SmithBucklin Reviews

Updated August 5, 2015
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3.7
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SmithBucklin President & CEO Henry S. Givray
Henry S. Givray
48 Ratings

Pros
  • It is a fast-paced work environment and service-oriented culture (in 8 reviews)

  • Great place to enter into the event planning industry (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • I'll echo everyone else-work/life balance is non-existent (in 11 reviews)

  • They refuse to pay attention to the high turnover and low pay, as well as a model that simply does not work (in 8 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

73 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Great for professional development

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Coordinator in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Coordinator in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Emphasis on professional development and learning opportunities - Ability to work on high profile projects - Caliber of staff/ coworkers: (almost) everyone is highly professional and very good at their jobs - Convivial environment: everyone is really nice, social activities, free food, etc.

    Cons

    - A lot depends on your supervisor/ team - Some of the corporate management is old-fashioned and out of touch - Not a lot of diversity among employees: most are white 20-somethings

    Advice to Management

    - Standardize work from home policy: some people have some sort of occasional work from home or remote working arrangement but there is no official policy so it depends on your supervisor/ unit


  2. Stale environment, old fashioned, no culture but good benefits

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Marketing Associate in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Marketing Associate in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits and pretty great pay for a more entry level position. Nice office.

    Cons

    NO culture and very set in their ways, don't want to hear new ideas, high turn over and don't care to foster young employees, extremely uptight corporate fake employees, boring clients

    Advice to Management

    Take more care to foster young talent and appreciate new ideas


  3. Helpful (3)

    Look Great on the Outside, But...

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

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The amount of education you can take advantage of during your employment is great. I found a lot of personal development while I was here that I can carry into other roles.

    Cons

    Departments need to play nicer with each other, as one team. Working for the client should be the main goal, and that is what SB prides themselves on, however, their culture does not ring true to this philosophy. The methodologies one department uses may not be exercised in another, and there seems to be major kinks in the process, but upper management isn't willing to work on those issues.

    Advice to Management

    Utilize your employees because you hired them to do a job. Trust they can do the job successfully. Micromanagement does not work for everyone, adhering to individuals will make them stay longer.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    Great experience--really enjoyed the MCS team

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager, Marketing and Communications in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Manager, Marketing and Communications in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at SmithBucklin full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I really enjoyed my time at SmithBucklin — I left only because I moved out of state. I appreciated how the leadership in Marketing and Communications (MCS) valued continuing education. As marketers and creatives, it’s important to occasionally step away from our client work and explore what’s going on in the industry. My coworkers in MCS were amazing — it seemed everyone had their own area of interests and expertise and was willing to share their knowledge and collaborate. Outside of the unit, I greatly valued my relationships with my client executives and client teams. The matrix environment at SmithBucklin is sometimes positioned as a challenge, but I liked the opportunity to work with different people who had different backgrounds. SmithBucklin is a company that fosters professional development in its people. The adage “you get what you put in” certainly rings true here. I participated on multiple corporate committees and completed the company’s emerging people manager program, which were all great experiences. I am happy that I took advantage of all the opportunities presented to me at SmithBucklin. They made me a more well-rounded and confident professional.

    Cons

    I worked on client publications, and I found that innovation wasn't fully supported at times. Of course, not every idea is going to stick or meet the client organization's objectives, but blue sky and brainstorming sessions are a great way to share ideas and solutions as a team. Secondly, in the budgeting process, more attention should be paid to right-sizing the scope of both existing and new business projects. Knowing that projects do evolve over time and new resources are added, a fixed fee project may need to be updated to reflect the true scope of the work. I'd encourage managers who scope projects to meet with the individuals actually doing the work when scoping. Additionally, revisiting client fixed fee budgets on an ongoing basis is just as important as variable project monitoring to ensure that the scope and budget are accurate. Finally, 360 reviews were only available for client executives, and I would have appreciated the opportunity to review the senior management in my unit.


  6. Helpful (4)

    You will learn a lot, however...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Event Services Associate in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Event Services Associate in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The core-professionals here are amazing and you will make life long friends. You will learn more about the association management world than anywhere else and anyone will hire you after working here because you have been through the ringer. Appealing company for young professionals since the majority of employees are under the age of 30/35.

    Cons

    There is little to no training, you will most likely be thrown onto multiple clients (in my case 7) and need to figure it out on your own. Upper management considers their associates and sr. Associates to be dispensable and the CEO refers to them as "apprentices", showing little to no respect for those that keep everything running. There are town hall meetings where you can ask questions however, questions submitted by my colleagues were screened and not permitted. Be prepared to work your tail off and be treated horribly by client volunteers. There is zero discretion by upper management and you can guarantee that anything you say in private will be repeated by your managers. Or emailed out to the entire department accidentally.

    Advice to Management

    Stop creating fake reviews and take the time to listen to your employees.


  7. Helpful (2)

    I would work here again

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Working for SmithBucklin can be demanding, but it's a great environment to work in with great benefits, such as the ability to work from home occasionally and an ESOP program. If you get a job here or work here currently, don't invest in the 401K, invest in ESOP instead. The returns are much greater. The staff for the most part is great and overall there is a great culture that is promoted here. You see the returns of your work and see how it makes a difference for the clients. The experience you receive working here can open a lot of doors. I would be willing to work here again some day. The company isn't going anywhere and has a solid business model.

    Cons

    For anyone with a lot of work experience, you do end up working with a lot of employees straight out of college with no professional experience. This can lead to some frustrating scenarios, but it's also an opportunity for you to take on more of a leadership role among your peers.


  8. Helpful (1)

    Great place to learn, grow and find challenges

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    I learned more in 6 months at SmithBucklin than the entire time I was earning my MBA Many opportunities to grow professionally and take on additional responsibility Opportunity to create my own career path and pursue areas of interest to me Meaningful work & access to leaders in many industries. A great place to develop relationships with co-workers and with the association board members and volunteers we serve.

    Cons

    Can be difficult to manage multiple projects, but ultimately has helped me learn to manage my time better. There can be a significant amount of time at night or during the weekends participating in industry events. Its not a 9 - 5 job. Its not an easy environment to adjust to initially, it can be overwhelming and hard to understand where you fit in.


  9. Helpful (3)

    Great Introduction to a Corporate Setting

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Coordinator in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Coordinator in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Please note that SmithBucklin has multiple departments. I worked in the business-trade unit, and department culture varies from department to department. - Generous Benefits. - Professional Development Courses. - Friendly work environment culture. - Generally, smart, down to earth co-workers. - 9-5 business hours initially with increased expected hours further up the chain beginning around coordinator/sr. coordinator level. That said, putting in extra time never hurts. - Small enough that if you make an effort, the VP of your unit will know your name. Also, VP of unit interested in knowing everyone, but he's busy, so make an effort. - Opportunity to learn the importance of who you work for (and thus who has enough clout to advocate for you). - Opportunity to learn how to advocate for yourself. - Exposure to a breadth of professional development in day-to-day activities if willing to express interest/push on your own behalf.

    Cons

    - Entry level pay could be higher, but position promotions come with decent salary increases as well. - Not necessarily a con, but know that it's professional association management, which means the purpose is to provide educational/networking opportunities to help individuals in specific industries professionally advance/stay informed or advocate for the industry as a whole. Profitability is important because it allows for expansion of services/contribution to the industry. By no means a bad thing, but it's a focus shift from the general social entrepreneurship "do-gooder" focus.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Wonderful opportunity to learn new skills and grow in your career!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at SmithBucklin full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Collaborative, welcoming work environment; opportunity to work with different industries and leadership levels as well as a variety of projects

    Cons

    Office environment tends to be more corporate versus creative


  11. Helpful (1)

    Great job out of college

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    You'll gain a lot of diverse experience in a short amount of time. Great company culture and excellent structure.

    Cons

    Low pay and a good amount of overtime.

    Advice to Management

    None.



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