Acumen Reviews

Updated March 19, 2015
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4.0
9 Reviews
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Thomas MaCurdy
4 Ratings

9 Employee Reviews

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  1. Intelligent employees and great opportunity to grow as individual. Loved working here!

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Great group of smart, motivated, and oftentimes young individuals who work hard but also have many interests outside of work. Most people are super nice, helpful, and friendly.
    - Company culture is casual, though professional when interacting with clients.
    - Hours are more flexible than most companies.
    - Generally believe meritocracy drives promotions/raises. Hard work and good results are recognized!
    - The company has a lot of potential to improve. For example, work hours have dramatically decreased due to more hiring and better retention than in previous years.
    - Managers are generally helpful and supportive, taking your interests into account with regard to project assignments.
    - Salaries are probably closer to the bottom in terms of starting salaries, but Acumen gives pretty large wage increases during performance review periods, which are every 6 months. Bonuses are also a big plus.

    Cons

    - Depending on your projects/team, you may end up working a lot more than 40 hours a week. However, as mentioned previously, work hours have decreased a lot and most employees enjoy standard hours.
    - Not a start-up, though perks do include free bagels every Friday and a monthly lunch, in addition to some holiday-themed parties/activities. The company is continuously working on improvement and I think employee satisfaction has gone up as a result.
    - Sink or swim environment, though less so now with better management and more structured trainings. A lot of support is available if needed, but there is an expectation you should be able to figure things out on your own for the most part. This can be a pro or a con, depending on your learning preferences.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to spend time improving the work-life balance of the employees and they will be sure to stay longer, resulting in better managers and hence happier employees all around. Continue to hire smart, motivated individuals! Really enjoyed my time at this company and hope others will too!

  2. Helpful (5)

    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 a year)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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".

    Acumen Response

    Dec 30, 2014Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for the review and advice.

  3. Helpful (3)

    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 a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

    Acumen Response

    Dec 30, 2014Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    We take all advice into consideration. Thanks for leaving a review.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    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)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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

    Acumen Response

    Dec 30, 2014Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thanks for leaving a review.

  6. Helpful (5)

    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.

  7. 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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Policy relevant projects, lots of learning

    Cons

    no incentive bonuses, high turnover, below average building

    Advice to Management

    keep the good work

  8. Helpful (1)

    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

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    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.

  9. 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

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    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 Management

    Improve benefits and employee appreciation initiatives.

  10. Helpful (2)

    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

    Recommends
    Recommends

    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 Management

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

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