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Helpful (7)

Rampant mismanagement and lack of cohesive, strategic leadership

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Creative Developer in Washington, DC
Current Employee - Creative Developer in Washington, DC

I have been working at AKQA

Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO
Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO

Pros

Great location (if you like Georgetown)
Great creative reputation (although the DC office rides the coattails of San Francisco and London offices, who have much larger and more prestigious client portfolios)

Cons

Inexperienced project management and account coordination and client services teams, which means frequent communication breakdowns with clients and internally, resulting in wasted technical work, frustration.

The Creative team's output is often managed by the Account team, which means that the results can be awkward and less than inspiring--not up to the AKQA quality that the client expects.

The Tech team is often saddled with the burden of managing late breaking scope and requirements changes, when many of these could have been mitigated through better project management. As a result, the tech work experience can range from the mundane to the frustrating. Expect very little support from senior leadership (Tech Director, Account Directors, General Managers) to your concerns. The attitude is "suck it up and bear it".

Advice to Management

Hire better project managers to reduce wasted work effort. Clients are frustrated and so are internal team members. Account management is lacking in basic project coordination expertise, zeal, and direction.

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  1. Helpful (8)

    Horribly mismanaged, with rampant incompetency at all levels of account management and an absent strategic focus.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Creative in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Creative in Washington, DC

    I have been working at AKQA

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Cool-looking office, location, a beer fridge, and a pool table.

    Cons

    But the above serve as distractions from the terrible work environment--a reason not many stay here for longer than a year. The company hires inexperienced account managers who also serve as project managers--many of these hires have never worked for a digital agency before, or have had any significant experience dealing with other agencies and clients. As a result, requirements are not accurately translated to Creative and Technical teams, project scopes constantly swing, budgets are stretched, client expectations and trust are frequently blown, and the guns turn on you.

    Nearly all company events are centered around alcohol. The atmosphere can be cliquey and suffocating.

    Hiring is completely reactive, instead of being strategic.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the glaring problems within the Account team. Hire competent project managers and product managers that have had a deep experience working with blue-chip clients in a digital agency environment. Allow the Creative team to take more of a leadership role in driving the ideas forward. Hire strategic planners with a proven record.

  2. Helpful (6)

    Not perfect by any means, but still a better place to work than 90% of the ad agencies out there.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at AKQA

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    On the higher end of the tier in terms of quality of work, innovation and creativity. A great place to get up to speed from a digital perspective. Great on a resume. Egos and politics are at a minimum (when compared to other agencies). There are no perfect places to work (you will always find something to complain about, right?). But if you look at the ad agency landscape and put things in perspective, this is a really good place to work. More good qualities than bad, and you will get a lot of opportunities to do good, sometimes great work. Plus there are a lot of nice people working here. The social culture is very good.

    Cons

    Salaries are on the lower end of the ad agency scale. Needs to be better about rewarding and retaining their superstars. Needs to be less conservative about promotions, especially in an improving job market.

    Advice to Management

    Needs to think more outside the box about salaries and raises. React to the market and reward the superstars. Give raises to them under those terms, rather than a uniform percentage. Because if you don't, there are plenty of companies who understand their value and will lure them away.

There are newer employer reviews for AKQA
There are newer employer reviews for AKQA

See Most Recent

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