Bertelsmann Reviews

Updated June 14, 2015
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3.9
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Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Dr. Thomas Rabe
Dr. Thomas Rabe
3 Ratings

25 Employee Reviews

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  1. Excellent Employer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bertelsmann full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    High Integrity Leadership, work life balance better than most

    Cons

    I do not have any cons


  2. Great place to start a career in publishing .

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great entry level experience Great coworkers Autonomous work environment Great opportunity for advancement Networking Good company morale Awesome coworkers Professional resourced

    Cons

    Starting salary not great but there is opportunity for growth once you get your foot in the door. A lot of mundane data entry in the entry level positions Company changes Downsizing

    Advice to Management

    Management is great and really takes the the time to develop and work with promising employees


  3. Trying to find their way of doing business in the U.S.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Director
    Former Employee - Senior Director
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Long history of success in a variety of business models. Deep pockets, willing to invest for the long term, not allowing years of losses to derail long range plans.

    Cons

    In a state of flux, no true direction as planned models change. The long term outlook does not match with short term decisions most of time.

    Advice to Management

    Get in touch with the common worker and realize most employees are there to work and have employment as part of their life, NOT their whole being as with the German corporate ladder climbers who are on two-three years plans prior to moving on.


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  5. good place to work till they sold us to direct brands

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Equipment Scanner Operator in Indianapolis, IN
    Former Employee - Equipment Scanner Operator in Indianapolis, IN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Bertelsmann full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    good raises,good people to work with,good supervisor,

    Cons

    they sold our company to direct brands

    Advice to Management

    come back and invest in north america again


  6. Good company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good benefits, intelligent management, good work life balance

    Cons

    Nothing major other than hq is in Germany so offices need to stay in touch.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


  7. Helpful (1)

    Boutique office in Washington and great working environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    flat organizational structure, making communication easy, smooth and real time; great leadership, very accessible and encouraging; helpful colleagues who can turn to for questions

    Cons

    Being a fellow does not provide the best means to get to the heart of their business; still very research oriented and less project-based elements.

    Advice to Management

    None.


  8. Helpful (5)

    Great place to work if you speak German and are a really good networker

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Bertelsmann gives you a lot of freedom and responsibility from day one. They promote an entrepreneurial culture which, in practice, means that if you have a good idea that fits to their business, chances are they'll let you work on it and they'll also fund it. If you are a good networker you're career can take off very fast. At Bertelsmann, everything is about knowing the right people within the company and making sure they know you. If you're on the radar of one of the big guys, there is a good chance they'll simply put you in a position that's two or more levels above your current role.

    Cons

    They claim to be the most international media company which may be true but doesn't mean that you'll get transfered to another country easily. Even if you work at their German headquarter it will be a long and painful process to land a job in another country. There is no support whatsoever so you have to manage the whole process yourself. Mostly this is due to their decentralized structure which is beneficial for the entrepreneurial culture but hazardous for a number of other things like international assignments, knowledge transfer, or building global networks within the group. Moving from one division (e.g. their Broadcasting arm) to another (e.g. RandomHouse, their publishing business) is nearly impossible. You may have worked several years at Bertelsmann but that other division will treat you just like any other applicant. Again, a problem that arises from the decentralized structure. Your career and salary highly depends on your network. If one of the presidents likes you, you'll get those international assignments easily and a ridiculous salary on top of it. It's been often reported that some of the German folks who work in the US receive housing allowances and travel allowances (to go back to Germany) as well. Their management development follows the same principles outlined above. If they know you they'll put you into all those great programs. If they don't, well, you'll have to market yourself very aggressively to be considered for seminars, etc. Bertelsmann spends a lot of time and money on employer branding which is, obviously, targeted at prospective employees. They recruit from top-tier business schools and host costly recruiting events. These efforts lead to two problems: 1) The high-potentials from Harvard, Columbia, and ISEAD who actually accept an offer from Bertelsmann get frustrated very fast and leave the company, often within their first year. They expect to be promoted to VP or president of a smaller Bertelsmann company but mostly find themselves stuck in whatever division Bertelsmann decides to dump them. Once they leave, Bertelsmann has usually invested significant training dollars in them - not to mention the initial recruiting costs. 2) Current and loyal employees feel frustrated as well since they have to watch Bertelsmann pampering those new hires while they don't receive any training or promotions. That being said, it should be obvious by now that Bertelsmann is not good at identifying top talents or top potentials within their existing workforce. Every marketer knows that retaining top employees is multiple times more effective and cost efficient than hiring new employees.

    Advice to Management

    Enable employees to transfer between division/companies easily. Support international careers. Focus on identifying and retaining top talent and top potentials rather than attracting new talent - or at least balance both efforts better. Make basis for promotions more transparent.


  9. Good company with great benefits

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Director in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Director in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    At Bertelsmann you aren't stuck doing just one thing, you are given a lot of responsibility to run your business.

    Cons

    Senior management is remote and unresponsive.

    Advice to Management

    Be more involved with rank and file.


  10. Manager

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

    Pros

    Friendly company culture, Products. Cantine,

    Cons

    Salary is not competitive with few exemptions


  11. Media Worldwide, but with a strong German Corporate Touc

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Director Corporate Management Development in Gütersloh (Germany)
    Current Employee - Senior Director Corporate Management Development in Gütersloh (Germany)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Media Business is exciting and challenging; culture is very employee-centric, compensation is attractive in corporate jobs

    Cons

    At this phase, not a very innovative and open-minded company; still very German at the core



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