Acumen Reviews

Updated June 29, 2015
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3.2
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Thomas MaCurdy
26 Ratings

Pros
  • I only got to work on one area, but it seemed like there was a wide variety of interesting projects (in 5 reviews)

  • A good place to start out of college or before graduate school (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/life balance is broken (or at least it was 1 (in 7 reviews)

  • Long hours of work are worth more to the company than efficient short hours of work (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

54 Employee Reviews

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  1. Laid-back environment, meaningful work

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

    I have been working at Acumen

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The work the company does is relevant and actually impacts healthcare policy. Employees are encouraged to take ownership of projects and managers offer a lot of support. The location is great as well.

    Cons

    You have to be motivated and pro-active to take on responsibility and grow within the company.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Great for recent grads

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data and Social Policy Analyst
    Current Employee - Data and Social Policy Analyst

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Learn basic programming skills that will help you in the future
    Fairly young group of coworkers which helps people adjust right after school
    Very flexible work hours and environment

    Cons

    The above depends heavily on what group and project you are in
    Once you've been here for awhile, you stagnate and almost have to leave
    Managers are very hit or miss
    They reduced raises recently, which used to make up for starting recent grads at a relatively low level

    Advice to Management

    More manager training
    More options for projects, as no one really can choose their projects / team coming right out so people may be in a bad fit on a certain team.

    Acumen Response

    Jun 26, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for your response, we understand the need for senior level management and have implemented managerial training's.


  3. Great place for recent grads

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

    I have been working at Acumen (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting, meaningful work.
    Clients are capable of turning results into policy

    Cons

    Insufficient manager training
    If you are not self-driven, career growth is limited.

    Acumen Response

    Jun 1, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for the review. We have now implemented a yearly manager training workshop.


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  5. Great Place to Gain Initial Work Experience

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Acumen

    Pros

    Hard work gets rewarded with merit increases

    Cons

    Experience can vary depending on initial team placement; management lacks incentives to develop employees

    Acumen Response

    Jun 26, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you, we appreciate your comments.


  6. Helpful (2)

    Strong Potential Held Back By Management

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I have been able to do a wide array of different tasks, learn a bunch of different skills, and try different things. Acumen is definitely a great job to have right out of college. They allow you to take on as much work as you would like so long as you prove you can handle it. The office atmosphere is extremely casual and there are weekly breakfasts, monthly lunches, and periodic holiday parties.

    Cons

    While I mentioned I got to do a lot of things, I got lucky. Others are dreadfully bored from doing the same thing. It is a coin flip.

    Management is hit or miss. Some managers are great, others are not. This is usually because managers are just analysts that have been there long enough, typically.

    Workloads can be very volatile. Some weeks you are wondering how to fill 8 hours with work and others you are finding yourself wishing for sweet relief after 12+ hours.

    There is an incredible lack of communication between branches of the company that can lead to issues. This would not be as much of an issue if certain tasks did not take several parts of the company to do.

    Salaries are low if you look at it from a tech company perspective but high if you look at it from a public policy perspective.

    There is very high turnover. Sometimes this is because people go on to higher education. The end result is less overall experience.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage openness and communication between groups and branches of the company, especially groups that rely on one another. Make sure interests are aligned.

    Allocate resources better. No team should have to be work themselves to death because of an unreasonable timeline.

    Improve transparency. If you are going to limit raises when they were previously more generous, explain why.

    Acumen Response

    May 4, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for your time, we review all feedback and take it into consideration as Acumen continues to grow and change.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Intelligent employees and great opportunity to grow as individual. Loved working here!

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

    I worked at Acumen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Great group of smart, motivated, and oftentimes young individuals who work hard but also have many interests outside of work. Most people are super nice, helpful, and friendly.
    - Company culture is casual, though professional when interacting with clients.
    - Hours are more flexible than most companies.
    - Generally believe meritocracy drives promotions/raises. Hard work and good results are recognized!
    - The company has a lot of potential to improve. For example, work hours have dramatically decreased due to more hiring and better retention than in previous years.
    - Managers are generally helpful and supportive, taking your interests into account with regard to project assignments.
    - Salaries are probably closer to the bottom in terms of starting salaries, but Acumen gives pretty large wage increases during performance review periods, which are every 6 months. Bonuses are also a big plus.

    Cons

    - Depending on your projects/team, you may end up working a lot more than 40 hours a week. However, as mentioned previously, work hours have decreased a lot and most employees enjoy standard hours.
    - Not a start-up, though perks do include free bagels every Friday and a monthly lunch, in addition to some holiday-themed parties/activities. The company is continuously working on improvement and I think employee satisfaction has gone up as a result.
    - Sink or swim environment, though less so now with better management and more structured trainings. A lot of support is available if needed, but there is an expectation you should be able to figure things out on your own for the most part. This can be a pro or a con, depending on your learning preferences.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to spend time improving the work-life balance of the employees and they will be sure to stay longer, resulting in better managers and hence happier employees all around. Continue to hire smart, motivated individuals! Really enjoyed my time at this company and hope others will too!

    Acumen Response

    May 4, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for taking time to review Acumen, LLC. We appreciate your comments.


  8. Helpful (7)

    A lot of closed doors when you want an answer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    For someone straight out of college, Acumen will train you. There are a handful of people in Acumen with about 3-5 years of experiences that are Policy Leads or higher so the chance to move up quickly are there.

    Cons

    The last round of raises averaged 3% across the company which seems to be marking the end of the aggressive raises that many people have come to expect especially since starting salaries are on the lower end. Upper management seems reluctant to talk about the matter. Very few promotions were given over this period also, probably because they were reluctant to give raises. Two of the directors in the company are sons of the owner. Certain departments/teams are more highly regarded/higher profile than others and employees on that team seem to move up much faster than other teams, even though they don't work any harder or are more "talented". Skills developed at Acumen are often Acumen specific and often don't translate well to the marketplace.

    Advice to Management

    Please be more open with employees, treat everyone fairly. Try to be competitive with market salaries or people will start leaving very quickly, especially in a good economy. Don't encourage us to write Glassdoor reviews with the idea that it will boost your ratings.

    Acumen Response

    May 4, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for your time. We appreciate all reviews.


  9. Great place to grow.

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

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Really interesting and relevant projects. Great access to data. Culture of doing good and meaningful work. Fantastic colleagues and overall fun workplace.

    Cons

    Working for government clients can sometimes be tedious or frustrating, especially when the client faces other constraints. Additionally, the company lacks sufficient upper management for its size. This leads to many junior staff having insufficient supervision/unreasonable levels of responsibility and also means that the senior researchers are stretched much to thinly across multiple projects.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the gapping hole in senior level management.

    Acumen Response

    Mar 11, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for your response, we understand the need for senior level management and have implemented yearly managerial training's.


  10. Good overall.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Data Analyst in Burlingame, CA

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    The projects are very engaging with real policy impact. Growth can be quick without an advanced degree. Employees are motivated, and intelligent.

    Cons

    So-so benefits. Workload can be somewhat unpredictable. Pay is ok for the industry but not very high for the SF bay area. Employees are not very experienced.

    Advice to Management

    Also hire more experienced people who can train and mentor the young employees.

    Acumen Response

    Mar 11, 2015Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you for your time, we review all feedback and take it into consideration as Acumen continues to grow.


  11. cool, smart coworkers + interesting work + great growth opportunities

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

    I have been working at Acumen

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    you can start at the bottom and be leading a project in a few years
    coworkers are smart and (for the most part) cooperative and sweet people
    work-life balance is great if you're the type who likes to work hard on interesting problems but still go home at 6

    Cons

    compensation varies greatly among different job descriptions and even sometimes among the same job description - you may get a very competitive salary or be offered a much lower salary than expected (although this has been remedied a bit recently)
    depending on the team you are placed on, your manager may have more or less experience managing and developing people
    work increases exponentially on some projects - most are just right, some are 100 hours/week

    Advice to Management

    even out compensation for some starting employees,
    work on raising the prestige/outside presence of the company - SUCH a great place to work and yet people don't really know about it outside of health policy experts!

    Acumen Response

    Dec 30, 2014Senior Recruiting Coordinator

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a review.



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