- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I worked at Ironside GroupPros
Good ensemble of IBM Veterans many with years of experience in their respective craft. Many former managers and technical experts in their respective domain.
People are friendly in this company and tend to cooperate with each other. There isn't that much tension between the internal staff and the consulting group. When benched consultants work at the solution center.
Management and staff are generally very supportive when dealing with client activities and onsite technical problems you encounter.
Good cross-section of IBM technologies mostly focused on BI and some predictive analytics.
There will be a several projects that expand your skill set. Others that are more routine. Occasionally a bad project (see cons). Overall, the projects tend to be interesting. They switch up industry, technology or interpersonal situation between client and team. Overall, interesting work.
Slightly higher than average salary compared to equivalent roles across industry. Slightly lower than large main stream consulting firms.
Good bonus structure based on 40 hr/week billable basis (20%).
Tries to enforce 40-45 hour work week maximum. See commute for the cons.
Healthcare plan is good compared to most (HP), but deductible is higher than bigger corporations.
Very nice 401k plan with 6% automatically put into your account gratis the company. No requirements on your end (basically free money).
Not a place for a quick promotion. Titles have meaning in this organization and represent a technical or experiential depth that have to be earned. I consider the later aspect of this a pro since titles have value.
Initial training is great and is strengthened by field experience.
Great exit opportunities for positions requiring IBM analytics technology especially within the BI/predictive space. Very good reputation within IBM.
I like the managers at this company, but wish they were a bit less inclusive and cliquey (they value loyalty). Overall, they are classy and nice people. They have good taste in food and so the yearly parties are the best I've attended (I've worked for a lot of firms). Every dinner I've attended with them has been great.
Really cool ideas about thought leadership and the possibility to get published on their website.
Great networking opportunities. IBM Consultants tend to move within the same groups and reputation really matters. If you have a good reputation, this will translate into a lot of great business opportunities in the future.
Overall, a good firm. Just know what you are getting yourself into and some of the quirks. You should be fine.Cons
Rapid Business Expansion (5 to 60+ consultants):
A lot of processes are being formalized: project management standards, performance reviews, training and bench work. Management layer is also in development.
Trainers are fantastic. Training after the initial sessions becomes more difficult and material isn't as easily accessible (also not led by trainers anymore).
Senior management is doing a lot of organizational planning and are very occupied. Straining communication with the consulting firm as a whole. They are improving overall and actively trying to address this.
Big Data team was in it's infancy.
Most projects don't have these characteristics, but you might end up dealing with the below (between 6 mo -3 years duration for one project).
Client over consultant mentality, with the biggest problem being commutes. Most clients have reasonable demands, but if pressed the firm will lean towards the client. An example, I had 2 + hour commute (1-way) and the client requested to minimize my hotel time. After a year of that, I was drained and wasn't happy. Note, most projects aren't like that, but a few always exist at any one time (if you can't tolerate this at all, consider it a deal breaker and apply to another firm).
Most people in this organization are fine. There are a few rabble-rouser or management mishaps that can create badly run projects and cause morale lapses. Dealing with these issues effectively is still a work in progress. When this does happen the firm needs to be more proactive about it and provide those low morale resources a way to coup with the stress. I saw a few consultants leave for this reason. (again, exceedingly rare case).
Revenue Driven, "By the Numbers":
You feel that they wear their finances on their sleeves. Revenue will be the number one topic of every single quarterly meeting followed by an emphasis on networking and new skills. The organization is sales-driven (focused on client happiness).
On the consulting-side, you start feeling paranoid like some menacing backroom financial model was controlling your fate, tallying the pros and cons of your employment. I saw 5+ employees let go over a year period and a small trickle afterwards. Some of them, freshly minted graduates with little field exposure. This made me wonder about the sales pipeline or if they had over hired. They claimed that it was them being more selective and pruning a bit (also reasonable). The point is, stay competitive, up-to-date and proactive if you want to stay in this firm as they are selective about who they keep.
The bonus had a large increase, but raises are minuscule. Even if you do really well, it's in the order of a few dozen basis points, not percentages.
Personal Ambition vs Loyalty:
Joining Ironside to obtain a certain type of experience is probably a mistake. It can happen, but it's not guaranteed and they'll generally play to your strengths first before giving you the opportunity to test the waters. Long term, you most likely will gain a broader skill set and have an opportunity to transition to that line of work. That said, a few consultants did leave for this reason. (I'd consider myself a special case of this). (Basically, no guarantees).
Sometimes the way opportunities were handed out seemed a bit strange. An E-mail could be sent out, people would respond, a certain number of individuals would be selected and others would wait for a new opportunity. Less experienced consultants might be discouraged from attending certain seminars over another (based on experience-level and target audience). I'm too much of a go-getter for that type of thing and so that didn't appeal to me (I'm a big open-source fan for this reason).
IBM and deliverable focused. Most enterprises don't like too much custom code (maintenance cost). If you are more interested in developing products, working with open source tools or doing research, this company is probably not a good fit. If you are more service driven or interested in enterprise management, this is probably a better fit. (start-up/web-centric vs enterprise demands).
Most projects are interesting, but some are not. Some are rather routine with more difficult interpersonal situations. This is normal, but should be noted (you'll have a handful of good projects, handful of average ones and maybe the occasional bad one).Advice to ManagementAdvice
I wish managers focused on their internal perception more instead of just branding.
If morale collapses on the few cases it does, better procedures should be in place to keep those individuals tied to the firm.
Better training opportunities should be established and maybe technology mentors network etc.
Overall, I liked working for you guys.RecommendsPositive OutlookNo opinion of CEO
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
- Application Details
I applied online. The process took 2 weeks – interviewed at Ironside Group in October 2014.Interview Details
I applied online. First, they will have a basic phone interview with you, asking about who you are, visa type that kind of thing. And then a technical interview, asking more details about your projects on your resume. Finally a on site interview at Boston.Interview Questions
No OfferNegative ExperienceAverage Interview
- On technical interview, he asked me what platforms I was working on to do my projects. They won't inform you if you are not selected to the next round, even if you email them to ask. Answer Question
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