King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

www.kaust.edu.sa
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King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Reviews

Updated January 29, 2015
Updated January 29, 2015
35 Reviews
3.2
35 Reviews
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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Your experience will entirely depend on your close colleagues

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

    I have been working at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

    Pros

    There are some great people here, and some that are terrible to work with. My best advice is: Before accepting a position here, make sure you feel very comfortable with the people you'll be reporting to and/or working with. You should feel able to approach your future colleagues or boss with questions as you make your decision (don't get all your info from HR; they mean well, but be sure to speak with those you'll be working for, too).

    Pros, assuming you follow the above advice and have a good work situation: as others have noted, commute to work is very easy (unless you are a contractor living off-site), supermarket is convenient and is improving, some resort-like recreational facilities, good for outdoor enthusiasts except in the heat of the summer, travel opportunities, savings opportunities. Professional development opportunities may be available, but ask about this during your interview process if it's important to you, and see how this question is received. I also want to correct a previous reviewer; women can and do travel unaccompanied outside of KAUST (they just can't drive outside of KAUST).

    Cons

    You'll be working with people who you also share a community with. This can create a certain amount of stress; taking precautions can mitigate this somewhat, so, try to avoid gossip and get involved in "politics" as little as possible.

    There are very limited entertainment options if you do not enjoy outdoor activities. Going into Jeddah is not like going into the modern cities that you may be used to, as there is very little in the way of an arts or entertainment scene, and of course no bars or clubs (a few decent restaurants, though).

    If you are someone who likes the feeling of going new places and seeing new things all the time, you will start to feel "trapped" in KAUST pretty quickly, and may get consumed with traveling all the time (some are ok with this; others find it eats into their savings). On the other hand, if you don't mind spending time at home, you may not struggle with this as much.

    There is very deeply engrained social segregation and racism. This goes for everywhere in the middle east, and can be very jarring at first. Realize that you are coming to a country with no "activism" or progress being made on this front.

    Biggest possible con of all IMO is if you land in a lab/office/work environment with very difficult or incompetent colleagues or management, but I think that goes for anywhere, not just KAUST. Do your homework before signing up.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep salaries up and keep providing good annual increases, to help with retention. The perception is that KAUST is tightening the belt, and it's ok to do that in other areas, but not employee salaries, or you will quickly get attrition. In terms of staff, the recruitment team seems to be bringing in people who are, on the whole, experienced and competent (I am speaking about recent hires). Obviously, keep doing this, but make sure they are being managed by people who are similarly competent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    So much potential

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

    I worked at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Money is no obstacle. The equipment and resources are excellent. On the other hand, money can be inhibitory. Resources are poorly managed if managed at all.

    Cons

    Unlimited resources may be the greatest enemy to this University. Too much is wasted. It's a closed isolated society in the middle of a desert. The University has attracted too many exploiters. Cheating, corruption, and nepotism have set in. In it's current state KAUST is not sustainable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a honest inventory instead of glossing over shortcomings. Problems must be addressed or resources will continue to be wasted and the window of opportunity that is KAUST will be gone. Remove dead weight and failed leadership and start over. Ask for help from the right people. Bring in top ethics officers. Find a way to be transparent.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great world experience in multicultural community but has challenges.

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

    I worked at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

    Pros

    Great pay and chance to get out of debt and save. Get to experience the world with plenty financial benefits and vacation days. My job is low stress and so is life on campus but can be boring at times. Great for young or just starting families but not so great for singles.

    Cons

    Saudi Arabia can be challenging to adjust to for westerners but not too bad once adjustment period is over. Plenty chance to travel.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need more vision in general and better plans for implementing efficient and effective administrative tactics.

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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Kaust

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

    Pros

    Safe compound living
    Great for Small families

    Cons

    Some people are very close minded

  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great opportunity to gain management experience in the Gulf in a non-petroleum based job-but only for a few years!

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

    I worked at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

    Pros

    The people! It's such an international community that you'll make friends and work with colleagues from literally all over the world. It is nice for families--super safe, and a supportive network of families. The money is good, if you have the "right" citizenship. It is possible to advance if you're willing to work harder than everyone else and just keep pushing--but burn out will happen quickly. Also, you must come in at a relatively high level to ever advance--lower-level hires get stuck with the stigma of their original salary/position, no matter how well they perform.

    Cons

    It's a university run like a business. Total lack of transparency, especially about institutional goals. Poor leadership. There is a real lack of accountability--It's possible to put in the bare minimum of effort and still coast along, which is incredibly frustrating to colleagues.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Sadly, management would consider taking advice beneath them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  7.  

    Very nice place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Student in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)
    Current Employee - Student in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)

    I have been working at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology full-time

    Pros

    - excellent labs and facilities
    - very good benefits (but they started cutting it down)
    - good work-life balance
    - on campus housing
    - nice community

    Cons

    - they are decreasing benefits (new students have to pay for housing and medical coverage)
    - your experience will depend on your advisor. So you will hear different stories depending on everyone's advisor.
    - job opportunities are much less compared to some one who is studying in the US for example

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - you can cut down expenses one many things other than student benefits

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    Frustrating with clash of cultures

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)
    Current Employee - Manager in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)

    I have been working at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    good pay, great community, interesting mix of nationalities

    Cons

    erratic administation, location in KSA

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    work on matters of retention

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  9.  

    GOOD FOR YOUNG FAMILIES

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Kaust Staff in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)
    Current Employee - Kaust Staff in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)

    I have been working at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    GOOD LIFE WORK BALANCE, MULTI CULTURE, CAMPUS LIFE, good training opportunities depending on where you work within the uni.

    Cons

    overall negativity feelings amongst staff and sense of entitlement

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    it seems that they are already going on the right direction, approve of new management

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Going down

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)

    I have been working at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

    Pros

    This university is cutting down the cost and giving lower and lower salary. Everything getting worse and worse. Lots of politics!

    Cons

    Do not come! You can find much better job in US/ EU. They likes hiring from US and EU.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop lying!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11.  

    Amazing university and an excellent place to work and study, challenges are all over the place though!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Thuwal (Saudi Arabia)

    I have been working at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The expectations are very high from everyone. The pace of the work is very fast. People here come from the most prestigious universities around the world with high standards.
    Financially speaking, this the best option for PhD students. The salary is high, no taxes, everything is already covered (housing, electricity bills, water bills, internet bills, cable, travel allowance). No other university offers the same or even close.

    Cons

    The location of university is isolated. The nearest city is a hour and a half drive. This gives the feeling of being trapped a big prison, where all you can do is WORK.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The problem with the management/faculty members is this: they are always trying to copy other successful prestigious universities. My advice for them is to let go of this "Comparison Syndrome". This is NOT the US and it is NOT Europe. I'm sure those examples are successful, but this is Saudi Arabia. The needs and circumstances in the region are completely different, and so must the research activities be.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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