RAND Reviews

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4.8
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RAND CEO Michael Rich
Michael Rich
3 Ratings

Pros
  • RAND has nice offices a block from the beach in beautiful Santa Monica (in 10 reviews)

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

Cons
  • RAND has an internal labor market where one must bid onto projects based on semi-formal networking (in 8 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 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

9 Employee Reviews

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  1. Always something interesting to work on

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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 a year)

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    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.


  2. Graduate Research Fellow (Summer) at the International Policy Center

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Graduate Research Fellow in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Graduate Research Fellow in Washington, DC

    I worked at RAND as an intern (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting work on policy related issues; could work on multiple projects at once; projects only last about a few months typically so you can move on to something new fairly quickly; free to work on my own time- in and outside of the office; intelligent colleagues;

    Cons

    Pay is contract based-- so if you're not billing to a contract you're not getting paid at all. In practice this usually means that you're working on projects you're not as interested in, but in theory it concerned me that I could go without pay at times with out much of a safety net.


  3. A smart, well-connected place where you can make a difference

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Constant intellectual buzz. Huge array of public policy topics. Collaborative environment. Good pay. Great benefits (like getting paid 50% extra when you go on vacation).

    Cons

    Because most revenues come from government contracts, some researchers spend more of their time than they should chasing new business or trying to get attached to well-funded projects.

    Advice to Management

    Provide more flexibility to cover researchers for time pursuing crazy ideas or promoting completed work.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Learning but also struggling

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Strong network capabilities both from internal and external sources. Research methods are down to earth, and frequently adopted by stakeholders.

    Cons

    A lot of financial stress. High turnover rate. No spaces for promotion.


  6. All day interview

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Interviewee Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Interviewee Research Assistant in Washington, DC

    I have been working at RAND

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Paid trip to DC. Interesting researching their research.

    Cons

    If you want to get hired show that your a salesman.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Great place, but not ideal for non-PhDs

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at RAND

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great place to work, fascinating and intellectually challenging work with high visibility, brilliant colleagues, tremendous flexibility to work from home, and option to use Mac instead of PC in the office.

    Cons

    Nearly impossible to advance without PhD, time-keeping system is frustrating, not the most socially cohesive work environment, and some less-than-ideal project leadership.


  8. Helpful (8)

    Really good for the right people

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

    I have been working at RAND

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    If you are looking for a great life balance, are too ambitious to work in academia (low pay), but are not that ambitious to work 70 hour weeks in the private sector, this is the place to be. The work environment is really nice and the people are really bright, even though you're bound to encounter some weird scientist types who won't even say hello to you when you cross paths with them in the hallway. It's not a crazy competitive environment so people tend to be nice to each other overall. The pay is very decent, and the benefits are great. 6 weeks of paid vacation/ sick leave + major holidays and paid emergency days. Also a very prestigious place to work. 30 Nobel Laureates have worked at RAND at some point in their career.

    Cons

    The internal labor market: You have to find work within the company even after you are hired, which can be stressful at times. However, if you happen to do research in an area where there is a lot of demand, then you won't face that many problems in coverage. Not that many opportunities for advancement: There are only three levels: associate, full and senior. Most people reach senior status after 7- 10 years with the company. If you are very ambitious and really looking for a place where you really want to advance in your career, then you'd rather work for a for-profit consulting company like McKinsey or Bain& Co. (but then be ready to put in the extra hours to advance there) Overall the positives definitely outweigh the negatives for certain people.

    Advice to Management

    As hard as it may be, it would be good to find income streams outside of the DoD. RAND people are really bright and could benefit a lot more clients in the civilian/ private sector.


  9. Helpful (15)

    In Search of Excellence (But Not There Yet)

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at RAND

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Truly flexible work hours (you must bill 80 client hours every two weeks – when and where you do it is effectively optional). - Enormous independence and intellectual responsibility for solid hires. I have gone days without being micromanaged. - High quality office buildings in principal locations. Santa Monica office is an architectural marvel. - Strong name recognition in nearly every other white collar field. For some lines of work a multiyear stint is as good as an Ivy League degree. - Pay comparable to big box consultancies such as Accenture, Booz Allen, and Deloitte for similar experience (although not by way of educational credentials or quality of work demanded). The perks of a non-profit without the poverty. - Six weeks of unrestricted, paid leave per year, in addition to standard holidays (see caveat below). - Very minimal but classy travel (Ritz Carlton / business class upgrades).

    Cons

    - RAND has an internal labor market where one must bid onto projects based on semi-formal networking. This works fine so long as there are more man-hours of work to be done than man-hours available, but when things get lean it can get somewhat troublesome. Taking unexpected vacation days to fill in gaps in coverage is only made palatable by how much leave is given. - There is little to no workforce planning beyond minimally useful end of fiscal year targets. Therefore, severe imbalances in workflow can occur within a given practice area, resulting to serious lulls in one’s ability to bill clients. For example, several principal investigators are having a deliverables reviewed at once to meet a DOD mandated submission deadline, and therefore cannot be bothered to issue new tasks to mid-level employees. - Little room for intellectual movement. There are effectively three major lines of consulting work at RAND: traditional defense-industrial issues for the Pentagon (where RAND made its name), intelligence work which amounts to very high level augmentation for the CIA, NSA, etc., and health / labor / population issues. To the extent people move between these areas, it is only because say, the Army requests a medical study and it requires specific bureaucratic knowledge to come to fruition. The remainder of RAND research – in areas like infrastructure, the arts, development, policing, etc. – is very piecemeal and represents very low dollar flow. - There is no mechanism to fire underperformers / nasty personalities that lack a fixed term contract. There are a handful of senior researchers in every office that are atrocious, but continue to cobble together enough coverage to meet their billable targets and hence hang on.

    Advice to Management

    - Restructure the travel support contract with incentives for cost control. If RAND staff can find hotels and tickets for more than 15% below the quoted rate from the support agency (the supposed amount reimbursed to RAND at the end of the fiscal year based on the organization’s aggregate bill), allow them to make the arrangements on their own. Example: I was forced to pay a “negotiated rate” of $200+ a night for a hotel in Santa Monica whose going rate was $89 plus tax by way of Google. Just because the travel contract fulfills government auditing requirements does not make it sound.


  10. Awesome place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Washington, DC

    I worked at RAND

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Incredibly smart people, great infrastructure, stimulating work. Very collegial work environment. One of the best places I've worked.

    Cons

    None that really mattered very much.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work.



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