RAND Reviews in Santa Monica, CA

Updated August 20, 2014
Updated August 20, 2014
88 Reviews
3.9
88 Reviews
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RAND CEO Michael Rich
Michael Rich
40 Ratings

Review Highlights

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

  • The organization encourages long term employees and flexible work arrangements (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • RAND has an internal labor market where one must bid onto projects based on semi-formal networking (in 5 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 5 reviews)

More Highlights

42 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    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
  2. 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
  3. 3 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
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Flat organization, but challenging internal job market

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

    I worked at RAND full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    RAND in Santa Monica is an unbeatable location and working in Santa Monica is fantastic for morale and general well-being. Whenever you're frustrated or need a break, you can go down to the bike room/surfboard locker and head out to the ocean. As long as you get work done and show up for meetings, timing of your work is pretty flexible, though that means lots of people tend to work late into the night. It's a very flat organization with little hierarchy. Pretty good benefits.

    Cons

    Internal job market is fairly exhausting for introverts - you have to network constantly to fill up your hours with project time. Even if you are 60 years old and the top of your field, your time will be spent writing grant proposals and drumming up business. For young researchers, there is little support, and you may have to resort to taking work outside of your areas of interest (the FFRDCs always have plenty of money and work to go around, compared to some of the other units that have smaller pools of funding).

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    At the cusp of something.

    • 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 for less than a year

    Pros

    Smart and friendly research staff are the majority - opportunities for intellectual stimulating conversation around every corner.

    Cons

    RAND's Information Systems department is a ship lost at sea with out a captain; in this perfect storm, her crew are led by a multitude of middle management layers that appear to lack the technical fundamentals to find bearing and set course. A continued culture of navigation by consensus and checklists will be a losing strategy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    RAND used to be a household name, a braintrust synonymous with intellectual capital and thought leadership.

    RAND has a rich legacy, but its place does not have to be relegated to the past. In an age where data science and analytic methods are at the forefront of business and managerial science topics, RAND should reestablish itself as one of the world's preeminent pioneers in operations research and policy analysis. These fields have since evolved and barriers to entry have been lowered -- RAND now has many peers and competitors. Renew the legacy with innovation and excellence. Find and support your cadre of emerging thought leaders that see RAND's place in the future, but believe it is theirs to make.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 7 people found this helpful  

    IS organization is really struggling.

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

    I have been working at RAND as a contractor for more than 10 years

    Pros

    RAND has a phenomenal history as a research organization. Even non-research staff are welcomed at research presentations to hear the latest. Santa Monica is a great location and the office is only a block from the beach. Generally, hours are flexible. Most staff are highly intelligent and well educated. The organization encourages long term employees and flexible work arrangements.

    Cons

    Recent re-organization and new managers have introduced some serious problems with morale, productivity, and solution delivery in the IS area. Although one welcome departure occurred recently, many problems continue due to poor middle managers, the uncertainty of interim management, and anticipation of yet another round of new upper management. These are further eroding staff job satisfaction and loyalty. Focus has clearly shifted from "let's get this done well" to "be sure to cover your a**".

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The IT organization needs to be re-designed to better align with internal client needs. IT does not run the show--they should function as a support organization that serves overall business needs based on a long term view rather than a 'little as possible' consulting mentality.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Finding fulfillment (by the beach)

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

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

    Pros

    - Challenging, multidisciplinary problems
    - Track record of policy impact
    - Normative (depending on your disposition) and intellectual fulfillment
    - Constant career development
    - 2 blocks from the beach

    Cons

    - Coverage system adds significant overhead to research work
    - Can be stressful compared to academia

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Evolve the system to support researchers in uncertain times

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    CIO was just canned for being a total, incompetent failure. Terrible IT management.

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

    I worked at RAND full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great co-workers, those that are left. Survival can bring out the best in people.

    Cons

    Worst IT management team you will ever find. No current experience, very little to no practical knowledge. They couldn't run a McDonalds successfully. Also be aware future employees, part of your compensation goes into a retire plan that you'll be lucky to see after 4 years.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More to the Board of Directors - get an IT management team that has current experience before this company collapses.

    Neutral Outlook
  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    > 25 Years in RAND IT and Best It Has Ever Been

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

    I have been working at RAND full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    I'm one of the old timers at RAND. There are many of us who have came to RAND and have never thought to leave. We've been through good times and not so good times. I must say that I've never seen the IT organization as good as it is today. We had gotten some unhappy people into management ranks, and now that they are gone, we are finally starting to move forward.

    Cons

    We just lost a great fellow to retirement. Been here more than 30 years. Well earned, but sad to see him go. He was one of the good guys.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the hiring. It reminds me of the good days at RAND.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Good company to work for.

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

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

    Pros

    Very professional organization and colleagues, though the occasional exception can be problematic. Good benefits, good work ethic, company is concerned about employee well-being. Opportunity to learn about many facets of policy advisory roles and work with highly trained specialists in varying fields.

    Cons

    Research staff can experience pressure to be rainmakers, support staff have little opportunity for mobility. HR is not responsive to personnel problems in the workforce. Stated policy of employees being able to attend embedded grad school is not a reality. Company's income can be victim to whims of congressional budget politics as the company is largely paid by US government contracts.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be aware of middle managers who treat employees as numbers or interchangeable mechanical parts.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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