Acumen

  www.acumenllc.com
  www.acumenllc.com

Acumen Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated November 8, 2014
Updated November 8, 2014
46 Reviews
3.3
46 Reviews
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Thomas MaCurdy
22 Ratings

8 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Smart people, meaningful work, somewhat chaotic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Acumen is a little bit of a mix between an academic environment and a corporate environment, that has to deal with a lot of government bureaucracy due to the nature of the work. Most of the employees are in their 20's, which includes a lot of managers. They come from good schools, a lot of undergrad math majors and masters in statistics, along with a handful of PhD's (economics, typically), although there's a wide variety of degrees. As such, you're going to be around a lot of smart, hard-working, young people. The company is (internally) fairly dynamic and fast-moving, with the restrictions to workflow generally coming from the government side of things.

    The nature of the work, I think, is more rewarding than both the typical SF Bay Area tech company and the typical university. You're going to be working on current federal health care data, helping to shape national policy. As opposed to working at a startup making yet another fitness app, or running predictions on what kinds of shoes a user is most likely to buy. Or working at a university, on 10 year old survey data of 3,000 people. It's something in the middle.

    The work hours are flexible, the culture is informal, and the work is challenging. The Burlingame office is right on the bay, great views, good for outdoor walks along the water.

    Cons

    The drawback of staffing a company with a lot of people who are fresh out of school is that there isn't a lot of outside work experience brought to the company. Most of the new employees have never known anything outside of the university, or a summer internship type experience. The result is that, while there is a lot of technical training, there isn't a lot of experience in working in a team environment towards a shared long-term goal (not typically learned in a university). Internal communication suffers as a consequence, which can result in unevenly distributed workloads, last-minute requests, duplication of work, version control problems, etc. The company is moving in the direction of being more mature and "integrated", but there is some distance to go.

    Pay and benefits are adequate for the location and typical experience level. But you don't go into public policy to get rich.

    Work-life balance is a function of the distribution of workload. If you're in the weeds having to fix old mistakes, it will be bad. But if things are going well, it's fine.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Encourage communication between projects and departments. You don't have to know the gory details of someone else's job, but just knowing their job function, deliverables, and area of expertise is helpful for knowledge sharing. A lot of problems occur as a result of "I had no idea you were working on this".

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Big data; relaxed atmosphere; smart co-workers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Data Systems Programmer in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Data Systems Programmer in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Petabytes of healthcare data ready to be analyzed. Laid-back work atmosphere of silicon valley but with east-coast clients and interesting problems. Smart, dedicated, educated, and passionate co-workers. Success is mostly self-determined with opportunities for promotions/salary increases. Decent perks and responsive organizational development group.

    Cons

    Management is hit and miss where some managers are good at providing opportunities to their employees while others are more interested in themselves. Work can be unpredictable on some projects due to incompetent clients and/or under-prepared project managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue improving employee education and training opportunities. Add more organizational structure to make responsibilities clearer. Ask for more feedback from entry-level employees via focus groups. Clarify the role of the DC office in relation to the CA office.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Good place to start a career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Policy Lead in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Policy Lead in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Good entry level positions
    -Learn programming (SAS or STATA), writing, and coordination skills
    -Work on high impact work
    -Good advancement oppurtunities - I started managing employees and projects in less than 2 years
    -Some work has high impact

    Cons

    -Hours can be long for some teams and projects
    -Advancement opportunities are not as good as they were a few years ago
    -Upper management makes poor decisions

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    Everything that's a Pro may also be considered a Con. Easy to burn out, but some truly great work/people.

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

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Take home message: Work is work and, if anything, Acumen will make you feel ready to take on the world.

    -If you're competent and show initiative, you'll be placed in positions to lead/grow.
    -Can see various projects with true impacts.
    -Flexible hours (depending on the Dept. you can choose roughly what time to come in the mornings and leave at night)
    -Great coworkers
    -Great managers and senior management as long as everyone is on the same page.
    -Company subsidizes tuition for classes related to work (caveat being that you'll be hard pressed to find that kind of time).
    -Great food in downtown San Mateo/Burlingame.

    Cons

    -The company is too busy to restructure the working dynamics (this seems to be getting better in parts of the company).
    -Hard to see the overall picture (direction/goals of projects and the company)
    -Overtime is expected, particularly due to strict Government deadlines.
    -Stressful due to unrealistic expectations by management.
    -Difficult to manage work/life balance (unless you don't mind being at the bottom of the worker bees)
    -Due to above mentioned stress, people burn out quickly and/or become irritable and harder to work with.
    -Several weeks of paid vacation per year, but depending on your position/department, you can expect to work remotely on your vacation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Though no senior manager wants to drop the ball or release the reigns on their baby project, I wish they could all take a well deserved break (100% work free). If anything, the company needs more Sr. managers to reduce each other's work load and to actually be able to incorporate suggestions made to them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Interesting work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Policy relevant projects, lots of learning

    Cons

    no incentive bonuses, high turnover, below average building

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep the good work

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Nice people, meaningful work, mediocre pay/benefits

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burlingame, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burlingame, CA

    I worked at Acumen

    Pros

    Most people are very kind and hardworking. If you are fresh out of college, its a good place to learn "marketable" skills like SAS. If you like the work, and are good, you can be promoted very quickly.

    Cons

    The salary isn't very good compared to similar positions. While everyone is very bright, there aren't very many who are really experienced in Epidemiology/Econometrics.

    The location is a little awkward--almost everyone commutes.

    Turn-over is very high.

    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Challenging content-wise and also in figuring out what is expected of me to really excel.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen

    Pros

    The workplace and the stimulating material.

    Cons

    Positive reinforcement is almost non-existent and the management is not extremely clear in setting expectations. Favoritism is also fairly prevalent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve benefits and employee appreciation initiatives.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    It is a learning experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen

    Pros

    People are very down to earth.
    Motivated group of people to work with.
    Can learn quite a but if you work hard.

    Cons

    Compensation is not great as compared to other companies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Good Management. But can try and lessen the pressure on the employess

    Recommends

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