MSCI Reviews

Updated July 4, 2014
Updated July 4, 2014
214 Reviews
3.3
214 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
MSCI President, CEO, and Director Henry A. Fernandez
Henry A. Fernandez
115 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work-life balance - all-nighters are uncommon; (in 24 reviews)

  • Some very smart people at the top of their games doing some great work (in 16 reviews)


Cons
  • Very-very weak middle and senior management (in 16 reviews)

  • Aggressive offshoring to emerging market cost cutting strategies with no evaluation in its effectiveness (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

21 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Stay Away

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

    I worked at MSCI full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good salary, decent benefits, smart people. Many people at the lower levels of the organization want to do the right thing for the business and its customers. Their best efforts are good intentions often fail due to lack of senior management support and resources.

    Cons

    Too many too mention. Start with poor senior leadership and add a highly political, paranoid, secretive and distrustful culture where backstabbing and little respect for the individual is standard operating procedure. Then throw in a complete lack of resources and the need to work 24/7 in order to try and accomplish the simplest task with co-workers and vendors in emerging (i.e. cheaper) markets, and you have a totally dysfunctional and toxic environment that smart, committed and talented professionals will want to avoid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are some good members of the management team at MSCI. These managers, however, are outnumbered by the poor managers. CEO Henry Fernandez needs to clean house starting at the top.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Slow on New Products, Slow on Employee Advance. Terrible Morale

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

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

    Pros

    Variety, from the many companies it keeps buying.
    Some decent benefits.
    Mixed products, even if the labor to make them is all over the place.
    Interesting history. But with shaky potential, since competition started catching up.

    Cons

    Terrible product schedule and no nearby labor to support. All programmers and admins outsourced. Management misleads. Crazy promotions. Hrd to get anything done when the good people are gone. Ones staying are those entitled and paid to do very little while making it seem like they do a lot. Government and Dept of Labor probably should look at this place over the past couple years. Especially New York and Berkeley offices. Some crazy unspervised staff. Jungle ambiance. A lot of politics. Paranoia. Backstabbing. Really bad moods and stressed out groups. Good workers at all levels are leaving for the competition. No real teamwork or consistent results.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try going a year without salary like others did during the rough times. Put that money into the company and salares. And during that time keep a few more people nearby their teams. At all levels. Take a look at who really does work, not just who has connections to your neighborhood or colleges. Treat people better. There's still time to regain some losses.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    MSCI should not be trusted.

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

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

    Pros

    You will have an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, especially people from India and the Phillipines, as you train them to do your job.

    Cons

    MSCI uses all forms of trickery to extract as much work from employees as possible. The company will tell you one thing and then do another, all without offering a reasonable explanation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Employees in developed markets are very valuable and worth their cost. Someday you will learn this lesson.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Unfocused driving, no accountability and tired, paranoid culture

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

    I have been working at MSCI full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Highly skilled associates

    Average to decent salary

    Resources from the hybrid of organizations

    interesting projects

    Cons

    Senior management care only about themselves. Local office heads and senior veterans not motivated to really help underlings. Often make it known they despise their role.

    in tricky market we know not where we're going. Fragmented data, models and meetings.

    Clannish, devisive behavior interfering with client mtgs, conference participation and trust.

    Favoritism, etc.

    Guidance and accountability seriously lacking in the Coverage, Project Management and Facilities units. Particularly in the New York and SF Bay offices. Good luck getting any emails answered. Or seeing any consistent meetings out of them.

    Outsourcing so much that we've chopped off our own feet and it's a challenge to go forward. Especially without vision, communication, trust and fairness.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There's a lot we would like to give, but we've seen others shot down for nicely doing so. What is clear Is that leadership needs to change and vision needs to be clarified. After that, professionalism re-instilled in what used to be a great company. Pay attention to your product formation teams, new sales and upsells. Also to local office management and HR, to help with these areas. We can really hit walls when we need basic questions answered. That wastes even more time and productivity. Also look at who actually has shown up to work through the years instead of working remotely and not findable. Then keep telling us where we're going so we can actually do our jobs.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 7 people found this helpful  

    Unhealthy environment altogether

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at MSCI

    Pros

    - Wages above average, if you don’t count the 30+% overtime you will be asked to put on it
    - Decent year-end bonuses
    - Offices are usually in prime locations in the financial capitals (although relocation and travels are discouraged)
    - Attractive health care coverage, average 401k retirement plan
    - Established reputation among customers
    - Respected research team, especially in Berkeley and Geneva

    Cons

    - Lengthy interview/hiring process; this will mislead you thinking they know what they are looking for: quite the opposite
    - MSCI is a software and service company that heavily rely on engineering, although it is very difficult for an engineer to have a voice heard at strategic level in order to contribute to the execution strategy of what designed and planned
    - MSCI is unable to retain talents they so carefully selected from the market. They say they only retain the best, more often they only retain who can’t have chances elsewhere
    - The company is in constant turmoil struggling to keep up with the CEO’s aggressive growth strategy based on merger and acquisitions. This reflects badly on the human capital causing high turnover rate affecting overall operations, customer service, product development, ultimately affecting competitiveness on the market
    - Management is largely inadequate and ineffective: senior managers (mostly Morgan Stanley dropouts) seem busy on keeping the status-quo while trying to land safely to hefty
    retirements; junior management is, on the other hand, highly unfit, under trained and in many cases sycophant (ie "yes-man") while facing their boss and arrogant while facing reports
    - The company shows incapable of elaborating and promoting a single culture throughout the global locations; this causes frustration and sense of exclusion on the many and lets
    some overly zealous managers assuming tremendous decisional power without the necessary checks and balance mechanisms.
    - The company is missing a global strategy for the Human Resources:
    a) Training is reduced to the minimum required by regulations
    b) Training for skill improvement is largely unfunded as budget for training is either minimal or non-existent
    c) Managers completely lack the role of career mentor for their direct resources with the result that people feel “stuck” in a position without possibility of moving on to another functions
      As a result people burn-out and quickly move on to another companies when they can.

    - Politics, rivalry and “prima donna” attitude common on some “empowered” managers (London office), are festering the company feeding anger, frustration and setting teams and offices against
    each other.
    - Top managers and officials are too distant from the life of the company as if they don't want to be bothered , and mid-level managers inadequately deals with the reports in a sort of antagonist (as opposed to a collaborative) way
    - Managers fail to help and empower associates in doing their job: micro-managing and lack of delegation contribute to quick people’s burn-out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The integration process with Riskmetrics and more recent acquisitions is showing by far more challenging than just consolidating office space and network links.
    The integration of products is lagging and your promise of saving $50M in 2 years (2010-2012) in operational costs does not appear in the right course.

    Clearly the strategy of the integration process is not executed well; sadly your inner circle of Morgan Stanley expatriates managed to cash in a hefty reward for a task having still uncertain outcomes.

    It is time for you to reconsider the work of your COO since front and back office operations have been clearly under-achieving in spite of the many HR directors, product managers, and IT directors rotated in the last few years.

    Others need to be held accountable (including the so called engineering team in Hungary) for badly copying and poorly implementing the Morgan Stanley IT model at MSCI (one size
    does not fit all).

    Give a clear signal of renovation to the market and sever your long-time ties with Morgan Stanley and your cronies: they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    It’s time to slim down the management, you owe it to your investors other than to the people of MSCI; even Morgan Stanley will appreciate that.

    You can’t keep MSCI’s balance sheet shining just with financial tricks and M&A’s; this will only buy so much time if you don’t start working on the consolidation and evolution of your products.

    Recent FY10 filings show MSCI is less competitive Revs per employee vise (-35% of Operational Revs/employee, FY10/FY09, and -40% of Operational Income/employee, FY10/FY09: sluggish revenues over a ballooning headcount) and it is in way more debts then it was right after the initial IPO.
    How are you going to address this?

    How far you think you can go before the market comes back and gets you if you don’t start working on the real asset of your company: your people.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Hard to work for a company that lies to its employees.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at MSCI

    Pros

    The employees in many of the departments are good people and are a joy to work with, but this excludes nearly all management.

    Cons

    Senior Management tells HR to tell any employee that is concerned about their low salary that it will ensure that they are brought up to market rate at the end of the year, but refuse to discuss at anytime market rate figures or ranges. At the end of the year, they don't increase salaries (nearly across the board) by much. Most of the jobs in several departments are being shipped overseas despite a lack of qualified applicants in those regions. End of year reviews are useless because if your manager decides you performed well, but senior management doesn't want to give you a bonus that reflects that performance, they just tell your manager to change your performance score (this really happened and was discussed with several employees during their performance reviews by the managers forced to change the scores).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reconsider your strategy to ship jobs overseas, especially if the talent is not there. Implement a competitive compensation package from top to bottom, not just at the top. In general, value your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    I would make more money as an assistant manager at Walgreens

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I have been working at MSCI

    Pros

    Adequate vacation time to help you forget how miserable your job is.

    Cons

    My primary issue with MSCI is its financial abuse of its employees. Compensation is inhumanely low, no matter how well the company's stock is doing. The company must assume that its employees have extremely low expectations and zero ambition to find other jobs.

    Senior management above VP level is completely uninspiring and has no interest in helping employees advance in their careers. There are still a few outstanding employees left at the company but it seems they too are trying to leave ASAP.

    Don't apply for a job at MSCI; working at the company will take many precious years off your life and will likely drain any savings you have as salaries often don't increase from year to year, not to mention the cost of therapy needed as your feelings of self-worth will surely plummet. Oh, and good luck paying off those college loans...not going to happen in this decade.

    If you need a visual illustration of what life at MSCI is like, watch the movie Misery (or read the book), and imagine that you are Paul Sheldon and MSCI is Annie Wilkes. This will provide you with a sufficient portrayal of MSCI's strategy of luring its employees in with its innocuous appearance, followed by the unflinching "hobbling" that it systematically conducts on each employee.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management cuts overhead to an obscene level and still can't turn a solid profit (should I laugh or cry about this?). Time for a new strategy -- perhaps invest in Walgreens?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    It was one of the largest disappointments ever.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA

    I worked at MSCI

    Pros

    Salary and benefits package were pretty good. Co-workers were very helpful and liked to share knowledge.

    Cons

    Middle to senior management left so much to be desired. Friends were promoted or favorites, instead of those actually working. Often times, junior members on the team were left on their own to figure out things instead of getting explanation or guidance from more senior members.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I noticed most of the senior management that was in place when I worked there have left. Their job titles and apparent roles had changed quite a bit. I would advise the current management to value their employees and listen to their ideas.

    Doesn't Recommend
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Get out if you can

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at MSCI

    Pros

    Still working with some of my friends who are smart and still make it a somewhat fun environment

    Cons

    Lack of career growth
    Lack of creativity
    Lack of organization when it comes to planning and getting things done
    Everything is done in a cookie-cutter fashion
    Too bureaucratic

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat employees with more respect

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Poor morale and politics

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

    I have been working at MSCI

    Pros

    There are some good people who know how to treat people decently and want to try to create a decent work environment.

    Pay is good.

    Cons

    The politics are thick. Being smart, hard working and dedicated isn't enough. If you are not willing to play games and "manage upwards" or aren't part of the club of people who have been there for years, you'll have difficulty carving out a career.

    Blaming and finger pointing culture.

    Morale is often low. Cynicism is a virtue.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't believe in fairy tales so I don't believe there's any advice that could be given that they would take or consider.

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