Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates
2.6 of 5 57 reviews
www.psbresearch.com Washington, DC

Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates Reviews

Updated Jun 24, 2014

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2.6 57 reviews

                             

30% Approve of the CEO

Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates CEO Mark Penn

Mark Penn

(23 ratings)

28% of employees recommend this company to a friend
57 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Great experience in market research - you can learn a lot really quickly"
    in 7 reviews
  • "Great opportunity to learn about current events and research practices"
    in 5 reviews
Cons:
  • "Long hours, no work/life balance, short deadlines"
    in 12 reviews
  • "Pay is low compared to industry"
    in 4 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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    Been working here 17 years

    Director (Current Employee)
    Denver, CO

    ProsLearned so much and have always felt very valued for the work i do. Denver office has much less turnover than any other office. I am a Director whose employees are with me for 16 years and 10 years so we must be doing something right

    ConsFor myself and my department, no cons - honestly, no cons

    Advice to Senior ManagementNo advice, just thanks for putting up with me all these years. Im sure you know by now who this is
    :-)

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

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    Good introduction to working in an office, but tarnished by unclear expectations and lack of feedback.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThe younger analysts are all extremely intelligent and great examples of how to be a stellar entry level employee. A few of them genuinely wanted interns to learn the tools used by the company.

    ConsThe office culture is very "us vs. them" and there is lot of whispering and some passive aggressive behavior. Junior analysts seem to be micromanaged and overworked. Upper level management can sometimes be overtly harsh and belittling.

    Advice to Senior ManagementImplement a training program that teaches employees what they need to know instead of giving them extremely tight deadlines to execute tasks they may not be familiar with. This office definitely needs to gain a few managers that have skills managing people, not just strong backgrounds and admirable achievements in market research.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    I am currently an Intern and have worked 3 weeks so far. Allot of number input and checking, monotonous but easy

    Summer Intern (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsSimple and fairly low stress work, looks good on a resume

    ConsMonotonous, somewhat boring work, desk job

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Best place for a strategic adrenaline junkie

    Vice President (Current Employee)

    ProsThe work is very strategic (regularly deal with senior executives at client companies) yet fast paced. You get to work on so many different, exciting business problems, from customer segmentation to brand positioning to crisis communications, across a wide variety of industries (tech, finance & banking, CPG, automobiles, entertainment). You get new, interesting challenges every week, so you are always learning something new. And nobody stands in your way when you want to get something done. The company is set up so you can get things done, fast.

    ConsThis place will consume you if you let it. If you take on every interesting challenge that comes your direction you will drown. You have to learn to be strategic about what you do and don't sign up for. It's also an "always on" environment. I manage to have most of my weekends and evenings to myself, but I am always monitoring what is going on, ready to jump in at any time if needed. This is a fast paced agency environment so don't even think about working here if you aren't committed to your work and delivering the highest value to your clients, even if that means occasionally taking time out from evenings and weekends to check on things and keep things moving.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThere isn't enough focus on developing good leaders. There is a tendency to promise the client the moon tomorrow (when next week would be fine with the client) then dropping the project on execution teams who must drop everything to meet unnecessarily fast deadlines promised by some executives.

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

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Happy I worked here, so much happier that I am leaving

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsIf you want to work in market research, this is a great learning experience early on in your career. If you show any competence, you'll be given a lot of responsibility from early on. You'll have opportunities to interact directly with clients years earlier than you would at other firms, and you're constantly learning new methodologies. You can then take this experience and run to a firm that appreciates you as a person, not just a warm body to churn out presentations.

    The people are what makes most people stay longer than they would otherwise. PSB manages to attract smart, dedicated, driven, and fun people, which helps make the whole place more bearable.

    ConsPSB is fantastic at driving away said smart, talented people. Once they identify a few "rising stars" at the company, they overload them with so much work that it's physically impossible to get it done. They seldom replace employees once they've left, so everyone that is (unfortunately) left is stuck picking up the slack. A group of employees is regularly in the office until 8-9 each night, and it's not that shocking to work until midnight. The pay is low for the industry, and bonuses are a joke. The only incentive you get is the satisfaction of a job well done, but that just leads to more work piled on. Many of the VPs also seem overwhelmed, so there's no hope of advancing and things getting better.

    They pride themselves on speed, but often it's unnecesary. There are times when we need an overnight poll, but there are many more times when we do not. However, VPs constantly overpromise or cut down on timelines, which doesn't affect them, but screws over their analysts.

    Advice to Senior ManagementOpen your eyes. Everyone in the junior ranks can identify 2-3 problems off the top of their heads, but management seems to ignore the problem. PSB has a lot of potential, but they're never going to keep clients happy if all of the staff has one foot out of the door. Don't be surprised when data errors get made, more people quit, and clients stop calling. You did this to yourself.

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

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    Great Internship Experience

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Bellevue, WA

    Pros-Interaction with big tech brands
    -Interns really learn the entire marketing research process from RFPs to the final report
    -Awesome work environment, young office of around 20 people (the majority of whom are in their mid to late 20s)
    -Open organizational structure, everyone is willing to explain or discuss projects
    -Flexible scheduling
    -Paid internship

    Cons-Monotonous tasks (number checking)
    -Lack of explanation of "big picture" importance/goals of projects to interns
    -Almost no training for interns
    -Little feedback from analysts and project managers

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    Good experience, very hard work.

    Analyst (Former Employee)

    ProsLearn a lot, develop very strong work ethic, work with great people.

    ConsLong hours, no work/life balance, short deadlines

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Best place for misery and despair

    Senior Analyst (Former Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsYou'll work with big name clients, which is a great resume builder. You'll also take on a lot of work and project management, though this is simply out of necessity because management is too cheap to hire enough people to adequately cover the work. Basically, if you don't have better options, it's a decent place to work to build your resume so that you can then switch to a better job.

    ConsIt's miserable. Your salary will be relatively low, and you also will not be paid for overtime. You will regularly work until 8:00 or 9:00 PM and 2 AM nights happen too. Say goodbye to making plans with friends, going to happy hour, having any sort of social life. The work you put in will be minimally appreciated by the Directors and Vice Presidents above you. You will be chronically understaffed, overworked, and stressed. The work itself will be repetitive and incredibly boring. It will require a strong attention to detail, but because you will be understaff, overworked, and stressed, you will never have enough time or energy to feel that you are actually able to do so. Mistakes will happen. Parts of the job that could be interesting or enjoyable like doing analysis and presentations will become miserable because you will be asked to complete them in a quarter of the amount of time that you need, and will do five of them a week. You will be alarmed at the methodology issues you will see on a regular basis, but that higher ups completely fine with. Turnover is very high below the Director level. Almost no one who starts out of college will be there 2-3 years later, and I think it would be fair to say that about a quarter of the staff below Director level in the DC office quits every year.

    I would probably like working here too if I was a VP - you can control your hours and you are basically responsible for getting new business and presenting to clients. I would also probably like it if I was an intern - you work an 8 hour day, then go home. Ignore those reviews unless you are specifically applying to those positions.

    Advice to Senior ManagementSomething has to give - either hours or pay. Of course, it won't, because the executives have every incentive to continue to work people at the analyst level ragged. Cap hours per week, or offer overtime pay. Also the "HR" department should stop with the unnecessary secrecy. The office is small enough that everyone finds out who got promoted, how many offers were given to campus hires, so on and so forth.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    It all depends on the team

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Washington, DC

    ProsEmployees are able to work with large clients. Thus it is a good resume builder. One's experience is truly dependent on the team that they are on. If you are on a good team it can be a very rewarding experience.

    ConsThe HR department is not existent. They have no understanding of how to engage their employees and create meaning within the work place. Which is a one of the reasons their turnover is so high. Furthermore, teams leaders are not very good at delegating work which has created a culture where team members do not ask for help when they should.

    Advice to Senior ManagementBring the HR department out of the 90's. Focus on the "why" of what you are doing not the "what." Inspire the employees and people will stick around longer. Also, get rid of the instant message system. It prevents employees from getting to know each other and thus increases turnover. Your sacrificing perceived productivity for an increase is job satisfaction.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    It's a toss up

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsYou get to bond with your team since each group is small and you'll be primarily communicating with them

    ConsComputer is your best friend, you will be spending all of your time with a computer screen even when it's time to eat

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