This page has been written by Paul Brown
, the relevant Careers Adviser for this occupational area. To see how you can meet Paul, or any of our advisers, visit our website
Political risk analysts examine the political climate and social conditions of a particular country, region, or market to determine the level of political risk. They provide information pertaining to government stability, crime levels, currency convertability, land rights issues, as well as other factors that would affect return on investment. Typically, analysts gather information pertaining to the area of interest, determine the causes, sources, and level of risk, and forward their findings to decision-makers. They also may provide solutions or offer recommendations for overcoming these risks.
Work in political risk management is varied. If you pursue this field, you may find yourself working for international organisations, financial companies, rating services, oil companies, consumer businesses or companies that sell political risk information. You can also work in the political risk divisions of large consulting and insurance companies or within Credit, Fixed Income, or Equities at a large bank.
Networks - why and how to use them
Networking is particularly important and can help you succeed with your applications. If you have been in contact with someone working for the organisation then you have extra information to back up your case for why they should employ you. Use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (many organisations have their own page) to connect with organisations. Alumni can make extremely useful contacts, giving you an "edge" with your applications and interviews. There are several ways to make contact with alumni.
- Saint Connect - The Careers Alumni Network for St Andrews where you can make contact with alumni, get industry news, participate in discussions, and search jobs. Find out how to use Saint Connect by viewing the 'Video Tour' (bottom right-hand side of Saint Connect screen).
- LinkedIn – Alumni Tool - this feature shows the career paths of 30,000+ St Andrews Alumni. By using the search field, you can find alumni working in a particular organisation eg Political and Security Risk Analyst at Riskline, Political Risk Analyst Intern at Frontier Horizons, Risk Manager at Save the Children International and Country Risk Analyst at BMI Research. Watch the YouTube video on how to use this resource.
- Graduate recruiters - ask if they can put you in touch with any alumni now working for their company.
- Friends and family - ask around your immediate social network for any contacts in the organisations which interest you.
- This networking video produced by Cass Business School gives excellent tips on effective networking.
How to gain experience/internships
If you're interested in this field, it's helpful to develop accounting and financial skills as well as an understanding of the political process. Internships are strongly recommended for a career in political risk analysis, especially if you're looking to work at a financial institution.
Try to arrange work shadowing and longer placements or internships as this can help you to decide on your career choice and is a real advantage when applying for jobs. You can also adopt a speculative approach - see our web pages on networking and speculative applications for more advice. See our list of sample employers below for organisations that might have internships.
Many individuals interested in political risk analysis see the need to focus on a particular angle that will create a pathway to their career. If you're interested in a Banking context, take courses in Economics. If you would like to specialise in a particular region, work hard to become an expert on its politics, culture, and economy. If you know that your languages are rusty then think about experience that will help you brush up. You will probably need to be proactive and make speculative applications to organisations that you are interested in and networking in order to get your foot in the door. An up-to-date profile on Linked In would probably be helpful for this reason also.
How to get a (graduate) job
Obtaining a job in political risk analysis is by no means a straightforward undertaking. Whatever you choose, you will likely need to create the building blocks of your career through a careful mix of postgraduate training, experience, skills and networking.
Successful analysts are people who can apply their knowledge to understand new and complex situations. They hail from all sorts of backgrounds. Analysts usually have degrees in business or international relations or have worked in intelligence, law, journalism or law enforcement. Furthermore, banking experience is useful to those seeking employment at a financial institution. All applicants must have strong research and analytical skills. They need to be good decision-makers and able to communicate well. Potential employers are looking for 'intelligent risk takers' who are well-informed and keep abreast of current events. They also want individuals who can write concise and coherent reports.
Language skills are an asset but not a requirement in the field. Some positions may expect you to know a particular region inside and out so you are able to decipher a balance sheet, understand a country's economic workings or provide insight into its politics. However, other positions will focus on several areas of the world and therefore do not expect you to be a specialist.
- Aegis - London-based with offices in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq and the US
- AKE Group - London-based with offices in Aberdeen, Australia, Bagdad and Kabul
- Aon Corporation - 500 offices in 120 countries
- The Cohen Group - Offices in Washington, Beijin and Tianjin
- Control Risks Group - 34 offices on 5 continents
- Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu - Offices in over 140 countries
- Engility (formerly International Resources Group) - Headquarters in Washington, corporate and representational offices in India and 20 project-dedicated offices around the world
- Eurasia Group - Offices in New York, Washington, and London
- FTI-Consulting (formerly International Risk Limited) - Offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. Its parent company has offices worldwide
- Frontier Horizons UK-based with a focus on MENA region
- Global Risk Insights (GRI) is a website which provides expert political risk analysis for businesses and investors. If you are interested in becoming an analyst, email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have, or, if you are ready to apply, with your resume and an English language writing sample.
- IHS Energy - Colorado-based with offices worldwide
- Inkerman Group - Ashford-based with offices in London and Köln, Germany
- Kreller Business Information Group - Ohio-based but performs projects worldwide
- Kroll Associates - US-based with offices in 27 countries
- Kuranga & Associates - US-based with a focus on Africa
- Maplecroft is a leading and award winning global risks analysis company based in Bath, South West England.
- Marvin Zonis + Associates, Inc. - Offices in Chicago
- Medley Global Advisors - Offices in New York, Washington, London and Tokyo
- Oxford Analytica - Offices in Oxford, Paris, New York and Washington
- Pro-Guard Security a private security company based in the UK offering security services for schools, business parks and the retail sector.
- Risk.Net - Offices in 24 countries
- Riskline - Offices in Copenhagen
- Salama Fikira a private and corporate security contractor and risk management company based in Kenya. Serves the mining, maritime and oil and gas sectors
- Smith Brandon International Inc. - Offices in Washington
- West Sands Advisory A local consultancy that offers experience to students (unpaid)
- Bloomberg Financial News - Most openings in New York, London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo but offices in 140 countries
- Business Monitor International (BMI) - London-based with offices in Singapore, New York, and South Africa
- Economist Intelligence Unit - Analysts based in London, New York, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and Hong Kong
- International Relations and Security Network (ISN) - Offices in Zurich
- IHS Jane's Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis - Colorado-based with employees worldwide
- Newlink Business Intelligence - Offices in Toronto
- Profound Online Business Services
- The PRS Group - Headquartered in Syracuse, NY with sales offices in Dubai, Australia, Tokyo and Milan
- Stratfor - Offices in Austin, TX
- Oxford Analytica - Offices in Oxford, Paris, New York and Washington
- Gold Mercury International
Banks and Financial Institutions
Key Links and Resources
Useful Background Information