Cambridge Associates, LLC
3.5 of 5 122 reviews
www.cambridgeassociates.com Boston, MA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Cambridge Associates, LLC Reviews

Updated Jul 8, 2014
Cambridge Associates, LLC – Boston – “A global leader of investment advisory services”

All Employees Current Employees Only

3.5 122 reviews

                             

93% Approve of the CEO

Cambridge Associates, LLC Chairman and CEO Sandra A. Urie

Sandra A. Urie

(90 ratings)

71% of employees recommend this company to a friend
122 Employee Reviews
in

Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Good work / life balance with opportunities to learn a lot about portfolio management quickly"
    in 21 reviews
  • "Opportunity to learn about all asset classes through due diligence on top investment managers, research, etc"
    in 14 reviews
Cons:
  • "Long hours during peak periods, work can sometimes be repetitive"
    in 12 reviews
  • "status reporting, and (3) data entry"
    in 8 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

    • Culture & Values
           
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Waste of Time

    Research Associate (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsBenefits. Excellent benefits including health, transportation, etc.

    Cons- Degradingly low pay. Even at the manager-level of the data department it is a wonder how they can support their families on their level of pay.
    - No exit opportunities. While you do learn many "soft skills" that's all you'll learn. Any other skills are Cambridge-specific according to their proprietary databases and utilities. Whatever transferable skills you do learn are very hard to show on your resume.
    - Micro-managing managers. In the Manager Information Group much of your time is spent on status reports for the next person up...who is spending much of their time on status reports for next person up...etc. etc. etc. At the end of the day you have managers who think they know about each employee but are actually naive. A non-hierarchical structure would serve the organization better. Finally, all reports go to the department head who is never around anyway. Once every six months you'll see him getting coffee before he ducks away into his office. Its basically like the department head doesn't exist--though he is worshiped throughout the department.
    - Awful performance reviews. To their credit, management is truly trying to improve performance reviews....but I've been told that it's been four years and they don't have much to show for it. Managers are not specific enough when it comes to what is needed for a promotion or how you can improve. They'll use some general language related to MIG's "values" and say how you lack a value. When asked for specific examples, they ramble off in unrelated general thoughts.
    - Misleading job descriptions. The word "research" is flexible but has a generally definable semantic scope. This position includes nothing remotely close to "research". Don't be mislead from the title--you will not provide unique insights into relevant matters. Process improvement and "self-audits" are NOT research!
    - Mind-numbing work. The good thing is that the Manager Information Group is gaining respect within the firm. The bad part is that this does not change the content of your work. Its true that the department gains more "business" from internal stakeholders...but it just leads to more abuse by the consulting and research departments who actually do work that is somewhat meaningful. Your work will be divided into three categories: (1) process improvement--related to the department's operations, tracking utilities, etc. (2) status reporting, and (3) data entry. The latter two take up way too much time for a department that prides itself for being efficient. The first, process improvement, is not nearly as exciting as it might sound. Basically, you need to constantly reinvent utilities and processes because management/the firm is too cheap to invest in long-term solutions (which would cannibalize our department).

    Advice to Senior ManagementRe-think incentive structures. You'll need to pay up to have a decent back-office operation. 5% bonus cap? Really?

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    3 people found this helpful  

    A Place for Average People to Have a Sedentary Career in Finance

    Consulting Associate (Current Employee)
    Boston, MA

    ProsPro
    Exposure to over 30 years worth of private equity, venture capital, hedge fund, and public market data that cannot be rivaled.

    Caveat-
    You will have to hunt for this information, though, as is the IT and internal software does not make it easy to find or couple relevant data streams to eachother.

    Pro
    The people of Cambridge are generally good, nice, amicable people

    Con
    It's all an act. The illusion of professionalism masquerading as professionalism itself

    ConsEverything ties back to the salaries that Cambridge pays, which discourage talent from staying and doesn't attract new talent from joining....

    Cambridge's organizational infrastructure was designed by Rube Goldberg; a company full of middlemen that shuttle hot potatoes.

    Client's are dropping Cambridge on a nearly weekly basis.

    Management is filled with people who's primary skill is loyalty to Cambridge, not true business line acumen.

    Knowledge is so compartmentalized that no one - even at the board level - knows what's going on.

    Consultants are more like waiters than subject matter experts. They sell the same products and managers to all of the clients, negating the tales of personalized portfolio tailoring that they advertise.

    Cambridge is a chronic overpromiser and underdeliverer to clients, employees and itself.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake people's advice and do the opposite of what you're currently doing.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Not worth the year I wasted after college, provided no relevant experience to financial services industry.

    Junior Research Associate (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsAtmosphere was all 20 somethings, so it was fun to be around peers.

    ConsManagement admitted to not being intelligent, micromanaging, horribly run, took advantage of college students desperate for jobs and paid them unlivable salaries.

    Advice to Senior ManagementQuit.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
           
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    No real skill development

    Associate (Former Employee)
    Arlington, VA

    Proswork / life balance
    people are nice

    Consmundane
    low pay
    not as much of an open door policy as they make it sound

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    So frustrating...

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsTheir benefits are okay. But salary is a joke so that negates this Pro.

    ConsThere are no exit opportunities if you work in the data/performance departments. Your only out is an internal transfer (where you'll still starve on the salary they pay) or getting a project management job (which will likely be unrelated to finance). I guess you can work at a fund of funds--but everyone knows that's a third-rate option. I made a fatal mistake accepting a position at this firm.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMoney. Stop starving your employees with your shoe-string budgets and stop adding insult to injury by providing employees with little to no marketable skills after they give you years of essentially free labor.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Cambridge - Where both skill and passion go to die

    Research (Former Employee)

    ProsYes, it is a very "collegial environment" like everyone says.

    ConsYou may come into the industry with skills, but they wont be used. You may have hopes and desires, but these will be dashed. The only skill you develop is soft skills. Sure, there's value in soft skills. But why not just go into motivational speaking or HR? Why try your hand at finance?

    You will learn virtually nothing at this firm and you will leave with few skills and experience to cite than when you began the job.

    Money--let's be honest, it's one of the main reasons we enter into finance. Money, money, money. Cambridge will give you none of it. Pay is sub-standard (though it is in line with the skills required to execute the job).

    If you decide to join Cambridge, develop an exit strategy from day one. Get in for a year, get the name on your resume, then make your entry into real finance--not some cush job that can be completed by a high schooler.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI wouldn't even know where to begin.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Good Company, Terrible Office/managers - Applies to Arlington - Wilson office

    Associate/Analyst (Former Employee)
    Arlington, VA

    ProsVery easy work - could be done by 8th grader

    ConsSkills learned apply only to company and don't transfer to other companies or positions unless data-entry is a career aspiration.
    People are promoted based on office politics and not merit
    Micro-managing is extremely prevalent
    Department is known as a "sweat-shop" to competing firms/investment firms
    Low Salary and minimal bonuses
    Work is mind-numbing and could be done by a grade school graduate

    Advice to Senior ManagementReevaluate usefulness of the department

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    No respect for anyone not a consultant

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGood pay, great team environment

    ConsLack of communication by management, hr is a joke, resistant to change rather do the same old just because that's how its been done for 10 years than look to do it better and more efficiently

    Advice to Senior Managementhave more respect for support areas

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    It has been comprised of long hours, very low pay, high demands, and little respect.

    Consulting Associate (Current Employee)
    Dallas, TX

    ProsIf you want to go straight from undergrad to business school they have a great connection with top universities. Harvard, Yale, Wharton, etc consistently recruit from Cambridge.

    ConsDont ever EVER work in the Dallas office.

    Advice to Senior Managementnone

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    11 people found this helpful  

    RUN THE OTHER WAY!!!

    Investment Performance Associate (Former Employee)
    Arlington, VA

    ProsThe people at Cambridge Associates were very nice to work with. The average age of co-workers was probably around 25, so it is easy to form friendships.

    People who go through the 2-3 year career path tend to position themselves well for graduate school.

    This position helps to improve time management and organization skills.

    Free Wall Street Journals!

    The office in Arlington is in a nice location as well.

    ConsWhere to begin...

    If you are a recent college graduate seeking an entry-level career in finance to learn about financial modeling, budgeting/forecasting, investing, etc. this is not the place for you! The Investment Performance Associate Role is beneficial to people pursuing either a career in data entry/administrative work, or who are using the position as a stepping stone to graduate school. Each associate is responsible for collecting various financial information from funds that clients are invested in. Financial statements are put in PDF form and information including MVs, monthly return, cash flows, and cash allocation is circled and then entered in a proprietary system. After the data has been entered and is corrected of errors, the report is ready to be generated. This process continues as long as you are an Investment Performance Associate.

    Needless to say, very little learning/creative thinking actually took place in this work environment. I felt as if I was killing brain cells every time I entered a number into the computer. The first job that you take should help to develop fundamental skills in the career you choose to pursue. Other than a paycheck, I felt this was a waste of time.

    The position also requires a substantial overtime commitment. I worked anywhere from 40-70hr weeks. There were rumors of people working in excess of 80 hours/week during the busiest times of the control cycle and developing stomach issues from stress. Employees are not compensated for this overtime and there are no bonuses for Investment Performance Associates.

    I could justify the monotonous work, long hours, and low pay if there was some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, at Cambridge Associates, the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a full speed train on its way to run you over! There are no raises for Investment Performance Associates. You are stuck at $46k until you get promoted to Senior Investment Performance Associate that make around $50k. Investment Performance Associates generally stay in that position for 1-2 years, but I have actually heard of people getting stuck in that position and making the same salary for 3-4 years! Senior Associates are then promoted to Analysts which serve as a liaison between consultants and the Marketable Performance Reporting Department. In other words, they double check your work to make sure there are no errors before sending the reports over to the consultants. There are no incentives to succeed and do well in the firm.

    The turnover in this department is also exorbitantly high! I think about 30 people left while I was there. Unreal!

    Advice to Senior ManagementYour business model, financially speaking, is spot on. Develop a "career path" of three years designed to filter through entry-level workers, while effectively squeezing your employees for every dollar you pay them. It is a win-win: Average salaries/benefits for the department will remain low in the department because of the limited career potential. The inevitably high turnover will bring in new energetic workers willing to do the same work for the same pay as those that leave.

    Yes, the point of a business is to generate a profit. However, it is management's responsibility to create an environment that is beneficial to employees of the firm. Many people that I have talked to have a bad taste in their mouth from working in the control department at Cambridge Associates. You never know who your next big client may be!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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