Booz Allen Hamilton Reviews

Updated September 3, 2015
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Horacio D. Rozanski
12 Ratings

Pros
  • Work-Life balance is pretty awesome (in 295 reviews)

  • High opportunity ceiling; great benefits; worthwhile challenges; ability to influence work that matters (in 106 reviews)

Cons
  • It's challenging to find proper work/life balance (in 114 reviews)

  • It is not uncommon for a person to be hired and then let go in a few months for "lack of work" (in 49 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

409 Employee Reviews

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  1. Life at Booz Allen Hamilton lower ranks

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate
    Former Employee - Associate
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great Benefits Work / Life Balanced

    Cons

    Job Instability Senior Management cares only about showing profit to share holders


  2. Helpful (3)

    Hierarchical Organization

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The company is well-established and respected, so having it on your resume can look good. If you fit in with the team you are on, it can be a good environment, with your managers seeking out positions for you and helping you move ahead.

    Cons

    The company has become even more hierarchical and autocratic than it was when I joined 8 years ago. It has changed significantly from when it was a private firm. In addition, the government client is no longer the easy "cash cow" it was traditionally. It is trying to maintain the image of itself being a thought-leader, but generally we have become a "seat in chair" operation -- contractors rather than consultants. New grads and inexperienced employees make the company more profitable. Some teams feel like "sororities" rather than a professional team.

    Advice to Management

    Determine the direction you want to go in and do a better job of informing your people about it. Stop being so hierarchical, and stop rewarding ruthlessness.


  3. Helpful (3)

    Changes

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Recruiter in Dulles, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Recruiter in Dulles, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people, the people and the people. Good experiences and really good on your resume for what's next

    Cons

    Culture eroded from poor leadership in the main management team consistently changing directions each year to a point that appeared to employees lacked faith in the new yearly direction would be successful and middle management would be left to try and rally (yet they too had a hard time in believing). Taking away benefits some key foundations to Booz Alllen's overall compensation package definitely brought down morale and loyalty.

    Advice to Management

    Right the ship by focusing on the people that make up your company vice making the top 1% of the company richer


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  5. Associate

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Business Analyst in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Associate Business Analyst in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Excellent benefits; embrace diversity; ample opportunity to work in Federal Government (intelligence agencies) and international corporations; quality work environment.

    Cons

    Lack of upward mobility; leadership talent, skill, and knowledge of employees is often overlooked or ignored, which is one reason why many with promising careers leave after 1.5 to 5 years and find greater success elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    Make more clear how to advance to leadership positions.


  6. Helpful (3)

    Associate / Lead Technologist / Lead Engineer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate/Lead Technologist/Lead Engineer in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate/Lead Technologist/Lead Engineer in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The on boarding (although it has been streamlined over the years) is relatively thorough and helps new hires get adjusted to company culture and expectations. Recently the company has taken steps to offer alternative career paths to those who are less interested in the business development/proposal work and want to focus on more technical/domain specific work where they can utilize their subject matter expertise.

    Cons

    Like most companies there are things you need to deal with to "navigate" a successful career. Without a decent mentor it will be difficult to know this. Resource Management: The resource management process, on paper, is a great way for the firm to align the skills and interests of their employees to new opportunities once they are not billable. However in the interest of getting billable work quickly employees are urged to be "flexible" so while you may be qualified for a role you may not necessarily be interested in it (doesn't align with your short term or long term career goals, commute is not beneficial for you.....etc). Different management teams will handle this differently but for the most part there is a significant amount of pressure to accept an assignment sooner (rather than continue looking for a better fit) so as to mitigate overhead charging. Also, while employees are encouraged to be the CEO of their own careers the expectation is to work their current assignment through the period of performance. This is a bit conflicting because employees may find a role that is a better fit for them vs their current assignment. Advocacy: Simply put if you do not have a strong advocate in management your pay increase and potential for promotion will be disappointing. This may pose a problem to those who work on client site full time and are limited by how much face to face interaction they can have with management at the local Booz Allen office. High performing individuals with excellent annual reviews (including amazing feedback/reviews from the client) can end up with standard pay increases. If you want to be promoted it needs to be clear to your career manager so that both sides can knowledge the milestones you need to hit for the next level. Just doing good work will not cut it. Again, even if you do both of these things well your efforts can impaired if your brand is not strong with your management.

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent about the sources of input that contribute to the pay increases (avoid the management jargon). Keep employee moral high by supporting employees when they are searching for new assignments.


  7. Your mileage may vary

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Writer/Editor ( Senior ) in Aberdeen, MD
    Current Employee - Technical Writer/Editor ( Senior ) in Aberdeen, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    A huge chunk of their work is DOD so there's always a lot of work.

    Cons

    I could go on for War and Peace lengths, but I'll keep it short. It's contracting; while they do try to shuffle people after losing a contract or proposal, it doesn't always work that way. I can't speak for the whole company, but my group is very much a good old boys' club: if you're not well-liked, you're screwed. Despite claiming otherwise, they have a one-size-fits-all mentality: you have to bring in business to get anywhere. While it's not necessarily a bad thing that the company is very client-focused, if you're job doesn't require client interaction and/or your bosses keep that opportunity from you, it hurts you a lot.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate better and don't blow smoke. If you want employees to have more choice in their career path, actually give it to them


  8. Helpful (3)

    Downward Spiral

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in South Riding, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in South Riding, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Work with exceptionally smart people.

    Cons

    Leadership is unwittingly hurting the firm.


  9. Helpful (3)

    Used to be a Great Place

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great for working mothers, flexible work schedule, plenty of opportunities for business education, plenty of firm socialization - i.e. parties, picnics, happy hours, brown bags.

    Cons

    The company has changed a great deal since going public a few years ago. Pressures on utilization have increased greatly - the amount of people getting a "lack of work" notice has increased. People are not given adequate credit for all of the extra proposal/BD work they do on top of billable work... the pressure to be billable is higher, yet the expectation to do BD work "in your free time" remains the same. This makes work/life balance challenging at times. Additionally, the higher you are promoted, the more "expensive" you become... which makes it harder to stay billable (you will no longer be considered for certain roles, given your cost as a resource). It seems a strategy to pressure senior leaders to grow their teams, if we are over-hiring then letting people go a few months later. Benefits have changed dramatically for the worse and pay increases are nowhere near what they used to be. The retirement plan and healthcare benefits are MUCH worse than they used to be (albeit still better than many other firms.) You will be lucky if you get a 2% increase, so it does not keep pace with inflation certainly. There are no bonuses. The firm is an extremely political place to work. Your success is highly dependent on having a strong set of advocates and a big network. There are many overlapping "sandboxes," so you must be careful not to anger the wrong group of people.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your employees. Hire for positions, not for people. While the bottom dollar is important, staffing a contract with fully qualified people rather than just putting bodies in jobs is more important. 3 properly paid and qualified employees will do the job better than 6 underpaid minimally qualified people.


  10. Cut-Throat

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Annapolis Junction, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Annapolis Junction, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    When at worker levels you can progress quickly through pay.

    Cons

    Cut throat org, Company is all about revenue, If you are not one of the good ole boys (or girls) you are nothing

    Advice to Management

    Be more people instead of business centric


  11. Helpful (2)

    Forget everything you've heard! This is NOT the same company...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Associate (Project Manager)
    Former Employee - Lead Associate (Project Manager)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Opportunities for advancement and earning resume bullets; a little competence goes a long way; thick business cards.

    Cons

    1-2% annual raises and 2% raises for promotions; company frequently restructures benefits to pass costs to employees; high premium, high deductible health plans; company 401k contributions paid annually rather than per pay period; focus on enriching shareholders over taking care of the staff; corporate values are only words; double-think needed for C-suite communications: "everything is awesome" but your situation declines; non-competitive salaries; salaries based entirely on billable contract rather than level/responsibilities. I was promoted twice within 4 years in terms of level (Senior Consultant to Associate to Lead Associate) and twice in terms of position (team leader to deputy PM to PM) and was never able to achieve a salary commensurate with my work and responsibilities. As a PM I was paid less than the people answering the phones for the client on the contract I managed. I brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars over my target profit but was told there was no money for a raise. No accountability for senior leaders who don't meet standards of decently so long as they bring in the money.

    Advice to Management

    Add "staff" to your existing list of 10 corporate values and then start ensuring middle management lives up to those values.



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