Arabella Advisors Reviews

Updated March 30, 2015
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  1. Great place to learn and grow

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Arabella practices many of its company values on a daily basis, including working for impact, promoting professional development and growth among staff, and fostering a fun and supportive work culture. I have thrived working in this culture, as I have received the training and coaching I've needed to succeed in my roles at the firm, along with the latitude to increase my autonomy and lead relationships with clients. Arabella has invested significantly in staff development, through training managers on easy-to-implement management theories and providing staff with use-it-or-lose-it annual professional development budgets. Arabella is indeed a feedback-heavy culture, and I have received beneficial constructive pieces feedback from managers and senior leaders that helped me rapidly improve the quality of my work.

    Cons

    Arabella is definitely going through growing pains as it matures as an organization. And these growing pains account for most of the challenges I've experienced, such as inconsistent messaging from management, clunky and time-consuming systems, and "Arabella culture" varying significantly by team and office. The other major challenge - work-life balance - is somewhat attributable to the consulting environment, wherein workload fluctuates based on the work that comes in. The firm has made significant efforts to improve balance and to better anticipate and prepare us for time crunches, which I appreciate. However, some weeks and months have felt like nonstop work and it is hard for me to stay motivated during those stretches.

    Advice to Management

    I'd like us to be clearer on our mission and specifically on how politically progressive we are (or are not).

  2. Highly Rewarding for Hard Workers.

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Few organizations offer the breadth of experience that you can have at Arabella. The work spans four practice areas (consulting, impact investing, philanthropy management, and managed organizations) allowing you to learn about every aspect of the philanthropic sector. Also, clients range from the largest foundations to smaller family foundations and everyone in between. With projects in every state and many foreign countries, no other job can give you greater exposure to the entire field of philanthropy. It’s a great place to learn about the sector and prepare you for a career in philanthropy.

    There is definitely a team atmosphere, with everyone understanding that we are all in it together and then actually acting that way. I’ve never worked anywhere that has less drama and internal politics. Everyone (almost everyone) is really smart and interesting. So it's just fun to get to know everyone about the things they have done.

    The company is growing like crazy. Strong growth means job security for strong employees and more opportunities to take on new responsibilities as new work comes in. You can also move around within the company, from one line of service to another or from one office to another.

    If you work hard, are proactive about solving problems and identifying opportunities, you will be rewarded. That doesn’t just mean working harder – working smarter counts too. It is genuinely a meritocracy.

    Cons

    For the most part, you are not going to become a member of the leadership team by working up. The offices are full of hardworking, smart, ambitious people and there just isn’t room at the top for everyone. The people who are at the top are relatively young, extremely well qualified, and unlikely to be leaving soon. Learn what you can while you’re there and move up when you can, but likely have to leave to really move up.

    The work is demanding. Clients are not always reasonable, and client service means that the client is always right. That means hard work, sometimes on short deadlines and with little notice. It’s not a 9-5 job. Nobody is going to tell you to work less, so it is on you to figure out how much work life balance you want and then you have to make it happen.

    Growth is difficult, even when being managed well. New people are coming constantly, and that is exciting, but can be disruptive and time consuming. It’s a good problem to have, but still a problem.

    Advice to Management

    Be even more transparent about the way the business works and the expected tenure of most employees.

    Be candid with people about the work when you hire them. It’s a great place to work, the experience can be exciting and rewarding, but it’s still a job and there is a lot of work that isn’t exciting and rewarding but still has to get done. On balance, it is worth it, so set expectations when people come in.

    Recognize that the work can be hard and constant. Don’t rely entirely on employees to tell you when they are working too hard. Be more proactive about taking the load off so people don’t burn out.

  3. Great Place to Work

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

    I have been working at Arabella Advisors full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    There is a very open, friendly, welcoming, and flexible work environment at Arabella. The firm is actively working and making strides towards its diversity efforts; and senior leadership is committed to this, which is key. Another point: there is updated technology and systems at the firm - or at least a willingness to move in the right direction - which many employers are often not invested in due to costs.

    Cons

    Benefits are great, but base salaries are not competitive/attractive.

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  5. Not Recommended

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Arabella Advisors full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    - Good perks (flexible hours, happy hours, etc)
    - Interesting clients

    Cons

    - No work-life balance
    - Top heavy, little opportunity to move up for junior staff
    - Echoing another reviewer in that confidence trumps knowledge which leads to poor managers (this affects all lines of business and departments)
    - Brown nosers are noticed, hard workers are mostly ignored

  6. Exhausting

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

    I worked at Arabella Advisors

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

    Pros

    Nice benefits, nice location and great vision.

    Cons

    Inability to accept all and differences, extremely homogenous

    Advice to Management

    Open your mindset.

  7. Helpful (6)

    Well-intentioned company that needs to be honest with itself

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

    I worked at Arabella Advisors full-time (More than a year)

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

    Pros

    - Strong emphasis on professional development and work-life balance
    - Committed, passionate colleagues
    - Emphasis on forming positive relationships outside of work (i.e. Happy Hours, annual retreat in Washington D.C.)

    Cons

    - Arabella is overly risk-averse and plays it safe. Struggles to win innovative consulting projects and relies too heavily on projects from returning clients. The resulting work is not always stimulating nor dynamic for everyone on a project team and there is often not enough substantive work to go around. Projects are also often incredibly over-staffed, which contributes to the process-heavy feel of the way Arabella operates.
    - Inept management (read: heavy micromanagement), coupled with a pervasive lack of trust has led to frustrations over a lack of autonomy across the firm. Assumes that you will mess up until you have proven yourself many times over. Additionally, mid-level and even senior-level management treats junior-level staff as a commodity and does not know always know how to engage them as a genuine thought partner in project-related work.

    Advice to Management

    - Genuinely listen to staff concerns and show a sincere commitment to wanting to address them. Demonstrate an interest in the longevity and success of every person's tenure at Arabella.
    - Allow all levels of staff to contribute their unique skills, talents, and perspectives to the work that they do. Set an example for the rest of the firm and trust your staff and provide them with the autonomy and resources to allow them to succeed.
    - Provide more comprehensive management training to staff who are new to management positions. Ensure that they know how to engage with and cultivate new skills in those that they work with.

  8. Helpful (9)

    Great for a few, so-so for the rest.

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Arabella Advisors

    Pros

    Smart, dedicated colleagues; high-profile clients; flexible work options

    Cons

    High turnover and low salaries among junior-level staff. Little concern over either of these. Lack of diversity in terms of race, socio-economic backgrounds, and working styles. Overly process-heavy, risk-averse culture. Favoritism and senior management that values and rewards certain personality types above others.

    Advice to Management

    Arabella promotes the idea of investing in their staff and making it the 'best place they'll ever work'. Good intentions, but unattainable until junior-level staff are no longer perceived and treated as as expendable.

  9. Helpful (1)

    The best job I've ever had!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Arabella Advisors

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Arabella's leadership cares deeply about impact as well as the professional growth and development of its staff. The owners' goal is for Arabella to be "the best job staff have ever had". It is a bold goal and one that trickles down and influences key management decisions. During my tenure, my colleagues and I have benefited from this priority. We have felt valued and invested in and been offered opportunities for significant growth, development and promotion.

    While there has been some turnover at the firm, particularly at the junior level, it is to be expected. Those who have left the firm have gone off to do great things, in part due to the hard and soft skills they were able to develop during their time at Arabella.

    Cons

    Arabella is a fast growing firm and at times it has been challenging to keep up with that growth. As a learning organization, the leadership has put in place better systems in order to plan and manage for growth in the future.

  10. Helpful (7)

    Good Intentions, Poor Execution

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

    I worked at Arabella Advisors full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    The best parts about working at Arabella are the mission-driven environment and working with colleagues who are smart, interesting, and committed to social impact.

    Cons

    The company has experienced significant turnover throughout the last year, especially among junior staff which is worrisome for a younger company. Culture has transitioned from entrepreneurial and nimble to stagnant and process-heavy. Senior management consistently confuses confidence for competence, leading to a number of promotions and development opportunities for those with limited experience and skills.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to staff suggestions and concerns in order to be proactive about rising issues and address recurring themes. To date, management has ignored two main issues at the firm: retention (across all levels, but particularly among junior staff) and the utter lack of diversity.

  11. Great work environment, challenging and rewarding work

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

    I have been working at Arabella Advisors full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Arabella works on important social issues and is able to make an impact on them. My colleagues are very bright, committed, collaborative and fun. The firm has grown tremendously, providing lots of opportunities for growth for staff and is always open to ideas for improving. I also enjoy some very generous benefits and flexibility, which I really value.

    Cons

    Sometimes we have to work hard - as consultants our work is cyclical. But there are also quieter times too.

Arabella Advisors Photos

Entryway to the new DC office

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