AKQA Reviews

Updated March 14, 2015
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AKQA CEO Ajaz Ahmed
Ajaz Ahmed
72 Ratings

37 Employee Reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful

    Get in and get out.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at AKQA full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    - Nice business cards.
    - Good name to put on your resume.
    - Great clients.
    - People are nice and there are some talented people working here.

    Cons

    - They didn't take the time to on-board me properly, which led to frustrations and miscommunication down the road.
    - Bad sign when an employee who has been working there for two years told me "two years is long in AKQA years".
    - Extremely high turn-around. Someone quits every week.
    - They try to compete with tech companies in San Francisco yet they don't have any office perks other than a coffee machine (which is usually broken) and some green juice they make once a week.
    - Hours are unreasonable. 12+ hours are the norm plus weekends. I went to work every morning not knowing when I can go home and I stopped making plans after work.
    - PMs only care about the client and don't care about designers or developers. They will willingly hand you work at 5pm or 6pm.
    - If you left before 6pm, people would look at you and think that you don't care about the work, the client, or the company.
    - No growth opportunities.
    - Horrible management. They care more about how they are perceived by clients and from the outside rather than how the rest of the employees perceive them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be better management. Please hire better managers that know what they are doing and aren't constantly worried about their perception from the outside. I'm at a different company now with managers that truly care about my growth and well-being and I'm baffled as to how I lasted at AKQA for as long as I did. At my current company, my manager does a one-on-one with me every single week while at AKQA, my manager didn't check on me at all, in fact, ignored me. My manager only talked to me if there was something wrong. If you aren't at the top of their priority, they won't give you the time of day.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful

    Changing direction...No sinking ship.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at AKQA full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    ... They give you really nice business cards and when the coffee machine works the line for it is not that long.

    Cons

    there is no leadership so JR members of the company and those with senior titles continually blame one another instead of working as a team to accomplish goals. This toxic culture is impossible to grow in and has caused the majority of the talented and good people to leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like people and not "resources to bring in revenue". Train people so they stay and stop playing the blame game.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful

    Not so good with people....

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Project Manager in New York, NY

    I worked at AKQA

    Pros

    There are definitely some smart people to work with, especially within the tech and ux department. You will learn many things if you are willing and talk to the right people.
    There's a monthly company party with free drinks and food if you're into that sort of things.

    Cons

    There's absolutely no sense of growth or care within some departments. Project management leadership treats people with disrespect and expect the extra mile from every member. There was no guidance on anything and typically projects are handed over with high pressure and no information. Verizon seemed like the only good client to work on. Very high turn over with many people unhappy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    treat people with respect and provide them a path to grow. Currently it seems management is only providing themselves a path to grow.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. Mismatch for experienced software professionals, enterprise software professionals & from high profile consulting firms

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AKQA full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Good for interns,digital focussed professionals

    Cons

    Lack of good leadership at senior level.
    Lack of realization of globalization
    Serious lack of support from all perspectives to new comers - Support, HR, making the person feel comfortable to new comers.
    Serious cultural problem in the digital media company.
    One word which folks in the company have said - "Brutal".This is the culture in the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Revamp the leadership skills. Re-jig the senior leadership so that fresh mind and innovativeness and a thought of excelling is brought it. Just think of moving from "worse to good".
    Provide support to new comers so that the good word spreads and good talent is retained.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. Not a place for experienced software folks

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AKQA full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Great place for media , creative folks & interns. Interns can learn a lot and it could be a good springboard for them.

    Cons

    Most of the people are from digital folks. Thus, it is not a place for software leaders.
    Apart from that, there is skepticism for folks who have come from big software companies,especially from enterprise world.

    Lack of leadership in supporting new joinees in the organization.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Revamp leadership skills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful

    It's a Monet painting. Not so pretty up close.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at AKQA

    Pros

    Great coworkers. Good clients. Name still has pedigree. Different departments have different chemistry. Some great.

    Cons

    Some bad departments. AKQA isn't leading anymore. The last reviews here definitely have been written by the PR department or some GCD.

    It's as cutting edge as many other places. AKQA is a battle ship. Slow. Expensive. Too many layers.

    They compete with different shops, businesses and agencies and frankly their identity is absolutely nebulous to many. They lost their way. Reinventing itself every 2 months.

    Don't get blinded by the four letters and ask the right questions. There is a big gap between the work they say they do and PR vs the actual business.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be realistic about the work you do and your own skills. Your leadership is weak. Your identity is watered down and you still feed off your glorious past. You can feed that to interns but for professionals you are not an aspirational address in the Bay Area anymore.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful

    Terrible leadership = do not work there

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at AKQA full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Free fruit. Office is nice. Some cool people.

    Cons

    Leadership is not very good at the top and within each office. They don't value people. They don't know how to manage their clients.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Wake up and realize the company is on the demise.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful

    Probably the worst place you will work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Designer in San Francisco, CA
    Former Contractor - Designer in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at AKQA as a contractor

    Pros

    some of the people are cool
    clients are pretty cool, some of them
    running and yoga are great- nice idea

    Cons

    miserably bad resourcing
    your bosses talk ill of each other everyday and wonder why they don't get along
    people are always talking behind one another's back
    toxic environment
    unreasonable client expectations
    clients simply are frustrated with AKQA, which in turn makes AKQA employees more frustrated
    sink or swim environment- no one is going to go out of their way to help you
    people literally hate coming to work. literally.
    cheapest place i have ever worked- they literally have vending machines
    creativity is constantly being crushed by either your boss or the client

    seriously- listen to the other reviews.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful

    Inmates running the asylum

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Someone Who Cared
    Former Employee - Someone Who Cared

    I worked at AKQA full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work is all they talk about...There are a few great people in the NY office

    Cons

    The organization is overrun by guys that grew up under and around the creative founder. They are consumed with getting his attention rather than managing, leading and paying attention to the client and the people that grind it out for them everyday. They view their people as minions, as dispensable and the attrition and reputation prove it. There is a predominant "british school boy" culture the has creates a cast system.... Your either a worshiper of Ajaz or you are done. WPP should clean house and save the brand.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realign your business structure and focus on what you do well. Care for your people, don't beat them down..... A lot of great people has passed through and been tossed aside.. An the bleeding continues.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 6 people found this helpful

    Great place to learn, but not much growth opportunity. Very hierarchical and political.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at AKQA full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Went from having zero knowledge of the industry to becoming highly competent. Perks include yoga on Wednesdays, mouthwash in the bathrooms, fancy coffee machines in the kitchen. Tuesdays and Thursdays also offer runners a chance to get a sweat in during lunch hours.

    Cons

    If you aren't working as a director of some type, you'll get dirt pay. Hours are typical of an agency - long and with the exception of a pitch, uncompensated.

    Teams are very siloed. Very low opportunity for advancement. Promotions typically are within 5-10% increase in salary and come every 3-5 quarters - not enough really to move the needle.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more on the employees you have!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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