Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

  www.optimalsolutionsgroup.com
  www.optimalsolutionsgroup.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

Optimal Solutions Group, LLC Reviews in College Park, MD

Updated August 9, 2014
Updated August 9, 2014
40 Reviews
1.8
40 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC President Dr. Mark Turner
Dr. Mark Turner
26 Ratings

19 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Great learning experience!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant  in  College Park, MD
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in College Park, MD

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    At Optimal, I have been given various types of tasks across many different projects and have learned a great deal from each one. Each project is invariably different from another yet there are fundamental similarities in the way research is conducted and what principles are used to conduct studies, and it is very interesting to see how projects overlap at times. Even as a junior staff member, I have been given the opportunity to work closely with senior level staff and upper management.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, some researchers do not give their position/Optimal an adequate amount of time nor do they realize all the opportunities they are provided with to do high-level work and, as a result, leave the company. This can create a negative energy when they leave and tarnish Optimal's image, but I do not feel that the image created appropriately depicts the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't take researchers leaving Optimal personally because it is not a reflection on you.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 5 people found this helpful  

    Worst company to work for in DC area

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Associate  in  College Park, MD
    Current Employee - Research Associate in College Park, MD

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time

    Pros

    It's very easy to get hired at Optimal. But beware of everything you hear -- not everything they tell you will come true.

    Cons

    The working environment at Optimal is ruined by the top management, who choose to manage through fear and misinformation. I was lied to outright about several different things during the interview process, including what projects I would be working on, as well as the success and nature of past projects completed by the company. Be very careful to check everything they tell you against an external source before accepting a position.

    One of the main things that kills any joy that employees at Optimal take in their work is the poor communications skills of the top brass. They seem to delight in dressing down individual employees in front of other employees -- and they call this motivation. They also seem to enjoy diatribes leveled against employees as a group via email. It's a very emotional and volatile place to work. The top brass does a really great job of presenting a happy face while courting prospective employees. They are really, really, excellent salespeople for their company. But it is a facade, and after about or 4 months of work, the new employee finds they are actually in the worst job imaginable.

    There is no respect for an employee's life outside of work. Billable hours are all management cares about. If you are young and this is your first job out of school, this is not a good place to work, because you'll end up thinking all companies are like this. They are not. Parents, don't let your children take this job. Optimal preys on kids fresh out of school to provide them with cheap labor, but they work the kids 80 hours a week and give them little to no training on the job. Kids fresh out of school would be better off taking a fast food job than working at Optimal. Their starting salaries are not a liveable wage in Washington, DC. I've witnessed so many young interns and new hires get emotionally wasted by this company, for salaries that don't even pay their living expenses.

    In my experience with Optimal, they get government contracts by underbidding every other company (and by virtue of their special status with the SBA). This means that the contract usually requires more work on the part of the employees than is budgeted for. The top brass doesn't want to go over budget, so the employees must put in a lot of unpaid hours to complete the project. If the project is not done on time and well, then the employees are harangued individually during staff meetings. Optimal wlll tell employees that this is standard at all consulting firms in DC. It is not.

    The turnover rate is extremely high, but you probably will not hear about that in the interview. Most employees leave within a year of being hired, with the exception of three or four long-term employees. The negative reviews here on Glassdoor accurately reflect the plight of many people who have worked there. I have witnessed it.

    Walk away. Just walk away.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There's nothing that makes up for your style of management. If you continue to not see yourselves as the problems, you'll just push more people out the door who will end up reviewing your company on Glassdoor.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 4 people found this helpful  

    Very abusive work environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Analyst  in  College Park, MD
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in College Park, MD

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    small business environment
    attractive location, close to Metro

    Cons

    It is a very abusive work environment. Executive managers bully and intimidate junior staff, by discussing staff within the office and sending demeaning emails. Senior Research Managers do not manage effectively and they do not support or defend their team members against the abuse of Executive Managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a step back and realize how you treat your staff members. Your behavior is very concerning. A happy staff is a productive staff. People do so much with what little advice and support they get. Imagine if people were not scared and got adequate advice to do their jobs properly. Treat people as though they are human beings.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    WHERE DO I START???

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

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Hmmmm. Give me a minute. Time's up, can't think of anything

    Cons

    Cons - Con artists who can convince you to join this company with promise of career enhancement. Con - will not be allowed to do your job , without constant input from upper management, After all, Coo and CEO know how to do everything JOB within the entire company! What experts. Con - co-workers afraid to talk for fear of losing jobs. An eerie environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please consider having a meeting to research where you're going wrong. Something is seriously wrong here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Over promise, under bid and under deliver to clients.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Analyst  in  College Park, MD
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in College Park, MD

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Small business, so you get to wear many hats. Good if you are independent learner.

    Cons

    Employees asked to work on projects that question their integrity. Training…none. The organization has been through multiple HR people and people come and go a lot. Senior researchers offer no recognition at all and do not know how to give direction. Owners squabble a lot in front of staff making for an uncomfortable work environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Senior researchers should not be project managers. Hire real managers to manage projects.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Only work here is you absolutely NEED the paycheck.

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

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I left after a few months. Turnover at Optimal is high. However, I did like the building, the main admin assistant and the candy/treats they had out for employees. The quote of the day sent to employees every morning is also uplifting.

    An aspect of the office culture I enjoyed was that everyone says "goodmorning" to each other! I found this gesture from the employees nice. It creates an ILLUSION of a friendly atmosphere!

    Cons

    1. Ineffective communication from the COO
    2. Awkward management (COO recently sent out a letter slamming the glassdoor reviews while indirectly calling out employees)
    3. Upward mobility depends mainly on personality and friendship
    4. COO has a "not invented here" mentality
    5. COO reads something interesting on the Internet, gives it consideration and mass emails her opinion to staff (like the glassdoor reviews)
    6. Ask to increase the scope of your job and the process will be long, awkward and frustrating (although Optimal likes to claim it will be otherwise).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Dear COO (I know you are reading this),

    Thanks for the awkward chats and your lack of trust in my ability to increase the influence of Optimal. The online presence you enjoy is deserved!

    Good luck,

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Research Analyst

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Analyst III  in  College Park, MD
    Former Employee - Research Analyst III in College Park, MD

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    (1) They've some really interesting projects at the Federal level
    (2) Close to Metro Stop
    (3) Ample Parking
    (4) New Spacious Office

    Cons

    Don't even know where to begin!!!
    (1) Terrible management. It is a SWEATSHOP! They treat employees like bonded laborers. There is no work life balance. Even as a temporary worker or intern you're expected to put in extra long hours. You will be working almost all Saturdays.
    (2) No direction/ guidance or training of any sort. You're expected to produce excellent work right from day work without guidance. And if it doesn't match the COOs standard, gods be with you!
    (3) They fire people very easily. They don't care for your personal progress. They fired foreign worker on work permit recently and didn't care if the said person had to leave the country.
    (4) They underbid on all projects. Thus they don't have billable hours. They will ask you to work for 10 hours and only allow you to bill for 6. And this is not even done discreetly! They would give you the work and say this is worth 6 hours (when even they know its worth at least 10).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Change your approach towards employees- treat them with respect and not like slaves. Do something soon or the ship will sink!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Not a good place to work

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

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Location - close to Metro and surrounding area growing

    Cons

    Dysfunctional senior management very reactive, not proactive in decisions. COO has a "not invented here" attitude regarding new ideas, cost-effective measures, then criticizes you for the outcome of their decisions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing else to add - read some of the other reviews, they said it all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 7 people found this helpful  

    Do NOT Work Here

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

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Experience across a lot of fields and projects with you potentially leading a lot of very expensive endeavors, whether you're qualified or not.

    -Building is near a metro and has plenty of other far more reputable employers

    -Easy location for new grads and interns if you're desperate enough for one.

    Cons

    -Two-faced standards. What applies to some employees doesn't apply to others because they're "a special case," or "they're new at this," or "they wouldn't have known that."

    -More politics than Capitol Hill with clear and unfair favoritism, scare tactics, and intimidation maneuvering.

    -Lower level employees back stabbing each other to engage in CYA. If you're desperate enough to accept a job here, expect to be watching your back at all times.

    -Insane project directors handing out unrealistic time lines due to the failure of foresight from the company execs underbidding. They will pick for no reason, say they asked for x when they actually asked for y, hang you out to dry to cover their inability to manage their overload on projects, and let you take all the heat for any issue that happens and attributes it to your inability and ineptitude, labeling all your work as unacceptable while going to the the execs in a huff and complaining/talking trash about you to them and every other senior person in the office to ensure you don't get any other projects and keep you on a leash to beg and plead for more work since you'll be at their mercy. Yes, she really does this.
    No, no one does a thing about it.
    Yes, they should be called out on it.
    No, no one will because they're too afraid of a psychotic and unstable management group.

    -Insane business tactics by management. Underbids on all contracts. One contract we had was really worth around $1,000,000. They bid $300,000 just to underbid anyone else and cracks the whip to make people work overtime. THEN they don't let them bill the time they work, and says to make up the hours elsewhere. Project Managers will do the same, and tell you in a very blunt way that "I don't care, you're not billing to my project."

    -High turnover. The average is around 7-8 months, and for good reason

    -Work Work balance. No work life balance. If you work here, forget about having a life. It's all about the company. You don't like it? Tough. Now obey and get back to work like a good little drone, otherwise you might get fired and be unemployed! Who can argue with that huh? They give you the PRIVILEGE to work on INNOVATIVE work with REAL IMPLICATIONS! When 1:00 a.m. rolls around (for the FIFTH night in a row) and you can't work due to exhaustion, you can go home and sleep, but you can expect it'll be brought up in your yearly review as you not being a "team player" and your performance being "unacceptable."

    -Had lunch plans? Too bad. Not only is there no work life balance, you will be REQUIRED to attend one or two monthly "seminars" (small, no purpose speeches by small time academics) during your lunch hour. Unpaid. You will sit there, eat there, nod your head, and smile. If you don't you will be reprimanded and pay may be docked, promotion may be given elsewhere, or you may loose your (2% a year) raise. You will also be spammed on occasion with "important" dates for seminars with "high level" speakers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They don't listen to anyone. It's there way or the highway. Why offer advice now? Hopefully there's a hostile takeover, they go bankrupt or someone buys the company, FIRES management, and turns it into a real expanding business with lots of potential, as opposed to an abusive B.S. show run by greedy individuals taking salaries from individuals and the company to pocket for themselves instead of investing back into the business meaningfully and expanding it. OH WAIT! If they do that they get taxed more and can't afford anything for themselves! Those poor executives!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 4 people found this helpful  

    “Maximizing the work-work balance”

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate  in  College Park, MD
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate in College Park, MD

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

    Pros

    The location is excellent - close to Metro and the University. The office space is very nice. Most of the people are great.

    Cons

    The owners of this company of 50 require that everyone, from the receptionist to the senior staff, report directly to the CEO or COO. There is no middle management. Opportunities are given a great deal of lip service, but nothing more. Employees are required to put in as many hours as they can, regardless. Most weeks consist of 10-12 hour weekdays and 6-8 hour weekend days. Hours are tracked in contract worksheets, but employees are encouraged to submit only 40 hours per week, regardless of the number of hours worked. Any hours over 40 will be rejected by the CEO. There is no balance between work and life, simply between work and work.
    Finally, the COO, who has a BA degree, directs aspects of research far beyond her grasp. When informed by knowledgeable people of her errors, she tells them to do it her way and make it work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The best advice I could give is to hand off the management to someone else, collect their draw, and let the company succeed.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

Worked for Optimal Solutions Group, LLC? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.