Northwestern University

www.northwestern.edu

Northwestern University Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
459 Reviews
4.0
459 Reviews
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Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro
Morton Schapiro
173 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • People are friendly, pay is decent and they're generally pretty good about work-life balance (in 26 reviews)

  • Great Benefits- Can get great tuition assistance and healthcare benefits (in 37 reviews)


Cons
  • Ability to have work life balance most likely depends on the department with some departments being very high stress (in 10 reviews)

  • Not enough compensation for graduate students, some students take competition very negatively (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights

49 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Management by fear

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - PhD Graduate Student in Evanston, IL
    Former Employee - PhD Graduate Student in Evanston, IL

    I worked at Northwestern University full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent facilities for a university lab, so one can learn a lot there.
    The transfer of knowledge and training is very efficient, people become productive very fast and can publish a lot.

    Cons

    Management based on fear, which creates a very poor atmosphere in the lab.
    Students and postdocs are often threatened of being fired in order to get more work out of them.
    At CQD PhD students are supposed to stay in the lab all the time (even on saturday), and activities for personal or scientific development outside the lab are discouraged.
    Finally, creativity is very limited in this lab, as new ideas are not welcome.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  2.  

    Depends on the school/department

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

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

    Pros

    work for a prestigious university; good benefits; 37.5 work week; work with great people on staff and leading faculty in their field; the Evanston campus is also a beautiful setting; Wildcard discounts are good too; this place can be great to work for, but it depends on which school and unit you work for.

    Cons

    poor management; they micromanage and second guess staff; decisions are not made with data and solid business reasons, but rather people they follow the trends of other, similar organizations; leadership at the school level are often out of touch with trends and current events that impact their students and industry; watch out which school and department you work for as it really does make a huge difference in the work experience

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create policies on work-life balance and do not allow this to be at the manager's discretion. There is just too much difference between the treatment of employees from school to school and even unit to unit. While I'm not a huge fan of standardization, some is needed here. Also, please REQUIRE anyone with management responsibilities to attend management training. Managers do not know about EAP, benefits, or other items and offer incorrect information. Managers also do not know how to manage well here.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Poor experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant
    Current Employee - Research Assistant

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time

    Pros

    Beautiful campus.
    The environment here is collaborative, and your experience can be positive if you choose a correct advisor.
    It is located in the nicest place around Chicago.

    Cons

    Obviously, the education quality here is poor. It is even poorer than my undergraduate institute, which is a state-university.
    Career service is poor. The career website is full of false information.
    The university has only a few strong programs. Therefore, it is not a right place for interdisciplinary fields.

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

    Not holding up to mission

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

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

    Pros

    Good location and resume builder.

    Cons

    Arrogant and dismissive of employees who aren't part of the circle of elite at the top. Cutting people on every level so work load is unmanageable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees with more respect, no matter where they work in your organization!!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    A great place to be complacent and stop doing research.

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

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

    Pros

    Tenure, 10% match to 5% retirement contribution.

    Cons

    Merit raises are regularly half the rate of inflation no matter what kind of year you have. The only exception to this seems to be when you get another offer from a peer institution. There is no faculty governance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    By deciding to give faculty raises that don't even keep pace with inflation, you have created a faculty that doesn't care about the institution. You've told them essentially that they are worth less every year. So then, you too are worth less every year, and faculty have begun to do the least amount possible and find supplements for their salaries to keep up. This leads to less research and less prestige for the University. Somehow this seems like a short sighted policy. This isn't just me either, many many faculty feel this way and the toothless faculty senate is regularly dealing with it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Interesting work but poor compensation

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

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

    Pros

    Interesting work, great diversity and nice tuition assistance

    Cons

    Very low salaries and little opportunity for advancement

  8.  

    Good research community, screws over NRSA fellows

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

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

    Pros

    Good research community. Downtown location is exciting, plenty of things and restaurants nearby. Decent public transit options. Research is well supported, with core facilities and faculty nearby.

    Cons

    Benefits are decent on paper, however going on NRSA causes you to lose your health insurance and all other employee benefits such as retirement, or pre-tax commuter cards. Taxes are also not taken out of your paycheck when you are NRSA. No one will tell you this is going to happen or give you much instructions. You need to tell Northwestern a dollar amount for how much to withhold from your paycheck.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop pretending NRSA postdocs aren't employees who don't deserve health insurance and other benefits.

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

    Great School! Not so great career development

    • 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 University full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Great Brand
    Well Respected Programs
    Nice People
    Great work enviornment

    Cons

    Low Pay
    No career laddering/Opportunities for advancement
    No true incentives

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Northwestern is a good place to work if you have the right skin color.

    • 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 University full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits. interesting projects. Well respected university.

    Cons

    Problem managers are kept in place because they are "too valuable" to let go. If they bring in grant money or they have been at the university for many years, they have car-blanch to do what they want. The HR Dept. will offer the reporting employee a separation package with the caveat that they relinquish their right to sue. This allows the offending manager to stay in place and continue to abuse other employees.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Deal with the offending parties and stop the turn over of good employees for those that you know lack appropriate management skills. I'm very disappointed in NU and it's a shame because it has so much potential.

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

    Enjoyed working there, did not really help much with career.

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

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

    Pros

    Enjoyed working with co-workers and interesting work. The research staff was generally friendly and willing to help.

    Cons

    Very little career development, projects disorganized with little direction. Management absent mostly and interested in high risk projects. Like most research laboratories they hire a bunch of people for high risk projects and little money left over for proper budgets for projects.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Spend more time on laboratory organization and project management.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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