Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

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Optimal Solutions Group, LLC Reviews in College Park, MD

Updated Mar 11, 2014

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1.7 18 reviews

15% Approve of the CEO

Optimal Solutions Group, LLC President Dr. Mark Turner

Dr. Mark Turner

(13 ratings)

17% of employees recommend this company to a friend
18 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    Great learning experience!

    Research Assistant (Current Employee) College Park, MD

    ProsAt 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.

    ConsUnfortunately, 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 Senior ManagementDon't take researchers leaving Optimal personally because it is not a reflection on you.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Very abusive work environment

    Research Analyst (Current Employee) College Park, MD

    Prossmall business environment
    attractive location, close to Metro

    ConsIt 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 Senior ManagementTake 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    WHERE DO I START???

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) College Park, MD

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

    ConsCons - 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 Senior ManagementPlease consider having a meeting to research where you're going wrong. Something is seriously wrong here.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Culture & Values
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    4 people found this helpful  

    Over promise, under bid and under deliver to clients.

    Research Analyst (Former Employee) College Park, MD

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

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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Only work here is you absolutely NEED the paycheck.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) College Park, MD

    ProsI 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!

    Cons1. 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 Senior ManagementDear 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,

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Research Analyst

    Research Analyst III (Former Employee) College Park, MD

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

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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Not a good place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) College Park, MD

    ProsLocation - close to Metro and surrounding area growing

    ConsDysfunctional 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 Senior ManagementNothing else to add - read some of the other reviews, they said it all.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    7 people found this helpful  

    Do NOT Work Here

    (Former Employee) College Park, MD

    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 Senior ManagementThey 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!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    “Maximizing the work-work balance”

    Senior Research Associate (Former Employee) College Park, MD

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

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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    9 people found this helpful  

    one of the worst places to work; really should have done enough research before accepting a job there

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) College Park, MD

    Prossome timely and interesting federal contracts
    good for fresh grads interested in a short-term stay
    there are nice people in the team, but not the management

    Consheavy office politics in general
    facing daily tension
    terrible management, barely appreciating employees' effort or contribution
    unpaid overtime and over-using peole
    micro-managing and headstrong CEO

    Advice to Senior Managementbe nice to people,
    care about people's career development, not just the money in your pocket
    listen to employees who actually have specialties instead of believing you are the expert in their field
    work on the turnover rate

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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