Booz Allen Hamilton

  www.boozallen.com
  www.boozallen.com

Booz Allen Hamilton Reviews

Updated November 17, 2014
Updated November 17, 2014
2,219 Reviews
3.3
2,219 Reviews
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Booz Allen Hamilton Chairman and CEO Ralph W. Shrader
Ralph W. Shrader
1,338 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work-life balance is generally pretty good but also depends on the client you support (in 294 reviews)

  • High opportunity ceiling; great benefits; worthwhile challenges; ability to influence work that matters (in 105 reviews)


Cons
  • The Work Life Balance that it promises is often not the reality (in 112 reviews)

  • It is not uncommon for a person to be hired and then let go in a few months for "lack of work" (in 47 reviews)

More Highlights

346 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 21 people found this helpful  

    The Titanic of the DC Metro Area

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Lead Technologist in Herndon, VA
    Current Employee - Lead Technologist in Herndon, VA

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Big, shiny object on your resume
    - Lots of firm-wide emails meant to boost your morale about the latest benefit cut
    - Hoteling implementation has led to lots of Working From Home (avoiding the treacherous DC area commute)
    - Still buys out Kings Dominion once a year for Employee Appreciation Day (amazingly this perk has outlived quality health care plans)

    Cons

    - A sinking giant in Federal "Consulting" in full cost-cutting mode after recent IPO. The stock is doing well b/c the employees aren't.
    - Extremely poor raises (promotion and non-promotion) in the last 2+ years
    - Reduction of once amazing 401k program to slightly above average 401k program
    - Change to all high deductible health plans (with super high premiums) and emails from management about how this is a good thing
    - Switched to the full Federal holiday schedule which resulted in zero floating holidays (was 2), no Black Friday holiday, and a reduction in PTO.
    - Ability to switch projects not on par with other true consulting firms (lots of boring staff augmentation type roles with little mobility)
    - Top talent leaving the firm to work at better places.
    - Changes structure/organization/quirky catch phrase ALL the time - seriously why even try any more?
    - All of the above is resulting in the firm losing its prestige and sinking QUICKLY. Booz Allen used to be a very respected place to to build your career, now its just...a place to work until you find something else.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sell the company now and cash out while you can - this sucker is going down with you "titans of industry" at the wheel!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 14 people found this helpful  

    A sad decline

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The caliber of people was outstanding throughout my career with Booz Allen. The skills, experiences and professional drive of most individuals was what you would only find in any other company's highest performers. Work quality was likewise of the highest caliber and there was an enormous amount of forward thinking within the firm.

    Cons

    When a global asset management groups purchases a services partnership with minimal real estate and other tangible assets, guess where the savings are generated from? Bueller???? Bueller??? Anyone??? Anyone??? The fundamental shift in business strategy from high quality consultancy to staff augmentation caused exceptionally high turnover of the best people. Most of my colleagues and leadership were actively looking for new companies when I left and were sharing networks, recruiter contacts and job listings.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 10 people found this helpful  

    Used to be Great Company

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I joined this company believing in the line "delivering results that endure." However, I quickly realized that what endures is the greed of the partners. The benefits used to be great until they decided to shift the burden on employees, and now you pay high health care premiums. For example, for a family coverage, you paid $281 monthly, but as of January 1, 2015- same coverage is $465. The opportunities to grow professionally are there, but at what cost?

    Cons

    The work-life balance is an oxymoron, because it is usual to work 60 hours and be required to officially record 40 hours per week. Remember, if you record 60 hours, the client's isn't paying for that and you will blow the budget out the water. Unfortunately, leadership used to be great but now isn't there. People are overworked and underpaid. I know people who've left the firm and gained 30% pay increase, some even doubled their salaries.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be upfront about your intensions for people. Don't screw people over and blame the government buying habits. Don't recruit people who are secure in their current position and offer the jobs, then fire the after 3 months due to LACK OF WORK, throwing their entire families into turmoil.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 8 people found this helpful  

    Good introduction to management consulting; pay not competitive

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    -I've had the unique chance to work on a variety of interesting public, private and non-profit projects that had impact to client
    -Went through a great leadership training with senior-level sponsorship
    -Work is at the nexus of business and government
    -Flexibility, though this depends entirely on your manager, client and team culture
    -If you know what you want out of the experience, there's a way to achieve it, though you don't have much control over your first project
    -Lots of inspiring women leadership who support younger talent
    -Professional work environment and really lovely colleagues
    -Core values
    -Benefits have been generous, though this is about to change
    -You learn how to effectively manage and win government contracts

    Cons

    -Pay is WAY less than the market rate for management consultants; I have a master's from an Ivy League and classmates in government make more than I do
    -Government work is often staff augmentation vs. actual strategy consulting
    -People get promoted based on how well they produce independently vs. how they manage a team; consequently some really bad managers who don't have people skills and stunt growth/development of younger employees
    -Unlike other strategy consulting firms, they don't invest much in training and development internally (the two-day orientation and online trainings are really ineffective). At other firms- McKinsey, BCG, etc.- people with non-business and technical backgrounds are given training to become effective consultants. After a year, no one cares what you studied but rather how well you solve problems. Here, you can be pidgeon-holed based on what you studied in undergrad and grad school
    -Promotion process is not consistent across the firm; some teams promote faster than others

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -Limiting promotions to once a year and not hiring folks at the right level/pay will lead to the departure of talented staff
    -Re-evaluate your compensation strategy

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 8 people found this helpful  

    Ever notice most SA's and Principals are unmarried or divorced? Ask yourself why?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in Herndon, VA
    Former Employee - Associate in Herndon, VA

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    --Young people are quite talented.
    --Great coffee--seriously, it was a little thing that was appreciated.
    --Reputation from years ago still carries some weight.
    --There are some good managers still around. If you can find one, get on their programs.
    --The good projects are interesting. They won't pay well, but nice people.
    --People dress professionally.
    --Good 401(k) match.

    Cons

    --Like "Lord of the Flies"? Then you'll love watching senior management undercut each other. This was depressing to see. Unfortunately, we underlings were treated like pawns in their squabbles.
    --Training? That's your own problem on your own dime.
    --Want a raise? Go somewhere else.
    --Enjoy 65-hour work weeks months at a time? Like work calls on Sunday AM? Perhaps this explains all the divorces!
    --Like bonuses only for executives (i.e. not the 65 hour work week people)? If you are not an executive (i.e. SA and above), you are not going to get anything other than a couple hundred bucks for a couple hundred extra hours worked--and not that's not an exaggeration. Ask around to confirm this.
    --Like work calls at home at 10:30 PM?

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    --Look at what your competitors are offering, and think about what you need to do in order to retain your key people. Why is your turnover so high and morale so low? Somebody needs to analyze this to stop the loss of talent. This trend can be fixed, but it is going to cost you something to do it.
    --Yes, 24-year-olds can do 70% of the work of 52-year-olds at 40% of the cost, but the epic fails of the 30% of the stuff they can't do, is highly damaging. The government is quickly realizing that the expensive bloat of top-heavy management, means there are cheaper and better companies to work with than Booz.
    --Discourage the in-fighting among SA's and Principals. This was such a turnoff to witness, that I had no interest in ever seeking to rise to that level at this company. I left.
    --You guys are being really cheap on training. Smaller companies know this and are snatching our best and brightest staff by offering this. Someone at 1-Dulles needs to figure this out.
    --I saw great young workers around me who made great impacts for the customer. Management took all the credit, took their bonuses, and the people who did the heavy lift got no bonus, no promotion, and no verbal accolades. Those guys left shortly after this.
    --Respect work/life balance. Occasional long hours are okay, but this should not be the norm. Expecting regular 10-12 hour days (without a dime of bonus) is a fast way to burn out your people, and wreck their family lives, if they put up with this longer than a year or two.
    --Rebuild Booz to what it was 10+ years ago. It can be done. You have some great people within, so don't burn them out or chase them off to greener pastures elsewhere.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 7 people found this helpful  

    The prestige is nice, but that's about it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Lead Associate in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Lead Associate in McLean, VA

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Many of my coworkers became close, personal friends. Honestly, I probably stayed a couple of years too long just because of that. There are also lots of resources available to you that you don't get at smaller companies. For the most part, walking into a room and saying "I'm from Booz Allen" still gets you instant credibility in a whole lot of places.

    Cons

    Despite being a seasoned professional in my field when hired, I quickly realized that I was brought on to be a very expensive intern for my vice president. My days consisted of making power point presentations, excel spreadsheets, scheduling meetings, and listening to other people brief my material. It took me a couple of years to be given even a modicum of the responsibility I had for years prior to joining the firm. Once I had it-- and excelled-- I was repeatedly promised promotions that never materialized.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior leadership has created an organization that is so internally focused and political that it lets a lot of talent and good ideas slip through the cracks. Formal recognition of good workers is needed as well as a thorough house cleaning of the enormous amount of dead weight walking the halls.

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

    Still a Good Old Boy Network

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

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Booz Allen offer a attractive 401K plan. Another benefit is the opportunity to lead a team of smart, talented people.

    Cons

    There are too many cons to list so I will try my best to narrow my comments. I worked in Booz Allen for 4 years, I was at the Senior Leadership in the Federal Government before being hired by Booz. When I accepted to work for Booz, I came to the firm with a roledex full of potential clients and years of experience as a client myself who had hired many of Booz Allen employees in the past. I was brought into the company at the high end Associate level and was made Team Lead within 6 months.With my level of experience, I should have come into the firm at the Senior Associate level or higher but that was not the case. After being in the firm for a while, I observed employees with not even a fraction of my experience or who had held the high visibility positions asiI had previously held either come in at the Senior Associate level or quickly be promoted simply because of the good old boy network. Because I was prior government and most of my clients were my former peers, they would mentioned to me on numerous occasions that their assessment of Booz Allen Senior Associate was very poor and that they didn't have a lot of confidence in their ability to support the client, this is a huge con for Booz Allen. Another con is that if you are not placed on a capability team/market that is in high demand, your chances of being fired for "Lack of work" is very high. I watch this happen to many of my colleagues simply because they were on the wrong team. Now that I am back in the government in a Senior Leaders position, the chances of me wanting to hire Booz Allen to support any of my high Acquisition contracts is slim to none!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice to Booz Allen is to pay attention to who you are hiring, especially if they are prior government at the Senior Leadership level. Know your employees worth and stop hiring new employees at the catch all Associate level no matter how much experience the potential candidate may have. Your employees today could be your potential clients in the future so get rid of the unspoken "Good old Boys" system and recognize true leaders. There is no "Secret Sauce" in Booz Allen anymore, the firm is just another ambulance chaser!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 8 people found this helpful  

    It's All About the Money (Billable Hours)

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

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The pay scale is ok although on the low side for my industry. The benefits package is about average compared to other companies where I've worked.

    Cons

    It's all about the money. If you don't have billable hours, you are out the door within a couple of weeks (see other posts about Lack of Work Letters). My so-called Career Manager didn't do squat to help me find another position within the company and a lot of positions require an existing secret or higher security clearance. All the promos I saw were political, not based on skill. And woe unto you if you have a goofball client - they can make your life hell if your manager doesn't have the stones to protect their people. This is a good place to get some experience in a federal contract house (butts in the seats); BAH is NOT a consulting firm in any sense of the definition. You can survive for awhile if you blather corporate speak and play the cheerleader, but plan on finding another job within 2-3 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 25 people found this helpful  

    Once great company that has lost its way - be careful about coming here

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Company's reputation, based on past, still looks good on a resume; but that is changing, so if you are joining Booz for that reason, realize that it is a wasting resource.

    Cons

    Top level management has no idea what business the company is really in; Chairman talks about how we do top level management consulting when all most of us provide government, fill the seat jobs - including low end jobs like help desk. Lower level management is completely driven by thin indirect budgets. It is not uncommon for a person to be hired and then let go in a few months for "lack of work". Turnover is very high and job security is essentially zero. Health benefits in 2015 are now on the chopping block..

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Booz has a become a weaker, paler imitation of an aerospace company, but without the strengths of an aerospace company. The whole strategy appears to be cost cutting - hard to reconcile in a company which used to justify its rates based on quality. And, of course, our clients and competitors see this.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 19 people found this helpful  

    Once-Prestigious Firm Now Slashing Benefits

    Current Employee - Lead Technologist/Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Lead Technologist/Associate in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The firm has built a good reputation over its many years of existence. For my market, people at the Principal level and below are good, upstanding. Meeting with your manager is usually license for a free lunch (at least in my management chain). Quarterly management meetings are a restaurant have been fun and good for network. The firm really came through and covered client-side people during the government shutdown in Fall 2013. The firm finally offers a career map for technologists and engineers, although it remains to be seen whether that will increase upward mobility. Internal social network is active and informative.

    Cons

    Benefits are being slashed on annual basis:
    - The retirement contribution, which was above average (10% of pay, but vested) when I joined, is at or below average now (6% of pay with 100% vesting at SIX YEARS).
    - The 2015 health insurance choices have been unveiled and they are OUTRAGEOUSLY BAD. The lowest plan is far worse (higher premium, higher OOP max, higher deductible) than the cheapest (and only) high-deductible plan last year. The only Aetna plans left are high-deductible, and the deductibles are way too high when compared to the premiums.) Pharmacy benefits also are subject to the same deductible now. I'm curious how many people the firm will lose over this.

    There is an expectation that you make up non-billable hours (e.g. firm-mandatory training). You are expected to do an annual self-review, even though it's not required and you can't charge it. (None of this is particularly new.)

    Lead associates and senior associates get overworked. They (especially lead associates) are expected to do management basically for free after putting in a full week being billable to the client.

    You used to be able to count on job security at a big firm, but that is no longer the case. The lack-of-work notice comes as soon as you end your work on a contract and you have precious little time to find a new position before being shown the door. What is the point of working for such a large firm?

    Sick time included in paid time off (which is four weeks for new Associates).

    Attrition seems to be high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Beef up your benefits before you lose all your top talent to better (especially smaller) companies.

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