Cambridge Educational Services

  www.cambridgeed.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

Cambridge Educational Services Reviews

Updated Jun 24, 2014
Cambridge Educational Services – Des Plaines – “Cambridge Educational Services at O'Hare Office…”

All Employees Current Employees Only

2.1 18 reviews

23% Approve of the CEO

(no image)

David P. Waldherr

(13 ratings)

22% of employees recommend this company to a friend
18 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    An educational experience preparing students for the ACT.

    Tutor and Mentor (Former Employee) Chicago, IL

    ProsHave a scheduled curriculum that is easy to follow and implement to teach. The pay is great and the management is very helpful when there are any predicaments and questions that need to be answered.

    ConsThere are no cons for this company. Awesome place to work for.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep up the great work!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Upsetting, unappreciated, and underpaid

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsI have never worked anywhere else where your fellow employees are such good friends! The products made by Cambridge are top notch and the result of a lot of hard work.

    Free lunch on tuesdays is nice. Location isn't too bad, easily driven to as long as you don't mind highway driving. The blue line also gets you pretty close.

    ConsThe benefits are VERY restrictive. Starting you get 1 week of vacation to cover a 2 year period, as you have to work for 8 mo-1year to be eligible for vacation. You can also only take these vacations in a few parts of the year. You do not get any sort of retirement plan/401k/ira until you work for 3 years (which a very select few make it to) You are only given 3 sick days, in the place of days off they have alternate days which allows you to work extra hours to take a day off in the future, however, you are not allowed to use normal extra hours worked to qualify for this. Working from home is a rare occurrence.

    Employee appreciation is an issue, there are some nice outings but in the office if you are not the head salesperson, you might as well be chopped meat. He gets what he wants regardless of how many rules he breaks in the process, this is infuriating as you will be demeaned and punished for the same actions he routinely does.

    Pay - Pay is generally about 30-40% lower than jobs in the same realm with double the responsibility. This is accomplished by the CEO promising 6 month reviews where you will get a raise - more often than not you will be given a reason why you do not deserve a raise, or you will be given a very small raise in place of a vaguely promised larger one. Sales jobs are advertised as making up to 200,000 a year, but in reality the only person making that is the head of sales. No one is paid overtime here. I am sure there are people who are eligible for it but just aren't paid.

    Be very careful taking a sales job here, as your job will be reduced to feeding leads and sales into the head salesman.(This means no commission for you)

    The company is ran on a skeleton crew at all times. Sales and publishing seem to be the only departments that are fully staffed.

    I could go on and on but I will get to the CEO as even though it is all over this page, it needs to be written.

    The CEO is a nice guy but a horrible horrible boss. He doesn't seem to realize the company is beyond the management skills of one person, but he will not give up any responsibility to those he "trusts". The CEO is forgetful which causes arguments and accusations of people not doing their work. He is condescending and vengeful, he will humiliate you in front of others to prove a point. He will not let you speak about anything, and if he does it is usually so he can berate you for what you say. He has severe trust issues which you will feel daily, this is why there is very little working from home. in addition to this there are the odd instances of sexism, borderline sexual harassment, personal insults, and extreme favoritism.

    The average length of employment here is about 6 months, local schools are advising their students not to take jobs here. Really most everyone quits here because they hate the job, are overworked and underpaid and experience endless frustration.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLet other members of management take over some responsibilities. Take a step back and realize that your employees are very unhappy and that is why the turnover rate is so high. Make the benefits more enticing if you don't want to pay employees more, you are being outclassed by every company around you and people know it.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    A Soul-Crushing Experience

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros-Awesome people
    -Flexible with work hours as long as you are on the CEO's good side at the time
    -You'll never get fired...new employees are hard to come by.

    ConsHOLY COW. Where to begin...

    - Every problem in the company stems from the President/CEO. The thing is, he can be a nice guy at times. However, once you encounter his business side, the nice guy is quickly smothered. He is rude, manipulative, distrusting, and the single worst communicator I have ever encountered in my life. It's truly astounding. He doesn't realize the company has grown beyond his capacity to manage it, leading to mass hysteria and disorganization.

    - This story is no exaggeration: in order to meet a ridiculous deadline, I worked additional hours. I was asked to keep track of the hours and we work our some compensation afterwards. With numerous night's sleeping in the office, I ended up working an extra 215 hours in a single month. That's two month's work, done in one month's time (and we still didn't meet the deadline due to the CEO's endless revisions). I was given NOTHING. I was told that bonuses were "discretionary." I was told that I really didn't work all that hard.

    - And speaking of bonuses, when the Christmas bonus was handed out, after working there for a hard 6 months (and this was after my "double" month), I was given the same amount as a part-time employee who had been there a little over a month. Ok. That could be understandable. Oh. But wait. There was another coworker who started working around the same time as me. She received a Christmas bonus that was 5x bigger.

    -"Meeting"will quickly become the most depressing word in your vocabulary. They are the biggest waste of time. You will easily find yourself sitting in a meeting that has NOTHING to do with you for an hour. And you should expect to be chastised or publicly embarrassed frequently, and often due to the CEO's own ridiculous expectations or lack of understanding. And if the CEO tells you he wants to hear what you are thinking without him getting upset, don't do it. It's a trap. In my effort to improve a situation with honest opinion, I was berated and humiliated in front of others. It was the most childish display from an adult that I have ever seen, and was the day I decided to quit.

    - You will spend COUNTLESS hours on a project, only to completely re-do it 2 months later, because the CEO suddenly realizes he doesn't like it. He doesn't have a solution or suggestions since he doesn't fully understand what you were trying to do in the first place. And he will constantly turn to an sagely man who helps write material for advice on random issues (those of you who work there know who I am referring to). He will take the suggestions of this outside source with high regard, despite the obvious fact that the man often has no idea what he is talking about.

    God, I could continue writing about the countless other problems, but the world would finish another turn before you finished reading it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementListen to your employees. TRULY listen to them. And take these reviews seriously. Yes, they are from disgruntled employees. There's a reason every employee who has quit has been disgruntled. Don't write them off because someone tell's you that no one really reads these.

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

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    There isn't a worse place you could work. Anywhere else is better.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros-Somehow, the management hires amazing people. I don't know how they do it, but the people I worked with during my time at Cambridge were absolutely fantastic.

    Cons-The meetings are literally the worst. The WORST. You sit in an uncomfortable room for HOURS on end, mainly listening to the CEO either ramble on about stupid ideas, or yell at other employees in front of you.
    -What others have said is true, you will be hired to fill a position and constantly compared OVER and OVER again to the person who had it before you. You're expected to be just as good as they were, if not better, the day you start working. With NO training. You're just supposed to magically know everything that the CEO is thinking.
    -The CEO is one of the scariest, most unpredictable people that I've ever met. He's rude, self-obsessed, frantic, neurotic- he reminded me of a rubber band that was stretched way too tight, always about to snap. And the way he treats people is absolutely unacceptable. I witnessed on more than one occasion an employee being screamed at for something HE (the CEO) had done wrong! He also really does corner people in hallways and on their way to the elevator or bathroom- so scary...
    -The head salesman, who's been mentioned on here before, is also unbearable to work with. He's manipulative, and often blames others for his errors.
    -When the CEO hires you, he has big ideas in mind for your time at Cambridge. Sadly, you won't be able to accomplish anything that you were hired for because of all the wasted time spent doing the CEO's personal errands.
    -Highest turnover rate I've ever seen.

    It's pointless to work here. I screamed in my car on the way home MANY TIMES!

    Advice to Senior ManagementLet someone else take over the company?

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Look Out

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsAs others said here - the employees are amazing! (with the exception of the head salesperson)
    3 year retirement plan

    ConsEndless pointless meetings

    Management is never present and when they are its only for another pointless meeting

    Turnover rate is so high that the good employees you make friends with always leave

    CEO is nice but tries to do too much. This leads to him frequently forgetting you have told him something and either having to bring it up again 5 times or getting yelled at for "not doing it".

    There is 0 training. By 0 I mean ZERO training. You are thrown into a position, frequently not the one you applied for, and expected to perform as well as a former employee who had worked for 8 years.

    Everyone working here is very young, most fresh out of college, they are paid low and expected to work for very long hours and are chastised when they are not.

    The head salesman ( I wont list his name, if you work there you will know) is aggressive, sneaky, frequently insults you for mistakes that he made, just a general overall hassle to work with.

    Raises are small for how much you are being underpaid!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    A confusing, aggravating, and yet secure place to work.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsFellow employees really could not be more enjoyable to work with. The community is thriving and everyone carries each other; you will never lack a friendly face or understanding ear.

    The company and general benefits are highly stable. Though absolutely nothing is predictable day-to-day, when it comes to the long-term issues (job security, salary, emergency and other time off, insurance, etc.) Cambridge goes above and beyond. This overall security goes a long way toward smoothing other things over.

    It is generally agreed that this year's Whitewater was the best so far in every way, which perhaps shows progress for both employees and the CEO from previous reviews.

    Despite whatever else can be said of the CEO, and there is a lot, he truly is not mean-spirited. He does try to be an excellent boss and, again, this comes through clearly in the long term. He does not hold grudges and overall, you know where you stand with him. I can vouch that he has heard and made effort toward addressing some key employee complaints. It is regrettable that so few last long enough to see and appreciate him for his strengths, because he has many.

    A job at this company will take you to hell and back, but those who really give it a chance (or several hundred) do, eventually, come out better than they started.

    ConsThe safest thing to assume in a meeting is that you will not receive affirmation or appreciation for specific work. A work ethic and cumulative results will be praised, but your work itself will likely only be criticized in a very harsh and often illogical way. This can be a difficult adjustment.

    Meetings more often than not feel like a tragic and mind-boggling waste of many people's time. Agendas often last roughly five to ten minutes. There is a great deal of guesswork involved. Mind-reading would be the ideal qualification.

    I can only restate many of the other complaints below about the CEO: in the daily grind, he is disorganized, does not keep track of time, does not prioritize well, micromanages, manipulates, disrespects, insults, publicly embarrasses, cuts down employees behind their backs, distrusts, expects long hours, changes obscure expectations ad nauseum, and has once or twice demonstrated sexism. All of this is compounded by the micromanaging, which guarantees most employees regularly feel the effects.

    As has been said, the high turnover is a very serious issue for those in the wake and for subsequent hires.

    Advice to Senior ManagementConsider reading the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Additionally consider reintroducing an HR manager.

    Be aware of the effects of cornering employees outside of an office or pre-arranged meeting. For some, this is very intimidating.

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Hopeless

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe people they hire are wonderful, and they are always hiring.

    ConsI was strongly advised by my college’s career-services center to avoid this company, but I was newly-graduated, optimistic, and desperate. I was exactly what this company was looking for.

    The management at Cambridge hires young, talented people who would sooner work themselves into despair than give up and admit defeat. They are dedicated beyond reason, but entirely inexperienced. More experienced employees tend to know better; when hired, they quit within weeks.

    The average duration of a Cambridge job is 3-6 months. During this time, employees should expect to be micromanaged, underpaid, and personally humiliated. They will be asked to spend evenings and weekends working on the CEO's personal projects, which have nothing to do with Cambridge.

    Their best efforts will be under-rewarded, if not ignored or misunderstood entirely. Their mistakes will be punished—sometimes, in anger.

    I told myself to toughen up— that these were the sacrifices entrepreneurs and thinkers had to make if they wanted successful careers. It wasn’t until I joined another company that I realized how wrong I was. Successful companies don’t look like this. Cambridge Educational Services always will.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAdvice will be lost on the management.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Good test prep company, treats its employees with respect and gives them teaching freedom.

    SAT Instructor (Former Employee) Jersey City, NJ

    ProsI worked as an SAT instructor for a CES class, and as an instructor had flexibility with what I taught. CES provided materials and suggestions, but ultimately gave responsibility to instructors, which I appreciated.

    ConsAt times seemed a bit disorganized. It took a while to receive paychecks. In my opinion, the CES SAT Study Guide isn't the best sourcebook for teaching material. I ended up using material from Collegeboard's Official Study Guide.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Toxic and to be avoided

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsCompany services to customers are actually very good. Learn a lot about how to handle difficult managing styles. Not bad people - just bad managers. All future jobs, even bad ones, will seem like a piece of cake comparatively. If you stay for even half a year you become kind of a senior member as turn over is so high.

    ConsEmployees are not respected and you consistently feel manipulated. Constant change in company policies, benefits, procedures, goals, projects, etc. Very unprofessional environment. Be ready to be yelled at and torn down and all defensive arguments to be twisted until you are in the wrong again. Typically a my way or the highway attitude is taken regardless of if it actually the best way.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    The Cons sadly outweigh very good Pros

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Des Plaines, IL

    Pros-The community of employees: if you did not get this from reading the other reviews, you should! If you have the are brave enough to work here, you will find support from other employees and you will definitely need it to survive.
    -The vision and goal of the company is great: It is a shame it is tarnished by the actions of the upper management
    -There are opportunities to travel: Would have loved to explore this option more should the work conditions have been more bearable
    -Birthdays! :)

    ConsHonestly, the problems that made this job not worth it all stemmed from the boss. The reason why I personally left was because I felt the life drained out of me by the harangues and harassment of the president. Verbal attacks, which were frequent, quickly became personal and very unprofessional. Any meeting with him present was very uncomfortable and dreaded. This was compounded by extremely high expectations that were constantly in flux due to conflicts of contradictory demands made at different times. Simply trying to comply with his instructions resulted in frustrating circular patterns.

    Also, be careful if you are applying and are unsure of what position to take. Chances are you may get sucked into sales if you are not applying for a position that is clearly not sales. This not only happened to me but a few of my colleagues as well.

    During my final interview before receiving a job offer, I was told by the president that he works people too hard around here to pay them less than what he does. While the pay may be decent, I along with everyone else who has left found it not worth it. You will be worked hard, but what makes it not worth it is the frustration of trying to work with the upper management and bear through the abuse.

    Very few people can stand working here more than a year. It is unfortunate because this place provides a good product and a good service in a good manner, but clients must put up with continually changing staff. I saw 1-2 of my coworkers leave every month and it was sad to see them go.

    I am glad to have left. I have even heard rumors that video cameras were installed to keep watch over employees.

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

Worked for Cambridge Educational Services? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.