Booz Allen Hamilton
3.4 of 5 1,908 reviews
www.boozallen.com McLean, VA 5000+ Employees

Booz Allen Hamilton Reviews

Updated Apr 11, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.4 1,906 reviews

                             

74% Approve of the CEO

Booz Allen Hamilton Chairman and CEO Ralph W. Shrader

Ralph W. Shrader

(1,180 ratings)

72% of employees recommend this company to a friend
299 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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4 people found this helpful  

Disappointing; I'm a commodity

Associate (Current Employee)
Herndon, VA

I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time for more than a year

ProsWork/life balance can be good. Co-workers are extremely smart. Benefits (not pay) are generous and feel like they are geared toward older employees The new People Model (assessment and career development program) shows promise. IT support is excellent.

Cons1) Not much consistency for determining if new hires should be Lead Associates or Associates; and little consistency across the firm for promotion to one or the other. Many Lead Associates seem to have been promoted due to technical proficiency, but they have poor people and project management skills.
2) There is a feeling that to be promoted you must 'do your time.' Highly skilled new employees often are placed into less impactful roles; those who have experience managing large teams or thriving in entrepreneurial environments are placed in more junior 'doer' roles where their strengths are left untouched.
3) The firm claims to value diversity but this does not seem to be true for diversity of perspectives (e.g., general management consultants who have worked outside of government, in smaller organizations or even internationally).
4) The culture, opportunities for growth and promotion are hard to figure out. There is a strong "you take control of your career" ethos. However, there's also a very fine line between encouraging employees to do all the work and poor management.
5) Internal communication at market and team level isn't great. I don't feel my team has a vision to rally behind and I can't see how our work fits with wider firm strategy.
6) I feel like 75% of my time is spent developing decks and thinking for folks 'up the chain.' -- half of which never see the light of day. Many Associates are stuck in 'content-generator' commodity roles and it's really demotivating.

Advice to Senior Management1) Use the tools and techniques shared with clients on internal practices.
2) Invest in practical people management training and skills for Lead Associates.
3) Improve the recruitment process and reinstate longer induction programs for employees, particularly into their markets or teams. The current firm-wide induction program is not long enough and should have a second part that is 'localized.'
4) Consider reducing the number of former employees re-hired into the firm. This only serves to continue the cycle of 'business-as-usual' and the market is demanding different ways of doing things.
5) Stop the practice of peers writing annual performance assessments. Performance assessments should be written by an employee's manager only and not handed to others as an exercise to give them more managerial experience.
6) Start asking new employees about their recruitment experience. This should be measured.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

Old School Failure

Principal (Former Employee)
McLean, VA

I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time for more than 5 years

ProsThe salary and benefits are great. The work is very interesting depending on the market you work in. The company has a very good mentorship program. Promotions come fast if you work in sales and land a big client.

ConsThe culture, depending upon what office you work out of, is cut throat. The company has good and bad leaders. The good ones are new to the company and do not try to force the "Booz Allen way" down your throat. The bad leaders have been raised up within the company and have the "kiss the ring" mentality. If you do not bleed Booz Allen you are put on a pip and let go.

Advice to Senior ManagementClean house and bring in new management with fresh ideas. Stop trying to sell the "Booz Allen way" but just re-establish a normal work environment where there is trust between the employees.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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3 people found this helpful  

Associate

Associate (Former Employee)
McLean, VA

I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time for more than 8 years

ProsGood place to work with before it became public

ConsNot all Senir management has technical experience or DoD. It is all about the politics.

Advice to Senior ManagementEnsure that your senior management know their area of operations

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

The worse company I have worked for in 35 years.

Intelligence Analyst (Current Employee)
Honolulu, HI

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

ProsFrom the outside the company appears to be the "model" for both the client and employee.

ConsI'm in my third year with BAH and believe it is the worse company I have worked for in 35 years.

The company touts itself as highly ethical but it's ethics are only client facing. I have never, in my over 35 years in the workforce, been treated as badly as an employee or manager/leader. I've had 9 "team leads" and 6 "career managers" in just over two years. None of them had or the same level of management or leadership experience I have and none of them have been able to provide or expressed any real guidance or interest in helping me move up or gain additional responsibility for promotion.

After my first year I was not debriefed on my evaluation by my program manager as I was told I would be. He was simply "too busy." The next year the same thing happened.

I have several other reasons for being unhappy with this company relating to promotions/opportunities, having to use personnel time to participate in company sponsored functions, and lack of assistance and poor quality mid-level leadership.

I believe I have given BAH more than an ample opportunity to prove me wrong but I stand by my opinion that it is a horrible company to work for.

I am transferring with active duty spouse this year and I would not consider staying with BAH even if it meant giving up my career.

Advice to Senior ManagementShow your employees that they have value by identifying and hiring real managers and leaders with experience necessary to work with both employees and clients to do what's best for both not just the companies bottom line.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

Start high--not a company to build a career

Associate (Current Employee)
Norfolk, VA

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

Proslocations globally, good reputation, tend to have smart coworkers

Conslow pay, hard to get a challenging role, will interview for one job and end up actually doing something completely different and it isn't as easy as it seems to switch roles and contracts.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Never shall return

Consultant (Current Employee)
McLean, VA

I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time for more than a year

ProsGood pay, typically worked less than 50 hours a week, many locations

ConsWork can be pointless, didn't get to see nice polished products put into effect, management is more concerned about pleasing the client than actually delivering ideas that are useful/long lasting.

For strategy consulting at Booz, if you went to school for Political Science or International Relations, you may love it here. If you went to school for something where you plan to make immediate change/improvements or even changes within a few years- don't work here. The projects I have been on are laughable-- the American public would chastise the government even more if they knew they were funneling funds into crap like this.

I am leaving the firm and taking a huge pay cut, all voluntarily-- solely because I can't "fake it" and act like we are a bunch of experts on topics that don't really matter.

Advice to Senior ManagementTo upper management- get out of "strategy consulting." The government will not be able to sustain our DoD and other agencies with scorns of contractors who are all experts in whatever.
Stay in the IT field, but use the Booz Allen proprietary stuff and start trying to work with REAL organizations, such as publically traded or private companies. By REAL, I mean companies that have goals to meet- ie profit or sustaining their work force, not just continuously gaining new business with the ever failing government.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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6 people found this helpful  

Not the same firm as it was even 5 years ago

Associate (Current Employee)
Washington, DC

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

ProsThe firm as a great reputation, it's built itself based on past performances and quality deliverables. There's more focus on "flexibility" with the concept of work-where-you-live in order to reduce commute times for employees. There is an abundance of networking opportunities, just take the initiative and sign yourself up. There are also lots of functional communities that you can join to learn more about a particular area within the firm, as well as personal interest communities (intramural sports, adventure clubs, etc.).

ConsIt's not the same as it was even 5 years ago. In speaking with other veteran employees (who have been/was with the firm for 5+ years), everyone has shared the same feelings. Since going public, Booz Allen has become less of a consulting company and more of another contracting company (just hiring people to fill a seat on a contract).

Times are tough and they've cut back on a lot of prior benefits like team outings, new laptops, raises, profit sharing (previous ~10% annually into your retirement fund, now switching to 6% matching), personal time off (we actually lost 2 days of time off when they switched our holiday schedule), general spending on administrative overhead.

Personal career growth is limited by leadership above you. Promotions are essentially dependent on if your project/market is growing and if you were part of that growth. If you're on a bad project in a contracting market, there's no business case to get you promoted to upper management (e.g., Lead Associate and above). Leadership also needs to give you the opportunity to demonstrate that you can operate at that next level - if you don't demonstrate it, you don't get the check mark on your annual assessment.

Speaking of assessment, the process is pretty subjective. Again, it all depends on who your senior managers are and whether they're willing to fight for your promotion in front of the assessment board. There are supposed to be competencies that you are assessed against, but with the new creative writing format, you can really stretch how you word your demonstrated competencies to fit the bucket. And again, that final assessment (written by your manager) is all dependent on your manager.

Advice to Senior ManagementBe more transparent and be HONEST in your messaging to employees. With all the changes that have been rolled out in the last 3 years, employees have realized that "flexibility" now means "cutting costs" and improving "work/life balance" means "cutting costs because we align with federal holiday schedule" and "work where you live" means "hoteling or client site 100%." We all know it boils down to cutting costs - so just say so.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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6 people found this helpful  

Opportunity Exists if You are Anointed by "Leadership."

Associate (Current Employee)
McLean, VA

I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time for more than 8 years

ProsDecent salary. Positions exist mostly worldwide.

If government contracts are interesting to a prospective candidate, then this is the ideal place. If you are affordable, the firm may pay for your security clearance.

Most people who work at client sites are intelligent, productive, and genuinely good people.

Be prepared for a rigid management hierarchy, which may be attractive to inexperienced college graduates, or other newcomers to the consulting industry.

ConsEmployees are always hunting for stability and job security; at least an extra ten to fifteen uncompensated hours each week is expected, otherwise one is not considered a "team player."

Most employees work at client sites, deal with client concerns, and generate income for the firm. Many employees work in McLean offices and write proposals without truly understanding client service. To attain a position as a proposal writer, you should be young, female, and attractive. Proposal writers are always employed, despite not generating revenue for the firm. Proposal writers are usually promoted faster because they have more exposure to the corporate mothership.

Benefit package deteriorated shortly after the firm went public. Employees lost two vacation days/year, and the once-generous automatic 10% 401K contribution (a key reason many took a position despite shrinking salaries) dropped to a maximum of 6% matching contribution.

There is an ongoing purge within the firm, and very talented personnel are being cut or encouraged to resign because they are considered too expensive. Many talented personnel are leaving the firm in droves, and the place is hemorrhaging talent. This is a short-term gain for the shareholders, but does irreparable damage to the long-term sustainability of the firm's once excellent reputation. Expect to be released from the firm once your bill rate increases beyond what the Carlyle Group determines is too expensive.

Advice to Senior ManagementCommunicate with your employees.

Promote staff based on performance and competence, instead of loyalty or friendship.

Visit the client site once in a while and actually do the work that you are tasking your people with.

Stop attempting to undermine other firms in order to capture market share. Instead, do solid work and clients will come to you.

Stop selling "solutions" for client problems that do not exist. Instead, solve client problems by being true consultants and developing what the clients truly want or need.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

Poor Culture

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton

ProsThere are some great/talented people in the firm, however talent is slow departing from the firm.

ConsThe nature of federal consulting has taken a dive with the reducing budget in Washington; the culture of the company has moved along side with it.

There is also a lack of real training to enhance employees capabilities; the funds available for external training is also very low compare to its peers.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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7 people found this helpful  

Anybody ever wonder why the three to five star ratings are from former employees?

Senior Associate (Former Employee)
Washington, DC

I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time for more than 8 years

ProsUsed to be a really good company

ConsAs many folks have said Carlyle has sucked the soul from the company and you have old ralph to thank for that. Yes that Ralph who charges the firm to fly him off from florida on a private jet that he owns. Ten years ago when the firm started reducing benefits (anyone still around that remembers unlimited sick leave?) the mantra was "we will never go public." Ralph had every intention of going public and began slowly chipping away at benefits introducing the phrase "industry standard," which been ananthema to Booz culture. Then that became the driver for everything, from letting HR dictate who gets promoted vice the managers and leadership, to the stupid idea of doing away with the "beach" to allow us to get the best and brightest their clearances. Mind you, all this cost cutting did not cut the seniors bonuses. MArgins got tighter, the employees got squeezed and the seniors got paid.

Advice to Senior ManagementThose that still remember what Booz used to be like need to leave this shell of its former self and start a new company. Give it a couple years. Booz Allen hamilton will have gone the way of Booz and Co. Good luck with the SIG, you tried that concept..it was called MSW&A and you killed that.

– I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Booz Allen Hamilton reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Booz Allen Hamilton CEO Ralph W. Shrader. All 299 reviews posted anonymously by Booz Allen Hamilton employees.