Booz Allen Hamilton

  www.boozallen.com
  www.boozallen.com
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13 people found this helpful  

Slow Drift to Mediocre Government Contractor

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Lead Associate in Washington, DC
Former Employee - Lead Associate in Washington, DC

I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 5 years)

Pros

I joined Booz Allen 6+ years ago and left in 2012. At the outset, it was a great company to work for with a myriad of opportunity to learn and grow from smart and talented people and from a company with a 95+ year tradition in consulting. I worked primarily in the public sector and day-to-day the client-work coudl be so-so (it is government, so I wasn't always working with the most talented people operating in a high-performing environment), but I took pride in working for Booz and found it to live up to its ideals as a "great place to work" and learned a lot. UNTIL.....

Cons

Just about everything changed with the Carlyle private equity firm investment and subsequent public offering. Booz's reputation in the marketplace is pretty at odds with the internal reality. Booz Allen Hamilton is no longer a consulting company, but a large Federal contractor. In the past 2-3 years the company culture has slowly gone adrift as we focused on short-term financial results, cost-cutting, and rewarding senior management and Carlyle for their "performance" (e.g. see $1B "special" dividend paid for with junk debt and cash we should be conserving in this uncertain gov't market). At the same time, training, benefits, awards, salary increases, team all-hands, and holiday parties are all being cut or trimmed. But, don't worry, you'll be expected to be available for early AM, evening, and weekend work anyway.

By the end it was a very disillusioning environment with little upward mobility thanks to extreme politics and a misguided desire to hire "talent" externally, as is reflected in the 30-40% turnover in some teams (those are actual metrics, no exaggeration). The best and brightest who have other opportunities are sadly fleeing for the exits while a lot who are left describe their career as "at least it's a paycheck".

SO....if you're looking for a stable job as a Federal contractor, Booz isn't a bad place to land. If you're looking for what Booz is trying to sell a lot of people on...an opportunity for challenging and strategic consulting work where you'll be rewarded, I'd recommend Accenture, Deloitte, or a lot of other mid-size actual consulting firms.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

-Reward great work and commitment with internal promotions
-Start firing the senior leaders you brought in with core values issues
-Cut out the non-value added overhead at the Senior Associate and above level who add little to no value to client work and still delegate much of the marketing/business development to Leads and Associates.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

2245 Other Employee Reviews for Booz Allen Hamilton (View Most Recent)

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    A good company that values their employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant Level II in O'Fallon, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant Level II in O'Fallon, IL

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Training opportunities
    Value employee opinions
    Career opportunities
    Interesting work

    Cons

    A bit stodgy
    Bureaucratic
    Not very agile in thinking

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get out to the satellite offices more often and talk to the employees. Also, we need to become more agile in our decision cycles, especially at the management levels.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 9 people found this helpful  

    This once great consulting firm has become an outsourcing company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in Huntsville, AL
    Former Employee - Associate in Huntsville, AL

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    There are pockets of the firm that still retain the former greatness of the Booz Allen culture. The collaborative spirit, adherence to core values, thought leadership, excellence in everything that they do, career development for all staff, professionalism (acting that way and treating others that way), client service, hiring the best and brightest. To date, I have not run upon anything quite like those aspects in my 10 year career. I learned things at Booz Allen that I would never have learned elsewhere, and really the "secret sauce" of what made Booz Allen great could really work anywhere.

    Cons

    Things were great when I first hired onto Booz Allen in 2008. Then things went quickly south. First the Carlyle buyout in mid-2008 which changed things a little but not appreciably. Then going public in late 2010 when the Partners said "nothing would change" when in fact everything changed (weekly utilization drills, increased scrutiny of expenses). Then the mass hiring in 2011 of unqualified staff for non-existent positions in the ill-timed, ill-advised "Take Share" initiative. Then the mass downsizing in 2011-2012. Bit by bit, the firm has become beholden to the shareholders versus what it was always beholden to: its clients. This has led the company to value a "butts in seats" outsourcing approach to government contracting versus the classical management consulting approach of the gilded age of Booz Allen. No longer are people valued at Booz Allen, they are just a commodity to be sold cheaply. When your task runs out, you're out the door. In some fairness to Booz Allen leadership, the clients (or really, client, the Federal Gov't) don't value thought leadership in the classical sense (The gov't provides the thought leadership, right?). Joking aside, I don't think that Booz Allen knows what hit them since the change was so gradual they really think that nothing has changed in the culture of the company.

    One last thought and that is that the management at Booz Allen made a fatal mistake in relying on the double-digit annual revenue growth model where the firm's revenue grows fast, faster than the infrastructure can keep up leading to a growth-binge-growth-binge model where profits come from the infrastructure not keeping up. This model may have been great for the fat years, but is dismally insufficient for the current fiscally constrained environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Go private again. This is what you always said was your big strength. Being private meant you could take long-term risks without worrying about immediate payoff. You could keep people on the bench longer because you weren't as worried about profit margins. You also didn't waste all that time on quarterly earnings reports and other drills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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