Caltech (California) Reviews

Updated March 24, 2015
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4.0
171 Reviews
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Dr. Thomas F. Rosenbaum
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Pros
  • The campus is beautiful and the weather is great, if you like constant sunshine (in 10 reviews)

  • Smart people everywhere, cutting edge research, great talks by world-class speakers (in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance depends on the PI you are working with (in 8 reviews)

  • majors mainly focus on science and engineering, not that diversified (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. Great place for research

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Research Assistant in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - Graduate Research Assistant in Pasadena, CA

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great place for research, with abundant resources and excellent colleagues. Campus is beautiful and location can't be beat. Small university has great community feel. People are very friendly.

    Cons

    Can be difficult to deal with undergraduate students. Long hours expected with frequent evening and/or weekend work. Health benefits often change from year to year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Strive for more year-to-year consistency in the benefits offered to employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. A leading research institution with creative, stimulating and challenging projects

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great campus, benefits, stimulating environment, challenging, productive

    Cons

    Pay is not competitive at all, the administration is not efficient, very weak infrastructure, too many systems are out of date

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. Intellectually stimulating

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California)

    Pros

    Great minds, tremendous learning and career opportunities

    Cons

    Lower pay as is the case with academia

    Recommends
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Bad culture

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good work/life balance, good benefits, decent salary.

    Cons

    Pace is slow (this could be good or bad, depending on what you like). Bad culture internally (in terms of staff; things may be different in terms of research / academics). Too many little fiefdoms, not enough opportunity for advancement or education. Within organizations, people tend to focus on deflecting work / blame, rather than working together to get things done. Faculty can be very spoiled and "run the show".

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. Graduate student in Aeronautics

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Graduate Student In Aeronautics in Pasadena, CA
    Former Employee - Graduate Student In Aeronautics in Pasadena, CA

    I worked at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I completed my PhD and this is pretty much the top Aerospace program in the world, so it's hard to complain about that. It has done well for me career wise. The pay was adequate (no one gets rich off grad school, but I was paid enough to meet my expenses and live reasonably.)

    Cons

    It's a small place, so if there are personal or other conflicts, it's hard to disappear or blend in. Most classes are not offered frequently enough due to the small size of the department and the large number of professors who have time release for one reason or another.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer classes more frequently, seek to recognize more of your grad students instead of the same ones over and over. More events with free food and drink.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. Old guard Pasadena doing modern science.

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good salaries, many nice and helpful people. Pretty campus, flexible schedules and decent benefits. Divisions are all different and have unique cultures.

    Cons

    Research dominates and staff is treated like second class citizens. Systemic morale and ethics issues. Management and HR are not interested in changing or improving the workplace.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Less nepotism.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. PhD research: amazing mentoring and learning experience. Salary high for a PhD position.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Pasadena, CA
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Pasadena, CA

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Best professors in the world
    - Smartest peers in the world
    - Interdisciplinary research all over the place
    - Nice town to live in

    Cons

    - Small institute (could be more diversity among researchers)
    - Salary is tiny in general, but high for a PhD student

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. Decent entry level position to get job experience for your resume.

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California)

    Pros

    Employee discounts, holiday pay, and job security

    Cons

    No room for growth, entitlement mentality, no support from upper management, and often times you will find yourself doing tasks that are outside the scope of your position.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. World-class

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

    I worked at Caltech (California) (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    * Top-notch research institute with world-class faculty and very smart graduate students and post-docs, many of whom are also very friendly and normal.
    * Pleasant weather and a pretty campus in a terrific city (Pasadena)
    * Some of the outlets for work-life balance are surprisingly good: the gym and music groups are excellent, especially considering Caltech's small size; great student-led clubs for alpine activities, kayaking, surfing, etc.

    Cons

    * It can be difficult for both single men and women to meet eligible dating partners. This is probably true of all small technical schools, but it's nevertheless an issue.
    * Some advisors turn out to be much less charismatic once you actually work for them. Talk to current students of any group before you join.
    * Teaching quality varies widely. Some courses are excellent, but more are poor and most hover around meh.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    * Train untenured faculty in how to teach effectively, and also how to manage a lab effectively.
    * Consider soliciting alumni to fund a program wherein tenured faculty can apply for research funds in exchange for participating in a sabbatical experience (perhaps at Caltech, perhaps elsewhere) that explicitly focuses on improving their teaching
    * Train students in creativity. Recognize that this is a skill that can be taught.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. Postdoctoral fellow

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

    I worked at Caltech (California)

    Pros

    Great working environment, great opportunities for collaboration and learning

    Cons

    View opportunities to move on at the next level with the Institution after the postdoc

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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