Harvard CIA App Numbers Steady

CIA sees 50 percent rise in applications nationally; may be due to economic climate

A dramatic rise in applications for jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency—which traditionally recruits heavily from the College—has seen no such spike from Harvard undergraduates.

The Agency has for many years been actively using Harvard, as well as other colleges and universities nationwide, as a recruitment base.

The CIA received over 120,000 applications in 2008, but for 2009 this figure has soared by approximately 50 percent, said CIA spokesperson Marie E. Harf.

According to Robin Mount, the interim director of Office of Career Services at Harvard, the response from Harvard students has not changed dramatically, although interest remains high.

Harf said that although this nationwide increase may be because of the economic crisis, “it is difficult to quantify how much it affects our hiring.”

The Office of Career Services Web site states that out of 61 percent of students entering the employment sector after graduating in 2008, 2 percent took jobs in government and 1 percent joined the military.

In 2008, the CIA hosted five recruitment events at Harvard, including career fairs, conferences and job fairs. Only six events were held for the entire Boston area in the same year. In total, 1,000 CIA recruiting events were held across the country last year.

Deb Carroll, assistant director of the Office of Career Services for employer relations, said that “the number of students who attend these events has been significant.” She added that the CIA was getting more attention at the Career Forum this fall than it did two to three years ago.

“We are always received very warmly by Harvard,” said Harf.

The CIA looks for people who are highly qualified, motivated to serve their country, and who have skills such as foreign language abilities and technical expertise, according to Harf.

“The CIA comes to Harvard because we have one of the best language teachings in the whole country,” Mount said.

Yet, more extensive efforts have been made by other colleges and universities to aid CIA recruitment. Some universities, such as Berkeley and USC, have been a part of the CIA’s collegiate marketing program for the past 5 years, a program that allows the Agency to use marketing classes to engage directly with students. Harvard remains unaffiliated with this program.

“In other colleges and universities there are lots of employers who engage with the faculty and the curriculum but this does not happen very frequently at Harvard,” said Mount.