Abt Associates
3.3 of 5 71 reviews
www.abtassociates.com Cambridge, MA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Abt Associates Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2014

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3.3 71 reviews

                             

85% Approve of the CEO

Abt Associates President and CEO Kathleen L. Flanagan

Kathleen L. Flanagan

(40 ratings)

71% of employees recommend this company to a friend
71 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Work/life balance is pretty good - RAs average 40-45 hours per week"
    in 17 reviews
  • "Abt is filled with a lot of great people that are working on many interesting projects"
    in 6 reviews
Cons:
  • "Likes to push how great its work/life balance is - don't buy it, they don't really care"
    in 4 reviews
  • "Management sees junior staff as disposable with a 2 year expiration date:"
    in 4 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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2 people found this helpful  

Recruitment leadership is extremely poor, lacking in strategy and any development industry experience.

Portfolio Manager (Current Employee)
Bethesda, MD

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than 8 years

ProsPros – You will learn a lot about leading the USAID-funded international health projects, from the concept phase (helping to write and edit a proposal) to the management phase (tracking expenditures, managing partnerships, following terms of the contract, following rules and regulations, etc.)

You are given considerable opportunities to learn on the job and to manage others. Resources are available for professional development. Given the right match, people can move laterally into other positions. Hours are long but work very worthwhile.

HR is improving (except for recruitment leadership!) and it is great to see that.

ConsCons – Recruitment leadership is extremely poor, lacking industry knowledge and is totally devoid of any strategic vision or expertise. Most of the time MIA and non-visible to clients. 'Just a job' mentality.

Advice to Senior ManagementAdvice to Senior Management – Find a more experienced and committed head of recruitment. The rest of organization's management is excellent - it seems very proactive about making Abt a good place to work.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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3 people found this helpful  

Great people and good balance.

Finance and Contracts Manager (Current Employee)
Bethesda, MD

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than a year

ProsThe people at Abt are really nice and work really hard. Most truly believe in the work that we are doing.

ConsThe experience varies significantly depending on which division/department you work with and some management decisions are questionable.

Advice to Senior ManagementDon't keep sr. staff if they are not performing as it really impacts the morale of other staff.
More time needs to go into the initial discussions of new systems to ensure they provide what is really needed.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

Beware of internal politics inside the departments

Project Manager (Current Employee)
Bethesda, MD

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than 3 years

ProsPeople believe in the mission and come here to make a difference. HR Benefits are pretty good (401k match, healthcare, time off, ESOP). Divisions seem to have a plan and are making it work

ConsDepartments in Bethesda are very different from departments in Cambridge, might as well be separate companies. Lots of turmoil in the IT department with a poorly planned reorganization. No one left to support the needs of the other departments or divisions.

Advice to Senior ManagementBe more transparent, especially with the recent RIFs

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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4 people found this helpful  

Great organization but a total lack of effective management and leadership in recruitment.

Portfolio Manager (Current Employee)
Bethesda, MD

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than 5 years

ProsOn an individual level, the company has many interesting, accomplished, and competent people. It also has a good benefits package, lots of vacation, and tends to be pretty accommodating of its employees life demands.

Abt has tremendous potential to reach many vulnerable people who need access to quality and affordable healthcare in developing countries, affecting change on a massive scale, leeway to be innovative and carve out a niche for your work, organization is constantly seeking to grow and to be the best version of itself.

Furthermore there is a vastly diverse, interesting people to work with.
Many travel opportunities. This is a good place for people who want to get hands on experience in the international public health field.

ConsMost critical element to address is the total lack of effective management and leadership within recruitment. Responsiveness to requests for assistance with recruitment is marred by inertia. Leadership is absent within recruitment.
There is no understanding of the core business of development and thus the what is needed in candidates. Recruiters are poorly led and ineptly managed.

Advice to Senior ManagementAdvice to Senior Management – Start focusing on the value for money that younger staff bring to the organization. There are many multi-talented junior analysts that are motivated and committed to advancing the MSH cause and work, who are being overlooked for opportunities.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

Great company

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at Abt Associates

ProsMission driven professionals with a real motivation to improve peoples lives

ConsShades of academic elitism inflate some egos and cloud sound business judgement

Advice to Senior ManagementFoster greater accountability at all levels of the organization

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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5 people found this helpful  

The start of Abt's decline

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than 5 years

ProsThe people are so diverse, well educated, dedicated to helping fulfill the mission and impact the globe positively. The people are the wealth of this company and especially the non managers but sadly their skills are sometimes not valued if they don't "play nice".
Great benefits and support from the Benefits team, mainly Jane F.

Cons- Insincere executive level Management: CEO and CHRO -
- Company announces outstanding results, positive performance and great ROI and the same week they fire half the IT team, some division folks and HR staff.
- Mixed messages from management to the lower casts, amazing lack of transparency and ethics, lack of communication intra and inter within the same division and departments.
- Since the arrival of the CHRO the trend has been to cut off anyone - so everyone is fair game unless you are buddy with management or you can scream and cry and claw your way into the upper casts.
- Promotions are often given to the same people who know people.
- No 360 reviews. Feedback is Never welcome.
- CHRO has never addressed the many lay offs or even met with employees to soften the blow. She is the invisible executioner. CHRO is unapproachable, unfriendly, and untrustworthy. CEO is friendly but now we cannot believe the happy speeches we hear.
- Extreme fear of retaliation and CHRO wants control over who can approach the legal department.
- No Open door policy nor practice. Weak support to the divisions and projects in times of need. You never know who to talk to for resolution.
- Epic fail in providing working, engaging and motivating environment to employees.
- people stay because they need the job not out of love for the company and the upper managers are paid too high to find something else.
- Abt pours $$ into initiatives that don't work, management does not want progressive nor transformational employees, only "Yes Sir/Yes Ma'm"..some bring their Yes Mam along from former employers.
- Does not encourage innovation nor creativity from its employees unless upper management can claim credit for it or get financial perk from it.

Advice to Senior ManagementThe MAG needs to review the upper management credential and no trust the resumes only - some people are not a good fit. The founder did not mean for this company to pay its executives those 6 figures with complete disregard to the lower level folks and those overseas. Mission is great but some managers perpetuate old models that dont work and are supported by C-level folks. Sadly I know too many unhappy people at Abt who deserve much better managers and leaders.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

Abt is a great first job, but not a place to grow as a young professional

Research Assistant (Former Employee)
Bethesda, MD

I worked at Abt Associates full-time for more than a year

ProsAbt was a great first job. While all employees are expected to work 40 hours/week, how that time is distributed across the week is flexible, as long as you are generally available to do the tasks you need to do. There is a definite positive family/work-life balance. I worked on a diverse range of project topics, and my tasks also ranged from your typical "junior employee" jobs (making copies, sending emails, organizing emails) to more advanced experiences, such as going on site visits and participating in interviewing program participants and staff.

ConsThere is very little incentive to stay here as a junior-level employee after the first year or two. The tuition reimbursement program is limited compared to other similar companies - they offer less reimbursement per year and expect employees to work more hours in order to be eligible. Without a Masters degree, it is difficult to move up through the company beyond the first promotion cycle. It can be difficult to be placed on projects that are specific to your research interests. Starting salaries are also lower than at other similar companies.

Advice to Senior ManagementInvest some more time and money into junior level staff so that they are more likely to stay and grow with the company.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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2 people found this helpful  

Great place to start a career

Associate Analyst (Current Employee)
Cambridge, MA

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than a year

ProsAbt Associates is a well-respected government contractor in a variety of fields, and is growing rapidly. As a result staff are exposed to many different types of work (although this varies by division). The executives are focused on keeping Abt at the cutting edge technologically, giving the firm an upper hand in an industry were methods are typically slow to change. The company is packed with smart people who on the whole care about their coworkers, and actively promote a positive work environment. The company is generally supportive of staff who want to use company money for professional development, such as take a course for college credit. The benefits are great and again, great people.

ConsJunior staff need to be active in networking, building relationships, and seeking out the kind of work that they're interested in. If not, one runs a risk of being sidelined on monotonous projects. No one hold's your hand, and failure to adapt can mean a much less fulfilling experience.

Abt also does not specifically hire managers, but has its technical staff do the managing. This is sometimes problematic, especially with low-level managers that may not have the tightest grasp on good management practice.

Advice to Senior ManagementBe transparent with employees about business outlook (there were some issues with hiding the true cost of the sequester). Invest more in management training.

Also some divisions will benefit from catching up with the company as a whole and adopting the kind of forward thinking that has done so much to help the company grow.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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4 people found this helpful  

Swamp for desperate, self-disrespectful professionals - that is the Cambridge office, Aim for Bethesda, MD

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Bethesda, MD

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than 8 years

Pros-Great minds
-Strong international footprint and great field employment opportunities
-Flexibility in work/life balance and telecommuting - but declining sharply

Cons- Offensively low compensation (lower 15% of the Industry bell curve - Max!!!), except for "the management"
- Bonuses are not for employees - just for Managers!!!
- Managers invest almost no time or money into professional development of staff
- Will not be exaggerated if said that maybe half of the management is beyond their level of incompetence,very poor management and inter-personal skills. and kill every who may threaten their "comfort"
- No opportunity to advance
- Some senior level people are obnoxious bullies
- Ridiculous annual review process. Almost pointless, no one consider employee's feedback.
- Unhealthy culture
- Lack of respect for employees
- Company strategy is not clear

Advice to Senior Management- Be more supportive/mindful of those who consistently go above and beyond.
- K. Flanagan should seriously consider replacing every single one in IT (yes, starting with the CIO) - for the good of the company.
 -

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Good overall, but has some problems

Communications (Current Employee)
Bethesda, MD

I have been working at Abt Associates full-time for more than 3 years

ProsGreat mission, smart people, generally collaborative culture

ConsSome senior leaders consistently make commitments that are unrealistic for their teams to achieve.

Advice to Senior ManagementTop management needs to be aware of what is going on with staff in specific departments. Department leaders present a picture of a success when the reality is a department without good leadership, unrealistic timelines and a culture where people learn that voicing concerns is not well-received.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Abt Associates reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Abt Associates CEO Kathleen L. Flanagan. All 71 reviews posted anonymously by Abt Associates employees.