Exponent Reviews

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Exponent President, CEO, and Director Paul R. Johnston
Paul R. Johnston
32 Ratings
  • 5 people found this helpful

    Sky is the limit for advancement, but be prepared to go all in to get anywhere.

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

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


    Exponent is a place where you can come in out of grad school with no real work experience, and quickly become an expert in a number of different topics. Projects start out very technically diverse, and many people specialize to become experts in a specific area as they move up. Some people are gunners are working on building their own practice, while some consultants are content just being worker bees and keeping their heads down.

    It is possible to have "work life balance" at Exponent if you don't care that much about advancement. Over the years I saw plenty of people work very reasonable hours such as 9 to 6. From my vantage point, those people tended to move up very slowly.

    Opportunity for big pay is there, but you have to really work for it. Don't expect to come in at a competitive base salary for Google, Facebook, etc. while working 40 hours a week. I averaged about 50-55 hours a week over several years. But no one is stopping you from working a ton of overtime to earn lots of extra cash, or bringing in huge projects to earn big bonuses and promotions. Some of the top consultants are promoted almost every year, making it possible to reach Principal very rapidly. Want to buy a house in the bay area? Work your butt off as a senior associate (70-80 hours a week will get you there quickly), collect a ton of overtime/bonus pay, and you can make it happen.

    The work can be very interesting or very boring. It changes on a day to day basis. It depends highly on who you work with. Some people work on 100% litigation, others work on 0% litigation. Some people go on off-site inspections daily, others never do. Some travel internationally, others never travel at all. Some people work in the lab, others are 100% at their desk. Everyone's experience is somewhat unique at Exponent and so is everyone's path to advance.

    The company supports professional development and will pay significant sums for you to pursue your P.E., or other credentials. They will pay for you to attend conferences and meetings in the hopes that you will bag a big client while you are there. One of the pros of working at Exponent is that upper management is really invested in this kind of activity. However, there are occasional roadblocks for some people (a select few stingy directors or supervisors). My suggestion if you encounter a cheapo director who wants to hold you back from professional development, is simply escalate the matter to Angela (VP Marketing) or Paul (CEO). I truly believe they will "make it right."

    In short, Exponent is a place where the sky is the limit, and Principals are rewarded handsomely. But to get there, you have to be all in all the time. Work a lot of hours, then in your off time, work on lots of professional development and marketing. Think strategically about what kinds of clients are worth pursuing and then figure out how to provide value to them as a consultant. And, expect that even if you are an extremely hard worker, it will still probably take you a long time, (9 years or more is somewhat reasonable) to hit Principal.


    There is no Cost of Living bump for employees living in different parts of the country, so Bay Area employees are getting the dirty end of the stick in terms of purchasing power compared to their counterparts in, say, Arizona. This definitely won't change anytime soon.

    Being a consultant is not a convenient career. Weekends at work can happen, and once you are identified as someone who is willing to work on a weekend then be prepared to get called in frequently. Client-imposed deadlines are occasionally insane and some project managers promise more than they can deliver within a reasonable time frame.

    Generally people are very good to work with, and very smart, and very thorough, and focused on quality. However, insane deadlines and workloads that Exponent gets from certain clients has caused quality and technical merit to start slipping. That is something that would never be accepted in the early days of "Failure Analysis Associates" but as Exponent is a public company, make NO mistake, they are all about the bottom line. Expect management to cost cut as much as possible, and expect that bringing in quantity of work is more important to the bottom line than quality or technical accuracy of the work product.

    Each work product is reviewed before sending to clients (this is a good thing) but there huge differences in the quality of the reviewing skills of various people. In some cases the review system is a major roadblock to getting good work product out the door to clients who are dying to get a report in their hands. In other cases the review system is rushed to get a report out as quickly as possible. In all cases the review system makes accurate budgeting difficult for anyone who is acting as a project manager, and adds considerable expense to the clients...resulting in the burden for overbudget projects sometimes landing on junior staff who unluckily got saddled with a "project manager" role.

    If upper management doesn't know you or doesn't like you for some reason, advancement can be very difficult. Some Principals seem to be the favorites of upper management while some people stay as Senior Manager for a long time just barely below the Principal level.

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

Exponent Interviews

Updated Mar 20, 2015
Updated Mar 20, 2015

Interview Experience

Interview Experience


Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview


Interview Difficulty


Interview Difficulty




    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through an employee referral – interviewed at Exponent.

    Interview Details

    This was a very long interview - full day. I interviewed individually with approximately seven people and had to give a 1-hour technical presentation of my choice. The presentation was to the interviewers as well as employees from other offices who joined the webex. Some of the interviews were very technical while others focused on non-technical questions.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

Exponent Awards & Accolades

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America's 200 Best Small Companies, Forbes, 2009
America's 200 Best Small Companies, Forbes, 2008

Additional Info

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Website www.exponent.com
Headquarters Menlo Park, CA
Size 500 to 999 Employees
Founded 1967
Type Company - Public (EXPO)
Industry Business Services
Revenue $100 to $500 million (USD) per year

Exponent has found success in failure. The science and engineering consulting firm specializes in analyzing and solving complex problems and preventing disasters and product failures. Exponent's 900 scientists, physicians, engineers, and business consultants assess environmental risks, regulatory issues, and workplace hazards for government agencies and clients from such industries as transportation, construction, and manufacturing. Established in 1967, its work has included analyzing such disasters as the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the bombing of the Murrah Federal... More

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