Caltech (California)

  www.caltech.edu
  www.caltech.edu

Caltech (California) Reviews

Updated October 14, 2014
Updated October 14, 2014
149 Reviews
4.2
149 Reviews
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Caltech (California) Interim President Dr. Edward M. Stolper
Dr. Edward M. Stolper
11 Ratings

Review Highlights

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 Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    intense research

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    a lot of internal collaborations, research-intensive, very organized support for international scholars

    Cons

    Pasadena and its neighbors are not a big city though you can visit LA in 20-min driving.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Good work environment with great facilities and interesting people. Your lab experience will vary by who you work for.

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

    I worked at Caltech (California) as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Everyone on campus has something interesting to contribute to the world, but you may have to reach out to have good conversations with people. Because the campus is so small, you can truly get in touch with almost anyone.

    Cons

    Lab work in general can be very isolating, and I think this can be particularly true at research institutions such as Caltech where people are often working in small groups and not in large, industrial teams. Social events vary by department.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Great University for Science and Engineering

    • 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) as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Really smart people working on cutting edge problems in science and technology. Very relaxed atmosphere conducive for research.

    Cons

    Facilities and equipment are really old and are not always on par with other top universities in the world. Really small school with limited resources.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Great place to work

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Employee benefits are great, work/life balance is good, co-workers are helpful, and overall a very esteemed institution

    Cons

    Policies can be difficult to navigate at times but I am a relatively new employee. Overall, everyone is very helpful to new employees though.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    Room for improvement

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Funding is great
    -People are very competent
    -Facilities are top notch

    Cons

    -Your professor will probably be too busy to help you out if they are successful
    -Work life balance does not exist
    -You may be there much longer than five years

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Students have no control over when they graduate and PI's have too much. Put a maximum time limit on Graduate school time. Improve career resources for graduate students. If you don't want to get a post doc it seems like there is no help out there.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Graduate Student

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

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

    Pros

    Small private school with lots of money

    Cons

    Students are not very well-rounded

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    An excellent place to do scientific research among the best and brightest in the world.

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    All of my coworkers are top-notch. Team-based projects move quickly and there's never "that one person" who doesn't contribute. The research opportunities are excellent too. For being such a small school, there's plenty of funding and a wide variety of cutting edge applied and fundamental research projects ongoing.

    Cons

    Work-life balance can be extremely difficult at times. Extended hours are expected, as is a "whatever it takes" attitude. Paternity leave is nominally two weeks without pay, though there are ongoing efforts to change that. Time off is generous for people young in their careers if you can take it - two weeks plus institute holidays, which accounts for approximately 20 days (vacation + holidays) per year. The challenge is finding time that works with the funding cycle and research schedule to take that time off.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The paternity leave policy is abysmal. Please make an attempt to stay within arm's reach of any of the places your students would otherwise end up, or you'll drive completely competent parent scientists away.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Excellent benefits offset by terrible politics

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Benefits are wonderful - days off (with pay) between Christmas and New Year's, 3 weeks of vacation upon start, employer pays a large percentage of insurance premiums
    Beautiful campus in a park-like setting
    Highly intelligent people
    Excellent reputation
    Stability - Caltech is not going anywhere!

    Cons

    Politics are reminiscent of high school
    Entrenched mediocrity is rewarded
    Excessive emphasis on collaboration stalls many projects and initiatives; there's a meeting for everything
    Results are not ultimately not rewarded and are undervalued to preserve and maintain relationships
    Employees with longetivy are valued even when they are no longer contributing; newcomers are often perceived as a threat to the status quo
    The values communicated to staff are not adhered to by management

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Culture is too political - please reward results instead of "time on the clock."
    Take a closer look at some of the managers - consider doing a 360 review

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10.  

    Caltech was fantastic

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Learned much more in depth than ever before. Also expanded my knowledge of first principles. Wonderful location. There are plenty of avenues to find help if you need it.

    Cons

    Social life is very minimal at Caltech but this was for grad school so what do you expect. While there is lots of help it isn't always to track down where to get it from. The rigors and high expectations are sometimes emotionally draining.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Best place on Earth if you can handle the workload and the nerdy environment

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

    I have been working at Caltech (California) full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    People here are so damn smart. If you enjoy intelligent (although it may be quite nerdy) discussions, this place is for you.
    People here are also very friendly if you find the right people using the house system implemented here. Instead of normal dorms, Caltech students are divided into houses. People fortunately have a tendency to end up where they belong. You may not always feel like you fit in there at first but there is a good chance you will end up at a house that you belong it even if you don't know it. This lets everybody to find this school feel comfortable (socially of course. academically? now that's a completely different story)

    Cons

    The workload is pretty intense. Also people here are so smart that you won't be able to help but feel dumb at times. However, this I find is a problem you will never get away from if you want to end up in a challenging but rewarding environments (and if you're not looking for such an environment, you should not come here. trust me you will not be able to find a single review that says that this place is relaxing and easy-going)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    stop trying to hinder house culture. each house is capable of creating some incredible environment for the students but only if they are given the freedom to do so.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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