Morgan Stanley Reviews

Updated June 17, 2015
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3.1
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Morgan Stanley CEO James P. Gorman
James P. Gorman
10 Ratings

Pros
  • Good work-life balance depending on your role (in 117 reviews)

  • Smart people from diverse culture & background (in 93 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is really bad (in 109 reviews)

  • Long hours leading to potential burnout (in 121 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

12 Employee Reviews

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  1. Great company. Meritocracy. Diverse culture of excellence.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Executive Director in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Executive Director in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Morgan Stanley is committed to diversity. They are very supportive of developing new careers. Access to senior management. Will help and encourage you to get involved in locally to "give back." An outstanding brand. A company you are proud to work for.

    Cons

    Not a Con- But setting expectations: New employees (especially those out of college) need to be prepared to work their way up the ladder. If you expect to come in and be treated like a Managing Director with direct access to the CEO, you will be dissapointed (And you are maybe a bit dillusional).

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work.


  2. Helpful (3)

    Low morale, constant senior management shakeups, high turnover.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Vice President in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    A brand name that still appeals to many. Though, I think reality is not what it may seem. Consider all options thoughtfully before being swayed by a once great name.

    Cons

    I think a lot of the glowing reviews on this site for Morgan Stanley, especially so many short ones, are fake. It certainly is not representative of the mood amongst the employees that I've spoken to.

    I've had conversations with several senior managers, including executive directors, who have been extremely disappointed with pay and incentive comp for the last several years. In some cases, I know that they would like to pay their employees more fairly but have their hands tied.

    There is such a focus on increasing margins and reducing costs at all costs, that many departments are not replacing positions when people leave, stretching the remaining employees to the breaking point. All requests for replacing the staff that have left are being summarily denied.

    And the people that are leaving are finding they can increase their salary by 30, 40, 50 percent by going to a competitor. People that report to me are being offered higher salaries than what I make, for more Jr roles.

    Personally, despite being promoted to a VP roll and asked to manage two teams, I was given a 1 percent raise. And this is after several years of receiving the highest performance rating and receiving no raises.

    The frightening thing is, the wealth management part of Morgan Stanley is really not growing, and the only thing that is propping up the growth is how the market has been performing the last several years. So this trend will continue if I chose to stay here. But after 5 years, I have seen enough.

    Needless to say if you want to get paid for working hard I would not come here.

    You know it's sad when HR feels they need to launch launch a campaign touting the benefits of working for Morgan Stanley, and the best thing they could highlight are discounted tickets to a museum.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees.


  3. Great culture and employees

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Analyst in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good culture and people
    Good work-life balance
    Good senior management leadership

    Cons

    Should provide specialized training courses available to all employees
    Reverse commute to Purchase, NY
    Minimal pay raise and bonuses


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  5. It was not my favorite company, at least in my department. It's a big name though and looks decent on your resume.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - IT Associate in Purchase, NY
    Former Employee - IT Associate in Purchase, NY

    I worked at Morgan Stanley full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The name of the company on you resume.
    4 weeks paid vacation per year.

    Cons

    Boring projects. If you have skills, you will lose them in a few years if you don't keep yourself updated on your own. You really have to like finance to do this job, and I think I don't like finances much unless I'm dealing with my own.

    Advice to Management

    Allow them to be more creative, and listen to them when they say they aren't the one for a particular task. The very LAST thing you want to do is put your creative talent on a project that is going to destroy their morale and make them feel like dying. Hopefully it's not like this in all of the departments.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Many opportunities if you work hard.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President, Product Management in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Vice President, Product Management in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Senior management team is excellent. There is alot of mobility if you work hard and go after it.

    Cons

    Compensation is not very competitive.

    Advice to Management

    It's not 2009 anymore, you need to provide better financial incentive.


  7. Great culture with opportunity’s everywhere

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

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Morgan Stanley went through some tough times during the financial crisis, as did the rest of the industry. With the joint venture behind them it really feels like the company is gaining momentum and heading in a positive direction. The work environment is positive and the people are great.

    Cons

    Morgan Stanley might pay on the lower end (not really sure because I am just relying on hearsay). People always tell me I would be making more money if I left the firm but in my experience the grass is always greener on the other side.


  8. Helpful (8)

    Horrible Pay and Conditions in Wealth Management Capital Markets

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Wealth Management Capital Markets in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Wealth Management Capital Markets in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great gym. Free parking onsite.

    Cons

    This review specifically applies to wealth management trading floor based primarily in Purchase that covers top Financial Advisors' UHNW, middle market and HNW Clients. The division falsely advertises itself as Capital Markets, that is NOT to be confused with the venerable Global Capital Markets desk in the city that brings deals to the market for major companies.

    Firstly, the horrible compensation ranges say it all:

    After ones first three years, compensation (both base and 'bonus') is far below street avg even within UHNW/how bucket:
    - Analyst ( yrs 1-3): $95k-$120k
    - Associate ( yrs 3-6): $110k- $160k
    - VP ( yrs 6-10): $110-$170k --> you are stuck now and doing exact same work as A2
    ED (yrs 10- infinity): $150-$250k

    In the past four months alone, the unit has lost 12 of its stronger performing analysts, associates and younger vps. It even lost its HR Rep in charge of "retaining talent." One would think management would be inquisitive as to this brain drain, especially when they trumpet the wealth management's staff support's "intellectual capital" as a point of strength in helping the firms top individual Clients. But they have not nor do they seem to care. They recruit finance and Econ majors from schools like Harvard, Brown, Georgetown, BC, Nova etc, train them up over a year period, only to lose many by year three. THE ENTIRE ANALYST CLASS OF 2008 IS GONE; all left to greener pastures.

    Over the last four years, there has been 4 different heads of this division. That's right- MDs in charge of managing a 300 person division that produces a half billion in revenue per year just can't seem to stick around. This volatility at the top trickles down to the next rung of management (EDs and newer MDs) where a culture of solo performance, selfishness, complete lack of communication and mendacity permeates the environment.

    Some examples:

    - Multiple colleagues have told me, and I've heard it myself, that their manager told them that their performance review nor rating does NOT determine ones compensation. When pressed on what actually determines compensation, no manager has ever explained it. If for example you are a trader at the associate or vp level and produced $15MM in PnL for the year, you could very well get a 'bonus' of $20-30k pretax, and a low base; very uncompetitive for a 11 hr/day job with a 1 hr commute each way. This has occurred multiple of times to multiple ppl; don't think you'd be an exception. Regardless, no manager has ever explained the discrepancy between performance and pay. One can only infer it is because the division's management is of extremely poor quality and does not advocate senior execs on the divisions value add.

    - stagnate compensation between analyst-vp. Many second year analysts get paid as much if not more than first-third year vice presidents. One third year associate recently left to lesser competitor and was offered twice their MSWM capital markets total compensation.

    - three star associates who made VP in the last four months left to competitors after they found out their promotion came with a DROP in year on year compensation. They wete doubled at other firms. What kind of management promotes its up and coming officers only to then lower their year on year pay? Bad managers.

    - There is an institutional desk in the city at Broadway and 42nd- where management should encourage relationships and communication to open up, there actually is a policy that says sales staff in Purchase cannot communicate with their colleagues in the city about any market/ job related issue.

    - On top of a traders' PnL not being linked to anything comp related, neither are the sales force's sales commission. A sales person may do proactive trades that generate $10mm in gross credits over a year, but the managers do not attribute that work at the end of the year to that persons' efforts. Instead liken it to something that would have happened anyway. Well, what's the point of having a sales force then.

    If you don't believe those numbers just do a check on glassdoor but select "Purchase" as location, not nyc. If you decide to join this desk despite this warning, realize you will. E joining a glorified help desk

    Advice to Management

    - I've heard a couple managers (ED level) use bigoted slurs that are regarded as homophobic in mainstream professional cultures. They should know better by then. I'm sure
    the you get talent hears this as well and doesn't appreciate it. There is only one female traders and no ethnic minority traders.

    - it is in Purchase. It is a major pain to ever so anything with clients. Management in fact encourages trading personal NOT to get to know clients or do standard things at other firms such as dinner, drinks, etc. as a trader, you have limited if any 'street coverage'. And in sales, you do not actually get to speak directly with clients, instead must go through a Financial Advisor. Integrate personnel there with the main institutional desk in the city.


  9. Helpful (3)

    Look out for number One

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vice President Operations in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Vice President Operations in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Premier investment company. You will get some good experience although the approach is much more segmented. This allows management to plug and play people instead of developing a more broad knowledged individual. This is also why people leave the firm- lack of training and a dead end job.

    Cons

    The company has changed alot over the years- you feel like a number. They don't value effort any more- it's about dollars and sense even if that means putting people in seats that don't know what they are doing to save 20k a head. Sad but that is what the firm has come to. Poor leadership from the top- manage by fear not by what you can accomplish.

    Advice to Management

    You have brought this company to it's knees by the poor approach to it's workers. Yeah there will always be people that want to work at Morgan Stanley- you can get great experience and there are still some good people working there. I would say the average stay of a person who works at Morgan probably went from 10 plus years to under 5.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Lack of Opportunities in MS Wealth Management Capital Markets

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Wealth Management Capital Markets in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Wealth Management Capital Markets in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    + There's been some great people I've met after starting my career on Wall Street over two years ago.
    + Learn a variety of capital market products within a year.
    + If you live in CT or Westchester, the commute is ideal.
    + Nice gym for $15/month

    Cons

    - The managers of this 300 person operation recruit smart Top 20 College seniors to positions promising an opportunity in "Sales and Trading" at Morgan. This could not be further from the truth:
    - No client interface. You are told that your clients are Financial Advisors, who actually 'own' the client relationship. They block your ability to pitch ideas directly to clients.
    - You often become a help desk/support for these Advisors. Need to know how to set up a printer? Call MSWM Capital Markets. Often you may have various trade ideas ready and waiting, but get too bogged down in the help desk function of the job to even get a chance.
    -Pay is awful for the work. Despite having to work 12 hours/day and deal with 2.5hr commute. Associate pay is 30% below street average. VP pay is at same level as analysts at other firms.

    Advice to Management

    Increase transparency for job openings on the trading floor.
    Increase communication/ie, stop lying to employees about compensation, layoffs, etc.
    Provide expectations for what sales and traders performance metrics.
    Allow people to transfer to other areas of the firm. Don't trap them there.


  11. Regular

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Purchase, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Purchase, NY

    I have been working at Morgan Stanley

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Morgan Stanley has a terrific reputation and is recognized as one of the top financial services firms in the world

    Cons

    Compensation has suffered on recent years and it remains to be seen what impact this will have on Morgan Stanley's ability to attract and retain top talent

    Advice to Management

    I think that senior leaders should focus more on talent and compensation. It is understood that banks now operate in a different environment but at a fin svcs firms there's not much more in terms of competitive advantage than people



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