Exponent

www.exponent.com

Exponent Reviews in Menlo Park, CA

58 Reviews
3.3
58 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Exponent President, CEO, and Director Paul R. Johnston
Paul R. Johnston
30 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Working on a wide variety of interesting projects (often at the same time) is a huge plus for the right personality (in 5 reviews)

  • It is nice to work with so any smart people (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance very difficult (dare I say impossible) to achieve (in 6 reviews)

  • Nearly all of senior management is divorced or is married to a spouse who has no professional career (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

10 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Work hard and see a bunch of different projects in a very short time...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Extremely flexible schedule (except when it's not due to client expectations). Salary at higher levels can be good with a relatively low-level risk. Getting compensated for overtime is nice.

    Cons

    Depending on your manager and the expectations of the client, you may have "surprise" commitments that pop up at the last minute that take over your evening. Salary at the lower levels is below market rate.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Smart people, stagnant culture and benefits- keep up with the Bay Area!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Working on a wide variety of interesting projects (often at the same time) is a huge plus for the right personality. Encouragement to publish and cultivate client relationships, while maintaining a strictly unbiased work product is also great. Great people to work with- smart, vibrant, flexible.

    Cons

    The negatives are almost entirely infrastructure-related. We need a cafeteria that doesn't serve terrible food. Yes, it's cheap. Yes, it's also terrible. Everyone knows it. Gym? Recreation? The ban on stand-desk purchasing was a great indicator of short term money saving for long term loss of talent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The writing is on the wall- how many young and very bright Ph.D.s have we lost to Google, Tesla, Apple, and Lab126 in the past two years? Count them. Adjust salary upwards to at least approach the market rate, and provide quality food and a gym or fitness incentives.

    Employees staying past 7:30pm? Allow them to purchase dinner up to $25. I can't tell you how much more productive I would be if I could stay for dinner...but I can't, so I lose about three hours of work potential every day.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Some interesting work and a poor work/life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some of the projects are quite interesting because they are high profile, involve prototypes or pre-released products, or are truly interesting problems. Schedule can be fairly flexible. Very few meetings.

    Cons

    Project management is non-existent. Some of the projects are exceedingly boring. weekend work is often expected and career advancement is hugely based on luck, not skill.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest more in the career development of junior staff (associate to senior associate level)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Engineer

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

    I have been working at Exponent full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The company is financially solid, even within the financial crisis, mainly due to the type of business and hard work of employees. If you are a consultant, dedicated work and extra effort with relatively good sales skills will get you up the ranks really fast. It is not uncommon to land 2 promotions in 3 years.

    Cons

    communication from management is lacking. Not a fun place to work.

    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    I have greatly enjoyed working here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent

    Pros

    Fascinating projects, brilliant colleagues, flexible hours, ability to define your own career, significant value on strong technical competency, beautiful work environment, strong value on creativity and ability to pursue business opportunities

    Cons

    Limited support for investments in R&D unless there will be a significant return on investment in the near term. Helps to be a self-starter.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer stock options at very low quantities to more junior staff in order to promote pride in organization at all levels.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Not bad at all until upper management worred that their bonuses might drop in the Recession

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at Exponent

    Pros

    Good salary, moderate pressure, reasonable working conditions. Management is extremely poor about giving information and feedback. Overt favoritism on the part of management. Lack of consistency in treatment of employees. Failure to observe and manage problems, with preference going to an "everything is fine" attitude rather than dealing with problems proactively.

    Cons

    Overpriced benefits, management which threatens rather than enforces standards, Upper Management's obsession with the amount of money they can pile up at the expense of any other consideration.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop being so greedy. It's not always and only about YOU. Think about other people as human beings, not statistics whose only function is to get you another cabin at Tahoe.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great company to work for if you like to live in the boonies and have no desire to have a social life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Managing Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Managing Engineer in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent

    Pros

    Having a salary at the end of the month

    Cons

    not expected to go on vacation, have a social life, weekends off, etc.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    work, work, work...

    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Employee beware

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Exponent

    Pros

    Exposure to more variety of technical problems than you could possibly imagine

    Cons

    You are essentially responsible for finding your own internal work. You will only be fed for so long. After that grace period you will be scrutinzed weekly and your UT evaluated. Typical targte is 80+% but given that vacation and sick count against you, by working 40h week at 100% the maximum UT you can achieve is 90%. What does this tell you about work life balance? Expect the tiniest infractions to be blown out of all proportion at review time. Do not expect to be told what is really required of you to advance - they will not be upfront about. Senior staf are expected to bring in $150+k of business, promotion to manager requires $500+k, senior manager $750k-1M and Principal $1M.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Just because you are "Manager" rank or above it does not mean you know everything, it does not mean yo know how to manage people. All it shows is that you have brought in over $500k of work for either as an intiator or developer (developer credit is given if you play an important role in a project - if you are lucky enough to have your contribution acknowledged)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    You could rise exponentially fast - but you probably will not.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Principal in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Principal in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at Exponent

    Pros

    Gaining recognition amongst those people who think Exponent is a great firm, including their loyal clients and academics.
    Being challenged by truly unusual problems
    Learning about other disciplines and working in a multi-disciplined environment
    Working in an environment where you are free to develop your career as fast as you want it to develop
    Being well rewarded financially
    Having much freedom to write papers and develop professionally

    Cons

    Exponent is an ivory tower sort of firm. Arrogance is rife, as to be expected where the expected entrance ticket is a PhD from superb universities.
    The firm is not well grounded as a "practical" or "design" form. Indeed: there is a culture of separation from design firms which breeds superiority complexes.
    Career advance can be fast for those individuals with the passion and drive to work horribly long hours, to be political, and to quickly capture the attention of senior management as mentors and champions.
    There is little mentoring except for a chosen cadre of future stars.
    Despite encouragements otherwise, the firm really does prefer candidates to have a PhD; with little real-life experience elsewhere. They want to mold their junior staff.
    If you have insecurities when you join the firm, they may well be amplified. Then again, if insecurity drove you in the first place to get your PhD, you may well be able to channel that into a drive to succeed.
    If you have a wealth of experience elsewhere, it will not help you much. Exponent does its own thing.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior management does not walk the corridors in any sense: the firm has been around 40 years and senior managers "know" what works best. Senior management is old - there is a lot of gray hair and nowhere near enoguh women or minorities.

    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Exponent - Business Generation is critical for advancement; exciting fast-paced environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Managing Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Managing Engineer in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at Exponent

    Pros

    Top notch technical engineers and scientists who are extremely smart and hard-working. High percentage of MS and PhD degrees from top universities. There is a great deal of freedom and flexibility if you are able to generate projects and bring in new business. There is an opportunity to advance rapidly (promotions and compensation) for the most successful who both generate new business and maintain high billable hours and personal utilization/personal revenue.

    Cons

    High pressure and large time committments across all levels of the company. Ability and expertise in managing people among upper management is highly variable (some are fantastic and others are marginal). Most are self-taught with some professional development. Noticed an increasing trend toward "up and out" over the last few years. Also see more tendency for even highly capable new staff to leave after 2-3 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Continue to pay attention to hiring the best and brightest at all levels. Try to see how improved project managers and group managers can be developed through mentoring and coaching. This requires a longer term focus and perspective.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

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