Cornerstone Research
4.0 of 5 69 reviews
www.cornerstone.com Menlo Park, CA 150 to 499 Employees

Cornerstone Research Reviews in San Francisco, CA

Updated Jan 19, 2014

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3.9 19 reviews

                             

88% Approve of the CEO

Cornerstone Research President and CEO Cindy Zollinger

Cindy Zollinger

(17 ratings)

81% of employees recommend this company to a friend
19 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    Cornerstone Research is a great place for growth and career development for administrative professionals.

    Various (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsCornerstone has great core values that are celebrated at the firm in a way that creates a solidarity between everyone, whether or not they work on the same coast or in the same office. Because of this, they often like to look internally to fill positions or promote from within when they can. Once you get your foot in the door, it really is an amazing place for administrative professionals to advance or explore new career paths.

    ConsIt may be difficult to make changes to certain practices and procedures for some, but it is definitely possible and in some cases may involve various reviews through committees and other office heads. Polices are not made lightly and deserve the attention to detail they are given at Cornerstone, but have always given great thought and consideration to all employees, regardless of level.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease continue to maintain that level of comradery and sense of family that was the driving force behind my own growth and development at Cornerstone.

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

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    5 people found this helpful  

    Sold my soul... under market rates

    Research Associate (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsYour Excel skills will be amazing, and you will develop these and analytical abilities very quickly. The reason you'll develop so quickly is because you will work double the hours of your friends working 9 to 5-7, believe me when I say no matter how hardcore you think you are for acing college exams, this isn't worth it (assuming you're not in mgmt. consulting or I-Banking getting mad money for doing it).

    The only reason I'd recommend this job to someone is if they're from a no-name school and they are able to get an offer. It will boost your resume for a decent MBA program, but if you have any other opportunities it's not worth it.

    Cons1. I was told I would work 50 hours average a week, this was a lie, I rarely worked less than 70.
    2. There is a "Overtime Bonus" to compensate people for all their extra hours worked, it's a joke, the people that worked the most that I knew got about the equivalent of one paycheck.

    With these tiny "Overtime Bonusses" it is very much in management's favor to have analysts work overtime instead of hiring new analysts... my prediction is that this is unsustainable because talented people recognize that they should get paid for their work

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop selling the job as something it's not, also, stop searching out the employees who leave bad reviews on Glassdoor and making them take them down, yes, CR does do that.

    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  

    Senior Analyst

    Senior Analyst (Former Employee)
    Menlo Park, CA

    ProsReally good culture, typically 45-50 hours per week, though some weeks can be more than 80

    ConsLots of variability in schedule, work can be rather boring (lots of footnote checking)

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Good foundation for future opportunities

    Analyst (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsCulture is great for the most part
    People go to top MBAs after
    You will become a data ninja

    ConsNot management consulting, so always looking backwards for analysis
    Work life balance really depends on the manager

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Great place to launch a career after college, no matter your long term goals.

    Research Associate (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsEmployees at all levels are given substantial responsibility and opportunity for professional growth. The office culture is warm and collaborative. Travel is minimal, and the company is flexible with allowing employees to work from home or from other offices as needed.

    ConsClient-imposed deadlines sometimes lead to marked ups and downs in workflow over time. Can be difficult to maintain a steady work-life balance.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMaintain Cornerstone's great culture!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Thoughtful people doing rigorous economic research for private sector questions in the context of litigation.

    Analyst (Current Employee)
    Menlo Park, CA

    ProsYou work with smart, interesting people. The have a great, inclusive culture. There is a sense of flexibility around when/where you do your work that goes against the typical 'face time' workplaces. You get exposed to a variety of fields (Law, Academia, Business...) and are well set up for an array of grad schools. Great training.

    ConsThe analysis can be mundane at times. You typically work on the defense side of litigation, so clients aren't always in the right. The analysis is always defensible, but it's sometimes in support of bad actors. If a deadline is near or an attorney team is demanding, hours can be long and unpredictable.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI think the company is well run and self-reflective. The best professional culture I've ever been a part of. The highs and lows of workload are extreme, which could be improved upon but Cornerstone has limited control over this aspect.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Fantastic experience for consultants, Good (but not amazing) for administrative and professional staff

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsVery profitable business so year-end bonus is almost guaranteed and (at least for non-consultants) a lot of job security
    For consultants, you gain a ton of quantitative experience and exposure to many different industries
    Interesting and important consulting projects
    Great co-workers and a fun atmosphere

    ConsAdministrative and professional staff are often subject to benign neglect. When projects finish, the consultants are always named and publicly thanked. Often, the non-consultants are lumped together into a department or forgotten entirely. I don't think this is malicious, but more just a result of the unfortunate stratification between consultants, who invariably come from top tier schools and are seen as core moneymakers since they do almost all of the billable work, and the other staff who are seen as a cost center, despite their own billable hours.

    Another distinction is that consultants have a defined career path while other staff have quickly hit walls. Some employees still bear the same titles and job responsibilities after 10+ years.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFinding ways to eliminate this two-tier "class" system and treating all employees as equally valuable would go a long way toward better firm cohesion.

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

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great First Job

    Senior Analyst (Former Employee)
    Menlo Park, CA

    ProsSmart people, collaborative culture, good work-life balance, great graduate school opportunities afterward, may get nice office, managers are often understanding and good leaders

    Conswork tedious at times, 2 degrees removed from companies (clients are law firms and you don't interact much with them as an analyst)

    Advice to Senior Managementdo a better job of retaining top talent, give analysts more input on the projects they are put on

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    8 people found this helpful  

    Completely different for analysts v. senior staff

    Manager (Current Employee)
    San Francisco, CA

    ProsThe work is very interesting and challenging - cases can be mini problem-solving exercises and it's enormously fulfilling to file a report and finish up a project.
    Smart people from top colleges are good to brainstorm with. People are generally hardworking and do not slack off, so there is a lot of cooperation and a collaborative work style.
    Management rewards being a "good corporate citizen" so it's easy to get help, advice or extra hands to pitch in for tight situations and deadlines.
    Cornerstone pays well compared to competitors. Management tries hard to maintain a congenial work environment with various social activities organized on a regular basis.
    Good opportunities to keep in touch with academic, attend academic conferences etc.

    ConsIf interviewing for an Associate or above position, reviews by Analysts are not relevant because it's a very different world for the two groups of people.
    Promotions for analysts are no-brainers, they are always promoted within the analyst role (3 titles).

    Pre-2007 that used to be the case for Associates and Managers as well.
    But due to the recent realization that Cornerstone has too many middle management layers, recently promotions for Associates have almost been at a standstill. A lot of Associates who joined in 2007 and 2008 have left (almost entire classes) due to dissatisfaction about the critical, negative performance review cycles that are specifically geared towards giving reasons to deny promotions.
    At higher levels, there has been a mini-exodus in managers, senior managers, and Principals who have been either asked to leave suddenly (sometimes even after a recent promotion), have been demoted or have exited on their own.
    Management needs to be more transparent about the changing criteria for promotions, the new "up or out" policies they are stealthily introducing, and also to be upfront when there is not a good fit in the early stages. Because of the niche industry, the higher you go, you get more specialized, and those who have been asked to leave after 8-9 years have had a hard time finding good opportunities.
    Management consulting firms that have "up or out" policies are upfront both about the policy and about promoting exit opportunities to those who have to avail of it. But Cornerstone's management is very opaque about their plans and the change in upward mobility (or lack of it) opportunities.
    I see the firm recruiting new associates with the same rhetoric about promotions but the reality has changed significantly in the last several years since I joined.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMore transparency. Introduce a title "Senior Associate" so that the first promotion is near-automatic and weeds out only those who are a really bad fit. This allows associates to develop self-confidence and provides positive reinforcement for growth.
    Also provide better and earlier feedback for those who are not a good fit.
    Do not hush up the fact of senior folks leaving or being asked to leave. This is very demoralizing for the managers who worked with them. It's also confusing for new associates since they're not sure what actions lead to such negative consequences.

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Great starting place to develop your analytical/leadership skills,but you must learn patience and endure long hours.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)
    Menlo Park, CA

    ProsFor the most part, you work with extremely intelligent people; however, intelligence does not translate into great management at the firm. Everyone is friendly, approachable and eager to develop and train one another. There are a handful of exceptional managers that know how to run a team and genuinely care about their employees both in and out of the firm. There are lots of leadership opportunities that prepare you for your next job or grad school at the analyst level. The people are what sell the firm. The social atmosphere definitely shines. Hopefully the upper management will maintain the culture as the company grows.

    ConsWhen push comes to shove, at the analyst level you are just a cog with an expiration date. There is no potential to grow within the firm, unless you are on the east coast and get a CFA. The associates and first year managers definitely abuse your time and have very poor management skills. Unfortunately, since the firm pulls revenues by billing hours, those managers that can get their team to bill look the best in front of the execs, even though their work may have zero meaning. The workflow isn't consistent and there is a lot of down time during the day. This translates into lots of weekend work and work on the holidays. Lots of workers are profiled into programmers or document employees, which leads to a mundane workload.

    Promotion for analysts are based on tenure and not performance. Also, there is a bit of favoritism when analysts are chosen for leadership positions.

    In order to have successful career, which holds true for most careers, it is important to seek out those exceptional managers, gain their trust, and be very vocal about projects of interest.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFocus on developing the younger associates and managers into those exceptional manager that make the firm what it is. Secondly, improve the once strong culture that faltered over the years.

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Cornerstone Research reviews and ratings in San Francisco, CA — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Cornerstone Research CEO Cindy Zollinger. All 19 reviews posted anonymously by Cornerstone Research employees.