Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

  www.optimalsolutionsgroup.com
  www.optimalsolutionsgroup.com

Optimal Solutions Group, LLC Reviews

Updated October 26, 2014
Updated October 26, 2014
44 Reviews
2.0
44 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC President Dr. Mark Turner
Dr. Mark Turner
29 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

    Pros

    -Very interesting work
    -A lot of different projects to join

    Cons

    -Sometimes tasks ended up being extremely menial

  2.  

    Spectacular fringe benefits

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

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Optimal provides an excellent menu of health insurance plans (PPO, HMO, and HSA) and provides generous employer contributions resulting in minimal costs to most employees. This is exceptional compared with a lot of organizations.

    Cons

    I don't have any cons, Optimal's other fringe benefits are great too: 401k thru pet insurance.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 6 people found this helpful  

    The good reviews are written by COO

    • 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 (more than an year)

    Pros

    on the metro. some contracts are interesting.

    Cons

    The positive reviews posted here are written by the COO. If you work here long enough you recognize her writing. And they (COO and CEO) don't like the bad rap they get from employees on glassdoor so they write their own. and the billable hours fraud has been going on for years. Understaff the project, overwork the employees, overbill the govt is not an ethical model.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 5 people found this helpful  

    If it was possible to give negative stars, I would.

    • 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 (less than an year)

    Pros

    I got a huge salary increase when I was hired, so that was something I was able to take with me. But other than that, nothing else is worth it. Management seems to think that if they provide enough crappy food/snacks (instant oatmeal and crackers) their employees will be happy, but trust me, it's not worth it. If you are going to take the job, make sure you negotiate on the salary and provide lengthy explanations for why you deserve the salary you deserve (qualifications, experience, languages, etc). They were surprisingly easy to work with on that. Perhaps they have changed their practices on it (or will change it after they read this review), but it's always worth a try.

    Cons

    Everything else. I read the GlassDoor reviews prior to my interview and was a bit concerned, but chose to brush it off because I was desperate for a job due to the crappy economy. I regretted it on my first day of work. After speaking to numerous co-workers, I found out that the reviews here were totally true. I was even told by two co-workers that the two of them don't bother to learn anyone's name unless they've been with the company for at least 6 months, because it's not worth the trouble due to the high turnover. Employees who left before and after me all had the same issues that were already discussed in other reviews on here, so I won't repeat them. All I can say is that the reviews are true, and that you should accept a job with them with GREAT caution.

    An example of their poor management: I asked the HR director whether they would consider increasing the metro subsidy back to what it used to be based on the new employee manual they gave me. I even supported my request with evidence that the metro fares would be increasing soon, so an increased subsidy would make sense. I also emailed coworkers that I knew used the metro to see if they'd support me on getting an increased subsidy, and due to the scary, intimidating, oppressive work culture of the company, those who used the metro the most and had been with the company the longest were afraid to email me back while those who barely used it were not as afraid to email me back. The HR director said he would check on this for me, and two weeks later I still had no reply. Then randomly while passing by me he basically said that management said no to the increase and I asked why, and he replied, "They didn't give a reason and they don't have to." I kid you not, that was his actual, rude reply to my face.

    People are afraid to talk to one another and socialize in the office, for fear of looking "not busy enough." It is a very quiet and unwelcoming atmosphere with a palpable, huge gap between those who've been with the company for at least a year and those who are new. They lied to me about what projects I would be working on, and in general there is very poor communication in the International Practice, as the practice manager is overloaded with too much to do and is based on another continent. There is no training and no patience for tiny mistakes. If you are a quiet, introverted perfectionist that is totally unflappable (i.e. a robot), this might be the perfect place for you.

    They have also told employees in an all-staff meeting to bill everything to the client (i.e. the federal government, who is running a huge deficit and really can't afford to pay for anything) and don't bill anything to "Overhead" so as to maximize profits. I felt this was highly unethical. But if you're cool with working for an unethical company who is trying to fleece our government out of taxpayer dollars, go right ahead and take a job here.

    The most damning thing I can say here is that I was relieved to be terminated because I was thinking of quitting, but was afraid to. They made the decision for me, and it was probably the best thing that could have happened, given the circumstances, because I went on to get hired into a federal agency, which came with another raise. And after I was terminated, 4 people quit, including a very senior practice manager that was forced out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    What's the point of suggesting anything? You don't take any of the advice here.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Optimal Solutions Group, LLC Response

    Oct 26, 2014CEO

    Thank you for your feedback. I'd like to address some of the points that you raised.

    Our client requirements are within a regulatory framework and drive our management decisions. Yes, some
    ... More

  6. 9 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
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Opportunity to learn and get involved in public policy research.

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

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Large enough company where there is a diversity of people
    small enough that everyone knows each other
    great network to be a part of

    Cons

    if you don't have graduate education, there is not a whole of lot of advancement that can be done

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    better training

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Intern

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

    Pros

    It is a place where you get the opportunity to learn. There is a lot of projects to work on.

    Cons

    It can feel a cold environment to work in.

  9.  

    Opportunities you receive at no other job

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

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    At Optimal you as an employee have opportunities to be hands on in research and take on numerous responsibilities very soon after joining the company.

    The people who work here are very friendly and the teams that you work on all strive to put out the best product.

    The small business environment allows for personal growth and the ability to work on numerous different projects when you are first starting out, which in turn allows an employee to figure out which area of expertise they would like to work in/ study further.

    Cons

    Ex-employees have left somewhat of a stain on the reputation of Optimal and have caused others to not take a chance on a place where you can grow as a researcher and a person.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take pessimistic rants on social media with a grain of salt...do not believe everything that you ready or react to it.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    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 (less than an 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
  11. 7 people found this helpful  

    Research Analyst

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

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group, LLC full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    forward thinking, fast pace
    there were some interesting projects

    Cons

    no care about employees
    no appreciation of employees' contribution
    extremely high turn over
    heavy office politics
    micro-managers
    sometimes management shows a lack of integrity, doing whatever it takes to get profit

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be nice to people and people will be nice to you

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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