Northwestern University Reviews

Updated July 4, 2015
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Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro
Morton Schapiro
98 Ratings

Pros
  • There is a great work life balance and an understanding that people do have to put their families first some times (in 26 reviews)

  • Great Benefits and growth opportunities (in 37 reviews)

Cons
  • Ability to have work life balance most likely depends on the department with some departments being very high stress (in 10 reviews)

  • The health insurance offered graduate students could be improved (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

245 Employee Reviews

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  1. Enjoyed the work

    Former Employee - Program Associate in Evanston, IL
    Former Employee - Program Associate in Evanston, IL

    I worked at Northwestern University full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Nice place to work, nice colleagues, easy access to downtown Evanston. Easy-going work environment.

    Cons

    Hierarchical structure can be stifling.

    Advice to Management

    Don't hesitate to encourage professional development opportunities for all employees.Although NU offers PD workshops, these workshops can be costly and out of reach for some departmental budgets.


  2. Not bad

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time (More than 5 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible work schedules (to a point), very little overtime, great benefits, can get a Northwestern education for almost nothing

    Cons

    Lots of bueracracy and red tape. Compensation is not competitive. Limited opportunities for upward movement

    Advice to Management

    More distinct career paths. Pay people competitive wages instead of paying outside employees more. Don't hire consultants when a full time employee could do the job


  3. Siloed and unimaginative

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing Coordinator in Evanston, IL
    Former Employee - Marketing Coordinator in Evanston, IL

    I worked at Northwestern University

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great benefits; easy, low-pressure work environment. The people on my particular team were really nice, smart and supportive. Work hours are incredibly reasonable; nobody stays past 5:15 ever.

    Cons

    Incredibly siloed environment; nobody communicates with anyone. There is a general lack of passion and imagination here; it seems to be a place where once-creative or drive professionals are put out to pasture, so to speak, because the benefits and hours are good so people just really come here to chill and build up their 401K.

    Advice to Management

    Pretend like you care about your staff, because it's really, really obvious that you don't. Learn people's names and their positions and what they do around here. Walk around every now and then, rather than just sitting in your office and never leaving. Also wash your blazer because you're a little stinky.


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  5. Associate Research Administrator

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Administrator in Evanston, IL
    Current Employee - Research Administrator in Evanston, IL

    I have been working at Northwestern University

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Job security. Working at a university. Nice students. Friendly students. job security. Working at a university. Nice students. Friendly students. job security

    Cons

    Bias career advancement opportunities. No promotional opportunity. No work life balance.
    Bias career advancement opportunities. No promotional opportunity. No work life balance.
    Bias career advancement opportunities. No promotional opportunity. No work life balance.


  6. Northwestern culture can vary greatly from dept to dept

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time (More than 8 years)

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

    Pros

    First- NU employment varies from dept to dept. In general there is good work/life balance, great benefits (including tuition assistance/reimbursement) and opportunities for advancement. There is access to pretty cool (latest/greatest) cloud, hardware and software with good discounts for employees.

    Cons

    With that being said, the pay is ok. You can make $10-$20K more outside, easily- especially depending on your role in the organization. The experience can vary from school to school and dept to dept, so much so, it's often like working in another company.
    It can be challenging to get a promotion (but not ahead) depending on where you go. You need to make your own career path and advance without help from HR or your manager.

    Advice to Management

    Clear, cohesive structure from the top, less fiefdoms by Deans. Realign the culture(s) to present a holistic NU experience. Improve retention and promotional opportunities.


  7. postdoctoral employment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Evanston, IL
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Evanston, IL

    I have been working at Northwestern University (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Strong Materials Science Department. Excellent instrument facilities.

    Cons

    Collaborative project are super slow. In many cases very little dedication from collaborators towards the common projects.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Some good, some bad

    Current Employee - Program Assistant IV in Evanston, IL
    Current Employee - Program Assistant IV in Evanston, IL

    I have been working at Northwestern University

    Pros

    Great health care, retirement, and tuition benefits. In a well run department it can be a very vibrant and fulfilling place to work. Can also be a wonderful opportunity to learn about cutting edge research.

    Cons

    Working at NU often feels like a caste system to me, and the faculty are in the cloud hovering over the pyramid of administrative deans, senior management, middle management, and administrative staff. A hierarchy is evident in most all corporate employment structures, though the separation between faculty and staff is more apparent than I ever experienced working in corporations.

    This is unfortunate because a large portion university activities happen because of the work being done by those at the bottom of the hierarchy.

    Because university staff positions do offer a number of great benefits, and this should not to be overlooked or minimized, even entry level positions have many applicants. This allows the university to ignore what I believe is a pretty significant employee morale issue. A dysfunctional department will still be able to easily attract new staff, and many employees will remain in dysfunctional departments just to hold onto a great healthcare package.

    Advice to Management

    I think the university could benefit greatly from an external review of the cultural standards and business practices within the myriad of offices across its two main campuses.


  9. Northwestern Job Review

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Evanston, IL
    Current Employee - Software Developer in Evanston, IL

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible work hours.
    Good location.
    Lots of opportunity to learn.

    Cons

    Not a good pay.
    Experience is not counted for salary increments.
    Hard to get a promotion.


  10. "Micromanagement Central"

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University (More than 3 years)

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

    Pros

    The University overall has great benefits and great departments. However, not all departments are great and management style is significantly different between units.

    Cons

    Micromanagement by most central administrative folks in the Accounting type areas.

    Advice to Management

    It is all based on the unit so one solution does not fit all.


  11. 4th year Phd student in statisitcs

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Evanston, IL
    Current Employee - PhD Student in Evanston, IL

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Everyone is very nice here. Professors are very helpful and knowledgable. Campus is beautiful while not too big. It's convenient to live here.

    Cons

    I have to say the weather is so bad here in Chicago area. You have a 8-month winter and 4-month summer here.



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