Gerson Lehrman Group Reviews

Updated April 20, 2015
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Gerson Lehrman Group President and CEO Alexander Saint-Amand
Alexander Saint-Amand
34 Ratings

47 Employee Reviews

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  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (3)

    Learning, earning, and having fun

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Vice President, Research in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Vice President, Research in New York, NY

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time

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

    Pros

    I came to GLG from a background as an equity analyst on both the buy-side and sell-side, and it has been without question the best job I've ever had. The people have the youth and energy of an investment bank, the diverse and impressive backgrounds of a management consultancy, and creativity of a start-up.

    Working at GLG in almost any role involves doing many different things, and it often feels almost like a video game managing work flow. I've heard it described as a place where people with "intellectual ADD" prosper, and I can see why someone would say that. The people you are exposed to are some of the best investors and most accomplished individuals in the world, and as a research professional you're constantly engaged in both the world and your work. It's very social, very engaging, and it usually involves enabling a win-win situation for important people. That feels good.

    Finally, I cannot overstate the impact of the New York office on my day to day happiness. I spend more waking hours here than at home, and if I had a billion dollars I'm not sure I could design a better working environment. Perfectly located across from Grand Central, beautifully laid out, lots of natural light (do not underestimate the importance of that!) and an "activity-based working" layout that I think has re-wired my brain in some positive ways. I never feel constrained here, and I hope the other regions get something similar soon.

    Cons

    It doesn't pay as well as the buy-side, sell-side, or management consulting. It does have better hours if you want them, although if you're really ambitious and want to build the company you will end up working a lot. There's always regulatory/compliance risk that's out of your control.

    Oh, and it's impossible to describe what you do to people.

    Advice to Management

    The focus on New Markets will necessarily involve some "fast failures," and I get that. GLG Share seems to be a wasted opportunity as it has been managed to date, although I'm not close enough to it to say so for sure.

    I think a lot more could be integrated with the North American Financial Services business across the board. I sense that NAFS's growth potential with traditional asset managers and taking share from investment banks is genuinely misunderstood by management. New Markets are a vital investment area for a number of reasons, including diversification, but given the tremendous access to capital that GLG has I think perhaps NAFS should receive investment *in addition to* New Markets' current investment. NAFS is cyclical, but it is not mature.

  2. Helpful (3)

    Truly outstanding experience with great leaders

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Vice President in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Vice President in New York, NY

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    GLG's New Markets team is one of the most entrepreneurial places to work. John Donoghue leads this business--and he's truly one of the most visionary leaders I've encountered. He provides all the teams under him enough leeway to experiment and build quickly. The CEO of GLG pays particular attention to this business because this is where all future growth at GLG will come from. So, as an employee --it is especially exciting to work for the part of the business that is seen by both the board and the CEO as most impactful.

    Some other pros:
    1) Ability to network and form strong relationships with former CEOs and world leaders
    2) Develop strong interpersonal and analytical skills
    3) Truly work in an entrepreneurial team
    4) Grow in both title and responsibility very quickly compared to other companies
    5) Vibrant, great group of coworkers

    Cons

    The New Markets business at GLG focusses on new growth --and so all team members who join must be very comfortable with ambiguity and for the task at hand to change. It isn't a 9 to 5 job where the task each day stays the same--and for some who value tasks that are repeatable --this clearly isn't the place for them.

    Some other cons:
    1) Relative young coworker group
    2) Internal marketing team is relatively weak --so some amount of that needs to be taken on directly by each team.
    3) No internal clubs or groups (e.g., Women's support group) -although I'm sure they would support it if someone took the initiative to create it.

    Advice to Management

    Please don't change the culture you have created. The new office is incredible--and I'm curious to see what you will do when you run out of space here :)

  3. GLG is like nowhere else - in a great way!

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

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    -There are so many exciting things going on and the company is growing quickly in a variety of client segments, including Corporations across many industries and Professional Services.
    -Ability to grow responsibility and compensation quickly if a high performer as a young or mid-senior professional.
    -Direct exposure to the professionals and business problems of many top companies - can't learn like this almost anywhere else.
    -I loved being around my coworkers every day, and I truly consider them my friends.
    -I learned an unbelievable amount from my managers as they spent so much time with me, this is such an important aspect of any job.
    -GLG has a ton of career flexibility - it's quite common for people to change from a Research role to a Sales role or vice versa, and there can also be movement to corporate roles (most companies talk about career flexibility, but it's rare that you actually find it in practice!).

    Cons

    -As a company with many offices around the world, it isn't always easy to connect with colleagues from other countries unless working on a joint project or taking the initiative personally.
    -There can be peak periods of work, although not nearly as much of an issue as for most client-facing roles in other companies.

    Advice to Management

    As the company continues to grow, you'll be faced with many choices when hiring. My recommendation is that you continue to bring people on who, in addition to perhaps having some beneficial functional or industry background, are determined and action-oriented people who will really make a difference for clients.

    John Donoghue runs New Markets at GLG, and I've been happy to see him promote and hire leaders that make it a priority to enable everyone on the team to succeed, and I would like to see this trend continue as the team continues to expand.

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  5. great company in a top city

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

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group

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

    Pros

    smart, nice and sharp colleagues

    Cons

    compensation is way too low, even for top performers, bonuses don't match performance, seems random who gets best bonuses

    Advice to Management

    actually pay for performance, don't let top people feel like they are missing out by being on the wrong team (i.e. ones that get paid more for doing less in bonuses)

  6. Helpful (1)

    An exciting company to work for if you are ready to work hard and learn.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Vice President, Business Development in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Vice President, Business Development in New York, NY

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    After 10 years in financial services working for the likes of Bloomberg, I believe there are few companies in the world positioned to transform and disrupt as many industries and businesses as GLG is. If you believe in a meritocracy model, are intellectually curious, and eager to work hard and learn, GLG can yield a successful career.

    Cons

    GLG has a strong and unique employee culture which requires a period of adaptation. Not the type of company you will do well with if you are complacent and have a 9-5 mentality.

  7. Excellent consulting firm with hard working people and numerous opportunities.

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

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group

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

    Pros

    Very flexible schedule and the ability to do most consulting work from a home office.

    Cons

    Not steady in terms of consulting gigs. At times not enough work to generate sufficient income. Not a full time job.

    Advice to Management

    Increase the ability of consultants to make a living from just working at GLG.

  8. Helpful (6)

    Best professional experience of my career

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 5 years)

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

    Pros

    I have worked for GLG across multiple offices, business units and in a variety of roles and it has been the best professional experience of my career. I began as an entry-level employee and through a mixture of hard work, entrepreneurialism, intellectual curiosity, and a passion for the business I have risen to a more senior role and am the happiest I've ever been in my career. The caliber of GLG’s senior management team is in part what drew me to the company in the first place, and my continued confidence in them has inspired me to stay. GLG’s culture is undoubtedly results-oriented. Employees who perform are rewarded with advancement and compensation, as well as opportunities and responsibilities that would be difficult to find at many other employers. The people here who are most successful and happy are those who get excited by the opportunity to interact every day with the world’s smartest people, which include GLG’s Council Members and clients. If you are intimidated by those interactions, or view them as a chore, you will not be happy here. Those who demonstrate effort but are not good long-term fits for the company are treated thoughtfully and humanely, encouraged to find another career path, and often given help in finding other opportunities. The beautiful New York office and flexible work environment (activity based working and flexible leave policy) afford employees with an unusually progressive and civilized work environment. GLG’s management team makes no apologies for expecting excellence from its employees and generally holds themselves to the same high standards. When compared to other high-octane NYC career paths the hours are reasonable and GLG treats its employees like adults. Our CEO has taken a lot of heat on this website, and in my view much of it is unfair. As many have mentioned, Alexander is open and reflective about mistakes he has made, and has grown a lot in the past few years. At his core he is an intellectual with a burning passion for GLG’s mission to transform the market for teaching and learning. Some of Alexander’s critics on this website praise our senior management team but fail to acknowledge that Alexander selected them for their roles and continues to motivate and inspire them. Many at GLG appreciate the opportunity to learn from and be led by someone with deep experience in this business.

    Cons

    If you require a very structured work environment with significant daily guidance, you will likely not be successful at GLG. It is also a place where social animals tend to thrive.

  9. Helpful (1)

    Great Lauchpad

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

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Awesome place to start career and overall awesome people to work with. The culture is one of communal learning and getting your feet wet in the industry. Unbelievable exposure to the finance industry.

    Cons

    Pay disparity is wide between clients and employees. Still wide between employees. There are "limits" set on bonuses and salaries that are not at all tied to overall yearly performance.

    Advice to Management

    Take a page out of competitor's books when it comes to how to retain talent

  10. Helpful (4)

    Best Place I've Ever Worked

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Vice President, Research in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Vice President, Research in New York, NY

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    Collegial work environment,;smart people who enjoy their work and share the credit; management supports professional growth; puts resources behind strong performers and business ideas; flexible attitude towards work-life balance; direct feedback and communication by managers (quarterly goals conversations); nice people; thriving business growth; constant innovation and creativity; constantly learning

    Cons

    I love working here and after 15 years of work experience, have nothing negative to say about this place, especially relative to other places I've worked; youthful culture which depending on your perspective can be a pro or a con; similarly, this is a people-business - if you don't enjoy meeting and talking with some of the most interesting people in the world, this job may not be for you. Need to be intellectually curious to succeed here.

    Advice to Management

    Keep it up! Particularly in the NAFS division, leaders are focused on creating engaging career paths, attracting and retaining the best talent, training & development and creating a culture of top-notch leadership and management. This is an incredibly fun place to work.

  11. Helpful (4)

    On GLG's CEO

    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time

    Approves of CEO
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    It’s not uncommon to find sharp critiques of GLG’s CEO Alexander Saint-Amand on Glassdoor and I thought I’d take a moment to share my own view of his executive acumen. I have worked at GLG for three quarters of my professional life, in three different roles and for two different business units. Hopefully that breadth of experience carries some weight as folks evaluating GLG for prospective employment think about its leadership.

    Leadership or lack thereof in a CEO can manifest in any number of forms but the good ones are true to themselves. Introverts who try and make themselves something they’re not by engaging employees often in an attempt to “rally the troops” can come off clumsy and disingenuous. Extraverts who are content to focus inward on strategy, operations, capital structure and capital allocation might demotivate employees by robbing them of the chance to hear from their company’s leader.

    Alexander has an introverted executive style. There's no question. Critics would be well-served to keep in mind, though, that a good leader does not try to be something he or she is not. Give me substance over style every day of the week.

    Detractors would also do well to remind themselves that whatever contribution they are making to GLG, Alexander has likely done it. He’s been a Research Manager, he’s programmed Live Meetings, he’s sold, he’s raised money, and he’s seen the company through boom times and through a recession of historic proportions. And just like every other GLG employee, he’s both succeeded and he’s failed. He’d be the first to admit as much. Go ahead and talk to him some time about HighTable, about veering away from a professional services culture and stressing a technology one, about over-investing in business units that ultimately held less promise than established ones. If you want to criticize him on the merits, he’d love to hear from you. Really.

    And finally, to his credit, he’s evolved. He’s no longer so introverted. He’ll talk to any employee about the strategic direction of the company, about the culture of curiosity and learning he wishes to foster, about past mistakes. I’ll concede that some of the critiques of Alexander’s style one can readily view on Glassdoor, at one time, may have carried some merit. But nearly all of them are now dated. Alexander is firing on all cylinders at the moment, communicating effectively and often with employees, and doing so with a great deal of conviction around a strategy whose early returns look excellent.

    Cons

    Just posting CEO commentary for now

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