NEC Laboratories America, Inc. Reviews

Updated June 16, 2015
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3.8
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NEC Laboratories America, Inc. President Roger T Tran
Roger T Tran
12 Ratings

20 Employee Reviews

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  1. good internship experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

    Pros

    great researchers to work with. they take the internship projects seriously and invest a lot of time/effort. the work is very interesting and they want to publish in good conferences. overall a very good place for internship.

    Cons

    nothing specifically. projects can take time to gain momentum. so three months may not be enough to complete the work. try to ensure that you can invest time after the internship period also.

    Advice to Management

    keep doing the great work. try to engage interns in the project discussions early on (even before joining). that way they can at least do some background research and hit the ground running.


  2. Quiet for Research

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

    I have been working at NEC Laboratories America, Inc. full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Really good hardware environment, clean and neat, single office per person Relative freedom for research Top-level researchers around

    Cons

    You will always feel like the company is empty, since everyone works in his own office. Not a passionate place like those young companies in silicon valley

    Advice to Management

    Pay more attention to employee's salaries (to attract and keep top-level researchers), and less attention to (sometime unnecessary) building renovations.


  3. Nice internship experience

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

    Pros

    Strong researchers at NEC Labs. Good experience.

    Cons

    None, they treat interns very good.

    Advice to Management

    None


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Very Good Internship Experience

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

    I have been working at NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

    Pros

    Working at NEC labs provides a unique opportunity of having both academic research and industrial experience.

    Cons

    I like research and development work at NEC. Nothing to complain there.


  6. Helpful (9)

    Not a happy place

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

    I have been working at NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

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

    Pros

    NEC offers a mix of research and development. Some groups may be more focused on business needs and thus spend most of their time on development.

    Cons

    - High turn around rate. People rarely stay more than 2 years. Initially people may be attracted by the research (or R&D) but soon realize that this is not a very productive research environment. - If you group is controlled by manager who is completely incompetent, it will stifle all progress or research. Can't generalize this to all groups, but I have seen similar things happen more often than not. - Senior management (essentially Roger) although nice, is practically useless. - Not much collaboration is going on. - The culture is quite backwardish, for example, working on weekends is praised, it is apparently acceptable to scold or shame employees, long and useless meetings are held in which the manager (or occasionally Roger) talk endlessly. - Not much (not any!) growth opportunities. - Pay is not competitive for full-time employees.

    Advice to Management

    Roger, it is nice to be "inspirational" and talk about innovation, but you also need to listen to what the employees are telling you and actually take action.


  7. Helpful (7)

    Better stay away, or you will regret.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

    Pros

    Relaxed environment, flexible schedule, quiet place to think about things.

    Cons

    It's not that this place is so bad; it's the opportunity you will be missing that will cost you. (This review is based on my personal experience in a particular group. I don't think every group is the same. So ask, observe, and do your research about a group.) First of all, this place is called a "research" lab, but it's barely one. Some people, when they decide to forget about financial gains (will come back to this later) and join a research lab, want to publish papers and build up an academic profile. If you are one of those people, think twice about joining this place, especially some groups. Look at if any of the recent departures from the group went to a place you'd like to be. If the odds is against you, there is probably a good reason there. You may be different, but you will still be constrained by the lab. You will probably get much less "research" and much more "development" than you thought. "Freedom of research" is more often just used to entice you to join; after you join, you will likely be assigned something your manager tell you "very critical" for the company and you have to do it. For those who really wants to do academic research, it's much better to find a postdoc position with a great mentor. I know, you will sacrifice a little financially, but the long term gain will be worthwhile. Plus, you are not going up too much anyway. Secondly, your direct manager's power is pervasive and democracy is non-existent. Of course the org is flat and on top of your manager there is Roger (president, who is kind and approachable, by the way). What this means is that, managers have no chance to move up in the company, because they can't replace Roger. When you get no chance to go up in a company, what would you do? You think about next opportunity, and you don't think about taking a long-term view in managing and helping your reports. Some manager chose to use everything they could to get things for themselves in preparation for a future job jump, and some times this is at the expense of what could help researchers. When your manager takes a very short-term view to maximize his gain, that's bad news for you. What makes it worse is, your manager decides everything, literally everything, from what you should work on on a weekly basis, what intern you may get in the summer (if you get one), what's your performance review and bonus, and who you should put on your paper (Of course, manager gets to be on almost every paper, regardless of how little he does for that paper.) This kind of massive power on a manager can easily produce dictators. In the meetings, generally people are obedient towards the manager, rather than actively voicing their opinions. It's sad. Now let's come to compensation. Japanese companies generally don't believe in giving out equity (stocks) to employees. It's a fact that, in the bay area, you can't live on wages alone. Houses can easily go 1.x million if you want to be in a reasonable area (with good elementary schools and close to where you work). This is a very realistic problem if you want to have a life here. Don't forget that you will not get what you are offered - it's taxed much higher than when you were at school so you will get about close to half of that amount. Think about how long you will be able to get your down payment for a house and pay back the debt. Compare that with upstart American companies. It's very easy to find such information from friends or online. Realistically think about your livelihood and think if it's going to be worthwhile to make half of what you could make for a few papers that you may or may not get to publish. Some people chose to join this place to get a green card because NEC applies for it for you right after you start. This is totally unnecessary. With your papers and PhD degree, you will get an EB1 green card almost anywhere you go in a few months. The cost totally outweigh the gain. And finally, you want to be working in a place that you are proud of. Consider if this is going to be that place. If you are the kind of people who want to get a "wow!" when you tell people where you work, you'll be disappointed if you join this place.


  8. Good experience at NEC Lab

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

    Pros

    Can learn a lot of things. Good salary

    Cons

    IT department is bad. I was given bad computers.


  9. Great Place to work

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

    I have been working at NEC Laboratories America, Inc.

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

    Pros

    Good Pay and easy work

    Cons

    Interview is not that good


  10. Helpful (2)

    A great place for experimentation

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member in Princeton, NJ
    Current Employee - Research Staff Member in Princeton, NJ

    I have been working at NEC Laboratories America, Inc. full-time

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Freedom to do interesting things, very smart people, friendly atmosphere, technically challenging, good balance of work and life, travel to interesting conferences

    Cons

    Lack of growth opportunities, salary is median for New York area, lack of collaboration with other groups in the company, limited access to business group for ideas and data.

    Advice to Management

    Please try to increase the interaction among groups and encourage collaboration. There is also a lack of appreciation of engineering and a tendency to belittle ideas saying, "where's the research in that?" People tend to spend a lot of time talking about ideas and less time in producing real things.


  11. research intern

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Summer Research in Princeton, NJ
    Current Employee - Summer Research in Princeton, NJ

    I have been working at NEC Laboratories America, Inc. full-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    not very high salary compared with others

    Cons

    nice environment, flexible working time



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