RAND

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RAND Reviews

Updated January 4, 2015
Updated January 4, 2015
97 Reviews
4.0
97 Reviews
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RAND CEO Michael Rich
Michael Rich
45 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • RAND in Santa Monica is an unbeatable location and working in (in 10 reviews)

  • The organization encourages long term employees and flexible work arrangements (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Competitive internal labor market, requires 100% coverage (in 8 reviews)

  • You are very much left alone to sink or swim in the "internal labor market"--I'm lucky that (so far) I'm swimming, and I've had a lot of help (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    A lot of talent and interesting work opportunities but you are left alone to navigate a fairly closed off culture

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

    I have been working at RAND

    Pros

    world class researchers
    world class access
    very important problems
    huge diversity of areas and approaches
    lovely office and location
    southern california

    Cons

    you are responsible for funding your own time so it creates a constant pressure to secure funding. Too often you are forced to choose between doing less interesting work with a large budget attached or trying to make due with less reliable but more interesting work.

    While everyone is friendly, professionally groups tend to be more closed off and protective of their funding. Leads to a closed off culture.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Always good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in New York, NY

    I have been working at RAND full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good environment, good projects, good learning

    Cons

    Sometimes extended hours, nothing really as cons

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I enjoyed working there.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Excellent Employer

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Research Support Manager in Santa Monica, CA
    Former Employee - Research Support Manager in Santa Monica, CA

    I worked at RAND full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Being surrounded by the brightest in research.

    Cons

    Leadership in some non-research areas do not possess, nor do they know how to obtain, professional development to build their skills or the work they do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Bring your leaders in administration to the table to engage in strategic visioning. If you don't believe they have that capacity, manage them out.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Great company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at RAND full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The people. They are smart and work well together for the most part. The work can be interesting. The benefits package is great.

    Cons

    Promotion is tenure based not performance (though performance is taken into account). Pay is mediocre for support staff while research staff seem to be well taken care of. This divide is present elsewhere: research staff are viewed (and view themselves) as above others. We were actually called "the invisible people" by an older researcher who was trying to explain how important we are to her work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep on keepin' on. If egos are the only real complaint, there isn't much management can do about it.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    A great summer internship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Summer Associate in Santa Monica, CA
    Former Employee - Summer Associate in Santa Monica, CA

    I worked at RAND as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Working at RAND was like binging on brain candy everyday. There there numerous interesting seminars everyday and I got to meet and interact with a number of top policy analysts in their fields.

    Cons

    I was working in the Santa Monica office. If you don't like Los Angeles, I don't recommend it. RAND offers very competitive salaries, but the cost of living in Santa Monica is also quite high.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Amazing colleagues but challenging internal labor market

    Current Employee - Policy Researcher in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Policy Researcher in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at RAND full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Variety of work, challenging projects, brilliant colleagues, salary, flexible schedule

    Cons

    Competitive internal labor market, requires 100% coverage

  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    very different military & civilian sides

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Santa Monica, CA

    I have been working at RAND full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    RAND has nice offices a block from the beach in beautiful Santa Monica.

    On the civilian side, you have very smart researchers working on important problems.

    On the military side, the research is relatively easy and job security is possible.

    You can try working on different types of problems and are not tied to any one "boss".

    Benefits are good and improve the higher in the organization you go (retirement benefits actually increase, in % terms, as your salary increases).

    There are even some "RAND internal" research funds available.

    There are smart and fun graduate students and new hires constantly arriving.

    Cons

    The internal job market means constantly interviewing internally for projects.

    On the civilian side, you have to cover 100% of your time with grant/contract money, which is a tall order. This might explain why turnover is a little high on this side of the house.

    The military side is run by several gangs (e.g., the Project Air Force FMEP gang) each of which has a few decision makers that determine the fate of new hires (what projects they work on, when they are allowed to brief a client or lead a project, etc.). These decision makers take care of each other first and play favorites with new hires. (Don't expect to have an important role on a project just because you know the topic better than anyone else at RAND.)

    The military side doesn't do very interesting or technical research (think resolving the same Army logistics problem several years in a row using a giant spreadsheet).

    Santa Monica and the surrounding area are very expensive and traffic is bad.

    The freedom to work from home and the nature of the researchers working here means there is little socializing or community spirit at work

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a way to empower the new hires, particularly those on the military side of the house who are currently reliant on their "gang" leaders for job security, promotion opportunities, etc. Break up the gangs and cliques.

    Allow those on the civilian side to survive on less than 100% coverage. Find a way to better reward the superstars on the civilian side who can consistently bring in money in the current civilian research environment.

    Improve job security, or the perception of it. Right now a lot of the new hires view RAND as a temporary assignment when it need not be this way.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    great learning experience, not a place for long-term career growth

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

    I worked at RAND full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    smart people, good office environment, challenging and intellectually interesting work. I learned a lot about research and government operations while I was there; it was a good stepping stone for future work. Good time-off policy and flexible work schedules; ergonomic office furniture.

    Cons

    top-heavy staffing and competition for tier-1 research projects creates a competitive and cliquey atmosphere. You have to hunt for work and be a politically savvy networker to get on the best projects. Only a few people get promoted from early to mid-career levels because of the large number of older staffers who get "first dibs" on projects. Salary is low for DC.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in workforce development if you want to retain your best and brightest younger research staff. I left because there was nowhere to go. Too many old-guard people remain in management positions; the organization is stagnant.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    Always something interesting to work on

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Political Scientist in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Associate Political Scientist in Washington, DC

    I have been working at RAND full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    At RAND, researchers get to work on a breadth of projects. Unlike most of academia, at RAND your research has a good chance of being seen by government decisionmakers.

    Cons

    The internal labor market does not efficiently match capabilities to requirements, and the need to pursue future work while doing your regular work can be an unpleasant distraction. There isn't a clear career path for most project associates or research assistants, and consequently RAND-caliber talent sometimes is not retained.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    A very enjoyable place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Arlington, VA

    I have been working at RAND full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    - good people
    - efficient systems
    - opportunities to learn

    Cons

    - There is limited upward mobility for administrative staff

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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