Northwestern University

  www.northwestern.edu
  www.northwestern.edu
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Northwestern University Reviews

Updated September 21, 2014
Updated September 21, 2014
392 Reviews
3.9
392 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro
Morton Schapiro
149 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The benefits cannot be beat, and work-life balance is outstanding (in 21 reviews)

  • Great Benefits- Can get great tuition assistance and healthcare benefits (in 36 reviews)


Cons
  • No work/life balance options available (in 8 reviews)

  • They are reluctant to terminate problematic Faculty and Staff at the management level (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Poor management of Alumni Relations

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Assistant Alumni Relations & Development  in  Evanston, IL
    Current Employee - Program Assistant Alumni Relations & Development in Evanston, IL

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good benefits including medical, time off, etc.

    Cons

    Very top down, old man's club. Lack of employee satisfaction. Compensation is low among our peers. Alumni are rude and extremely privileged.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    The pros and cons of working at Northwestern University

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

    I worked at Northwestern University full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Very friendly coworkers. Beautiful campus. If you are into performance metrics, this is the place for you. Pays better than fast food restaurants.

    Cons

    Although they do pay better than fast food restaurants, it's hard to make ends meet with the salary they give pay you. It started out as a very friendly place to work, great coworkers, and we had wonderful management. Lately they have drastically changed their management style. Everything is now performance metrics. Coworkers are afraid to talk to one another or take time off. I've heard from people that they have been restructuring and laying of or "retiring" loyal workers who have work there for years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Performance metrics might seem to be a good idea to management. You will be able to count how much you've progressed immediately. However, what you've lost are loyal employees' intuition and insights of what they can do to help Northwestern if just given a chance and a few more resources. Many of these talents can't be measured. If given the chance, many if these employee's would have gladly produced innovative projects to get more people interested in Northwestern (donors, students, interested people). You did save a few thousand dollars by eliminating these people but have lost millions/billions of dollars that could have been generated with these peoples skills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Dead End

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

    I worked at Northwestern University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Work life balance is good -- its a very lax environment and paid time off is about as high as you will find anywhere. It is very easy to shove off work, there are no real deadlines. It is next to impossible to get fired from here. If you are just looking for a job with semi-decent pay, good benefits, and not much else going on, work here.

    Cons

    Complete lack of communication (and often understanding) through all entities. If you are really good at what you do, you don't belong here because the employee system rewards mediocrity. It is nearly impossible to get fired, so people who should have been long gone will be sticking around to make your life more difficult. God forbid you should try to change something to make it more efficient or make more sense. With many jobs there is little to no room for growth. Sometimes you will be promised growth but have to be there for a bit to see that it is not happening.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow people that excel to change the status quo -- they are excelling because they know what they're doing.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    salary is poor- I would say below average

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    tutiion benefits, health insurance etc.

    Cons

    salary, if you are go-getter then what are you doing there? if you have plans for your kids college funding then stick there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    increase the salary of the current employee otherwise they will also be gone like so many good people you lost.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Mixed bag turned to hellish descent

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

    I worked at Northwestern University

    Pros

    Great students. Great possiblilites that never emerge

    Cons

    Pay is bad. Colleagues great at first in the Chinese program and PAAL. Then became two-faced with ulterior motives and Chinese Communist/Red Guard tactics to oversee staff and professors. Demoralizing!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be fair and democratic, not authoritarian and self-serving, sepecially middle-managment. Top management needs to oversee middle. Professors work hard and get hurt if they don't play politics.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Director of Operations in a multi million $ federally funded Research Center

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great science, outstanding faculty, excellent students, superb reputation

    Cons

    Upper management is largely clueless about how faculty directors manage personnel and funds. Certain faculty get "rockstar" status based on their scientific accomplishments and can misuse federal funds without intervention from the university leadership.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    VPs are usually arising from within the ranks of faculty. Hence, impartial oversight does not take place.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    A paycheck

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University

    Pros

    NU has a great benefits program with very affordable health care options and other retirement savings plans. My co-workers are fun and lively and are very responsive to emails. Getting time off for vacation and personal things is pretty easy within my department.

    Cons

    Despite the school's public reputation and prestige, there is not a lot of room for advancement or career growth at NU.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Beware of proud, big-ego, "famous" but disrespectful/angry/controlling professors, do not work with them or for them.

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University

    Pros

    It is a well-known school. There are quite a few religious groups and organizations, which are very good to have.

    Cons

    Northwestern University doesn't protect the postdoc or employee against a bad supervisor. Their protection is on paper and in words but not in action. They protect faculty that have a big ego, very angry demeanor with bad temper, almost nonexistent leadership skills, and not also able to manage themselves well. All that money they receive from faculty is essentially tainted, is not good, yet they make money and funding the #1 factor and place it before ethical values and considerations. This will limit growth of any people who work with such negative faculty as well as can make them psychologically and physically sick. I have seen people who had stomach problems from stress, most likely related to bad management and selfish-supervisory relationships at the workplace.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Enforce (not recommend but mandate) to faculty disciplinary ethical and leadership training. Faculty who have anger problems should be limited in their ability to hire new employees, staff, postdoc, or supervise PhD students. They should be limited until a psychologist determines that their demeanor is at a normal/regular level, i.e. until their anger and ego problems get resolved. University should have the power to limit negative faculty from their actions. Also, the university should maintain extra funding and should support those who are employees, students, postdocs of such negative faculty for at least 1 year under an independent work/study program suited to their role in the university and either make them independent (for postdoc) or have them supervised by faculty (e.g. for students) or supervisors (for employees) that are evidenced/proven to have at least good, ethical, good behavioral styles, and ideally good leadership skills. The university should not be at the mercy of the faculty funding. The university should never give up its authority to such negative faculty. It should remain powerful and be able to limit and maybe even dismiss such negative faculty if they remain proud, arrogant, and won't comply to the university rules and ethical principles.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Stop Ignoring the Problem!

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

    I worked at Northwestern University

    Pros

    Employees receive a very nice discount on tuition

    Cons

    Only 5 days of vacation after the first 6 months. 3 weeks of vacation only after you have been there a year. The director of my department had no background in IT and no background in management. No flexible hours. The culture of my department was horrific. The director has a prison mentality. Everyone that worked in that department was guilty until proven innocent. They did not know or follow established IT work flow or processes. Management does not promote free thinking. I experienced cronyism, sexism, racism, and discrimination from all managers I worked with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get ride of your worst director. You know who I am talking am talking about.

    Doesn't Recommend
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Disappointed in the true character of my employer.

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

    I have been working at Northwestern University

    Pros

    One of the best reasons to work for Northwestern University would be tuition reimbursement. The institution offers 85% reimbursement for undergraduate programs and 75% for graduate. If advancement opportunities require an advanced degree, Northwestern would be a place I would personally recommend. Generous benefits package as well as vacation time also factor into the "best reasons" equation.

    Cons

    On the outside looking in, Northwestern seemingly abounds with opportunity and appears well-intentioned in terms of promotional and compensatory fairness. However, if you look at the make-up of its senior management, administrators and supervisors, a different story emerges related to race. Again, the make-up doesn't appear to be intentional, but I have seen many qualified African-Americans passed over for promotion and many unqualified or inexperienced people hired in their place. Higher learning doesn't necessarily equate with a higher sense of fairness.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior Management has heard this lecture before. I wouldn't waste my time giving feedback to a senior management that merely needs to look around and understand that their working environ is quite the opposite of the ideals they are promoting within the classrooms.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

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