Catalyst Prep Reviews

Updated June 29, 2015
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4.7
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Jared Friedland
15 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. Not Your Average Office

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

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I started working at Catalyst Prep as a temp during their busy season. Once they saw my dedication and work capacity, however, they quickly moved me over to full time, and I think that's the most telling thing about this company. They reward a good attitude and a great work ethic. It's unlike any 'office' I've ever worked in: a loose, relaxing environment with quick minute-to-minute action. The work is a nice mix of traditional and unexpected, with new projects springing up daily. And to boot, the entire office gets access to an unlimited boxing gym! Did I mention the location is on gorgeous Ocean Park in Santa Monica? Can't be beat.

    Cons

    No healthcare benefits yet, which is unfortunate. The office tends to get a little over air-conditioned too, which we've been told is connected to building management and have no control of.


  2. Great company with a great team & plenty of room to move up.

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

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Catalyst Prep offers plenty of opportunity for its employees to advance and gain leadership roles. Upper management treats the rest of the team as equals, and is always open to the ideas of any and all employees. There is no micromanaging at Catalyst, which is an issue I've experienced with previous employers; team members are trusted to do their work and are given the freedom and space to do so. Pay is very competitive, hard work is noted and rewarded. The team is comprised of fun, intelligent and hard-working individuals who foster a relaxed and welcoming environment. Instruction material (written in-house) is innovative, clever and undeniably humorous (I'd challenge anyone to find other SAT/ACT prep material which can be described in the same way). Location of HQ cannot be beat -- wonderful weather 360 days a year, a park right across the street for those who like to exercise during lunch (or simply enjoy their meals out in the open) and we're within jogging distance to beach. Did I mention that our CEO has enrolled us all in unlimited classes at a local boxing gym? To top it off, personally it is very rewarding to know that my efforts are helping high school students achieve their goal of advancing to college.

    Cons

    No health benefits at this time.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the wide-open lines of communication, don't lose the "start up" edge or the wonderfully-relaxed environment.


  3. Forming great relationships with people I love to work with, while representing a product I believe in.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep part-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I love working at Catalyst.

    I have an excellent relationship with my supervisors and co-workers. The lines of communication are always open, and I always feel heard AND listened to. This is not one of those companies that makes you feel awkward about voicing your concerns—I'm always comfortable bringing things to the attention of my supervisors. I have complete trust in the company and my supervisors, and I know they have complete trust in me, as well—great for morale, on my part!

    The company culture is the perfect balance fun 'n' relaxed on one end, and professional 'n' efficient on the other. Not only do I feel free to come up with new ideas and express them, but the working relationships and and corporate culture that Catalyst fosters makes me WANT to come up with ideas and express them. I want to do my best for the company, and this is a testament to the environment and practices the company has established and continues to nurture. Work at Catalyst often doesn't feel like “work.”

    As an instructor, I have front-line experience seeing the company's services and products in action with a wide range of wonderful students, and so I know first hand how beneficial Catalyst is. The Catalyst test-prep curriculum is a creative and excellent product, and as an instructor I'm proud to represent that product. It's great to work with a company where you can actually stand by what it sells without having to hold your nose.

    I'd like to echo what another reviewer here praised about Catalyst's “start-up edge” The company is constantly evolving and always open to new directions. When I first started, there were aspects of working here I wasn't too keen on—but throughout my time here those issues have either dramatically improved or disappeared altogether. This is the benefit of working at a place with that independent spirit.

    P.S. I've never felt disrespected or insulted by anyone at Catalyst, which I'm sad to say has not been the case at all of the places I've worked.

    Cons

    There are two aspects of work at Catalyst that could use a little more transparency.

    I wish I had more of a relationship with more of the employees in my same position. I do meet them from time to time, but the way things are structured, I mostly interact with my supervisors and brand new hires. As I said, I have an excellent relationship with my supervisors and everyone I interact with, so this is not a problem—I just wish I had more of an opportunity to talk shop with my fellow instructors. I imagine that if we could “put our heads together,” we might be able to come up with some ideas that would benefit the company as a whole, not to mention the obvious benefits for team morale.

    Also, the paychecks are not itemized. As an instructor, my payment each month differs depending on how much work I've done and the nature of said work. I one hundred percent trust Catalyst and every time I've had a question about my paycheck I've been more than satisfied with the quick and clear response I've received. I just feel it's always better to be transparent up front, especially in issues of payment.

    Advice to Management

    You're dominating! Keep up the innovation, keep treasuring your relationships, and for the love of everything don't lose that sense of humor.


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  5. Great Environment, Interesting Work, Growing Company, Fun Co-Workers

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director of Instruction in Santa Monica, CA
    Former Employee - Director of Instruction in Santa Monica, CA

    I worked at Catalyst Prep full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very satisfying and rewarding work based on the ability to help students get into college and learn important skills. The course material and company culture is based on a humorous approach to learning, which makes day-to-day experiences exciting. Catalyst offered a great work-life balance, and very very fair compensation. The people there are energetic and fun to work with--the energy trickles down from CEO and upper management, as well as the "start up" culture, which hasn't waned, despite growth and success.

    Cons

    There are very few cons to speak of--working with great people, and doing interesting work, in beautiful Santa Monica is hard to beat. I would say that, as a Director of Instruction, having to manage tutors remotely via Skype and email proved to be difficult at times. I mostly prefer face-to-face interactions... But I understand that it is simply a product of the circumstances and industry, and not the company values. Regardless, the in-person interactions in the office were always great and the CEO goes out of his way to set up Employee Nights, etc., to promote personal interactions.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the annual bowling night and karaoke night. Also, don't lose that "start-up" edge as you continue to grow.


  6. Great Opportunity in a Growing Company and Industry

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager of Instruction in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Manager of Instruction in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Catalyst offers opportunities to earn leadership roles and advancement in a growing company with a unique foothold in the burgeoning industry of test prep. Relaxed atmosphere of support and camaraderie, Catalyst offers the chance to be on the proverbial ground-floor of a company that is at the start of its next phase of development. It also offers the opportunity to sharpen one's academic chops on a variety of levels. Fun for the nerd with business sense and a sense of humor.

    Cons

    Like any growing company, Catalyst suffers from its own growing pains. You must be able to roll with the punches, go with the flow, and get the job done. Also, unfortunately no health benefits at this time.

    Advice to Management

    The increased level of communication is greatly appreciated, and I sincerely hope it continues ad infinitum. The addition of health and retirement benefits would be the icing on the cake.


  7. Having a Blast!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Advisor in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Program Advisor in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I have enjoyed the tremendous work/home balance that all people really desire. I also appreciate working for a company that is on the leading edge of the field of test prep, and of education in general. What Catalyst lacks in size it makes up for in opportunity and support.

    Cons

    Every company has its quirks. Most people I know would be able to manage Catalyst's quirks with little to no stress. It's a small company that is getting bigger faster. We're a community, first. And we're awesome.

    Advice to Management

    So many improvements have come along since the time that I first came on board. Keep it up!


  8. The Best Is Yet To Come!

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

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep full-time

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Catalyst has provided me with an opportunity to gain experience in a myriad of roles. I have the unique benefit of working autonomously and receiving support when needed. From the management to colleagues in other regions, everybody is helpful and honest.

    The company is growing rapidly and I could not have foreseen the incredible opportunities that have arisen while working here. I consistently feel encouraged to follow my instincts and think creatively at work. The CEO and my Managing Director are invested in developing and retaining their employees. I appreciate their receptiveness to feedback which is evidenced through their actions.

    Cons

    Some operational procedures could benefit from streamlining.


  9. Great Opportunity with a young, rapidly growing company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of School Partnerships
    Current Employee - Director of School Partnerships

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Really nice group of people to work with. The managers are helpful and supportive, and really care about their team! I’ve had other jobs where the higher ups are always trying to “catch” something wrong, even the littlest thing, just because they could. I have NEVER felt that way here. I feel completely comfortable talking to my manager or even the CEO and I know that my ideas are really being listened to. I have been with the company for over three years now and have seen a lot of changes, all positive.I love that they think outside the box with their curriculum. Making test prep fun is no easy task, but some how Catalyst has done exactly that. It’s quite exciting to be part of a company that is expanding so rapidly, and there is definitely potential for more growth. Another pro is that my particular job offers me a lot of flexibility which has been invaluable as I juggle work/family life. Having the ability to work from home has been a life saver!

    Cons

    I manage a particular region and am the only full time staff member located here, aside from our gurus. While it’s great to use technology to “see” other team members, I am working by myself most of the time. The team is pretty spread out across the country. It would be nice if there was more contact with other people in the region/company.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work! Don’t make such a huge deal when you beat people at bowling night.


  10. Prep Guru- Tutor

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

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep part-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The people are friendly and welcoming to all different types of people. They are understanding and seem to be genuinely concerned about your wellbeing.

    Cons

    A lot hours of training on your own to be prepared for students.

    Advice to Management

    Hire tutors more in advance of your "busy" months.


  11. Very good and fun place to work!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Advisor in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Program Advisor in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at Catalyst Prep full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great, innovative product. Very strong team, everyone gets along very well and management hires talented, intelligent people. Fun holiday bowling parties!

    Cons

    Company is growing very quickly and sometimes it is difficult to keep up. Expand staff to service growing customer base.

    Advice to Management

    I would provide more thorough training for new hires.



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