Cornerstone Research Reviews

Updated April 7, 2015
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Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
1 Rating

8 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    Rewarding if you're lucky or very persuasive.

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

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (more than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The other very positive reviews are correct, but I'll be slightly more negative to highlight the problems that Cornerstone should tackle as they move forward. This is definitely a 5-star start to your career, but you'll have to work hard to get everything out of this.

    Pros:
    1. You learn a lot of Excel, SAS, and other data processing and statistical software. You also generally learn how to analyze data and extract meaningful information from it.

    2. You're exposed to some interesting economic and financial concepts you will not find in banking or management consulting. The intuition gained from these concepts will help you think economics, stats, and finance on a higher level.

    3. You learn to be a perfectionist and you rapidly improve your capability of doing work - any work - simply based on the high caliber of expectations around you.

    4. There are some perks that aren't really relevant to your decision to work here, but are nice. A $75 gym stipend and cabs & meals when working more than 11 hours a day. Milk, beverages, fruit, and a few poorly-selected snacks.

    5. They generally care about your well-being. They recently passed out FitBits at big discounts. They are trying to get more standing desks. They have ergonomic consultations on demand and every 6 months.

    6. They are simply phenomenal at graduate school placement (MBA, law school, PhD, even med school). Excellent place to work if you want to pursue further education. Most people take this route, and end up being very successful.

    Cons

    Everything #1 - #3 in the pros section (essentially everything that matters) is based on luck and politics. You really have to a) be lucky or, b) bargain a lot.

    1. Some people are really lucky, and get consistently placed on really interesting cases (I was one of them starting my second half of my career here). But others may be on a permanent loop of doing boring work, often based on their initial case. You may be put on a case where you're doing nothing but reading news articles or equity research reports, thus ensuring you do not have any competency in data analysis. When it comes to restaff you, they'll know that you're not talented at data analysis, so they'll staff you on another doc review case. This is a hard cycle to break out of.

    2. One way of breaking out of this adverse feedback loop is showing increasing levels of frustration, culminating with simply refusing to do work with managers that are bad at managing or are generally associated with casework too boring and unintellectual to add to your resume. This is what I did. You will have to sacrifice your reviews and receive a negative review or two when you do this, but if you passively antagonize the bad case managers, they won't want you on their cases and you're better off.

    2. If you're one of the rising number of people who don't want to go to further education (MBA or otherwise), you'll have a difficult time finding a job since the Cornerstone brand name is essentially invisible to the world outside of litigation consulting.

    Advice to Management

    I can see a dichotomy between case managers - managers that are excellent case managers, and managers that are excellent client attractors. People should be promoted on the basis of both of these. Even if they're great with clients, some managers are bad at managing cases (e.g., focusing on minutiae such as footnote formatting and color coordination while missing the big picture, then forcing 30 analysts to work 80 hours a week for 3 weeks to catch up). Be more diligent on choosing which staff to promote in the partner-track level.

  2. Helpful (1)

    Good To Start At

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research

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

    Pros

    More academic, more rigorous than banking or strategy consulting
    Better hours than banking or strategy consulting
    A lot of responsibility right off the bat

    Cons

    It's generally a 3-and-out model. Stay for a max of 5 years but you HAVE to get an MBA or PhD to keep working as an associate, unless you are the secret/political/god-knows-what favorite handpick 1% person who gets magically promoted to associate. If you don't want to get an MBA or a PhD, there really isn't much of a point to working here for more than a year. It's tough to lateral anywhere else after, say, two years. This isn't anyone's fault; the industry requires the degrees and that's that.

    Advice to Management

    Not much, this is a well-run and well-managed place.

  3. Helpful (2)

    Great firm, fantastic culture

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (less than a year)

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

    Pros

    Great work life balance, supportive culture, constant learning is supported, work on high profile cases, plenty of help with grad school applications

    Cons

    Hours are occasionally unpredictable, and at the analyst level you sometimes may feel like your input into cases may be limited, but that's inevitable.

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  5. Helpful (1)

    Great Company, Great People

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in New York, NY

    I worked at Cornerstone Research

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I enjoyed my time at Cornerstone, the people are wonderful and the work intellectually engaging at times. Management is generally really good with time off, whether for vacation or longer term (such as extended time for pregnancies far longer than legal requirements). Integrity in work and in the way people interact (at the analyst level anyways).

    Cons

    As anywhere, if there is something boring, the most junior analyst got it. But it's educational, and the managers generally try very hard to take analyst development into consideration, but sometimes there are things that the team just have to wade through.

  6. Helpful (2)

    Good place to start after undergrad, great opportunities for grad school, but limited after RA level.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Research Associate in New York, NY

    I worked at Cornerstone Research

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Generally good culture. Respectful management. Culture has worsened since rapid growth of company but they're trying to bring it back. managerial experience esp when compared to other consulting firms at similar level.

    Cons

    Work can get repetitive after a while depending on what you end up doing. Can be a lot of work for not as much pay/prestige as compared to top management consulting firms, but it compensates in a generally nice atmosphere to work in. Associate level and above work is very niche.

  7. Helpful (4)

    Poor Middle Management, Boring/Niche Work, Fun Peers

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research

    Approves of CEO
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Cornerstone is a fun place to work, as you are surrounded by fun, extremely bright peers. At the Analyst and Associate level, people tend to be very social and collaborative. The firm does also tend to invest a lot in preparing Analysts for graduate school (Business School, Law School, and PhD programs).

    Cons

    The mid-level management is very bad. They tend to be poor at organizing project/case work, conceptualizing the key issues on the case, and communicating work expectations to the Associates/Analysts. In addition, the work tends to get very repetitive and is fairly niche.

    Advice to Management

    Given the above, the firm would be well-advised to try to improve the mid-level management of the company.

  8. Helpful (3)

    Overall, satisfied ... but don't work in New York

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I use my brain. I appreciate the intellectual challenge and the opportunity to learn about new industries, techniques, etc.
    The culture is pretty good.
    My coworkers are very smart and competent.

    Cons

    Management is pretty poor, however. Most managers are academics, with phd backgrounds. PhD programs are not known for turning out great managers.
    Compensation is horrible in New York. We work more than any other office and we don't get paid for our efforts. There is a strong sentiment that we are subsidizing the rest of the firm. And, to add insult to injury, they refuse to acknowledge a cost of living differential.

    Advice to Management

    Change the compensation structure.
    Improve management.

  9. Helpful (1)

    Overall, good place to work and trying to be better.

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    1. Interesting work
    2. Intelligent and friendly colleagues
    3. Fairly small firm, ability to make an impact

    Cons

    1. Small-firm growing pains as it struggles to transition into a larger firm
    2. Lack of overtime pay/misalignment of managerial incentives vs. employee incentives when it comes to compensation.
    3. Too much emphasis on reviewing others creates a negative/critical atmosphere.

    Advice to Management

    Acknowledge the overtime work of analysts and acknowledge their value and contribution to the firm (and to the managers' income). Realize that, when analysts work over the weekend or work late nights, they realize that they will see basically 0% of the revenue they generate. This is a problem.

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