Comcourse
3.2 of 5 23 reviews
www.comcourse.com Santa Cruz, CA 16 to 50 Employees

Comcourse Reviews

Updated May 31, 2014
Comcourse – Santa Cruz – “Office Photo”

All Employees Current Employees Only

3.2 23 reviews

                             

76% Approve of the CEO

(no image)

James Chellis

(17 ratings)

50% of employees recommend this company to a friend
23 Employee Reviews
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    Great place to learn and grow.

    (Former Employee)

    ProsComcourse is a great place to network, develop your skills while selling a product which helps people! Students get their education and universities grow in the online world. The product is something you can get behind because it's something worth while.

    ConsNot enough communication from the higher ups. Would have appreciated more company wide meetings. More opportunities to speak with you. If we don't know what's going on, the rumor mill starts and it gets ugly pretty fast. You've got a lot of smart people in there, why not talk to them more?

    Advice to Senior ManagementMake it a point to have more honest conversations with your employees and they'll have less temptation to "fill in the blanks" with speculation.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    A good learning experience.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat people to work with, very social. Not the typical stuffy office. This job took a chance on my experience level when I was hired and helped me to develop the skills I needed to make a change in career path. Salary, benefits, and paid time off in Santa Cruz is extremely rare, and I would suggest that students look into the entry level positions available and develop professionally.

    ConsCommunication could be more transparent.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake a more direct role in communicating long term goals and short term expectations. If we understand the where and why of the equation, we can figure out the how with greater ease.

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    Layoffs Galore!

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Santa Cruz, CA

    ProsThe location of the business is wonderful.

    ConsEverything, they just did another mass layoff... Don't bother applying here. They will probably shut down within the year.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe better managers.

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

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    Good for the experience, didn't have an opportunity for advancement

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsWorking at Comcourse was interesting. The company is clearly going through a changes but I thought it was a decent place to work. I was never bored and everyone I worked with was friendly and supportive. The strategy seems to be to work at Comcourse for a couple of years, getting experience, and then move on to a higher-paying job over the hill. I saw several people do that while I was there. They actually seemed pretty happy about the result.

    I liked being by the farmers market and downtown coffee shops, although it can get a crazy in downtown SC.

    If given the chance, I would do it again. Good place to land in a university town.

    ConsNo complaints, really, except that, perhaps, the opportunities for upward mobility were somewhat limited.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great experience

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsComcourse was a great experience for me. When I started, my job was just so so, but I was given the opportunity to switch departments, which made a big difference. I gained a ton of valuable experience that eventually led me to my current job, which pays better and has a better title. My direct supervisor was awesome, organized, listened to me, etc. The top executives were pretty flexible about fitting me into a position that fit my skill set better, and they were easy to talk to. The only reason I left was because this new job came up that pays more and is closer to home.

    ConsSome of the jobs aren't as fun as others. Some of the departments can be a little chaotic. But not really any major complaints to be honest.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou have a lot going on there, I would try to simplify a bit. Not really sure how you would do that. Otherwise, keep up the good work!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Good company and good manager, felt in the dark about company decisions

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsComcourse is a good place to work and my manager was great. I was given freedom to do my job and didn't have someone looking over my shoulder all the time. They were also very flexible and accomodating with my needs. My manager was a super happy guy, probably the best I've ever worked for. I was promoted once while I was there without even asking. I liked that. I ended up having to leave for reasons unrelated to the company.

    ConsI felt like I was in the dark about some of the company's decisions that didn't make sense to me. I mean, the CEO wasn't a bad guy, I just never really got to talk to him very much. Also some of the people I worked around were really loud!

    Advice to Senior ManagementTell the employees more about what's happening with the company. And maybe get taller cubicle so it isn't so loud back there!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Great Place to Start a Career, Even Better by Santa Cruz Standards

    (Former Employee)
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Pros- Most positions are entry level (great for recent graduates, people looking for a new career, etc.).
    - Staff is passionate about education (prospective clients/partners/employees, you could not ask for a staff more dedicated to education and student and faculty success).
    - Kitchen facilities are unbeatable, including snacks and enough food otherwise to never really need to buy breakfast or lunch (but don't be one of those people who takes advantage of this everyday--we all know who you are and resent you for eating all the bagels so soon after the Costco delivery).
    - Occasionally provides additional perks such as weekly yoga classes or tickets to local events
    - End of year holiday bonus
    - Incredible group of people; very sociable and welcoming; instant friends
       - To everyone who recognizes my writing style and is for some reason looking at this: Hi, I miss you!
    - Casual office environment
    - It's in Santa Cruz
    - Great downtown location within Santa Cruz

    Comcourse is a great place to start a career in education, be it online education or traditional. The work experience gained there transfers well throughout the industry, and in many ways, the educational experience they provide is superior to more recognizable institutions).

    Additionally, as the Santa Cruz area is severely lacking in career or industry (any industry) opportunities--if you know the area, you know most jobs befit college students and pay barely about minimum wage--Comcourse is one of the few places in town where you can be a professional and not a barista/waiter/retail worker, etc.

    And it cannot be understated how amazing the co-worker/peer pool is, even though I already said that. Hiring is one of Comcourse's greatest strength. You will, nearly instantly, feel like part of a family and have a built-in social network.

    I'd give Comcourse 5-stars were I not a realist; work is work, and 5-stars should be reserved: people who are inflating their own business's scores, people who have jobs that 90% of us would consider recreation and people who work at Pixar (from what I hear).

    ConsWarning: This list is not meant to dissuade prospective applicants. These realities were explained to me within my first few weeks, and I appreciated and benefited from hearing them throughout my many years at Comcourse. If you talk yourself out of a position here because of the negative reviews on this site, you are doing yourself an incredible disservice, as the positives heavily outweigh the negatives.

    - The clients' academic standards do not meet Comcourse's academic standards, and this can be frustrating. But online education standards are low in general, throughout the industry.
    - It's older than what you'd traditional call a "start-up" but still feels like one at times. But again, this is generally true throughout the industry, which is in many ways still in its infancy.
    - You will see the dark side of online, for-profit education and often feel powerless, dirty or depressed in the face of it. Remind yourself that because you care at your students, you can still make a positive difference.
    - Medical benefits are not very good and continued to decline during my tenure (dental was okay though).
    - No retirement benefits
    - If you are not in the Admissions/Marketing department, you are somewhat a second-class citizen. If you are joining Admissions/Marketing, respect your co-workers and don't act like you own the place; otherwise you will be, deservedly, alienated and disliked. Remember, you wouldn't have a job and your higher paycheck if it was for everyone else working a support role.
    - Because most positions are entry-level, you will encounter a wide range of experience, ability, work ethic and work standards in your co-workers, and this can also be frustrating at times.
    - There are not many opportunities for professional advancement; most positions do not have a higher tier available.
    - The annual raise system makes it difficult to remain with the company over the long-term considering the extremely high cost of living in Santa Cruz (you'll make better money elsewhere and pay the same, if not significantly less, for rent, food, etc.).
    - It's in Santa Cruz (the town isn't for everyone).
    - Many co-workers take the unbeatable kitchen facilities for granted, do not appreciate them and assume their mothers will come in and clean up after them at the end of the day.
    - Downtown location can be a curse as well as a blessing (think transients and street performer noise)
    - There are no secrets (a con to the staff being so close with one another). You will learn that people who do significantly less work than you make significantly more (but hey, welcome to the real world); you will hear things about the company you do not want to hear (the same negatives occur with every business but do not as readily filter out/down)
    - Many of its partner institutions are "faith-based". This could be a 'Pro' for some, but I'm including it here because these institutions do not share the more liberal beliefs of most Californians (especially Cruzians), and I felt like most people there would personally prefer not to handle Christian content or combine education and religion so heavily (they still pull it off proficiently, potential faith-based clients)

    Despite there being more Cons listed here than Pros, I feel Comcourse is nonetheless deserving of the 4-stars I gave it. While it is certainly not perfect--what place of employment is?--it is not deserving of the 1-star reviews here.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFirst, don't read this unless you plan on making it all the way to the end.

    - You employ a very smart, talented, dedicated group of individuals who are often more aware of the day-to-day operations and inefficiencies of your company than you're able to be (sorry, but that's another universal truth with large companies). Solicit feedback from them and attempt to utilize their full, untapped potential. Comcourse would tremendously benefit from a(n) (anonymous) suggestion box.
    - Invest more in attempting to monetize other departments; admissions does not need to be the sole revenue source, and maybe, ethically, it shouldn't be...
         - For example, from what I saw, your Course Developments methods are very effective compared with industry standards, in terms of cost and pedagogy. What does it cost for you to develop a course? 5 to 10k at most I'm guessing, from talking to your developers? I have clients that pay 100k for comparable products; you just have to find them and market to them. They're out there, in spades.
    - Communicate downwards and company-wide more often, but...
    - Let HR handle HR issues and communications
    - Praise your staff more in company-wide situations (quarterly meetings, holiday parties, etc.). The high-ups don't need praise--they have bigger paychecks that say thank you for you--but the little folks do
    - Acknowledge and work with the fact that there are no secrets. i.e. don't get gestapo; just acknowledge harsh realities honestly when necessary and be appropriately sympathetic when possible. You're on the same team as your team.
    - Ok, if you've made it this far, now you can pat yourselves on the back. You have an amazing company, and I'm proud and thankful to have worked for you.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Unethical business hiding behind false words and smiles.

    (Former Employee)

    ProsOffice location is fantastic. Lower level employees hired for likability.

    ConsUnethical business practice that markets extremely high cost degrees and thus thousands in loans to "anyone with a pulse and a social security number" as it was oft termed by my fellow employees. Devious and manipulative HR. Will seem like a warm family for a while, but you'll see...

    Advice to Senior ManagementConsider not making your living by further ruining the finances of the less fortunate.

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

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    An innovative and positive place to work

    Rep (Former Employee)
    Santa Cruz, CA

    ProsGreat benefits - medical (they paid my entire premium), dental, vision, decent vacation time and lots of other perks. I enjoyed the challenging environment and learned many new skills. My interactions with senior management were positive and respectful at all times. Great HR team who listens and supports the employees.

    ConsFast paced and sometimes stressful environment yet worthwhile. Although the majority of the employees were really great people to work with, there were a few immature negative and complaining people who were way too vocal causing distractions to the workflow.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere used to be regular company-wide meetings which facilitated communications from senior management - bring them back!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Good launching pad, nice people, interesting business.

    Student Admissions Support (Former Employee)
    Santa Cruz, CA

    ProsI liked it. I don't get these negative reviews. It was a good company, solid people. I developed my professional skills, had a chance to work with students who needed support, and found it to be solid.

    ConsDowntown Santa Cruz is dirty. Semi-socialist city....there's not much work ethic in Santa Cruz, everyone hates corporate america and just wants a handout. More company meetings to keep us informed.

    Advice to Senior ManagementOpen a branch in another state.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Comcourse reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Comcourse CEO James Chellis. All 23 reviews posted anonymously by Comcourse employees.