District Management Council

  www.dmcouncil.org
  www.dmcouncil.org

District Management Council Reviews

Updated December 8, 2014
Updated December 8, 2014
21 Reviews
2.1
21 Reviews
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John J-H Kim
15 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A continually rewarding experience-one of the best professional opportunities.

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

    I have been working at District Management Council full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    This has been the best professional experience I have had. I have learned so much and have grown tremendously since I started here, not just from the guidance my managers provide, but also from learning from my peers and colleagues. DMC has changed quite a bit in the past few years, management has taken a real hard look at the firm’s internal practices and perceptions and is actively working on trying to better understand and help change those perceptions.

    Personally, I feel that my work is valued here and I feel that I have gained an incredible amount of responsibility and autonomy in the work that I do. I do not feel afraid to speak up, and I often do speak up in meetings or high-stakes settings. I feel supported by my managers and by the Managing Directors in the firm, even if my suggestion or my idea is not used. I've never felt "abused", "mistreated", or "disrespected" here.

    The CEO and Managing Directors have very high standards and expect a lot out of those who work closely with them, and I like that challenge. Are people expected to work hard here and put in their all? Yes.

    Since it is still a small firm, everything we do or don’t do impacts us in some way or another, so it’s unfortunate that small things here seem to affect people so deeply. I know others that have not had the best experience here and while I can’t speak to their experiences, this is a two way street. If you want transparency, feedback, and challenges that make you grow professionally, you have to have a tough skin and take the praise along with the criticism, it can't always be praise. Think of the millions of students your work is going to impact, and know that the feedback you get, whether positive or negative, is for your own good and development.

    I truly enjoy working with everyone at DMC. People are friendly, helpful and passionate about the work we do. We have leaders at DMC that are accomplished and respected and they take a personal interest in positively influencing the culture and mentoring some of the teams they lead. Leaders and management dedicate a lot of energy toward our work with our clients, and also toward the development of teams that support this work. The perks here are unreal- a fully stocked kitchen, catered lunch every Friday, and there have been some renovations to the office over the past few months to make it a welcoming and comfortable place to work every day. We also have great benefits and a commuter reimbursement plan that I haven’t had at my other jobs.

    Yes, there is concern about the bottom line and profit, but that is what allows us to expand our business, hire and attract great candidates, and compensate our talented and committed staff competitively.

    Cons

    When people are unhappy here, it seems very obvious and that can be uncomfortable for others that are content here. It creates a ripple effect that can be awkward for people that are doing well, or are enjoying their experience at DMC. Recently, there was some clique-like behavior that alienated a small group from the larger firm and that resonated throughout the entire team in a negative way- this group of 3 or 4 people could literally change the vibe of a meeting just by their general mood that day and they made it uncomfortable to even join in on casual conversation during lunch or in common areas.

    With such a small office (hovering between 35 and 40 people), departures seem to be felt very strongly, which I think is contributing to some of the negative posts on this site. This is a growing and developing firm, so turnover is a natural occurrence in a dynamic environment like this, in my opinion.

    Have some really talented and passionate people left? Yes, but everything happens for a reason and a lot of these people have gone on to opportunities that are better suited to their skills and career goals. I’m happy for them and I keep in touch with lots of the people that have left, and can understand why some get frustrated. It’s not alarming that people have differences in opinion and move on for something that is a better fit, or have been unhappy and have found something else to do that fits them better, that's life, it happens all the time in other firms/organizations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    My advice would be to keep the dialogue open with the firm and be willing to change some of the perceptions and norms that make sense to change, but don’t compromise when it comes to client deliverables and outcomes for the districts we serve.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    gone but not forgotten

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

    I worked at District Management Council full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    you will work with amazing people. they are smart, driven, and passionately committed to doing good . . .

    Cons

    . . . but those people will be squashed or battered, and they'll leave, because why on earth would a talented person stay? and then you're there, with then next crop. i am not sure why they keep coming, but they do. do you try to 'be the change' - no, don't risk it. it's better to sit back, don't speak up or be noticed, and slip out quietly when a year (a minimally respectable timeframe) has passed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    scan your HR records. how many employees have you had in the last 10 years? what is the churn? it's gotta be off the charts

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Not a good place to work

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

    I worked at District Management Council full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Downtown Boston is a handy location.

    Cons

    I have worked in a lot of different places and so I have the experience to say that this is not a healthy workplace.
    I don't need to re-iterate all the bad points that recent reviews have raised. They all seem accurate to me.
    The occassional 'glowing' review look very suspicious to myself and others.
    The most recent glowing review was really pathetic and to respnd in part:
    This is the least professional place I've ever worked at. I genuinely worry about folks, especially new grads of which there are always a lot, thinking that this is a normal healthy workplace and taking that experience a(and learned attitude) to other workplaces. If you are type A and rude you might think its fine but if you are not this can feel uncomfortable for you.
    Being unhappy here is NOT about the ability or inability to meet high standards or work hard. That's particularly offensive. Many people have come and gone that worked really really high with incredibly high standards. Those are not the reason they left. They don't resent constructive criticism but they prefer a model that supports growth for a diverse group of people.
    The perks (kitchen, lunches, etc.) are no better than most other small firms I know today.
    At the end of the day the professionals working here are NOT seeking to "compromise when it comes to client deliverables and outcomes for the districts we serve.". That is just offensive to them to even suggest it.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    Looks good from afar but far from good.

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

    I have been working at District Management Council full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Fair salaries and benefits. Smart, hardworking people who have impressive academic and professional credentials.

    Cons

    This is a company that unfortunately does not have the capability to create an environment that can retain talent. This is evidenced by a very high attrition rate that has occurred for years and continues to occur despite all the attempted fixes. The founder / CEO does not have the ability to manage and lead teams effectively. He and the other partner have struggled and failed to fix this and need to come to the understanding that they do not have the needed traits and knowledge to execute in a manner to groom, grow and build a firm to be larger than themselves.

    The company is successful at attracting talent who come with excellent credentials academically and professionally. Unfortunately, the environment supported by the partners is one that diminishes the value and growth of top talents. Creativity, teamwork, innovation and personal initiative are touted as things to be valued when interviewed but squashed when attempted in the workplace.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realize that these reviews are not a few disgruntled employees but the results of an environment and culture that the partners have supported and created year after year.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Truly disappointing. It is a place that regularly mistreats employees.

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

    I have been working at District Management Council full-time

    Pros

    Great colleagues: all of the more junior employees are passionate, smart, fun, and great to work with (though they keep leaving).

    Learning: you will gain a deep knowledge of the issues facing U.S. public education and learn very transferable skills (i.e., analysis, communication) that will serve you well in any job.

    Compensation: it pays better than many other opportunities you'd find in education.

    Cons

    Self-serving management: Management seems to care more about preserving their egos and "keeping people in line" than truly valuing its employees. Despite what they say about wanting employees to be more honest, leadership can't take any form of feedback and will turn against you the minute you make them feel insecure. No matter how well you've performed or how much you've contributed to the firm and to the work, they have no qualms about abusing you or pushing you out to serve their purposes. A shockingly high number (nearly every former employee I can think of) leave feeling mistreated or severely scarred from the experience.

    Culture of fear: Because so many are mistreated, people end up feeling unsafe, and fear among employees is palpable. People are afraid to speak up and be a part of the solution, because management has repeatedly turned against even the best of its employees. This is a real shame, because that means the firm does not know how to tap into the talent of the folks they bring in. They recruit for people who are incredibly smart, mission-driven, and self-motivated but don't provide a safe (or empowering) space for people to express their opinions and contribute to making the firm a better place.

    Profit-driven, not outcomes-driven approach to the work: While the company outwardly states that making impact in districts is its mission, its bottom line is profit. The firm is more than happy to keep getting paid even when there are no results to prove its success and even when it doesn't believe it can really deliver the results it promises.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please reflect on your leadership. People don't follow leaders who just want to be right and look good at the expense of those below them. People follow leaders who are humble, readily acknowledge their mistakes, and stand up for what is right and good - even if that means standing up for those lowest on the totem pole.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    culture values compliance over competence, devoid of trust

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

    I worked at District Management Council full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    By the end, I didn't have many pros left to believe in here. As others have said, the compensation is pretty good for the education sector, and some of the other junior people are very nice, thought they leave at astonishing rates.

    Cons

    What you'll find over time is that people who have an independent perspective (and dare to vocalize it, even in the gentlest and most diplomatic ways) are shunned, marginalized, and pushed out. So you end up with the people remaining that can't/don't raise their voice, push back, think for themselves, or want to improve anything. This is a sorry state, because many of the people who've left raised their voices because they had good ideas and they wanted to do the right thing for kids (or for co-workers).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    do you want yes-men, or do you want the best and the brightest? you need to decide

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 6 people found this helpful  

    DMC is NOT a non-profit - it is a for profit company owned by the CEO

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

    I worked at District Management Council full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Working closely with school and district leaders offers the opportunity to impact meaningful change in the education sector. The staff are a real pleasure to work with.

    Cons

    Many reviewers seem to be under the illusion that DMC is a mission-driven non-profit. This is not true.
    DMC is a firm whose mission is to increase its own bottom line - this may be why employees are disappointed in the culture - the work isn't driven by trying to achieve a greater outcome for students, faculty, schools or districts. Certainly the partners want to achieve such results but they are not measuring the success of themselves or the company based on what happens in schools and districts. Potential employees need to understand this before joining the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't pretend to be something you are not - be clear in your advertising and hiring that DMC is a company NOT a non-profit organization.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 7 people found this helpful  

    Don't believe the fake reviews posted within one week of each other in January, the culture still sucks

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

    I have been working at District Management Council full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    1) One of the senior leaders, Karla Baehr, is a wonderful coach and mentor, deeply invested in junior employees' development, and she is reasonable and level-headed. 2) It is definitely exciting to work so closely with school systems. 3) I am happy with my compensation, it is competitive for the non-profit sector. 4) For the most part, they do not have a strong expectation of "face time" - I am able to leave the office when I want/need to, as long as I get my work done. Mind you, I work like crazy, but I have flexibility with when & where. 5) There seem to be pretty good exit options - people keep leaving for pretty good jobs.

    Cons

    This organization lacks real, underpinning values that guide decision-making and shape the culture. One obvious, potential value would be "improve student learning in the districts where we work". This is nominally in the mission statement, but it isn't lived in practice - the company has been working in some districts for 3-5 years that have seen no improvement, and they never talk about this or hold themselves accountable in any way. There is also not a strong value on developing employees' skills. It's kind of a "do your own thing" professional development model, which might be fine for people 10+ years into their career, but works really poorly for early-tenure folks. Third, and most concerning, the culture is extremely hierarchical - you will be flabbergasted at the extent to which even the most unimportant decisions runs through the top, are communicated as commands and not ideas, and are often underdeveloped or ridiculous, but you'll have no chance to push back. I expect that the culture will actually get worse, as half of the partners left within the last year, and those that left were the ones who showed more interest in culture -- I think they just gave up trying to make it better.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Seek counseling

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 8 people found this helpful  

    Gaming reviews to improve your ratings and online image

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

    I have been working at District Management Council full-time

    Pros

    1) The ability to impart actual change in our public school systems.
    2) Co-workers
    3) The business model is great

    Cons

    1) Brutal work environment
    2) Internal mobility will most likely end at the Senior Director level, since there little likelihood that anyone will make it to the managing director (Partner) level.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1) Look outside of Harvard, Yale and the other Ivy League schools to hire people. Life does not revolve around these schools. There are brilliant people that went to other schools that aren't even considered since they didn't go to the "chosen" institutions. School snobbery runs rampant here.

    I am amazed at the fact that there was an internal decision to make four staff members post positive reviews to offset the consistent negative reviews of former employees. Four posts within 3 days of each other all positive. Instead of trying to offset the negative reviews, why don't you help the culture of the company. The staff are great and intelligent. They bust their tails and give 1000%. With such high turnover, all that happens is more work gets dumped on fewer people. As a business model this wont work in the long run. Usually college grads stay at their first company for 3 years, to date, that has not happened and most leave in under 1 1/2 years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    This has been a good place for me to advance my career.

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

    I have been working at District Management Council full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    This company has a great mission. It's nice to know my efforts are making a positive impact on society. My supervisor is a good listener and everyone on my team treats me with respect, which means that most days are happy days for me. On my particular team, we all seem to "get" each other and have pretty good work chemistry. I am given a lot of freedom in how I accomplish my work.

    This is perhaps odd to say, but I really like the weekly company meetings on Friday mornings. There are about 40 of us in the company now and it's a great way to keep connected with other people you may not have worked with that week because we take the time to discuss in small groups what happened the previous week. The tone of the meeting is always positive and I always leave there feeling good about the company.

    The free snacks in the kitchen are a nice bonus and have the side-effect of impromptu kitchen conversations with coworkers. I really like my coworkers; there are a lot of nice and interesting people here.

    Cons

    Busy schedules mean top leadership is often inaccessible for quality collaboration.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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