Morningstar

www.morningstar.com
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Morningstar Reviews

Updated February 2, 2015
Updated February 2, 2015
43 Reviews
2.0
43 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Morningstar Chairman and CEO Joe Mansueto
Joe Mansueto
43 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work/life balance as most people work no more than 45-50 hours per week and casual dress code (in 61 reviews)

  • The work environment is terrific: very collaborative, with a lot of smart people employed there (in 35 reviews)


Cons
  • High staff turnover at all levels including senior management (in 14 reviews)

  • Very low pay (as an analyst) compared to other companies in the financial industry (in 11 reviews)

More Highlights

43 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Terrible Middle Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    Good work-life balance if you work with the right division (other divisions not so much). I have worked with four. Nice bagel Wednesday. Great office parties. Great health benefits. CEO seems like a very nice person.

    Cons

    There needs to be more checks and balances with middle management, there tends to be a lot of power mongering coming from them. So so for personal growth. Not as transparent as they claim to be.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep a better eye on your middle management personnel.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Use to be a great place to work.... now not so much

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    It offers great work-life balance and is very flexible when you need time off.

    Cons

    As the company has grown it has become more "corporate" and lost a lot of the great things about it. It use to feel like working at a startup but now it is hard to get new ideas/innovations done with all the layers of managers etc. The company is too occupied with being rated as one of the top places to work and when those yearly surveys come out they keep encouraging their employees to rate them high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Seems like every year or so there is a new major reorganization that is very frustrating so would be nice to have a longer term vision. Also, lots of turnover in the executive roles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    Best days are behind it

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

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

    Pros

    Great brand, generally nice people.

    Cons

    Product pipeline for new revenue sources is very dry. No real process for effective strategic planning or new product development. The have software, data and consulting. But...fundamentally they are a research company with a great brand. Therein lies the strength and most limiting self imposed weakness.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 28 people found this helpful  

    Not a place for the career minded or ambitious. The company is currently troubled and needs to make big changes.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    While Morningstar's historic strengths have been diluted greatly the last five years, the company still features a great group of people who generally believe in the company's mission. Employees are highly educated and love investing. The office space is very nice, and the company culture is laid back.

    The work-life balance can not be emphasized enough. It is a place that still trusts its employees to do good work and will take care of you should you need time off. The benefits aren't as great as they used to be but still are a nice feature. The sabbatical program is a really great offer. For a young person or someone in the latter days of their career, the light work load, benefits, and reasonable job expectations can make for a great workplace environment.

    Cons

    Where to begin. While the founder and CEO deserves high marks for being an approachable and passionate leader, his personnel choices of late and his general approach to operating the company have wreaked a lot of havoc. The senior management is turning over slowly but still features a raft of lifers who manage upwards, engage in passive aggressive behavior, and largely don't have the skill or experience to meet their mandates. There is little consequence for failure if you operate within the favored clique of insider managers, so bad decision making and lack of managerial skill have calcified in most areas of the company.

    Compensation policies have always been extremely frugal both in general and relative to other companies in the financial services industry. Recently, the company shifted to a socialized, company wide bonus system and the introduced a young and inexperienced global pay czar at the HR level. These moves have lead to pay packages well below even a few years ago's already substandard offers.

    The company lacks strategic direction, mostly because it retains a very inward-looking approach to business. Strategic initiatives often make no sense . . .the recent cloud based software push that lead to nothing but wasted time and energy, the drive to compete with middle ware software vendors in the Advisor software industry, the push into real time and commodity data that fizzled and died very quickly. There is no emphasis on planning and bench-marking, so major initiatives get way down the road before anyone can determine that they are off the rails and doomed for failure. The recent company re-organization is a prime example.

    It cannot be stressed enough that there is no real avenue to build a career, gain seniority, and sharpen your skill set without playing the political games the company requires. The current management team basically has a "Do Not Solicit" sign out at all times and emphasizes a yes man culture. Smile and nod your head and you may have a chance. If you voice an independent opinion or offer constructive criticism, it blows back on you. This has lead to a steady stream of departures from the company in the most critical areas. The 10-15 year experienced, value added veterans are leaving as fast as they can, leaving behind a mix of youth and loyalists willing to play the promotion game. The talent pool is definitely depleting at the company.

    Finally, beware of the company's advertising. It is largely untrue. While it claims great products, it has skimped on development and support. While it claims to attract and retain great people, it underpays them and yawns when they leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Joe Mansueto has had had a remarkable run. He can continue to build on his company's great brand and heritage, but only if he makes some tough choices. Step back and hire a proper operator to drive results. Leave the day to day decisions to skilled management without such baggage and personal connections. Put to pasture the non-value add senior managers, emphasize accountability and results, compensate and develop your talent rather than starve them. Invest to really grow the company rather than bleeding incremental nickels out of every P&L.Get comfortable taking educated risks. Despite the company's very poor morale and the simmering frustration, there is still a sense that the company could really succeed if it is managed correctly. Don't waste the company's unique position in the investment industry!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 24 people found this helpful  

    Gradually Derailing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    Summer hours, out-performing is easy, limited hours each week, work life balance, nice every-day perks.

    Our company has always been a gem in the investment industry for its limited hours and relaxed environment which are still consistently present at the company. Expect to work less than 45 hour weeks typically and enjoy the free soft drinks, tea and coffee (and bagels on Wednesdays). I think generally speaking, our managers mean well and do care about their employee's wellness.

    Cons

    Compensation packages, limited upward mobility, strategy inconsistency, regular corporate missteps, increasingly opaque.

    Over time, Morningstar is losing touch with its employee base. Many coworkers sit with hardly anything to do, and yet our headcount is exploding YoY. Projects regularly stall without adequate developers (or developers that are required to actually work at work) and during vacation season, people lose all sense of delivering what's necessary to our clients in a timely fashion.

    Simmering resent is perhaps as widespread as it's ever been during my tenure with the company - at face value everybody is happy, but when you talk to anybody over details, people are truly miserable. Limited hours sounds great, but this slack in employee time results in employees feeling underutilized and underappreciated. Add to this substantially sub-par pay packages and our hard working, innovative and bright employees are the ones leaving the firm. Often the long-term employees here are either high ranking and loaded with stock (very smart as well) or they're manipulators of the system who feel free to take 4-6 weeks of vacation a year and move slowly at best when they're on the job. A note for the ambitious, you will be utterly disappointed here.

    A specific note for future MDPs (Morningstar Development Program candidates), expect no negotiation salaries, dictated position changes, no pay increases with promotions, and annual raises that trail inflation.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take your own advice regarding organic growth and stop the frothy M&A, create room for employees to grow vertically, pay attention to your employees that want more work and reward them.

    Joe, please take your own advice and select gritty candidates - not employees who are collecting a paycheck for 35 hours a week.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 12 people found this helpful  

    Great Insurance, Good Bagels, Poor Middle Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Designer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Designer in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    Insurance - Bagel Day - Summer Hours

    Cons

    Terribly poor, under qualified middle management. Lack of oversight. No one is ever on the same page in terms of project intent, and deadlines. Way too many managers watching YouTube. They work young developers, programers, and designers to the bone with no recognition for their hard work. I have worked several times overnight due to the manager’s constant nagging on finishing the project only to find out there was no set deadline whatsoever. No apology from the manager, just an "oops!".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Check on the qualifications of your middle management. They spend too much time on either YouTube, Zappos, or J.Crew websites.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 6 people found this helpful  

    Excellent stepping stone firm for better opportunities.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Morningstar

    Pros

    Great employees with diverse backgrounds and excellent office amenities when compared to larger, more established firms.

    Cons

    -Low pay for workload required
    -Insufficient insight as to how bonus payout structure functions gives upper management leeway to short-change lower level employees without true accountability
    -Upper management lacks the ability to establish clear, implementable business direction
    -Sales groups too often "side with" clients rather than business groups, which leads to over-promising and under-delivering
    -Recent corporate reorg rollout struggles has lead to high employee turnover as talented sales / business side employees have left after growing dejected

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop over thinking firm direction, give employees technology resources to actually, successfully implement directives mandated by senior mgmt, treat employees with as high a regard as you promote you do to outsiders.

  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great place to pick up new skills, but don't stay too long

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

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

    Pros

    Great people
    "Open" culture
    Unlimited vacation policy
    Laid back

    Cons

    Stagnant
    Compensation does not match up to the market
    Confused senior leadership
    Sugarcoating serious problems underlying the company

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 14 people found this helpful  

    Morale at all-time low

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Product Manager in Chicago, IL

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

    Pros

    - Generous vacation policy
    - Lots of employment mobility within the company
    - BCBS health insurance
    - Generally friendly people

    Cons

    Morningstar is plagued with a multitude of issues right now. The company just went through a sales and internal reorg, and the aftermath is just a lot of confusion and frustration. Intra-team collaboration has basically disappeared, clients are confused about the new support structure, and development has come to a screeching halt. A key technology initiative that consumed much of the company's resources over the past 2 years all but flopped recently. Morale is at an all-time low. This is evidenced by the fact that the company used to make every "Best Employer" list, and received very few workplace accolades in 2013.

    The company's compensation package is so unmotivating and flawed. Top performers in revenue-driving groups can expect to receive 2-4% pay raises. The attrition rate for recent college grads is incredibly high because the starting pay is far below market, there are so many hurdles that you have to clear to move out of your starting position, and subsequent positions have job descriptions that are not clear.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Incentivize your employees to perform, let go of senior managers that literally do very little work, and inject some enthusiasm into the company!

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    Company in big growing pain

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

    I have been working at Morningstar full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Relative good benefit
    Flexible working hours
    Big name in the industry

    Cons

    Incline to bureaucratic leadership style
    Managers are lack of the true ownership and solutions tackle the real world issues
    Lost the entrepreneurship in management level and thus the business is flat

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep senior managers accountable
    Fill more resources into positions do the work - not too manay management and project management roles.
    Measure the performance or people and groups in objective way

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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