University of Southern California

www.usc.edu

University of Southern California Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
642 Reviews
4.2
642 Reviews
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University of Southern California President C. L. Max Nikias
C. L. Max Nikias
259 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • An effort is made by the administration to foster a real work-life balance (in 18 reviews)

  • Great benefits include tuition remission and doubling of 403(b) contributions (i (in 36 reviews)


Cons
  • But the good news is that USC has already been working on the safety issue around the campus (in 14 reviews)

  • There is cumbersome bureaucracy and red tape that you would not expect at a private institution (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

34 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Depends on your situation

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

    I worked at University of Southern California full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I would recommend working here if you meet the following, the more the better:
    -you are a faculty member
    -If you are "regular" staff, you can find a job in a good department (USC is decentralized and different departments have different cultures)
    -you have children who are about to enter college, and they are a shot at getting in USC (tuition benefits)
    -you are young (early 20s), understand you will be paid substantially less than equally qualified peers in other industries, but want to experience the fun and excitement of being in a college campus.
    -you don't want to work more than 8 hours a day and you don't mind a lower salary

    Cons

    I would NOT recommend working here if you meet one or more of the following:
    -you are young, and don't have college aged children. you won't benefit from tuition coverage (more on that below).
    -you are looking to work here as staff, not on an academic role (professors have it great, opposite is true for staff)
    -you want to work hard and be financially rewarded for it (no bonus structure. annual 2% increase separates great from horrible employees..no incentive). You will quickly find out that with the average USC staff salary, you will have trouble affording the cost of living in even less-desirable areas near LA. It's a common sight seeing 10, 20 year staff employees barely getting by.
    -you want to get a graduate degree for free while working here. For example, I've seen quite a few staff employees enroll in the USC MBA program part time since the tuition is partially covered. Problem is, MBA or not, prospective "big money" employers (consulting firms, banks, etc) aren't impressed that you worked at USC for so many years. Work experience speaks louder than any USC degree that can be attained part-time (this effectively eliminates law/medicine/dentistry/pharmacy).
    -you expect support from leadership. USC understandably caters to what makes them money, which is academics, students, and athletics. if you complain or say something that questions the moral values of anyone who falls in the aforementioned categories, expect to get fired or a cold shoulder.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management was decent under President Sample, but awful under President Nikias.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    don't go there

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Teaching Assistant in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Graduate Teaching Assistant in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at University of Southern California part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    not a lot to say here. campus is OK, but small and area around it is not nice

    Cons

    stressful, a lot of clueless incompetent people, lack of good mentors or supervisors who would actually care

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    PR Machine Keeps USC Looking Better Than It Is

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

    I worked at University of Southern California full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good/Great benefits depending on whether or not you want to earn an advanced degree at night or if you have family members who could attend USC tuition-free (if they get in). Office cultures vary depending on which school or program you work for. You can also move from one school to another for promotions; there are very few opportunities for promotion within each school.

    Cons

    While the university is raising money at a phenomenal rate, none of that money supports staff. In fact, staff have been steadily laid off throughout the university (including many of the human resources personnel) for the last several years. Using vendors and requiring staff to pull double duty is the direction most departments and schools are being forced to take. The administration does not value staff contributions. It was the most demoralizing place I've ever worked at.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in your staff. Recognize that they bend over backwards to please students and (many imperious) faculty.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Good for some, not others

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technical in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Technical in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at University of Southern California full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Benefits, College environment. Opportunities to be involved with Students. The Students are really great. You get attached to them. They are the cream of the college crops.

    Cons

    For most Staff positions the pay is very low compared to the "Real World". The parking is very expensive. Want to park on campus? it will cost you approx $100/month. The environment for staff is cold corporate. Management can be incompetent, but mostly they are overwhelmed. most employees (staff) not treated well. Recent layoffs due to Nikias not managing the endowment well. USC endowment approx 3 Billion. Stanford:18.7 Billion. President will build buildings while he lays off staff.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    treat employees as if you want them there, offer advancement, lose egos.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Horrid

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Student in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Graduate Student in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at University of Southern California part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Access to decent technology and resources.

    Cons

    Bad compensation or encouragement for your work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dont treat grad research students like cattle.

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

    Not so great and not awful! It's just not bad.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Postdoctoral Research Associate in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at University of Southern California full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    You can find smart people in the campus to work with. If anyone likes to live in a warm climate by all menas, USC is a good place.

    Cons

    The bureaucracy at USC is just horrible. I used to work in east-coast then I moved to USC to do my post-doc. The difference was day and night. It looked like working in eastern Europe or Cuba. For instance, it required a lot of time and paperwork to order one piece of equipment for my lab. Then I realized that it is better that I drive myself, get the equipment and get reimbursed. The system was inefficient with an extreme profit based mentality. In summary, USC is not a great place.
    And also, the location of campus is awful It did not look like a university, there was not ANY bookstore around campus!!! there was not any cozy coffee shop around campus. Just shopping malls, food courts etc. I did not have a pleasant experience and happy I am out of there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Good for sports and sometimes science

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

    I have been working at University of Southern California

    Pros

    West Adams is a neighborhood of beautiful architecture. The university's health plan is good.

    Cons

    The university appears not to value the humanities. It has taken steps to dismantle programs that engage the intellectual community in greater Los Angeles. Different schools within the university--cinema, communication--may have different policies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consult faculty instead of making unilateral decisions.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Hard work and little appreciation

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at University of Southern California

    Pros

    You aren't fired if you screw up. Discount is given but it doesn't apply to anything really worth buying.

    Cons

    No resources or organization for teaching you how to do your job. The bosses can be cruel and see ridicule and "tough love" as the only way to teach and motivate student workers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create documents that clearly and sequentially teach each major job requirement (working the cash register, working with complex programs, inventory procedures, etc). Be kind and welcome questions. Otherwise students will be too fearful to ask them and will create a viscous cycle of incompetence.

  10.  

    Not the ideal place for young workers

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

    I have been working at University of Southern California full-time

    Pros

    Excellent benefits including retirement and education benefits

    Cons

    Poor leadership, limited career growth

    Doesn't Recommend
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    USC

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Director - IT in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Director - IT in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at University of Southern California full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great Benefits
    Located in Southern California

    Cons

    Those who can DO, Those who can't TEACH.
    Terrible political environment between Faculty and Staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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