Strategic Forecasting Reviews
Pros – - Phenomenal people, even the highest level are extremely approachable
- Great deal of freedom with projects and encouraging of new ideas
Cons – Sometimes the casual nature of the office detracts from the pace of work. Not uncommon in Austin but it was noticeable.
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Pros – I had some very bright and talented co-workers.
Cons – There's a push to have an opinion on everything and many readers see right through it, which is why Stratfor does not publish comments.
The company lost many great employees after the big Wikileaks fiasco. Things strangely continued as if nothing had happened, but many working for the company were blindsided by allegations of events that took place behind closed doors. Turnover is high due to very low entry-level salaries and an abysmal work/life balance. Weekends and around-the-clock "world watch" shifts are regularly expected and not compensated. Prematurely grey hair and ulcers abound.
The company is modeled after CIA collection techniques, but disparages government agencies often. Also, everyone is subject to the whims and moods of George Friedman (who has a chip on his shoulder and gets tetchy about both the CIA and academia), making it an uncomfortable environment, especially for minorities and women. It has the feel of a 'boys club' and you'll be considered thin-skinned if you don't go along with the teasing/distasteful conversations. There's no professional environment to speak of and HR does not have the sway to stop things from going too far.
It's hard not to feel paranoid working there. Many are required to be on call 24/7 and I was told from the beginning I might be "tested" outside of work by random people chatting with me about what I did to see if I would "leak" any big Stratfor secrets (ironic). There are also unassuming folks in the office watching out for rogue Stratforers. It's weird.
Advice to Senior Management – give your workers free massages and some therapy
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company
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Pros – You will learn so much about IR and economics during the internship. You will become an expert in your region, especially through interaction with the Analysts. Just by doing your job you will be very informed about the world. Every day there are new events going on and new things to learn. If you ever felt like there are no people who share your passion for IR, you will find a company full of people who do at Stratfor. Every Analyst is intelligent and driven, with an objective outlook. They always demand proof and facts in research, because Stratfor's mission is to find out what is really happening. During normal conditions, work hours for interns are reasonable.
Cons – Sometimes expectations for research are unreasonable, especially on topics which are sensitive (ex. the level of Russia's uranium stockpile) or on statistics which are outdated by the time they are published (ex. national GDP numbers). During crisis situations there is little opportunity to rest, as the entire office is busy tracking down information and writing analysis. 10-12 hours can be expected occasionally.
Advice to Senior Management – Recognize the interns more for their contribution. Encourage them to actually write analysis pieces. Be more realistic about the amount of information you expect Interns to find, especially about sensitive topics. Encourage Analysts to work closer with Interns, and perhaps serve as mentors. Those Analysts that did so were by far the better ones and their Interns were better workers.
Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend