Advisory Board
3.3 of 5 235 reviews
www.advisory.com Washington, DC 1000 to 5000 Employees

Advisory Board Reviews

Updated Jul 7, 2014
Advisory Board – Chicago – “Love my work station”

All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 235 reviews

                             

89% Approve of the CEO

Advisory Board CEO and Director Robert W. Musslewhite

Robert W. Musslewhite

(154 ratings)

67% of employees recommend this company to a friend
235 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Promotes a health work-life balance"
    in 20 reviews
  • "Happy Hours, incentive trips, community service projects, etc"
    in 22 reviews
Cons:
  • "Work-life balance is definitely skewed towards work rather than life"
    in 22 reviews
  • "Horrible work-life balance and long hours"
    in 13 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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    Best place to work as a young professional

    Marketing (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsWork life balance and flexible options, ability to move around to fit your strengths, amazing coworkers, investment from senior leaders, access to professional development opportunities

    ConsSalary is below market average

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep doing what you are doing!

    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 company to start your career with

    Marketing Associate (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsGreat benefits
    Lots of opportunities for growth--and training to help you along the way
    Wonderful people to work with
    Promotes a health work-life balance
    Good incentives (trips & cash)
    Volunteer opportunities

    ConsThe starting salary is barely enough to survive on in DC.

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

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    Associate Director

    Associate Director (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsLots of smart people, great culture, emphasis on community impact

    ConsWish I could get a better work life balance- short staffing is hard

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

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    7 people found this helpful  

    Know what you are committing to before you agree to be employed.

    Associate Director (Current Employee)
    Austin, TX

    ProsFrom the employee level perspective -
    1. Decent Benefits - 25 paid PTO days a year, 10 paid holidays, Health/Dental/Vision (low out-of-pocket expense for employee), 401K, Unlimited Free Soda's/coffee/tea/espresso, Happy hours and lots of extra insurance coverages if you elect them.
    2. Working from home - Not everyone has this privilege because of their position but it has been very helpful to be able to work from time to time as needed without feeling punished.
    3. Giving back to the community - They "compel" every person to participate in the community events. It is a great idea/concept that they want to give back...but it should not be compelled. They allow up to 8 hours a month off of work to do community work.
    4. Casual dress - This does help not having to wear Professional clothes every day.

    ConsTo understand the Cons of workings for ABC there is 1 behavior you need to understand - They are in DC for a reason - they communicate/think/act just like the US Federal Government but appear to be prettier on the outside until you work here.

    1. They are a SALES driven organization. They over-sell and under-deliver. They sell based on emotion but use logic to justify the expense to the member. Simply put...they use manipulative business practices and blatantly LIE to get the sale. I have seen it and had to clean up the mess.

    2. Expect High turn-over!! i have seen my team have a 100% turn-over in staff twice in 2 years. 3/4 quit and the 1/4 left move to another position and then find out that the problems are all the same on every product and they eventually quit. You will not hear that people leave and come back to ABC because they missed it. Out of the 1000's that have left only 1 person I know came back because he could not find a job anywhere else.

    3. 65% of ABC employees are "under the age of 30". They mostly hire people straight from college. The smart ones leave by age 30. Most of the people over 30 that have been here over 4 years are the ones who stepped on everybody else to get ahead.

    4. It is very cliquish. For various reasons, anyone will find that it feels like you are back in High School days with the drama and cliques. The only difference will be that these are adults and they are stabbing you in the back to get ahead by trying to make you look bad.

    5. Be prepared to play politics - this is a political organization. If you do not want to play 100% of the time, then stay away. Watch out what you say, don't say, do, don't do, who your friends are, who you eat lunch with, what time you leave and what time you come in, the projects you are put on and etc. Every move/actions/word/look/activity that you do, you will be judged on. They will say that activities are voluntary but they expect you to participate in all of them and say how great they are. Lots of plastic people.

    6. They use the word "prescriptive" instead of being truthful. Just like the federal government takes 15 minutes to say no to something, ABC does the same thing. They will not come out and say the word No. They tailor their message to provide too much useless information and mask the truth. I have seen this from the Executive Partners, GM, Sr. Directors, Directors, Managers and they compel the employee to do the same. We never tell a member the truth but guide them to what we want them to focus on so that they feel you answered the question but never did. (a government tactic).

    7. The job has to get done - this means you will work nights/weekends/holidays/lose PTO time because there are always deadlines and they are never realistic. You never get to negotiate the timeline, you are just expected to get it done. And many times you will not have the tools/resources to accomplish the task but you are still required to get it done.

    8. Internal tools - One of the biggest joke is our internal Dev team that can not get anything to work right. Every month they are coming out with updates to fix things they break. The current ratio 90% of all updates/upgrades/patches are all fixes for what ABC broke because of poor programming and only 10% is for actual upgrades.

    Know what you are getting before you sign up. There is a reason why ABC has a very high turn-over rate.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou are so far disconnected from the actual work being done that your focus is not the reality; your reality is only your perception.

    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  

    Looking for poor management and low pay? Perfect place for you

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    Pros-Hired right from undergrad to work in 'marketing'
    -Great to be around people who are in the same age range as you (23-26)
    -Office is located in a great area of DC

    Cons-Terribly low pay (35k as a marketing associate with bonuses equating to very little). Chiefs of Staff make under 43k, dedicated advisers are less than 50k
    -HIGH turnover. Cannot be emphasized enough. If ABC is one of the best places to work in healthcare, why do people leave so frequently? Why are orientation groups packed full of new associates? Probably because there is something wrong but more importantly, associates are cheap.
    -Incentive trips they emphasize that happen twice a year (the trips cost $500 per person, I would rather have the cash than spend a weekend in the Outer Banks in May)
    -Management is dismal. This is one of the more confusing things about the company. They offer training to hospitals management under the belief that a great doctor/nurse doesn't equate to a great manager. Yet at ABC, great associates are promoted to management with no experience or training because they were great associates. I remember one director walking around the associates with a clipboard taking attendance of who was at their desk cold calling.
    -The culture is dead. I might have lost it if I had to go to one more presentation about the culture of the firm and David Bradley's pillars. David Bradley (the founder) left the company more than a decade ago before the company went public and since then, only the execs ever see the culture that they preach (the exec team also gets retreats to Costa Rica, Turkey, and Japan)

    The story that surmises ABC is one associate who was cold calling for a failing product (the technology being sold was flakey at best and went offline for a month. This associate was put on a 'development plan' to help work out the kinks as to why THEY were failing. A month later when they did not meet the goals of the development plan, they were put on a 'focus plan' which essentially means that you have to meet your goals or get fired (BTW, when you get a focus plan, it's a document you have to sign with HR basically forfeiting your right to unemployment when you are fired because you state that it's a mutual decision to leave). Before this associate could be fired, the program was scrapped and the associate kept their job. This 'under performing associate was later promoted to a director level position where they would do the on site meetings with clients. Ultimately, they under performed again in that position and were threatened with another development plan. Morale of the story: they love to play mind games and threaten to fire people. This person was told they were under performing, then their crappy program was scrapped, and then they were promoted to a higher sales position. What?

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop. Just stop. No more preaching about the culture. No more embellishing incentive trips and bonuses and promotions. No more town halls to connect employees to the execs. People are going to scrape by, get the experience they need to go to a reputable firm like EY or Deloitte. The company knows that if an associate quits or is fired, a new applicant will be hired, receive 3 weeks worth of training, and then will be on the phones cold calling again. So my advice to you is to stop be deceitful in all aspects, from hiring to the actual products you sell. Employees aren't valued, there are no good managers, and regardless of how high up you are, it's all about grinding it out until something better comes up (which it always does).

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

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    Strong culture; lead by a passion to sell

    Associate Director (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsIncredible learning experience. This is a company that's driven by it's sales division (as opposed to product, or finance, both of which are pretty reactionary/ impotent here) and any employee here learns to "script" really good talking points to walk the firm out of any tough situation. I hear people talk years later about the incredible people- and sales- skills they developed at ABC.

    ConsWhile management says (and often believes) that promotions and bonuses are merit based, the reality is that this is an intensely political culture. In addition to your work you need to be very politically savvy to thrive here. If that's your thing, you'll love it.

    Don't expect work-life balance, especially if you want to be on the fast track to promotion, and don't expect pay raises without fighting for them.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBring back the culture of meritocracy you talk so much about (if it ever truly existed); make management more flat. Not everyone needs to be a manager (and indeed, not every high performer is capable of being a manager).

    Also, at some point some financial analyst is going to call you out on the excessive stock-based compensation along with share repurchases, so you should probably stop parading stock-based compensation as evidence of meritocracy when the share price is so heavily influenced by the repurchase program.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Good experience, but awful pay

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsGreat people, updated offices make for a creative and enjoyable day, and fantastic benefits (4 weeks PTO, flex time, etc.)

    ConsThere is heavy favoritism and perks shown to those who bring in the money (marketers, marketing associates). There continues to be the stance that ABC salaries are competitive with the industry, but the fact is that if one person is hired in out of college as a marketing associate and another is hired as an internal-facing role, the MA is guaranteed to make $10K more a year and have the opportunities to win vacations. For both positions, especially internal, you don't make enough to live in the metro area on your own, barely with roommates.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart focusing on your internal employees and employee retention. If you have a great employee who is about to leave, work with them. Find a solution to keep them on board. If that solution doesn't fall within policy, change it. Pay your employees equally. All entry-level positions should be paid equally (or at least similarly), and you should start showing appreciation for those who keep the business running smoothly, not just those who get you more money.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    It's a good place to get your feet wet in the DC area if you're fresh out of college. I'd work there again.

    Communications (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsThe staff is highly educated, driven, etc.

    ConsThere isn't much diversity in the staff. Everyone pretty much has the same background. ABC focuses on their bottom line before focusing on their employees.

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

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    Research is fantastic, but refuses to pay you fairly...and they're well aware.

    Consultant (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsThese comments apply to the Research division. The Analyst and Consultant roles are excellent. The company offers lots of responsibility and intellectually stimulating work for relatively young professionals. The promotion track is quick assuming you are a high performer and the company does a good job of matching individuals to roles that make use of their potential. A major value add is how much you learn about health care as your research and work.

    ConsIf it wasn't already clear that the Advisory Board under-compensates its staff, now there is data. Engagement down over the last two years, and only 1/4 of staff feel they are paid competitively. Base salaries have not changed in years and the executives who report back about engagement admit the firm isn't doing anything about it. When some staff threaten to leave, they offer a retention bonus that they claim is tailored to you, but it's the same for everyone.

    What makes this especially bad is how successful the company has been in the last 3-4 years. The company has grown immensely, but only the executive staff, who own large stock packages, reap the benefits of it. Why should staff feel motivated to stick with the company if all the benefits of success go to the executives?

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet real about compensation. Quit all the rhetoric about "value proposition" as a way to dodge the dollar compensation failings. You have so much to offer as an employer it's sad to see talented people walk as other jobs recognize the rising costs people face in today's world.

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

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    Pros and Cons

    Senior Analyst (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsThey are good at hiring people who are fun to work with.

    ConsThe pay does not match what is demanded of employees.

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

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