Northwestern University Reviews

Updated July 4, 2015
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Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro
Morton Schapiro
11 Ratings

Pros
  • There is a great work life balance and an understanding that people do have to put their families first some times (in 26 reviews)

  • Great Benefits and growth opportunities (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)

  • The health insurance offered graduate students could be improved (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

52 Employee Reviews

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  1. Associate Research Administrator

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University

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

    Pros

    Job security. Working at a university. Nice students. Friendly students. job security. Working at a university. Nice students. Friendly students. job security

    Cons

    Bias career advancement opportunities. No promotional opportunity. No work life balance. Bias career advancement opportunities. No promotional opportunity. No work life balance. Bias career advancement opportunities. No promotional opportunity. No work life balance.


  2. Technical Support Specialist

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Great 401K plan, Flexibility, co-workers, option to join credit union.

    Cons

    No room for advancement, No decision making ability by upper management, and Low pay compared to outside NU.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees! Let me clarify that a little more. Love your staff and much as you love your faculty. Without staff your faculty could not function.


  3. Terrible Management

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Top research university in a nice downtown location

    Cons

    The sense of entitlement and poor management skills among tenure track professors is deplorable. The good old boys club is alive and well in the culture.

    Advice to Management

    Start a development program to teach some of the old dogs new tricks otherwise you will continue to lose employees, staff, and grants


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  5. Poorly organized, no room for advancement

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Stable, decent benefits, hard to get fired unless you really screw up repeatly

    Cons

    Management very unorganized. Ineffective planning, poor communication to staff about major changes. IT department in complete disarray. Low morale. Uncompetitive salary. No room for advancement. No appreciation for going above and beyond job description. No room for advancement, regardless of education or institutional knowledge.

    Advice to Management

    Take the time to learn who is working and who is dead wood. Fire the deadwood and invest the salary savings in your performers. Provide training so intelligent, hardworking people can take on bigger responsibilities. Consider the people that have to implement the changes you would like to see. Collect their input BEFORE deciding on major changes. When staff come to you to let you know that they would be happy to take on more responsibility, give it to them along with SOME kind of reward. Don't just heap extra work on people without reciprocity, then when they get to the breaking point, tell them: "Hey, at least you have a job." Etc. Etc. Etc.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Management by fear

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    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 Management

    Listen.


  7. Depends on the school/department

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  8. Poor experience

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time

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

    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.


  9. Not holding up to mission

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

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


  10. A great place to be complacent and stop doing research.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  11. Interesting work but poor compensation

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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



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