Morningstar Reviews

Updated October 17, 2014
Updated October 17, 2014
292 Reviews
3.3
292 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Morningstar Chairman and CEO Joe Mansueto
Joe Mansueto
210 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work/life balance as most people work no more than 45-50 hours per week and casual dress code (in 59 reviews)

  • The work environment is terrific: very collaborative, with a lot of smart people employed there (in 34 reviews)


Cons
  • High staff turnover at all levels including senior management (in 14 reviews)

  • Very low pay (as an analyst) compared to other companies in the financial industry (in 11 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Hit the ground running, and impressive people!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Morningstar

    Pros

    Smart people dedicated to the mission. True commitment and collaboration. Felt immediately welcome and was able to add value immediately. Work load is not light, doing great things takes effort and the people at Morningstar that I have encountered are truly committed to improving what we do and innovating for the betterment of the company. Benefits are better than I have had before, very competitive and practical.

    Cons

    We want to do so much that we probably need to makes choices so our time is focused on high value activity.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep doing s great job communicating, and show empathy where we have high burn areas that need relief. Keep inspiring as you already do so well.

  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Great work/life balance only partly offsets well below average industry compensation

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

    I have been working at Morningstar full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Laid-back, low pressure atmosphere. Great work/life balance as most people work no more than 45-50 hours per week and casual dress code. Highly intelligent equity and credit analyst peer group. Intellectually stimulating work with significant responsibilities and opportunity to learn. Research business is growing and doing quite well.

    Cons

    Comp, comp, comp. Did I mention comp? Salaries are okay, but bonuses are a joke... total comp 30%-50% below industry averages for experience level. "One Morningstar" means that our group is not properly rewarded for our superior efforts and higher levels of profitability & growth. Very tight budgets mean limited resources to do job properly (research tools, research data, travel). Pay does not scale very well as one moves up in the department or company. To put it simply, Morningstar is cheap. As a result, employee turnover is relatively high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve compensation and provide greater incentives to better motivate employees and retain talent.

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

    Better Than Most Companies, but Not Without Issues

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Finance and Accounting in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Finance and Accounting in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Morningstar full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, such as sabbatical, unlimited vacation, casual dress, patio parties. Young environment and lots of opportunity for lateral movement.

    Cons

    Advancement is nearly impossible in some areas. Plenty of "golden children" in management that can do no wrong, but in fact are mediocre leadership. Compensation is very poor. Bonuses no longer reflective of effort put forth, so less incentive to work hard. All correspondence from management is pure rhetoric, it's disgusting. Management is afraid of failure, leading to poor conservative decisions that backfire. Alot of tenured people underperform but are overpaid and need to be fired, bring in fresh blood at better rates with new thinking.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Review tenured employees and make independent decisions on their usefulness. Give real answers to questions, not just the fake canned responses. Make bonuses effort-based.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 18 people found this helpful  

    Not a place for the career minded or ambitious. The company is currently troubled and needs to make big changes.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Product Manager in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Morningstar full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    While Morningstar's historic strengths have been diluted greatly the last five years, the company still features a great group of people who generally believe in the company's mission. Employees are highly educated and love investing. The office space is very nice, and the company culture is laid back.

    The work-life balance can not be emphasized enough. It is a place that still trusts its employees to do good work and will take care of you should you need time off. The benefits aren't as great as they used to be but still are a nice feature. The sabbatical program is a really great offer. For a young person or someone in the latter days of their career, the light work load, benefits, and reasonable job expectations can make for a great workplace environment.

    Cons

    Where to begin. While the founder and CEO deserves high marks for being an approachable and passionate leader, his personnel choices of late and his general approach to operating the company have wreaked a lot of havoc. The senior management is turning over slowly but still features a raft of lifers who manage upwards, engage in passive aggressive behavior, and largely don't have the skill or experience to meet their mandates. There is little consequence for failure if you operate within the favored clique of insider managers, so bad decision making and lack of managerial skill have calcified in most areas of the company.

    Compensation policies have always been extremely frugal both in general and relative to other companies in the financial services industry. Recently, the company shifted to a socialized, company wide bonus system and the introduced a young and inexperienced global pay czar at the HR level. These moves have lead to pay packages well below even a few years ago's already substandard offers.

    The company lacks strategic direction, mostly because it retains a very inward-looking approach to business. Strategic initiatives often make no sense . . .the recent cloud based software push that lead to nothing but wasted time and energy, the drive to compete with middle ware software vendors in the Advisor software industry, the push into real time and commodity data that fizzled and died very quickly. There is no emphasis on planning and bench-marking, so major initiatives get way down the road before anyone can determine that they are off the rails and doomed for failure. The recent company re-organization is a prime example.

    It cannot be stressed enough that there is no real avenue to build a career, gain seniority, and sharpen your skill set without playing the political games the company requires. The current management team basically has a "Do Not Solicit" sign out at all times and emphasizes a yes man culture. Smile and nod your head and you may have a chance. If you voice an independent opinion or offer constructive criticism, it blows back on you. This has lead to a steady stream of departures from the company in the most critical areas. The 10-15 year experienced, value added veterans are leaving as fast as they can, leaving behind a mix of youth and loyalists willing to play the promotion game. The talent pool is definitely depleting at the company.

    Finally, beware of the company's advertising. It is largely untrue. While it claims great products, it has skimped on development and support. While it claims to attract and retain great people, it underpays them and yawns when they leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Joe Mansueto has had had a remarkable run. He can continue to build on his company's great brand and heritage, but only if he makes some tough choices. Step back and hire a proper operator to drive results. Leave the day to day decisions to skilled management without such baggage and personal connections. Put to pasture the non-value add senior managers, emphasize accountability and results, compensate and develop your talent rather than starve them. Invest to really grow the company rather than bleeding incremental nickels out of every P&L.Get comfortable taking educated risks. Despite the company's very poor morale and the simmering frustration, there is still a sense that the company could really succeed if it is managed correctly. Don't waste the company's unique position in the investment industry!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Intern

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

    I worked at Morningstar as an intern (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good place to work, treat employees fairly with a lot of time to take breaks. The culture is also fun and everyone is nice in the office

    Cons

    The work never seemed to change and it got boring at times. Majority of the office was made up of interns and only a few actual employees

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    none

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 10 people found this helpful  

    Join Morningstar only if you are lazy, lack ambition and want relaxed retirement job

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

    I worked at Morningstar

    Pros

    I am a former employee of Morningstar and I worked in the Software Division for a number of years. The work culture once made Morningstar a great place to work but that is sadly no longer present. They still have free bagels on Wednesdays, and some teams have summer hours. Occasional patio parties in the summer, but those have reduced. They offer 6 weeks paid sabbatical every 4 years which particularly appeals to the type of employee who is unmotivated and looking for an excuse to take off from work. Nice cool looking office, but you cannot take that to the bank.

    Cons

    Senior Management
    The CEO is a good man, but more recently he seems to have lost control over his company and does not know what his underlings are doing. The Presidents who report to him have been in the company for 15 to 20 years and have gotten used to doing less and less for higher and higher salaries and bonus. They aren't leaders, they are just place-holders and seat-warmers. People down the chain snicker at their abilities instead of looking up to them for leadership. While incompetent, they are mostly harmless. This cannot be said about the lower level of managers who are actively involved in political machinations to make themselves look good while grabbing credit for work that their direct reports have done without giving them the credit. This is rampant throughout the company. It happened to me and many others I know. These managers place themselves as intermediaries between the lowest level and the senior management and give them the message that all the ideas and innovation was their idea and everyone else just follows their leadership. This seems to work and these people are awarded promotions.

    Work Environment
    The work environment and the people were great when I joined, but around a year and a half everything began to fall apart quite rapidly. The software division had a re-org and some unworthy people were promoted way above their capabilities and given fancy titles like Director, VP, Sr VP etc. Most of these people had collected accomplishments by claiming other people's work. With greater titles come greater responsibilities, but these people got arrogant and began to throw their weight around. Courteous people suddenly became insufferable and hard to work with. I began to get the Sunday afternoon blues, when from Sunday 3pm onwards, I begin to dread coming into work on Monday. Everyone got into a hunker-down "cover my backside" mode and everyone backstabbing each other. The sales team was particularly notorious and would blame other teams whenever they failed to get a deal, and would hog all the credit when a deal went through. And of course, they got the promotions, bonuses and raises along with the accolades leading to resentment in the teams that actually built the product that made this happen.
    My own manager got into some trouble with some clients he was working on, so he began to involve me in the mess that he created, so he could spread the blame around. He had not bothered to call me into meetings when things looked good. He was weird and seemed to suffer from sort of bipolar disorder with passive-aggressive behavior. He would be nice and pleasant to my face and then send me nasty angry emails soon after. Morningstar seems to have a lot of such people with mental and psychological issues.

    Diversity
    Diversity is practically non-existent at Morningstar. If you are not from a certain ethnic group, you have no avenues of career growth. Do not buy the lie that HR tells everyone that you can move around in the company and do different things. The reality is that if you are Asian, once you are hired, you will be chained to that job until you leave, you die, or they get rid of you. Diversity exists only at the lowest level of developers and QA people.

    Human Resources
    HR is arrogant, rude and their job seems to be only to protect the company and not help employees work better. They lie to you when they bring you in. The HR person I worked with misled me by saying that bonuses were usually 25% for the group that was hiring me. Reality was only about 7% and raises were gone by the second year. They come up ill thought plans to give people experience working in other groups and most of these schemes die quickly. For example, they started talking about allowing employees in tech get some financial experience and then nothing happened. Morningstar is great at creating MBAs from top schools like Kellogg and Booth, but horrible at figuring out what to do with them. Many of them end up in support jobs taking phone calls.

    Salary, Benefits
    Salary is probably the worst in the industry. The game plan is to hire kids straight out of college at low salaries and have them compete with more experienced people to drive down costs. But you get what you pay for and this caused the multi million dollar cloud project to completely fail and get quietly shelved. Some years ago, HR hatched a plan to "convince" employees that they were paid fairly by putting out a page of numbers for each one, but then no one bought it. It was a bad idea to begin with, because everyone compares their measly salary with their friends' in comparable jobs and feel cheated. Good luck keeping good talent, Morningstar! I myself took a huge paycut to accept Morningstar's offer only because I thought it made sense at that time to trade off salary for good experience. The "benefits" are not any better than any other company though the company likes to tout it that way.

    Bottom Line
    Pass on Morningstar. It is no longer the great place it was. Join only if you are offered or can negotiate a great deal because that's all you will get for the next many years until you quit. If you are young (27 and under), join, get some experience and leave. Morningstar is currently paying for its sins of employee alienation and hard working employees are leaving the company in droves, leaving behind the slackers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Quit. Or get the CEO to fire all of you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 7 people found this helpful  

    Internal Shift to Centralization is Causing Major Problems

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Project Manager in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Morningstar full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Work life balance, flextime, location.

    Cons

    Simply put, most of the leaders lack leadership. And, it feels as though no job is safe anymore. Monumental shifts in the company where people and divisions do a reshuffling happen quite often, which brings more changes that the Company is struggling to execute. The company has shifted to a centralized company, which in an of itself is not a bad operational strategy. However, it has toll on its employees and clients. As a result, the culture has suffered and the products. There is more to a company's organization than updating organization charts. Little thought has been given to documenting and implementing how the company should operate as a cohesive unit and how to get things done for its clients. Many key leadership and management have left the company, and now the new CFO is cost cutting and trimming headcount throughout the organization. Salaries are below market. In general, new hires should not have high expectations for receiving a pay raise for many years.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Career Inspiration Job

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

    I worked at Morningstar full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The best things about Morningstar are its flexible schedule that offers work-life balance and friendly environment. The dress code is casual for back-office functional departments, which is favorable for the people that like a laid back workplace atmosphere. A great visionary senior leadership. A best place to launch a career.

    Cons

    Compensation is little below industry average. Only good for young professionals who care more about learning and growth versus pay. Probably not so much for mid-career people who need big checks to raise a family.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Doing pretty well.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good place to transition in if you're just out of college but hard for experienced professionals to develop new skillset

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

    I have been working at Morningstar full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great transition for college grads as it has no dress codes, adult beverages are a stable for all sort of celebration events in or off office permises. No vacation policy.

    Cons

    Around the clock work hours if you're in a team with oversea support members, so work life balance can be challenge if you care about the quality of your work. Leadership vision seems to be short sighted as changes or re-org take place in two-year cycle. No vacation policy. It makes harder for others in the same team when some individuals are abuse the no vacation policy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Build stronger leadership teams, establish long term visions for success and be fair at compensation and bonus rewards. Consider replace the no vacation policy with 4 weeks vacation policy for example..

    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Morningstar has been an excellent company to work for. I've worked here since I graduated college in 2010.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Workflow Coordinator in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Workflow Coordinator in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Morningstar full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great company culture, flexible hours, no limit on vacation, every four years you get a 6-week paid sabbatical

    Cons

    Coordination between teams, salaries are lower than average, but the overall compensation package makes up for it in my opinion.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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