PA Consulting
3.1 of 5 138 reviews
www.paconsulting.com London, United Kingdom 1000 to 5000 Employees

PA Consulting Reviews

Updated Mar 29, 2014

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3.1 138 reviews

                             

67% Approve of the CEO

PA Consulting CEO and Director Alan Middleton

Alan Middleton

(51 ratings)

62% of employees recommend this company to a friend
138 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "short termism - poor work life balance"
    in 17 reviews
  • "Great people; great sectoral expertise; supportive culture"
    in 12 reviews
Cons:
  • "the work life balance can be terrible (depending on the job)"
    in 11 reviews
  • "over reliance on public sector work, non-existent in financial services"
    in 8 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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Great company for progression

Managing Consultant (Current Employee)
Princeton, NJ

I have been working at PA Consulting

Pros1. Opportunity to progress at your own pace

2. It's a small company with the potential to get noticed and take on extra responsibility quickly

3. PA is fair and rewards well for good performance

Cons1. You have to be flexible and wear many hats

2. Expectation of travel

3. Team spirit is not what it used to be as the recession continues to bite

Advice to Senior ManagementTake time to motivate junior staff

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

Good place to learn the 'ropes' but you have to be proactive to shape your own career

Principal Consultant (Current Employee)
Princeton, NJ

I have been working at PA Consulting

ProsSmall firm culture in the the US which makes it easy to network with in the company and find projects in areas you want to work in.

ConsLow brand equity which makes it very hard to do business development which is needed to move up the ranks.

Advice to Senior ManagementNeed to attract US based talent and leaders if you really want to be successful in the US rather than moving folks from UK!

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Great place to work for the motivated, entrepreneurial consultant

Principal Consultant (Current Employee)
New York, NY

I have been working at PA Consulting

ProsEntrepreneurial environment; you can do pretty much anything you want to do in terms of focus - the challenge will be for generalists trying to find their "brand" or niche
Colleagues are for the most part collaborative
Great opportunities to learn

ConsStill very much a British company. Not enough American leadership in the US.
Could do more marketing to get the company's name out
Consultants have so many responsibilities it is easy to take on too much

Advice to Senior ManagementNo advice

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Great company

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

I have been working at PA Consulting

ProsManagement truly support people
Entrepreneurial spirit
Reasonable compensation model
Benefits are excellent (22 days vacation, very good medical, etc)

ConsTravel expectations
Difficult to become a specialist as short-term utilization takes precedence
There is too much focus on the bottom line, without taking into consideration impact on staff moral
Company is becoming SOP centric

Advice to Senior ManagementKeep focusing on making PA a great place to work and we will be successful

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Some good opportunities, but depends on location and field

Principal Consultant (Current Employee)
Chicago, IL

I have been working at PA Consulting

Pros* great opportunities to work with challanging and interesting clients
* put in front of clients immediately and at high levels of responsibility within projects
* strong group of intelligent, motivated people worldwide

Cons- If you aren't in one of the bigger offices difficult to network
 - incentives not necessarily aligned to grow the US practice
 - bonuses not what described when joined

Advice to Senior ManagementUpdate your US Strategy to support growth, encourage partners to work together, do more activities to raise brand awareness in the US (on campus MBA interviewing, etc.)

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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4 people found this helpful  

PA - Build your career then get out

Principal Consultant (Current Employee)
Arlington, VA

I have been working at PA Consulting

ProsThough it's standard for most consulting companies (I've worked for three now), the people are the best reason to work for PA Consulting. The employees are some of the smartest and hardest workers I have worked with my entire career. Everyone in the organization challenges each other to do better, and it's welcome at all ranks, but everyone shares equally in the benefits of a job well done.

To a lesser extent, especially in the US, the organization is very entrepreneurial. I've done more marketing and business development work than at any of the other consulting organizations I worked with previously. The opportunities to grow your skills in these areas are significant for employees at all ranks.

Additionally, you are expected to be involved in the development of Thought Leadership throughout your career, which gives many the opportunity to get published and start developing a name for themselves outside of the organization. This is critical as you move through your career.

ConsThe key challenges of any consulting job are the travel and work/life balance. At PA, in the US, these are magnified. For the most part, our client base is not aligned with the geographic locations of our offices, so most people are on the road 4-5 days per week. If you're young and have nothing to tie you down, this is great, but for those people with families, the strain starts to show.

Additionally, the company has difficulty in the US keeping Americans on staff. The culture here is different than most US-based consulting organizations, which sometimes makes it difficult for Americans to fully fit in. PA's employee growth in the US has been based more on transferring disaffected employees from the UK, rather than trying to build a solid foundation of American employees. Unfortunately, this tends to show, and, I think, sometimes turns clients off.

Finally, our portfolio of clients in the US is very limited. We have several very strong accounts, but the tendency with the Partner group is to milk those accounts dry. This results in a very cyclical sales pipeline, and has only been made worse as the recession took hold. Unfortunately, most consulting companies take the mindset of "what have you done for me lately", which drives these behaviors.

Advice to Senior ManagementThere is a fear by Senior Management at PA of over-communicating, which I think is completely unfounded. In the US, we sometimes feel starved for information about what is going on, and can't seem to find it anywhere. Though the weekly results and metrics are readily available, the lack of communication makes the various parts of the organization seem like islands.

Unfortunately, this isn't helped by the fact that most of the Partner group are poor communicators themselves. The collective MBTI profile tends towards ISTJ, which makes them excellent at analytical and technical work, but makes for poor dissemination of information.

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PA Consulting is a great place to work and build a career in management consulting

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Boston, MA

I have been working at PA Consulting

Prosmy colleagues, the intellectual capital and the leadership; the ability to be innovative, creative, and create work that is meaningful and of true value to clients; our work is embedded in key company values which we value individually and collectively. Working at PA is what you make of it. There is intense opportunity if you are willing to seek it out and put in the hard work. Opportunities to lead and develop oneself are endless but don't look for someone to hold your hand - you have to be willing to figure out what you are good at, what your areas of development are and continue to develop both.

ConsTravel is often required to the client which is standard for consulting.

Advice to Senior Managementnone - they do a great job

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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PA is an extremely capable management consulting firm that provides true value to its clients.

Analyst (Current Employee)
New York, NY

I have been working at PA Consulting

ProsThe company provides a supportive environment with European-level standards of benefits (including insurance, pension, and vacation time). The consultants within the firm are extremely intelligent and represent top-notch professionals with natural competence and strong experience.

PA has steadily gained prominence in the United States and continues to acquire very interesting clients in all industries. The type of work provided is diverse and challenging. The company handles all components of the value-chain -- from strategic design and tactical development to IT implementation and program management.

The management fosters open communication and encourages a very flat structure. All consultants are encouraged to actively participate and communicate with partners.

ConsIt is clear that PA's center of power and of decision-making is located in London. This occasionally hinders U.S. growth and development.

Advice to Senior ManagementSenior management should further encourage growth and be more open to taking a greater amount of risk in its investments -- especially further developing the U.S. practices.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Good place to learn consulting but expect to put in a lot of work.

Principal Consultant (Current Employee)
Chicago, IL

I have been working at PA Consulting

ProsCollegial atmosphere working with very talented people. Good place to learn basic consulting skills. Good internal courses and emphasis on training. At least in the US you have a chance to work on a broad range of assignments and less likely to get pigeonholed in one area. Relatively flat hierarchy -- easy access to partners, short promotion paths. People tend not to "wear their stripes" so you can take on the responsibility and role that you want. People on a client team tend to work as peers regardless of their rank. Employees are encouraged to stretch themselves. Very diverse demographics.

ConsAs a UK based company it has poor name recognition in the US. Too much of the internal materials and corporatae initiatives seem to be based on the work in 123(the UK headquarters) where most people work in London, don't have to travel, etc. In the US, you often have to work away from home 4-5 days a week.

Employees are expected to put in a lot of extra work beyond client work, further impacting work/life balance. Even if you are working 40 hrs on an assignment you need to contribute to sales, write thought leadership, participate in prospecting efforts, etc.

Utilization and sales are key to bonuses and promotions. At the lower ranks, utilization may be out of their hands since the Managing Consultants and above generally determine who gets staffed on jobs. Your reputation is key. You have to build an internal network so people know who you are and will want you on their jobs. Beyond the consultant level sales ability becomes a more critical aspect of the job. Principal Consultants are encouraged to work for "virtual sales credits" to prove their sales ability but get nothing for it. The Managing Consultants and above share in the profits from a job through a complex allocation of sales credits.

There is no technical or operating career paths so to get to management you must demonstrate sales ability to advance. This tends to mean that managers are good at BS and presentations but aren't necessarily good administrators or personnel managers. Surprisingly, most of the managers are good at operating assignments and tend to be good in one or more technical area.

Seems to be a high rate of turnover and churn - many people don't last 3 years.

Advice to Senior ManagementCreate more non-sales career paths for technical gurus. Allow more specialization among the staff.
Create more US centric marketing tools - e.g. a US company web site, more US references and marketing collateral
Spread sales credits further down the food chain. It's hard for the consulting ranks to get enthusiastic about generating sales when all the benefits go to the management consultants and above.
Be more selective in hiring to expand in the US - not all new employees are up to prior PA standards.

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Changes are evident, but still have a ways to go

Managing Consultant (Former Employee)
New York, NY

I worked at PA Consulting

ProsAbility to craft some career paths going forward; some flexibility in creating propositions for services to offer to clients; intelligent people for the most part

ConsTight control by headquarters office with respect to all policies; highly U.K.-centric; the functional service lines continue to dominate the firm; industry "verticals" continue to be adjunct to the functional practices; senior leaders are protective of their contacts, despite sales credit sharing matrix (which looks good on paper, but seems to work only so-so)

Advice to Senior ManagementAllow greater flexibility in offices not in HQ; make specific investments in industry practices; potentially revamping the sales credit matrix

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