluate the credit risk of loan applicants. 


Nico's work with BetterGovs focused on understanding and designing solutions to the challenges that government leaders often face in implementing public policy.


Matías analyzed the macroeconomic and financial conditions of emerging economies, Chile especially.


Gopal helped identify manufacturing industries with the highest potential for job creation, and explore if international trade can play a role in their growth.


Sebastian interned at two organizations while working remotely in Medellín, Colombia. 


Kimberly worked in the Office of Development Programs and Coordination on programs related to EU and Albanian initiatives in the “Blue” Economy.


Beatriz worked on increasing community engagement in the participatory budgeting process in Nashua, NH’s Tree Streets neighborhood.


Master in Public Administration

In the two-year Master in Public Administration (MPA) Program, students—who already have significant professional experience—gain the additional skills needed for positions of responsibility in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Sector Breakdown of MPA Summer Internship Employers 

Public 21%, Nonprofit + NGO 20%, and For Profit + Private 59%. Public sector consists of 10% National and Federal Government; 7% Intergovernmental Organization; and 4% Regional, State, and Tribal Government.

Top Industry Destinations for MPA Students (in order)

  • Technology/Science
  • Government
  • Finance/Financial Technology
  • Consulting/Advisory
  • International development


Who hired MPA student interns?

Acumen America
AmaliTech gGmbH
American Councils for International Education
Biobot Analytics
Black River Innovation Campus
Boston Consulting Group (2)
EY Parthenon
Government of France, Ministry of Economics
Government of Sri Lanka, Office of Eran Wickramaratne, Member of Parliament
Harvard Kennedy School (2)
Highland Capital Partners
International Energy Agency
Jobs for the Future (JFF)
Jonathan Rose Companies
Muse and Company 
New Profit Inc.
Playground Global
Public Digital
Qatalyst Partners
State of Colorado
State of Connecticut
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) DRC
U.S. Senate Finance Committee
Verdad Advisers
World Bank
Read about MPA students' internship experiences, in their own words

Jay worked for the Social Enterprise Finance Team (SEFT), which provides debt or equity financing for early-stage social enterprises.


Nikhil worked on Google’s desktop Search team (think laptops/computers as opposed to mobile). 


Quentin coordinated the creation and reporting structure of a platform that is now a central part in the management of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.


Emmy-Lou was part of a team that coordinated two key programs daily with the Emergency section based in Goma.


As a Michael S. Dukakis Governors’ Summer Fellow, Tara worked on initiatives related to adult-use cannabis and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Challenge.


Anthony was on the committee's Democratic tax staff working on federal tax policy, particularly relating to passthrough businesses, capital gains, and retirement plans.


Ena worked on the Scaled Operations team, focusing on a standardized approach to introduce its services into nascent teams, products, and lines-of-business.


Blaine was on the Automated Brand Protection team, building a framework for tiered enforcements for listings/sellers suspected of infringing on intellectual property.


Assaf worked for Azure Machine Learning, a cloud service for managing the Machine Learning project's lifecycle. 


Summer Internship Stipends

Many HKS students accept unpaid or minimally paid summer internships in public service or at nonprofits. As a result, limited summer stipends are available through the HKS Summer Internship Fund (SIF) in addition to the school’s research centers and initiatives.

If you are a current HKS student, read more about SIF and summer funding programs available through the HKS research centers and initiatives. (HarvardKey login required).


Our Data Collection Process

The HKS Office of Career Advancement (OCA) collected data on summer internship experiences of rising second-year MPP, MPA, and MPA/ID students from June to August 2021 using several techniques, including voluntary surveys and individual email inquiries.  

Numbers in this report have been rounded up/down when necessary to help simplify reporting. 

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