MBH Architects Reviews

Updated August 21, 2014
Updated August 21, 2014
9 Reviews

2.5
9 Reviews
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Dennis Heath
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A respectable company with friendly staff members

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Architectural Apprentice  in  Alameda, CA
    Current Employee - Architectural Apprentice in Alameda, CA

    I have been working at MBH Architects full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Flexible schedules, friendly and caring management

    Cons

    Low compensation, work can become mundane

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    No respect and appreciation for loyalty and hard work

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

    I worked at MBH Architects full-time

    Pros

    Free parking and nice restaurants near by.

    Cons

    Employees, mainly apprentices and job captains are moved around more times than chess pieces between brands or studios. At least in a chess game there is some conscious thinking before a move is made. No thinking or planning goes into moving staff around at MBH. ZERO THINKING!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop moving people around or at least have the decency to ask the employee if he/she agrees with the move. Give the job captains notice when you are taking away apprentices. If you feel there is little work to justify staff in a team then you may well do the work yourself.

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

    Poor experience

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

    I worked at MBH Architects as a contractor for less than a year

    Pros

    Good sized firm. Occasional hiring. Good office.

    Cons

    Hire in bunches and let go in bunches. Lowest salary and no benefits.
    Managers are obvious tyrants. I have worked at a few places but this is the only place where I went home and cried every other day because of the torcher of the job captain. There is no concept of improving and learning at work. Smallest mistake and you will called in a room and bashed. This person got promoted which means the seniors approve of this management style.This persons quality of work was very poor but had a very aggressive nature. People with aggressive personalities do well here.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The owners are really really good but the middle management sucks.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    "Apprentice" hits a ceiling

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

    I have been working at MBH Architects full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    MBH is a great place for people to develop their construction document experience, especially if they are fresh out of university. People are generally friendly and are willing to help (if you ask for it). As a large firm, MBH is quite structured and organized (benefits, in-house committees that organize company events, lunchtime seminars). Many people take initiative to create study groups for certification/licensure exams, and sometimes pay out of their own pocket for study materials to share as well. Several departments within the building also allow for various opportunities whether it may be in retail, restaurants, urban projects, or special projects.

    Cons

    While there are several departments within the building, managers and principals tend to mislead their employees that they will be given grander opportunities within the building. This is true, but on rare occasions. The higher-ups seem to be more interested in keeping the company afloat rather than spending time to understand the individual needs of the employees - not realizing that these little needs add up and impact the overall "success" of the company. While employees are encouraged to pursue other experiences within the building, they are often shut down and told there are no openings (but new temps and hires happen to pop in that very position soon after... then "let go" after the projects are over). I've also found MBH to be quite stingy on multiple occasions involving referral benefits, certification reimbursements, etc. It is understandable that the company is looking out for itself especially after the recession, but it does not give employees a huge incentive to excel outside and further than the bare minimum requirements necessary for the daily routine at the office. They tend to let a lot of employees go every year without truly considering the overall satisfaction of the company as a whole... but perhaps this is just the sad reality with retail architecture. Because MBH is for the most part a big-name retail design firm, the level of cutting-edge design is low. Most designs are standardized by the clients (Apple, Target, etc.) leaving very limited room for innovation. Again, MBH is a great place to learn the basics of a standard architecture firm and also a decent place for people who don't mind the mundanity of retail design, but there are definitely firms nearby that can offer more bang for your buck.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to your people. Also, how would you explain to an outsider your position as an "Apprentice"?

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    Move MBH office to China

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

    I worked at MBH Architects full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Average pay, occasional free lunch.

    Cons

    If you want to be in an architecture firm that lead by a lawyer, managed by non-architectural education/training managers and work under passive project architects,...this place is for you.
    Attending one of those design reviews to witness the firm lawyer's input on the design would be a good example of how this firm works.
    About long hours? You should expect that from a service-oriented firm.
    About design? Go check the water stains on their 1 year old buildings on 14th street in Oakland.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Move your office to China, so people won't complain about the sweat shop environment.
    Send your managers and lawyers to architecture school if they want to be architects.

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

    Beware...

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

    I worked at MBH Architects full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There is somewhat a work life balance if you push for it. This is a firm were OT is something that does not happen often and if it does, you will know its coming.

    Cons

    MBH doesn't invest in training. Although individual initiative approach has helped to identify and cultivate leaders within the firm, this approach doesn't allow us to compete with other Architectural firms which trains their staff to use the latest software, and be as competitive as possible in the field.
    Very much a firm where if they like you~ its easy as cake. but don't get on their bad side.
    MBH also loves to hire temp and tell them that we have plenty of work and dont worry they will get hired on after 3 months. The never hire the people after 3 months, they are lucky if they hire them after 1 year.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don/t over look the little guys, because they are the ones that are doing your work and keeping the company afloat.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    This place is OK

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Architectural Apprentice  in  Alameda, CA
    Former Employee - Architectural Apprentice in Alameda, CA

    I worked at MBH Architects full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Very nice people to work with, comfortable office, lots of daylight.

    Cons

    Their portfolio doesn't reflect the fact that the bulk of their work is retail, about 90%. Those hoping to do more designing rather than roll-outs will be disappointed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire and fire is not a good way to run a business. It hurts your reputation, and makes people think twice about working there.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9.  

    Apprentice

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Architectural Apprentice  in  Alameda, CA
    Current Employee - Architectural Apprentice in Alameda, CA

    I have been working at MBH Architects full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    good sized firm, lots of resources to learn from

    Cons

    low pay, inconsistent work, little opportunity for growth or development within the firm

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    more support for professional growth. licensing, testing, overall development of younger employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10.  

    My career with MBH has been brilliant, beyond anything I could have imagined.

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

    I have been working at MBH Architects

    Pros

    MBH allows the individual to define their role within the firm. It's a bottom-up place. If there's a job or role you want at MBH, go for it...no one will stand in your way. We have a "take my job" approach, where every staff member is given the opportunity to learn from and assume the responsibilities of those above. It is expected at MBH that you will eventually rise to the position of the person above you, and so on; where you will become one of the leaders of the firm, particularly where we hope to branch out and grow. We are a firm based on Individual Initiative. If you want to accomplish something ...anything at MBH, the firm will not only let you, but help you achieve it.
    MBH has a wonderful culture and our building is an exceptional environment to work in, not just because of the place, but because of the people.

    Cons

    MBH doesn't invest enough in training. Although our individual initiative approach has helped to identify and cultivate leaders within our firm, this approach doesn't allow us to compete with other Architectural firms which trains their staff to use the latest software, BIM in particular, to be as competetive as possible in our field. I would like to change that.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    We need to invest more in training, particularly where BIM (Building Information Modelling) software is concerned. We need to stop thinking about the bottom line so much and think more about the long range. We didn't dream of being Architects because we were interested in petty things or bean counting for God's sake...
    I've wanted to be an Architect since I was a little kid. It was fun for me then and still is. Nonetheless, there's a point to all this and it goes far beyond running a company.
    Beyond investing in training and new technology, how's about we put a little soul in our success? You all wanted to be Architects for one reason or another. Did it have to do with spread sheets and financial reports, schedules or whatever, or was it because you thought it would be cool to design buildings? Thought so.
    Buildings have to do so many things and perform endless functions and, at the very least, not collapse and hurt people or not leak. But at their best, they should inspire. We're pretty good for the bottom line. Let's work on the better half MBH...let us design buildings that inspire and remind people why Architecture is relevant.

    Recommends

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