What are Think Tanks?
A Think Tank, as defined by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary is “an institute, corporation, or group organized to study a particular subject (such as a policy issue or a scientific problem) and provide information, ideas, and advice.” Put simply, Think Tanks generate knowledge to inform public policy decisions and sway public opinion.
What does an average workday look like for a Think Tank employee?
Hugo Brady, a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Reform perhaps best summarizes what one can expect out of the workday as a “think tanker,” generally speaking. He states that “A think tanker has to be able to think like an academic, act like a diplomat, and write like a journalist.” Brady’s description likely does not capture the experience of every researcher in the industry; however, it seems that the common image of a lonely scientist spending hours poring over data sets in an overly ornate building poorly encapsulates the nature of think tank work. Variety, rather than monotony, seems to be the norm.
How does one work at a Think Tank?
The first step to working at a Think Tank is finding one that suites your ideological preferences as the ideologies of Think Tanks can be wide ranging. Once you have identified a Think Tank for which you could envision yourself working, the next step is to browse the Think Tank’s website for employment opportunities. Information about openings and internship opportunities should be readily available. For senior positions at most Think Tanks, PhDs are standard; however, Research Assistant positions are often open to individuals with undergraduate degrees and most Think Tanks have internship positions for undergraduate students. To browse through a list of 3,316 prominent Think Tanks around the globe we recommend this website.
-Jonathan Hogan ’23, Career Peer Educator