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Mars & Co Photos
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I have been working at Mars & Co full-time for more than a yearPros
• Get to work with some of the largest companies in the world. Most clients are #1, 2, or 3 in their industry
• Opportunities for international travel exist if you want them
• Staffing on travel projects can be minimized if you want it to be, though you take a hit in promotion potential
• Moderately smart consultants at entry levels (Associate, Senior Associate, and Consultant), though as was mentioned in another review, there are a lot of ‘second bests,’ especially in terms of communication skills
• Advancement can come quickly, though often it is a result of a person working very long hours for weeks/months to right a sinking ship
• It may sound sarcastic, but the bad management and communication skills that run rampant in the company actually provide a great opportunity to learn how to be a good manager by observing what not to do
• Good pay relative to non-consulting jobs (though below industry average within consulting)Cons
• Poor management with complete lack of transparency. Basic things like relevant available data, cadence of meetings, and project deliverables may never be communicated and may be surprisingly hard to get out of your manager. Larger projects commonly see duplication of effort and people working for hours/days on obsolete modules, particularly with our soft drink client
• High volatility in hours compared to industry average. This stems from poor top-down communication, leading to a ‘hurry up and wait’ mentality that often ends with a mad rush before a meeting that could have been avoided through defined expectations and a project roadmap
• Complete lack of training: building a valuable skill set is a combination of getting lucky in whom you’re staffed with, recognizing your weak areas, and a lot of google searches. Some people never build competency in Excel, data analysis, presentation flow, etc., and you’ll be forced to pick up the slack if you’re staffed alongside them
• Office location is inconvenient: either commute 1.5 hours every day and live in NYC or commute 20 minutes and live in Stamford, CT
• A decent chunk of the organization is analytically-competent but socially challenged individuals, leading to dysfunctional teams and poor communication across managerial relationships
• Management attitude: from day one you’re made to understand that you are basically a disposable cog. Especially at the AC and SAC levels, your intellectual contributions are generally not welcome. As one VP put it, you’re there to be an ‘excel jockey.’ This attitude starves off any investment in the success of the project and any feeling of commitment to the firm
• No one seems happy. Out of ~40 people that I interacted with only 2 did not either say or demonstrate their unhappiness at Mars.Advice to ManagementAdvice
The root of the problems begins with recruiting: consultants are hired based almost wholly on their raw analytic capabilities, with communication skills taking a very distant backseat. The poor communication is frustrating when that consultant is your teammate, but it becomes a serious liability if that person advances to a Project Manager or Vice President role, and since we only promote from within, that talent pool is the feeder stock for these managerial roles.
To solve this, give formal interviewer training (and no, a 10-minute discussion on how to run an interview is not formal training). Codify what you’re looking for and put less emphasis on math skills and more emphasis on good communication. The reason Mars has terrible managers is that the people you hire are bad communicators. These people are also bad at selling for the same reason.
Next, allow managers a framework for improving these abilities by instituting bi-directional reviews. Most managers do not realize how bad they are at organizing, delegating, and transferring expectations, and no venue exists them to get feedback and work on this.
Moreover, make promotions every 3 months versus 6. I understand that you don’t want promotions always looming in the air, but a talented and ambitious person that believes they should have been promoted in the last cycle is not going to wait around for 6 months to see if things change: they’ll just take another job instead.
And finally, stop viewing your employees as disposable assets. Yes, the turnover in consulting is huge, but so are the recruiting expenses ($20k per new hire by my estimate), and even then it takes several months at a minimum to make that new hire a useful consultant. If you can keep people even a few months longer you reduce the time and cost invested in getting a new hire that can sufficiently replace someone who left. Attempts should be made to improve morale and the sense of community among the staff. Admittedly, the return of monthly happy hours is a step in the right direction, but the rationale for canceling them in the first place (‘people will just complain about the company’) is highly reminiscent of the idea that ‘the beatings will continue until morale improves.’ This philosophy doesn’t work, and instead of trying to silence dissent, you should be trying to understand where it comes from and how you can solve it.Doesn't RecommendNeutral OutlookDisapproves of CEO