BlackRock

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  www.blackrock.com

BlackRock Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated August 26, 2014
Updated August 26, 2014
681 Reviews
3.4
681 Reviews
Rating Trends

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BlackRock Chairman and CEO Laurence D. Fink
Laurence D. Fink
484 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Management cares about work life balance and actively seeks ways to improve it (in 50 reviews)

  • these are very smart people with tremendous resources spread across the globe (in 52 reviews)


Cons
  • I can tell from the analysts I worked with that work-life balance was not great (in 71 reviews)

  • Very long hours, if you are not an investor you're kind of second class (in 50 reviews)

More Highlights

31 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Summary of Reviews - SF Tech

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

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

    Pros

    This will summarize the reviews here, also taking into account the results of the employee survey. It is from an SF tech perspective, but captures the general consensus. If you want to work here, ask pertinent questions to get at the heart of the pros/cons.

    1) Total compensation is OK, but base is below market. Base salary doesn't move (4 years running with "exceeds expectations" manager reviews).
    2) CEO is a leader in the field and well respected.
    3) Benefits are good.
    4) Work/life balance is good.
    5) Respected financial company with a diverse range of products.

    Cons

    1) Decisions are driven from NY. SF is a satellite office, even though there is superior technical talent. Management will tell you otherwise, but that is how it is.
    2) Your experience will largely depend on what group you are in and where your group is located. If you work in SF, be part of an SF-based group. Many groups are remote, resulting in lots of phone calls. What could be accomplished in minutes takes hours.
    3) Most MDs are in NY, so you get limited face-time if you are working on the west coast. They generally don't know what you are working on and what skills you bring to the table. If you can sit with them in their office, you have a huge advantage (i.e., if you are located on the east coast).
    4) Career growth is limited. Promotions are based on your relationship with your MD (and your manager), not technical skill. I've seen tech people with years of schooling and experience stagnate, while biz people with soft skills (i.e., anyone could pick up at work) get promoted. Although the company prides itself on being technology-oriented, technical people are second-class citizens. Any biz school grad with the same skills/knowledge/drive as a tech grad will be 1-2 steps ahead in the hierarchy.
    5) Speed is rewarded over quality. New projects pop up continually and are pushed out without spending the proper time designing solutions. Technical debt is knee-deep.
    6) Project management is seriously lacking. Managers tend to think up their own methodologies rather than studying best-practices in the industry.
    7) Lots of talk about innovation, but years behind tech companies.
    8) Tons of context switching. Interruptions are constant.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Understand what your people know and what skills they bring to the company. Take advantage of SF and the technical ability it provides. If you are serious about innovation, understand what it means and do what other financial companies do and open an innovation center. Take risks and accept a degree of failure. Consolidate your teams geographically (i.e., the entire group, top to bottom) to gain efficiency.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Mixed - smart people but absolutely no middle/senior management

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

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

    Pros

    Smart people, committed and dedicated. A lot of teamwork and cooperation. Perhaps not as political as some other financial companies.

    Cons

    Absolutely no management whatsoever; not even the first principles of management are applied. Several managers are just whimsical and survive only because of their length of stay at the company. Constant shifting of direction based on whims and moods of senior management contributes to a fairly low morale.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in some serious management training to make it less whimsical and personality oriented.

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

    BlackRock

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

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

    Pros

    Not a lot to say about pros. Nice office (because they bought Barclays Global Investors).

    Cons

    Lots of cons: boiler room environment where they'll work you long hours with little perks, management has cheap mentality even when company is hugely profitable, almost everyone worships (or appear to worship) Larry Fink (CEO) - in some meetings there's a poster of Larry Fink, which reminds me the North Korean dictator. They might have a good reputation of being the biggest asset manager but it's an awful place to work . Arrogant people - they think they're the best even though they're far from it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management will lie through their teeth telling you things you want to hear (e.g. they care about people, etc.) but they'll let you go and won't even acknowledge it. It seems there's always restructuring, I think it's just their excuse to let people go. There must be a better way to make a living than working for this company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    They took the soul out of iShares.

    Former Employee - E-Business in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - E-Business in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at BlackRock as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Depends on the group you are in. Better to be in headquarters in New Jersey where the seat of power is.

    Cons

    Not creative, very hierarchal. Everything dictated out of the New Jersey HQ. California people are just puppets.

    Doesn't Recommend
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Dissatisfied with company politics and no growth

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

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

    Pros

    Cannot think of any opportunities for growth, though the work-life balance is okay.

    Cons

    The company does not value its employees. There is subtle discrimination among employees. No transparency from the upper management. Promotions are all politically driven.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    disappointing

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

    I have been working at BlackRock full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    great people, great potential, LBGT friendly

    Cons

    flawed execution and management, misaligned compensation

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    either don't hire smart people or use the skills you buy, but don't make smart people sit and watch you all figure it out

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Bad Days at BlackRock

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

    I worked at BlackRock as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Gorgeous offices, great (if confusing) technology

    Cons

    No privacy, everyone sits at long tables. People are unfriendly to newcomers. Their technology systems are staggerly complex, and it often takes more than a week to get a phone set up, have a simple distribution list created and gain access to their travel and expense system. They also tend to hire contract employees, some of whom have been there for years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would keep a close eye on your managers. The way people are treated is very unkind.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Dead end for computer professionals

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

    I worked at BlackRock full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Many smart, nice, "fire in the belly" folks remain in San Francisco, but the BGI days are long gone.
    Work-life balance is ok, but I was never a PAG analyst.
    Adequate health/vacation/401k benefits.

    Cons

    - Perl is considered strategic. cgi-bin is a plus.
    - Many critical C++ systems were written 10-15 years ago, and those developers are now the senior IT management cadre. Good luck attempting a critique of current systems.
    - Essentially impossible to add a column to a database table, so ad-hoc name-val structures are pressed into service in preference to relational schema evolution.
    - 1-3% annual salary increase
    - NYC management arguably inferior to the former SF/BGI management.
    - Lame Christmas parties, consisting of beer/wine/finger food, at the office, 4-6pm. The lack of humor is dispiriting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You shouldn't write off the former BGI employees. And remember, you're an IT shop with a banking license.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Lots of room for improvement

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

    I have been working at BlackRock full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Fairly stable, growing company that is nicely distributed in nearly every financial product

    Cons

    Strong tendency to hire from outside rather than promote from within.
    Very uneven distribution of titles.
    Will have a hard time holding onto people once economy improves.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more generous in profit sharing

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great for your resume, horrible for your personal life

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

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

    Pros

    Very well respected company within the industry with a fantastic breadth of resources available for choice projects.

    Cons

    Advancement is based purely on time spent at the company and has no connection to performance, skill sets or achievements within the company. If you are below Director level you will be treated with complete disdain as if you are an inferior human being to the Directors and above.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You can't live off of kids straight out of college who don't know that this is not what wit's like working elsewhere. Advancing people based only on their time with the company rewards those who keep their head down and avoid innovation while you push out those who would challenge the status quo and provide true, effective, long-term solutions that won't have to be fixed again down the road.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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