Northwestern Mutual

www.northwesternmutual.com

Northwestern Mutual Reviews

Updated January 26, 2015
Updated January 26, 2015
1,561 Reviews
3.7
1,561 Reviews
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Northwestern Mutual Chairman and CEO John E. Schlifske
John E. Schlifske
337 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Unlimited income potential, office culture, ten week program (test drive the industry) (in 56 reviews)

  • Unlimited earning potential, full autonomy with work (in 39 reviews)


Cons
  • Will have to sell life insurance to friends and family which could be awkward for some (in 119 reviews)

  • There is no base salary so getting started is very difficult (in 46 reviews)

More Highlights

182 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Basically 100% Commission

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Financial Representative in Akron, OH
    Former Employee - Financial Representative in Akron, OH

    I worked at Northwestern Mutual

    Pros

    Good Sales Training Program and plenty of free marketing materials. They spend plenty of time making sure you learn "the script" of what to say to prospective clients. They use a proven method in the one card system. Staff is very friendly and encouraging.

    Cons

    You will need to sell from day one to pay your bills. Unlike most sales jobs the compensation comes in the form of stipend typically a couple hundred dollars if that. This puts immense pressure on you from the start to sell or sink. No transition period. In addition, the commission rates are very low for the industry which compounds the problem. Finally, the basis of your 'business' will be selling to your family and friends which can be very awkward when reciting a script.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Help your young professionals learn and grow by providing them the means to live. The stipends do not even cover the price of driving all these places trying to sell. The sales training is great by take it a step further by adapting it to different situations instead of the blanket approach. Finally, don't nickel and dime young professionals starting out by charging them excessive fees for business cards, testing materials, etc. Let them start with the advantage of your experience rather then just using them to fill your wallet.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    It was a great company culture but all commission was tough.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Northwestern Mutual

    Pros

    Company Culture was great and the people in the office were awesome

    Cons

    Trying to sell life insurance to your friends and family

  3.  

    Tough to start - rewarding if you are able to get going

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

    I have been working at Northwestern Mutual full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    You are your own boss for the most part. Set your own schedule. Meet when you want.
    After 5 years you are on auto-pilot
    Great products

    Cons

    There is no such thing as a work/life balance starting out. You bring home work troubles and are constantly "on the job" searching for your next client or prospect.

    Incredibly tough to start your career. You get no sales leads and are encouraged to sell to friends a family first. After you wear out those contacts through your 40+ dials a day you are down to nothing. Constantly expected to generate your own leads or forced to cold call. Left out in the dark without leads or much guidance. It is very much meant for those who already have rich connections. This is not a business to jump in to right out of college when your contacts are slim to none and all your friends are also just starting out their careers. You are expected to sell to everyone and anyone. Even if it is a small and unnecessary policy. The only guidance you are given is to bring along "joint work" AKA split your already small commissions with older more established reps.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give a base salary to those just starting in the business and groom them along with something more than just "joint work."

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Tough place to intern/work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Intern in Westport, CT
    Former Employee - Intern in Westport, CT

    I worked at Northwestern Mutual as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Worked with some genuinely nice people. Office space was nice. Hours were flexible to your schedule. A decent experiance to talk about in interviews.

    Cons

    High pressure selling environment. Office culture was somewhat toxic. You make what you selll. This means if you are having a bad month you make nothing. No guaranteed income. Little training given to interns.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Formalize intern program and raise base pay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    Wealth Management and Marketing Intern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Wealth Management and Marketing in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Wealth Management and Marketing in New York, NY

    I have been working at Northwestern Mutual as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    The people at Northwestern Mutual are generally friendly and the office has a great work-life balance.

    Cons

    Unpaid interns get no structure. Financial Rep I was working for did not bother to give me guidance as to what I should be doing to develop my skills as a wealth manager. Mostly relegated to administrative office functions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Develop your interns, even if they're not in the Financal Rep track.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Strong Company, Questionable front line leadership.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Financial Representative in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Financial Representative in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Northwestern Mutual full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Can make a lot of money, good people, schedule flexibility. I worked @ NM for 2 years had plenty of good experiences and made great money for a recent college grad. Great way to cut your teeth and learn about business development, management and personal growth. If your lucky enough to have a great team and support structure to work with, you can develop a great, long and rewarding career @ NM. Grateful for what I learned and experienced.

    Cons

    Leadership varies from partner group to partner group greatly. If you have poor support(which a lot of district offices do), you will not be at the company long. Somewhat of an old boys club too. If you are interviewing with NM make sure your direct reporting manager has at least 5+ years of experience @ NM.

    Poor leadership and rep development led to me leaving the company. My District office was full of managers who provided little value to reps unless there was an opportunity for them to collect commission. Also the core mid-level leadership was fired a couple of years before I joined, this led to hasty promotions of inexperienced reps whom could barley execute new business on their own and relied heavily on NM's CRC(Client Relations) program. The management desperately hired new people to bring in their close contacts and these new people would help subsidize the inexperienced reps forced into management by the earlier exodus.

    This cycle seemed more evident every summer when 20 or so interns were hired to bring in those that they knew to meet with the full time reps. By the end of the three months, most were burnt out. To the management the interns had done their duty by bringing in 2-3 clients(Interns had to split commissions) to help subsidize the mid-level management's income. There was hardly any development for these interns and they were all burnt our end of the summer. Our office was lucky if even one came back the following year for a second term.

    I can't emphasize enough to anyone considering NM as a career: make sure that the management is adequate and supportive before you accept an offer! In the early years while a new FR is learning the business it is key to have excellent support and leadership by example. If you have this in the first 5 years you will flourish and make a lot of MONEY!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work closer with new people to help develop a practice. Focus more on new rep development. Should incorporate something like the training in the medical world for their new people: Show One Do One, Teach One, rather than just show and expect.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    Permanent Contractors used as hard working widgets

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

    I have been working at Northwestern Mutual

    Pros

    Free lunch
    "starbucks" on site
    closed on holiday

    Cons

    Unlike most companies that utilize contractors as a test period, this company uses them as the backbone of atleast their IT department. Skilled and hardworking people are stuck being contrqctirs without benefits or PTO. My trainer is a contractor, though shw has been there three years and recieves nothing but praise from everyone thay works with her. The team would sink without her, she does so much. With an understaffed team, she works well into the night to make sure our deadlines are met, while still trwining and helping employees and contractors who need her assistance. And yet, the people who make those hirina decisions see no reason to make her part of the company. Contractors are considered widgets that can be shoved wherever the need is.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire on the dedicated, hardworking contractors that have shown their value to the company and dedication to keeping their team afloat.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    College Financial Rep Internship Program

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - College Financial Representative in Greenwood Village, Arapahoe, CO
    Former Employee - College Financial Representative in Greenwood Village, Arapahoe, CO

    I worked at Northwestern Mutual as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Northwestern Mutual tries to do a good job of developing the financial sales skills through classes at the beginning of the program. They show you how to leverage your network to gain meetings. Their motto was to gain a meeting through any means necessary.

    Cons

    They seem to have the internship program for leveraging your own network for their needs than to help you. They want to get the people you know as clients and this program is a great way for creating business. They do give you the opportunity to leverage younger adults by just putting in the time and moving up in the company. Unfortunately that will take years and for one summer you literally are just trying to bring your friends and family in as clients.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay your interns better so it doesn't seem like the commission base is there to leverage your network.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great Company, Tough Business

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

    I have been working at Northwestern Mutual as a contractor (more than a year)

    Pros

    Solid company and truly committed to the policyholder. Great professional development as well.

    Cons

    Very competitive environment. Used to weed out those who do not fit the company's mold. Not very nurturing if you are not viewed as a rising star. No real support if you do not bring the company significant business. Can easily lose prospective growth if you are not in the right financial income markets from the start. If you do not have income to fall back on during the growth phase of your business, you can easily go into debt with this company because its purely commission only and there is no draw to help see you through.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Must find a better way to sustain new reps. Charging first year reps for everything under the sun before they can truly develop their business is a sure way to lose great talent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    If you are absolutely sure that you want to sell insurance products, go for it. If not, stay far away.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - College Financial Representative in Raleigh, NC
    Former Employee - College Financial Representative in Raleigh, NC

    I worked at Northwestern Mutual as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    I loved the opportunity to learn about life insurance and the basics of financial planning. If you have any desire to learn from the company, work for this company. Lots of great mentoring and networking opportunities.

    Cons

    They say you are your own boss, but the college direction was breathing down your neck, watching your every move. No room for independence as they claim. Not an encouraging environment for women. Generally, men do sales, women do the HR.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create a better environment between work colleagues. Create a warmer environment for women. Get a new architect for your workplaces. (The offices were depressing.)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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