RAND

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RAND Reviews in Washington, DC

All Employees Current Employees Only

4.0 8 reviews

100% Approve of the CEO

RAND CEO Michael Rich

Michael Rich

(2 ratings)

83% of employees recommend this company to a friend

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
8 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Graduate Research Fellow (Summer) at the International Policy Center

    Graduate Research Fellow (Former Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsInteresting 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;

    ConsPay 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Approves of CEO

     

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

    Senior Professional (Current Employee) Washington, DC

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

    ConsBecause 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 Senior ManagementProvide more flexibility to cover researchers for time pursuing crazy ideas or promoting completed work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • No Opinion of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Learning but also struggling

    Policy Analyst (Current Employee) Washington, DC

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

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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Work/Life Balance
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    All day interview

    Interviewee Research Assistant (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsPaid trip to DC. Interesting researching their research.

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

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Great place, but not ideal for non-PhDs

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsGreat 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.

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

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    • Approves of CEO

    4 people found this helpful  

    Really good for the right people

    Associate (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    ProsIf 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.

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementAs 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Awesome place to work

    Research Assistant (Former Employee) Washington, DC

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

    ConsNone that really mattered very much.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep up the great work.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
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    • Disapproves of CEO

    12 people found this helpful  

    In Search of Excellence (But Not There Yet)

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Washington, DC

    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 Senior 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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