American Express

  www.americanexpress.com
  www.americanexpress.com

American Express Reviews

These reviews contributed towards 2009's Best Places to Work recognition. See ratings and reviews for all time.
71 Reviews
3.6
71 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
American Express Chairman and CEO Ken Chenault
Ken Chenault
49 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Work/Life balance is very good and one of the few reasons I have stayed so long (in 455 reviews)

  • The schedule my department has is amazing and there are work from home opportunities (in 62 reviews)


Cons
  • Amex is known for its work life balance but it is totally fake n wrong perception (in 77 reviews)

  • Consensus based decision making slows everything down, to a ridiculous extent at times (in 49 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Happy with my time at AXP

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in New York, NY

    I worked at American Express

    Pros

    The pay and benefits and value of having the company on your resume.

    Cons

    Many, many layers of management.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good job.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Marketing Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    American Express prides itself as a company that values work/life balance and for good reason. With four weeks of paid vacation, frequent teambuilding events, ability to work from home (laptops are provided for all), and 9-5 the norm, the work environment is great if that's what you're looking for.

    Cons

    If work/life balance is not what you're looking for, the pay-off of relatively low salaries is not that great. You'll get paid about 25-50% more in comparable jobs in other financial services companies. Decision making is also incredibly inefficient and slow due to the corporate culture of "alignment" (which basically means that no one wants to take ownership of projects/initiatives) and the highly-matrixed nature of business units within the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You've completely lost touch with middle management who are your foot soldiers. There's no strategy that we're driving towards, just tactical day-to-day executions, which makes us work just hard enough to get things done.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Amex = great company; provides growth opportunities, ability to move within its divisions & promotes talent from within.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Dedicated Account Representative in Greensboro, NC
    Current Employee - Dedicated Account Representative in Greensboro, NC

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    Senior leadership seems to have the best interest of the company as well as the employee in mind. Work/life balance is important & practiced in every role I've worked in with the company. Like any job out there, a large portion of your "work satisfaction" really comes down to your immediate leader. I've been extremely fortunate that most of my leaders have been strong performers & genuinely cared for the development of their direct reports. American Express also provides the ability to move within its many divisions and is focused on promoting talent from within. If you have the will to succeed, are willing develop your skills and put the effort into it, American Express is a great place to work.

    Cons

    The newly retooled medical benefits took an average benefits package and made it slightly below par. Also, when work load demands it, professional level employees can be expected to put in more than 50 hours per week. While one's effort is usually recognized for the extra hours, it can be discouraging if you're continually asked to do this. While I'm sure this is not unique to Amex, it is still a downside.

    The inverse is also true & can have an equally negative affect on your job satisfaction. If you're looking to coast in your 9 to 5, Amex is large enough where you can do the minimum if you have a poor enough leader. It makes it challenging to accomplish your tasks/goals when you are forced to work with these individuals.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Overall, I believe Senior Management is making the right moves to drive this company towards success. I would encourage the leaders to benchmark their benefits package with not just other companies within their industry but against the top tier/most respected companies across corporate America.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 11 people found this helpful  

    Hierarchy, micro-management, passive-aggressive culture, poor promotional opportunities - what's to like.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    Brand name on your resume. For NYC professionals, decent work life balance (though this seems to be eroding over time).

    Cons

    Many, possibly most middle managers (Directors & VPs) are very poor leaders: highly risk averse (aren't interested in any ideas that didn't come from above or can't be implemented in less than a month) and micro-managing (they tell you how to do your job, when they should focus mostly on what job to do). Musical chair city - there is no growth in positions in the company, so most open roles are filled by staff already at a given level, and the few promotions are extremely competitive and typically go to non-threatening employees with little vision but a high willingness to do exactly what they're told by micro-managing leaders and never rock any boats. Business decisions are made based on internal considerations (how many sales do we want? what does X high-level person think?) instead of external conditions (what is the market for this opportunity?) If you have an advanced business or technical degree, forget everything you've learned - you won't use it. Line groups have goals but rate people by personality rather than goal achievement; staff groups fight constant turf battles and churn pages of meaningless presentations. Manager level positions are highly tactical jobs that could easily and cheaply be filled by people straight out of undergrad. It's easy to get fooled because everyone seems nice. But don't believe it. You work here long enough, you learn to watch what they do, not what they say.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You hire completely capable people but then give them no responsibility and treat them as if they have no intelligence, sapping them of initiative. Fire middle management and push responsibility down to managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 7 people found this helpful  

    Good place to start a marketing career. Getting things done is very hard, due to matrix structure.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Marketing Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    American Express is a good place to start your marketing career. The company has a very collaborative culture and encourages innovation. It has a respected service brand built up over many years. Marketing training is very comprehensive. You have access to large marketing budget and many internal and external resources. You have opportunities to work with some of the best marketing agencies in the industry and learn from them.

    Although credit card business is not a new industry, Amex benefits from its high spending customer base and strong growth in international markets. It is also developing the American Express network, allowing other card issuers (like banks) to issue Amex Cards, much like Visa and MasterCard. There are tremendous opportunities in payment industry, and Amex is well positioned to profit from that.

    Cons

    This is a matrix organization, which means you have to spend many hours in meetings coordinating business partners. Sometimes I feel the so-called matrix structure is just an excuse for the lack of a streamlined business process and management structure.

    If you come up with a great idea, and after all your effort, it starts to deliver results and show great potential, your misfortune begins, because suddenly everyone wants to be part of the success and have a say, and in no time the project is going to be managed by a committee through town hall meetings.

    You are trained to use the “RASIC” model to navigate this organization, to determine who is Responsible party, who is Approver, who is Supporting partner, who needs to be Informed, and who should be Consulted. If you are responsible for a project, you should have only one Approver, right? No, it never works this way. Think about it - If anyone can disapprove you, he or she automatically becomes an Approver…

    Depending on which group you work for, your experience at Amex can range from highly satisfied to totally miserable. I personally experienced both. Marketing is the center of universe here. Others are considered staff groups or "utility" groups. If you work in a utility group, you have to bear with some ignorant folks who happen to work in marketing and consider themselves superior to anyone else and know how to do your job better than you... However, you probably can learn more transferable skills in staff groups, if you want to change job in future.

    If you want to move up the career ladder, you need to move around internally every 1-2 years to get broader exposure. However, some recent policy changes make lateral move much less rewarding – now you have to stay in a position for 18 months, before being eligible for promotion. If you move to another position at the same level, everything resets. You have to stay in that position for another 18 months, before qualifying for a promotion. This takes the incentive out of lateral move. Every manager wants to apply for senior manager position in another group, regardless of whether he/she qualifies for that. I think this is bad policy.

    Unlike banks, Amex is a mono-line credit card company, which means it lives and dies by credit card business. On one hand, this forces the company to innovate constantly and stay ahead of competition. On the other hand, the narrow scope of business (coupled with a strong brand name) tends to give some Amex employees a distorted perception about its role in consumer's financial life. Coming from a financial services background with exposure to many lines of business, I am often amused by the large ego of Amex's small business card group and how they belittle the consumer card group, and other variations of tempest in a teapot, while in the broader scheme of things, credit card is just a small piece of a consumer or business customer’s financial puzzle. A certain degree of levelheaded-ness is sorely needed for Amex folks to think beyond their sacrosanct 2x3 plastic.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    N/A

    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Great culture and work environment.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    The company possesses a great culture and promotes the development of its employees.

    Cons

    Like any large company, it is bureaucratic, so it is hard to get things done at times. Compensation is OK.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Organization could benefit from a flatter management structure.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great place to work. Need to pay your employees more.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Customer Service/Sales (Account Manager)
    Current Employee - Customer Service/Sales (Account Manager)

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    Flexible work arrangements. Company is large enough to have opportunities in other areas.

    Cons

    Salary lower than competion. Salary bands don't correspond to cost of living.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Compensation must match job requirements and performance.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Amex is a great place to work if your spouse has lots of money.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Risk Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Risk Manager in New York, NY

    I worked at American Express

    Pros

    Work Life Balance. 4 weeks vacation + 4 flex days in the summer. Work here if your spouse is independently wealthy and you don't need the money.

    Cons

    Pay is terrible. Never had the money to take a vacation and enjoy the time off.

    Top down management was very stifling. Any new ideas were blown off.

    No transparency for promotions and boss didn't care to think about my long term career at Amex. No visibility to high impact projects. Didn't feel appreciated or recognized by leadership. Didn't take advantage of my skills either. They didn't know how to promote good people either.

    Anytime I suggested to get some skills I thought could help me in my job, I got shot down. Any interaction outside of my team was viewed with suspicion and discouraged.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fix the above.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Work experience depends on group joined.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Finance Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Finance Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    Amex is a great company to work for as long as you join the right group.

    Cons

    There is too much disparity between the different groups.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More consistency with downstream communication.

    Recommends
  11.  

    Overally speaking it could be considered as a company to chose to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Risk Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Risk Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at American Express

    Pros

    It has good location, good reputation

    Cons

    Poor leadership of the reporting lines

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More flexibilities to lower band analysts and managers

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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