Exponent

  www.exponent.com
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Exponent Reviews

Updated July 25, 2014
Updated July 25, 2014
55 Reviews

3.4
55 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good company, interesting projects, highly qualified personnel (in 5 reviews)

  • The projects are interesting, and there are a lot of smart people who work there (in 5 reviews)


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

  • The company is shortsighted due to too much focus on billable work (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great place to learn

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

    Pros

    Opportunity to learn a variety of technical areas while at the same time develop client skills. Great comp combined with uniquely academic setting and ability to set very flexible schedule

    Cons

    Sometimes can feel a bit dry - not a lot of office/group events.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Spend more time/resources cultivating team spirit among employees.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Pretty cut-and-dry

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

    Pros

    Good people to work with.

    Cons

    They are so focused on billing, it breeds an atmosphere of "each man for himself"

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work on the team-building and comradery.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Interesting place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Information Technology (IT) Developer  in  Palo Alto, CA
    Former Employee - Information Technology (IT) Developer in Palo Alto, CA

    Pros

    Great place if you are a PHD/Higher Education individual that values privacy and individuality

    Cons

    Not a good place for IT.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper level IT Management isolates themselves from lower level, and mid-level management is wishy washy with decision making.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    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

    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
  6.  

    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

    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
  7.  

    Working at Exponent

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

    Pros

    If you are interested in diagnosing failures and litigation support, this is the place for you. It is nice to work with so any smart people. The office had a very academic feeling to it. Good cooperation between departments and groups. Lot of good social activities outside of the office.

    Cons

    Employee success is largely based on a ratio of the number of billable hours to the number of hours the employee is being asked to be paid for. This does do a good job of creating a pure meritocracy, but it can also make working there very stressful.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a way to price discriminate, like movie theaters - kids pay less for a seat than an adult. There needs to be a system to do this with different types of clients.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    intense

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

    Pros

    interesting work, fast pace, smart colleagues

    Cons

    upper management seems confused about medium to long term goals for employees. A faction is hell bent on billable productivity, come hell or high water, even at the cost of medium term initiatives. may work short term, but will fall flat in 2 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    provide more support to your employees for development of marketing niches. right now there is none. you will lose a lot of associates and senior associates in the next year or two otherwise.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Interesting place to work

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

    Pros

    Variety of technical work; smart, nice people; no one micromanages you. Ability to make your own destiny. It is a good place for people who take initiative and risk.

    Cons

    Marketing (selling) yourself (and the firm) is important -if you don't have that attitude, it is tough to advance. It is much like other professional services firms in that respect.

    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Long-time full time employee

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

    Pros

    Smart people, flexibility, good benefits, decent pay

    Cons

    Emphasis on billability and marketing

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize high technical performers, not just good marketers

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great place for self starters, no one holds your hand

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

    Pros

    The sky's the limit. This is a company that you can come to and build your own practice from the ground up. If you convince clients to hire you for huge projects, you'll do well and rise to the top rapidly. No one is there to stop you.

    You can choose to walk all over people to get there or not; there are many paths to Principal.

    People are generally good, and generally bright. There are a few phonies and bull crap artists, but the company overall has a very good reputation among clients and outsiders - and for good reason.

    Most interview candidates come armed with almost the exact same phrase: "I'm interested in Exponent because I like variety." You will certainly get that here.

    Cons

    Biggest con is a lack of management. The act of "good management" is not rewarded in any way. The term "manager" is thrown around as if giving out candy. Make a lot of money for Exponent? You're a manager / senior manager / principal - never mind if you never actually manage anything or anyone.

    Really good at training people, hiring people, or running a lab? You get a pat on the back at best, and at worst your bonus will suffer.

    The Employee Stock Purchase Plan is a complete joke (5% discount off of market value, with no control over the date of purchase). Stock awards / options are for Principal level and higher only. At that level, the options factor in to your bonus calculation. Bonuses are heavily skewed towards the rainmakers. Bonuses at lower levels are often a joke, unless you are the top performer in your pay grade.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper Management need to breathe new life into the old company, and I don't mean just by hiring more young people. The company needs a culture, and more amenities for its employees. Think how much more productive people would be if free lunch and dinner were provided - this seems to be the status quo in the Bay Area anyway. Then what about providing some recreation? Encourage people to hit the gym which also boosts morale/productivity. New equipment needs to be purchased more regularly and should be done so much more proactively.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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