EF Education First North America

  www.ef.edu
  www.ef.edu
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EF Education First North America Reviews

Updated September 6, 2014
Updated September 6, 2014
158 Reviews
3.7
158 Reviews
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EF Education First North America CEO Eddie Hult
Eddie Hult
36 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • They offer opportunities to travel internationally for work (in 16 reviews)

  • collaborative and supportive work environment (in 15 reviews)


Cons
  • 2 - Work Life Balance - This can be seasonal but EF is definitely a place where work can take over your life (in 8 reviews)

  • Bonuses are very difficult to hit and the pay is low, so there is high turnover (in 12 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Beautiful campus, great colleagues -- but it feels a bit like 'The Circle' ...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Area Manager  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Area Manager in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at EF Education First North America full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Being at EF feels like something out of The Circle (Dave Eggers' book): the company strives to create this 'all-inclusive' culture, where you can work, socialize, and spend your free time with EF people ... and doing EF things. Unlike in the book, here this isn't necessarily a bad thing - the people are generally smart, the new office building and surrounding area are seriously beautiful, and the mission of EF is an easy one to get behind... but be prepared to get on the company bus - or get out.

    You will feel like the company works really hard to support its employees, offer advancement (though there aren't many opportunities - so this is largely lateral) and continuing education, and keep everyone positive. It is an exceptional place to work and going into 'the real world' office culture after EF will probably be a culture shock!

    Cons

    If you are someone who works for the sake of work, or who doesn't share the 'company spirit' (akin to team spirit, high school spirit, cheerleader spirit) - it will be hard to advance and you probably won't be happy there. There is a sort of 'college culture' of drinking and parties, which the lack of a dress code and campus-like offices contribute to, all of which combined may make you feel like you're still an undergrad.

    The blatant expense of the new building (as well as the tuition fees of the neighboring Hult Business School) stands in stark contrast to the salaries of most employees, and there is pretty high turnover in most departments. The structure of the company is like a bottleneck - very few people are at the top, and there are many entry-level type positions with few advancement opportunities.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    EF is a great company for EF people - there is a certain type of person who will be happy and successful there, and I think you should continue to bring those people in. I'd strongly suggest a more transparent annual salary review process, and possibly working with an organizational/behavioral psychologist to figure out how to ensure that your best employees stick around... training new hires, repeatedly, is VERY costly and a drain on morale.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great company, great culture

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

    I have been working at EF Education First North America full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Very fun company culture, with young people, fresh ideas and an overall positive view on the world. Very horizontal setup where everyone's ideas can be heard and are valid. It has been said again and again, but this company is the definition of "work hard play hard."

    Cons

    It can be hard to leave work when you are invested in what you do and like everyone that you work with!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Amazing opportunity to see the world while helping others do the same

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

    I have been working at EF Education First North America full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Unbelievably fun and cool colleagues. Lots of opportunity for interaction, fun events, great corporate culture.
    - Inspiring mission (help people open the world through education), great corporate origins story.
    - Best office in greater Boston -- wicked 360 degree views of the city, and flexible work spaces that promote collaboration, creativity, etc.
    - Travel, travel, travel! Been to 4 continents, 9 countries (some multiple times) in my 2 years at EF.

    Cons

    - This has improved a lot, but the 15 independent organizations that together comprise EF are somewhat siloed off. Team members would be even more inspired about the work they are doing w/in one of those 15 areas if they had more chance to learn about what's happening in other parts of EF in other parts of the world.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - It's been really fun to see EF around the city in more creative and inspiring ways over the past few years (like on the pink sails on the Charles River, or via the Ferris Wheel the company brought to Cambridge for free community rides). These activities were associated with EF's new building project. It would be great to see this type of thing continued even after the building opens.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Amazing opportunities for the right person

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Tour Consultant  in  Denver, CO
    Current Employee - Tour Consultant in Denver, CO

    I have been working at EF Education First North America full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Amazing opportunity for travel and growth, the caveat is that you must be willing or open to relocation to experience growth, especially if you are working in a smaller office. If you are successful in your role you will have amazing travel benefits that are unparalleled! No two days are the same and you are always getting opportunities to try new things inside and outside of your specific role.
    The people here are amazing. A very fun, young office environment with no cubicles! This is a work hard/play hard atmosphere and the company is actively adding new perks to enhance the staff benefits package, making it more competitive than most.
    The management is actively working on retaining good people and that is a big change from years past.

    Cons

    Work hard/play hard. This is definitely a work environment that can be a challenge if you are not a self starter and willing to put in the hours to be successful. There can be many distractions (one con of a very open floor plan) and if you are easily distracted you may struggle to get your work done in a typical 9-5 time frame.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Management training would be a huge plus! Most sales directors have their hearts in the right place but could some assistance on handling individuals within a large sales team. Need to prioritize time for career advancement plans and finding out what is really important to staff, this has improved greatly but needs to remain a priority. More professional development opportunities are also appreciated!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    excellent place to work

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

    I have been working at EF Education First North America full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    people are very friendly and willing to teach you new skills, the office has no cubicles and that is so nice, because if you have a question you can go directly to the person and ask them

    Cons

    I wish I can have a laptop because with the new office you can work in so many nice places.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    work life balance .... yes you have a life,

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    A normal esl teaching job.

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

    I have been working at EF Education First North America as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    You are not constantly being watched by upper management. You get to do what you want in the classroom for the most part.

    Cons

    Pay isn't great when you considered added time to lesson plan.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay more. Don't rotate kids so often.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Tour Consultant

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Tour Consultant  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Tour Consultant in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at EF Education First North America full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    sales training, great office culture, very open, great/young people, get to travel abroad 1-2 times/year (more or less), great benefits package

    Cons

    not much opportunity for growth, extremely low salary, other than sales not much to put forth for another company (don't use sales-force), no training for account management, wearing way too many hats, no structure for connecting the other departments, nothing is guaranteed, expect you to work way too many hours, no overtime, expected to stay until 8pm or later when it's busy,

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Chicago school: infighting, unprofessional, lack of clear goals

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

    I worked at EF Education First North America part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    location in the heart of the Loop, meeting students from around the world

    Cons

    there was lots of unnecessary workplace gossiping and passive aggression, everyone was vastly underpaid for what they were doing, and the management from the Boston office was intent on squeezing every last cent out of the staff and students no matter what kinds of negative effects it caused

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    pay employees more and develop a more collaborative work environment

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to start your career, but move on after 2-3 years.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Marketing in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at EF Education First North America full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The company is great for people right out of college and that have an interest in education and travel. Their new office is stunning, with a fantastic open-layout and beautiful park outside. The office culture is fast-paced, where people work hard and play hard. EF is great for taking care of its employees, as there are often free meals served and plenty of opportunities for travel. 80% of the Cambridge office is sales staff, who are a little cliquey, so you need to find your niche. EF also offers a great benefits package (medical, dental, vision) and will match your 401k up to 25% over 5 years (which is just okay).

    Cons

    Management is slow to make decisions, and at times very weak. There also isn't a lot of help with career development, and although they preach about innovating educational travel, it is clear that their main mission is to make as much money as possible, as their trips still skimp travelers as much as possible. They use curriculum development and their "innovation" products as tools to sell their bread-and-butter European trips.

    If you start as a Sales Associate it is extremely difficult to move up, even if you have fantastic sales numbers. When you hit your sales goals you get bonuses, but be careful because if you make too many bonuses the company may 1) not promote you to a new position because they want to keep you in sales, or 2) let you go because they can always find a cheaper alternative. This job is all about selling trips and it can be extremely cutthroat at times. Bonuses are very difficult to hit and the pay is low, so there is high turnover.

    If you work in marketing be prepared to fit your creative ideas into the "EF voice". EF has a proven, time-tested way of doing things and they are very slow to adopt new ideas and methodologies. Also, if you have a good idea (even a very small one), you seemingly need to get it approved by 3-5 different Directors, which slows the momentum of a project.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Truly innovate your products and improve communication with staff members. Also try and support your employees better by helping to advance their careers.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Language instructor at EF Cambridge/Brighton

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

    I have been working at EF Education First North America as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    cool people, young, vibrant atmosphere

    Cons

    contracted positions are treated as expendable.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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