InsideTrack

  www.insidetrack.com
  www.insidetrack.com
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InsideTrack Reviews

Updated September 13, 2014
Updated September 13, 2014
39 Reviews
3.8
39 Reviews
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InsideTrack Chief Executive Officer Pete Wheelan
Pete Wheelan
12 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great company, great people, great mission!

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

    I have been working at InsideTrack

    Pros

    Culture, benefits, training and development

    Cons

    Compensation and unpredictable lifecylce for accounts can be a drawback

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    A company that lacks transparency while preaching it...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Success Coach  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Success Coach in Portland, OR

    I worked at InsideTrack full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    In the first few months, you'll get onboarded by seasoned coaches and managers. A plethora of feel-good vignettes will release the dopamine and give you a sense of mission-driven work in coaching students to "stay in school". It's also a great opportunity to learn more about communication skills on an interpersonal level and a corporate scale. Many account have a lot of client-coach interactions that help new coaches learn how to communicate professionally with a client that's paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for a service. You'll gain a few lines on your resume working here...

    Cons

    Let's cut to the chase. Until very recently, many of the clients of InsideTrack were for-profit schools. InsideTrack is in the business of supporting "retention". The problem with this business plan is that the company provides that service to small community colleges and massive for-profits alike. I was on a corporate for-profit account where I'd hear about our clients regularly lying to students and breaking the law to get students into their programs and take out thousands of dollars of loans just to fail. I'm not saying "gee this person is irresponsible and perhaps shouldn't be in school" unprepared, but "wow, this student is homeless, doesn't own a computer, perhaps lacks basic skills to go to college but had an admissions advisor who buttered them up and made them feel like a bestie" kind of unprepared. In truth, InsideTrack has played a large part in the for-profit college problem. It's essentially an appendage of for-profit schools like DeVry, Capella, and EDMC (all schools we've "coached" at one point or another), and subsidized by the federal government, all the while taking advantage of poor students who mostly end up with no degree and thousands of dollars worth of debt.
    There's no transparency (a word you'll hear often in the world of ITK coaching) around how you are measured for performance. Essentially, ITK is always looking at improving year-over-year retention. We were always trying to beat last year's goals. Despite the fact that students are human beings, you had an allotted number of students who could drop while you still made your retention goal for the semester. After that, you are held accountable if your numbers come in low. It didn't matter if you never made contact with someone on the phone or they were not set up for success. Many clients paid thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars) for coaching services and the expectation was that goals were met. InsideTrack continues to ask coaches to remove barriers that are far beyond their control for students to be successful. In essence, admissions works to get their quota in, and regardless of the level of readiness of these students who come in the door, coaches have the burden of being held accountable for these students coming back. None of this is told to new coaches. Essentially, these details come in slowly as you receive your first roster and work for your first few months.
    Another component of the weirdness of ITK is it's lack of transparency around salary, wages, and upward mobility. This company built it's wealth off the back of the for-profit college industry. it used to pay coaches with its absurd certification system that is completely worthless outside of the company itself. Some coaches went through this process quickly before the financial regulations came into play a few years ago. Essentially, there are coaches who've been around who make upwards of 50k a year with a bachelor's degree while new coaches start between 34-37k. It's never clear when or if raises take place, and the process is very secretive. Again, no transparency.
    I was always pretty disgusted with the workload of fte. Coaches have huge rosters (sometimes 200 students) while ACD's (managers) would listen to pandora and always squeak through meetings without really accomplishing anything worthwhile. While the employer is at-will, there's a union feel of "putting in your time coaching" and making your way up the ladder. ACD's and CD's make 50-60k a year and the fruits of their labor are difficult to see. Coaches are thrown on the phone with often emotionally unstable students and regularly told after a brutal weeks' work "we'd like to see you do a bit more".
    Within the for-profit context of coaching, there's a wing of coaching services whose role is to support coaches who end up with these emotionally unstable students, or students who are facing life circumstances that make school difficult (in truth, students who should not be in school at this point of their lives). I would regularly talk to homeless students, students in abusive relationships, mentally ill students, and students who were suicidal. There was never any training on this, and there was never any acknowledgement that the population of students we were working with would bring these situations in spades. Self care was difficult because metrics, meetings, phone time, and outbound calls were always the name of the game, and whether or not a coach needed to care for themselves was never made a priority.

    Doesn't Recommend
  3.  

    Clients

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager
    Current Employee - Manager

    I have been working at InsideTrack full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Just wanted to follow up on review below that says we mostly work with "for profit" colleges: not at all true. The majority of our current clients are traditional nonprofit universities and community colleges, as well as non profit adult and professional schools.

    Working at insidetrack can differ greatly depending on which client team/student population you work with. Not everyone is a match for all types. If you stay long enough and are open about your development areas, willing to work you tail end off no matter what team you are on and honest with your managers about fit- you can almost always (with patience) end up matched with a client/student population that meets your strengths.

    Cons

    The current climate for funding of support resources in higher education can lead to shifting contracts with clients despite coaching performance results (retention primarily) far surpassing expectations. This can lead to frequently shifting staffing needs and can be tough on folks who've poured their hearts into students and getting results for clients. It can be hard to surpass an expected goal and not have that mean client renewal or expansion.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Strong professional development, improving leadership

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

    I have been working at InsideTrack full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The values of the company are admirable, and most in leadership genuinely share the passion of the newest hire.

    Work-life balance is becoming more and more positive, with flexible scheduling more likely these days.

    Office culture: the people are trained as highly-skilled communicators and among the most tight-knit and caring you could meet. Very self aware, and those who do not fit in with the culture are not ostracized, but welcomed and accommodated. If you make the effort, we're eager to have you. If not, help us find the way. If unwilling, you might not plug in as well and might find your way out, but most people who last a year can find their way through this just fine, leaving on their own terms if at all.

    Good pay in each office, and as long as you're willing to do the job you should be able to keep it and earn modest raises whatever you do.

    Put in 1+ years (during which you get constant professional development) and you can learn the ropes...and the people to know. That is, the people with whom you work make all the difference, and finding your best fit with managers, coaches, etc. should be your first task when you start, besides learning your craft. Advancement and development are available, but require the employee to drive the processes (even those that take time).

    Cons

    Contracts with clients shift business needs and opportunities, so the hiring and promotion processes are never guaranteed. Sometime they take significantly longer than expected; other times multiple leaps up the ladder may be made to meet needs.

    Benefits are okay for single individuals (well covered by the InsideTrack), but expensive (maybe prohibitively so) for families. However, the company does support families through good FMLA, new mother, flex schedule, and related practices.

    Senior managers might fall into the old guard and the outside blood, but these two get along very well with C-level being the best staffed in years. However, old guard can get bogged down in past processes to the detriment of emerging needs, and newer blood can miss the context necessary to learn from our past efforts. To be expected, but it means that we might lose or mishandle some great opportunities. Expecting this to improve in the next 6-12 months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep an eye to innovation, including innovative ways to utilize staff. You'll lose more talent (into whom you've sunk costs) or continue to under-utilize your staff if tied to closely to traditional staffing for all. It's easiest that way, but not smartest.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Overly idealistic - Only a job for the very outgoing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Success Coach  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Success Coach in Portland, OR

    I worked at InsideTrack full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Upper management is very nice. There is an excellent program for coach development. However there is little to no opportunity for growth outside of the coaching position.

    Cons

    The job is VERY emotionally and mentally draining. You are working with mostly for-profit colleges that have a scam reputation. And essentially your job is to keep students enrolled at these schools even if its not in their best interest.

    What InsideTrack does sounds really good on paper. And I'm sure that they have helped a few students along the way. But they are built and funded on the student federal loan bubble that will eventually pop.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    constant change, constant calls

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Prospective Student Coach  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Prospective Student Coach in Portland, OR

    I have been working at InsideTrack full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The people I work with are incredible. This company feels very energetic and idealistic. It's a nice mix of people fresh off the college press (like I was) and seasoned veterans of the higher ed community. You will gain killer communication skills, since you will talk with people from all walks off life about very touchy subjects. Lots of autonomy once you become a seasoned or certified "master" coach. Pretty great flexibility with working different hours on different days or working from home a couple days a week.

    Cons

    "Voicemail jail" is real and it's hard. It can be hard calling the same student over and over when you know they don't want to talk. It can also be exhausting to not see the outcomes of your work. I am a PSC and it often takes several months to know if the work you did actually paid off, so you just have to work on faith. The company is very bottom heavy, with very few positions outside of coaching. I would love to try something in HR or training, but there are also probably 100 other coaches right behind me. There are also constant initiatives and surveys that fill my inbox. I feel like the vision of the company is always changing and I have stopped keeping track of the newest "fad" in coach development because it will just change in another 4-6 months.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There needs to be more structure around team changes. Since we gain and lose accounts all the time, it can be challenging for HR to put everyone in their "homes." However, some people move teams at such a pace that they forget what school they are calling for. There need to be some minimums set in place so that clients have a more consistent team to work with. For instance, a coach (unless the account is cute) needs to stay on one team for at least 4-5 months before they can be considered to move to another team. Also, considering creating more roles for employees that don't necessarily have to be linked to increased compensation. Coaching by itself gets so boring after awhile. I would have settled for another title indicating some type of distinction or management, even without a pay increase. Perhaps a "team coaching quality manager" who is in charge of assigning and reviewing call scores in place of the manager. Or outsourcing some of the manager's duties to a coach and giving them a title. I don't always want more pay, I would just like other skills and job titles to add to my resume.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fulfilling work, frustrating promotion structure

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Coach  in  Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Senior Coach in Portland, OR

    I have been working at InsideTrack full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Genuinely fantastic co-workers.. I've made life-long friends here. Amazing professional development opportunities, on-going training, excellent team of folks committed to helping you learn how to do your job better. Motivating mission to be a part of - helping college students have the best experience possible and develop skills to get to graduation and beyond. Nice office environment. The benefits are really great as well.

    Cons

    You can work hard, go above and beyond expectations, volunteer your limited time to new initiatives and genuinely believe in the mission, and still get passed over time and time again for promotions. There are too many coaches who are ready right now to jump into a management position, and no positions available. The last several management positions have been filled by current managers who are making lateral moves. This leaves valuable employees feeling under-valued and stuck, with no financial incentive to stay. As coaches, we work with students to look at their degrees as opportunities to stop living paycheck to paycheck. This is wildly frustrating, as most coaches are currently living paycheck to paycheck ourselves, and don't feel confident that if we are just patient, an opportunity will come for us to use our leadership skills and enjoy the financial boost of a promotion.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Show coaches that they are valued by providing monetary compensation when there are no promotions available. Get creative with how you reward and recognize hard work, or you will lose your biggest asset - coaches who work hard and believe in your mission.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    A good out of college job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Coach  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Senior Coach in Portland, OR

    I worked at InsideTrack full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I liked working so intimately with students and the professional development/training opportunites at ITK were really great. It was still relatively new when I was there and when I see the LinkedIn profiles of people I used to work with, it seems like most of them are in leadership roles now with more responsibility, so I didn't feel like there was a glass ceiling.

    Leadership was pretty good, in my opinion. The longer I was there the more I was left to my own devices for the most part to manage my portfolio.

    Cons

    It actually was hard for me to separate work and life because most of my coworkers became my friends so even off shift ITK was all around. This was really common. There seems to be an unspoken expectation that you are very involved socially.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Little-to-no career guidance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Coach  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Senior Coach in Portland, OR

    I worked at InsideTrack full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Mission-driven work with a bigger paycheck then you'd get at most nonprofits. The company culture is one of community and you will likely meet people you want to know for the rest of your life here. The actual work of coaching students is extremely rewarding but it can be emotionally exhausting after awhile. Overall, it was exciting to be part of a company that is having such a large impact in the world!

    Cons

    Lack of opportunity for growth. Little-to-no career guidance and even if you get under a manager who really believes in you, the opportunities to move up or do different things in the organization are few and far between OR have to be tacked on to your coaching role which is nearly impossible to maintain given the high volume of work you are doing as a Coach.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer your coaches more opportunity to try different roles and job functions. Make ITk a place where one can really grow their career and make it whatever they want it to be.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Unbelievable training, great mission, low pay, office politics, unexamined assumptions, and misguided metrics.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Success Coach  in  Portland, OR
    Former Employee - Success Coach in Portland, OR

    I worked at InsideTrack full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I cannot say enough about how much I have gained in communication from my time at InsideTrack. This will pay dividends my entire life.

    Interesting and engaging coworkers.

    Opportunity to make a difference in the lives of college students.

    Cons

    Few opportunities for promotion, and the model for it is misguided. People are promoted to management internally, and based on their success in an entirely different role. Being a good coach with good metrics is not indicative of success in management or client relationships. In fact, very few managers are very good at managing.

    Ever increasing goals for the number of meetings per day and the amount of time spent on the phone leaves employees burned out and emotionally drained. If you push hard and succeed at a goal, it is simply raised the next period, meaning you are guaranteed to experience a fair deal of discouragement.

    The organization is very secretive. Nobody talks about salaries, who is applying for job promotions, personal ambitions, etc. It is built on cultural views of "appropriateness", but many managers use this gauge to determine the worthiness of a coach, even if other measures would be more appropriate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look for leaders, not performers, in promotion. When they go together, fantastic, but the metric should match the need. If you need a good leader, choose among those who are good at leading others first.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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