RAND Reviews

Updated September 29, 2014
Updated September 29, 2014
89 Reviews
3.9
89 Reviews
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RAND CEO Michael Rich
Michael Rich
42 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • RAND in Santa Monica is an unbeatable location and working in (in 9 reviews)

  • Flexible work environment, ever-changing tasks (in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • RAND has an internal labor market where one must bid onto projects based on semi-formal networking (in 6 reviews)

  • The internal labor market: You have to find work within the company even after you are hired, which can be stressful at times (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person 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 for 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
  2.  

    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 for 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
  3.  

    Smart, hard working people with their hearts in the right place.

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

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

    Pros

    Good pay, benefits, and flexibility.

    Cons

    It's stressful to maintain a balance of good work and not be under- or over-loaded (coverage).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    We can do more to lead the way in both human and information management.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good think-tank learning experience

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

    I worked at RAND as an intern

    Pros

    Highly intelligent people, great work environment if you like policy-oriented research, lots of autonomy (see caveat below), decent compensation for this type of summer position, collegial atmosphere among interns.

    Cons

    Limited interaction with mentor. You are often on your own with little guidance and little feedback. It is up to you to be proactive and come up with ideas. More generally, you have to take the initiative to meet people. People won't come to you.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Nice people, no one was terribly tied to their job

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at RAND

    Pros

    Everyone was nice, awesome office and location

    Cons

    No one held a lot of a passion for the work

  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Can be a great place to work depending on which department you work in.

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

    I worked at RAND full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The benefits are great. The environment is collegial. You will likely be surrounded by intelligent people. If you are in a great department, then this is an excellent place to work.

    Cons

    Some of the departments are burdened with mismanagement and/or bureaucracy. If you are stuck in one of those departments, you will likely feel unappreciated at best. You may start out in a great department in which the management changes, then you will find yourself in a job you used to love and care about that becomes unbearable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Perhaps RAND has become too top heavy?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Very Grateful to Be Here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Behavioral Social Scientist  in  Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Associate Behavioral Social Scientist in Arlington, VA

    I have been working at RAND full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I love the diversity of projects, the chance to work with some really smart people (and learn from them), the work flexibility (usually work 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM in the office, or at home if I really have a lot of writing to do). And I kind of love the pressure--it's a challenge to context-switch from project to project, meet deadlines, etc., but it's very rewarding. And while there is a wide-range of personality types at RAND, I really like my colleagues.

    Cons

    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. But I can imagine someone who does good work still having bad luck (and maybe not out-going enough) to find work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I'm totally ok with the broad challenge of finding work, but even old hands here at RAND struggle with filling every corner of your time to, to the last day of the year. I think a little flexibility at the edges, e.g. a standard pool of personal development days, would be helpful.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Great colleagues, Interesting Research Opportunities, Great Employment Practices

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

    I worked at RAND full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The people here are all really top-notch. They really pushed me to be a better researcher and I learned a lot from everyone there. Not only, however, are they great researchers, but they are also very nice and happy to help. Other researchers always took time to meet with me, teach me new software, etc. Administrative support, security, and other people were also the best. Also, they have really great employment practices. There was an ergonomics person who helped set up your desk and they have a cafe with lots of healthy options.

    Cons

    Like any high-profile research organization, the job is demanding and the hours can be long at times. Also, I know that finding work at RAND is challenging for some people. I personally, however, didn't have a problem finding work and enjoyed the ability to choose whom I work with.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More free trainings on software would be great.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Economist

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

    I worked at RAND full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    You get to work on some intellectually stimulating projects. Some of them have relevance to public policy, others don't. The facilities are beyond excellent and support staff are generally helpful.

    Cons

    RAND seems to have become a place where PhDs go when they cannot hack it in academia. It seems like a lot of PhDs who couldn't get a tenured-track job or were denied tenured come here. RAND has even begun to hire people with MA or MS degrees as researchers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ratchet up the standards and only take the cream of the crop... like the good old days.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Lots of variety, no room for growth

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

    I have been working at RAND full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There is a huge variety of work available. On a given day, you may work with economists, political scientists, sociologists, and defense analysts. The office is quite nice, and there are lots of resources to do good research. For policy the pay is OK, but much of the work can be similar to work done by (and compensated by) the private sector. The work is extremely flexible: staff at all levels are given flexibility to work from home and work flexible hours.

    Cons

    There are limited opportunities for formal professional development or growth. Most junior staff are too busy over-loading with project work to take time to learn new skills. One of the big cons of the 'internal labor market' is that project leaders will only bring staff onto projects who already are experienced in the methodologies being used. This means it's hard to 'learn by doing' because you are generally only invited to do things that you've done before.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It is unclear what the various roles are meant to accomplish. When problems are brought up, nobody thinks it's their job to address them or fix them, which means that nothing (major or minor) can really change.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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