The Beacon Group

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The Beacon Group Reviews

Updated Feb 25, 2014

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3.0 14 reviews

71% Approve of the CEO

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Cliff Farrah

(7 ratings)

55% of employees recommend this company to a friend
14 Employee Reviews
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    great exposure, good experience, hard work

    (Current Employee) Portland, ME

    Pros-working across industries like healthcare, defense, and technology provides wide exposure
    -consultants are immediately expected make an impact on projects
    -entry-level consultants are thoroughly involved in the research, analysis, and are active in client presentation
    -provides continuous exposure to all sides of business, including internally with operations, sales, and project work, and externally with client case studies
    -great office, great people, great city

    Cons-some projects are more strategic and others are more research heavy
    -with short deadlines and high-stress, can feel like a mad sprint at times; some are better at handling this then others
    -consultants have limited resources at their disposal
    -given travel responsibilities and off-site directors, a lot of internal meetings occur on the phone

    Advice to Senior Managementcontinue evolving perks and pay structure

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    A great opportunity to launch or advance a career, develop transferable skills, and do interesting work.

    Vice President (Current Employee) Portland, ME

    ProsBeacon is an excellent place to start a career or figure out what you want to do. In my time at Beacon I’ve helped dozens of clients in different industries with a wide variety of growth challenges. The subject matter and focus of the project work varies widely, which means you're constantly learning and expanding your professional skill set. Good work is usually recognized quickly and rewarded, and there is a clear path forward for professional advancement.

    My coworkers have always been one the best things about working at Beacon. The firm tends to hire talented, motivated young people. It’s honestly a privilege to work such an amazing group, and they make the hard days at Beacon bearable.

    I think most people here would agree that Portland Maine is a great place to live and work, but it's not for everyone (think hard about where you want to be, and it you don't want to live in a small city in Maine this is probably not a good fit). Hours vary quite bit depending on your workload and who you're working with, but from what I've heard from friends at other consulting firms Beacon has a better work/life balance than most. As a consultant you'll rarely work over 60 hours/week. Churn has reduced dramatically since I started, and there is a sustained focus on continuing to improve the work environment.

    Starting salaries for consultants aren't anything special, but are solid for Portland Maine. Raises that accompany promotion are substantial. Other benefits (health and disability insurance, matching 401K, and vacation time) are generous.

    ConsBeacon is not for everyone. There's a steep learning curve, and new consultants are expected to contribute to projects in a meaningful way right from the start. The flip side of exposure and responsibility is there's no place to hide. You will be challenged, and while the challenge is often rewarding it can also be exhausting. Parts of the job can be tedious and irritating, but that's true of most professional firms. Welcome to the working world.

    The pros of working at Beacon have outweighed the cons for me personally. I’ve accumulated more experience in 6 years than most people get in two decades, and I’m happy with what Beacon has allowed me to achieve and to contribute. However, I've worked hard to make Beacon work for me, and like most opportunities it is what you make of it.

    – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    The place to be for strategy consulting in Maine

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsBeacon stands out as a top-tier management consulting firm in Maine. The firm's client list is impressive and includes Fortune 200 leaders in the healthcare, defense, and technology sectors. Engagements are topical and exciting, especially if you're interested in the industry or subject matter.

    Employees, especially the junior staff, have frequent exposure to clients and even better access to the firm's leadership team - a big plus in terms of professional development. Staff development is also supported by a strong performance review system in place. And although it's a small firm, there is a lot of opportunity grow and build your career.

    It's a young and active firm with lots going on. Also, I can't say enough good things about living in Portland, Maine.

    ConsThe rigorous focus on research at the entry-level position is not for everyone. That said, many employees love the research aspect of the role and thrive.

    While it's hard to gauge exactly, compensention seems to be lower than other management consulting firms. But compared to other cities, cost of living in Portland is reasonable.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    A great place to pretend

    Consultant (Former Employee) Portland, ME

    ProsCoworkers -- They're great here. Things can get competitive, but at the management level and downward your colleagues are very supportive.

    Travel -- Rack up some frequent flier miles on the client's dime. It's not the same level of travel as other consulting firms, but the occasional trip is a nice perk.

    Hard work -- You'll learn some things if you're not careful. It's hard work, sometimes rewarding. Be ready for senior management to trash everything you do and make you feel worthless, but take advantage of the fact that you're a 20-something writing strategies for mid-level BD guys at major companies. It's not like BCG or my current employer, but it is a step in that direction.

    ConsPoor management -- I thought the directors and VPs were hard to work for while I was there. When I moved on to a major consulting firm I realized they were downright impossible.

    Salary -- Took a job for another company, my pay almost doubled. It's a tradeoff because Portland is a cheaper city, but don't fool yourself into thinking you're making a consultant's salary.

    Portland -- What a town. I love it. It's a great place to vacation in Vacationland. Professionally, it's a horrible place. If you're not from the area, you'll lose connections and find yourself stuck promising that you'll leave with the next bonus round, then the next.

    Outlook -- Turnover is high, business development and sales mostly fall to fresh young crops of consultants.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEmpower employees to learn something, adjust your compensation package, and

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Best opportunity in the area

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsBroad exposure to many industries. I was working in healthcare at certain points, then defense, then technology. I have known some people to take initiative and get on senior management's good side in order to be assigned to specific projects, too.

    Great people to work with. Everyone is in the same boat. We're always looking for a way out, stuck together at the office at 7:30pm when everything in Portland is closed. I think for that reason we bond. The Beacon family kind of. I think these people will be my friends long after we all leave.

    The office is relatively new and is nicely designed.

    Consultants and senior consultants are given a lot of autonomy in our work. I am only limited by how much effort I want to put into a final product. Insider tip, though, don't let senior management know you're working long hours and don't be afraid to tell them when you made something come together. It sounds cynical, but if you don't say "I made that" a manager will. That's how we become managers.

    Rent is cheap in beautiful Portland! Sure, there are only 4 bars open past 11 and you're hours away from the nearest actual city, but it's beautiful and affordable. Don't expect to date while you're here, don't expect to have friends outside of work. Do expect to skim several hundred dollars off your rent each month if you're moving from Boston.

    ConsToxic work environment. It's especially tough to be female here.

    The company has an uncertain future and can't retain top talent. It's getting harder to convince people to move to Portland for work in the improving economy.

    Self management is punished. You are alternatively told that you need to be more self-starting and that you did too much self-starting. Basically it comes down to whether or not the VPs and CEO are having a good day.

    This is not strategy work. Don't fool yourself. 80% of your job is calling customer communities, asking them how much they like products they're buying from Company X, and then telling Company X that their products aren't popular in these ways so they should change them. I tried so hard to make my job about strategy, but in the end there's not much to it.

    Consultants do everything. The consultant is responsible for sales lead generation, which is given the generous title of "business development" at this firm. (It's just cold calling low-level managers in Fortune 500s and asking them if they want to buy projects.) Also expect to clean kitchens, perform your own HR functions, etc.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHire an HR person, promote women

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Professional benefits of large city firm coupled with lifestyle benefits of beautiful Portland, ME

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsDynamic work environment with broad exposure for entry-level consultants across industries and strategic frameworks. Level of responsibility and participation in client-facing activities provides an instant resume-builder or offers a fantastic opportunity to hone business skills. Senior leadership invests heavily in professional development with the flexibility and understanding that not all firm members aspire to long-term careers in consulting. And all of this happens in the heart of Portland's Old Port - one of the most beautiful places in the northeast.

    ConsAs with any professional services firm, Beacon operates around a series of consistently-occuring and never-ending deadlines. This can create stress and long nights from time to time. If you aren't interested in working hard within that sort of fast-paced environment, don't bother applying here.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Great company to launch or build a career

    Manager (Former Employee) Portland, ME

    Pros1) The quality of this firm's product is exceptional. I've seen output from top-tier consulting firms and the quality of analysis at Beacon is on par, and Beacon's presentation style is better.

    2) Beacon works with Fortune 200 companies and leaders in their industries. The work is extremely interesting, and projects typically deal with new, high growth industries. All employees at Beacon are exposed to leaders at these firms, and become very comfortable conversing with them and advising them.

    3) The nature of the work is strategic. Only very top management at these firms get to do the type of work you get to do at Beacon.

    4) The candor quotient is high. Employees are given clear expectations and constructive feedback. The senior management is extremely invested in each employee's professional development. Spending 2-3 years at Beacon gives you tremendous opportunity at leading firms, should you choose to leave. There are also attractive opportunities in management should you choose to stay.

    5) The salary is good. I put a lot of money into my savings during my 3 years there.

    6) Portland is an incredible city.

    7) The staff is young and energetic, and invested in growing the company and developing professionally. There are plenty of opportunities to hang out outside of work.

    Cons1) You will likely have some late nights at some points in the year, but compared to other consulting firms the work-life balance is much better.

    2) The company sets stretch goals and expects employees to meet them. Not a con, but if you need your hand held or need to be coaxed through things, it's probably not for you.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Great experience and exceptional exposure

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsWhen I started at Beacon, I knew I would get broad exposure to several industries and to strategic challenges companies in these industries are facing. I knew I wanted to learn a lot and Beacon seemed like a good place for me to achieve this goal. My fours years at the firm completely exceeded my expectations and set me up as a competitive candidate for business school.

    Beacon allowed me to direct a lot of my own development and I always had the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities outside of my job description. Beacon very much operates as a meritocracy in this way --If you are ready to work hard, you have the opportunity to increase your project and client management and business development responsibilities. I was (and continue to be) amazed by the senior management's commitment to each employee's career development and high expectations for quality work and critical thinking. The opportunity to be part of a growing firm means that you will have high demands placed on you, but you also have the opportunity to contribute to this growth and quickly expand your role and responsibilities.

    The types of project I worked on at Beacon gave me a good understanding of the challenges and necessary inputs for pursuing and executing well grounded growth strategies. The combination of primary market research and actionable strategies positioned me to understand pathways companies are considering for growth and the key questions they are asking as they consider their options. I feel as if Beacon gave me a strong foundation in understanding strategic challenges companies face and a solid toolkit when I entered school.

    ConsYou will be expected to work hard and deliver high quality work. This means some days will be long, but I don't think outside of industry standards.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    6 people found this helpful  

    Good Resume Filler, Not Much Else

    Consultant (Current Employee) Portland, ME

    ProsYou'll get high-level exposure to lots of industries and a chance to try new things.

    ConsYou'll work a lot of hours, won't have much "deep exposure" to industries or even strategy. Your job is data aggregation.

    You might also go your entire career at Beacon without hearing a single word of praise or constructive performance feedback. Compensation is okay, but on the lower end of the consulting industry.

    At the end, you won't have much to show for your time here, but it's a chance to say that you're a consultant.

    Advice to Senior Management-- Be more professional
     -- Encourage more work ownership
     -- Reward those who deserve it, not just those who are stuck

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Impressive for resume, toxic environment, low ethics

    Consultant (Former Employee) Portland, ME

    ProsYou work on projects for Fortune 500 companies, great to add to resume, especially for early career

    ConsBasically cold calling all day. Toxic work environment, everyone is miserable, low ethics. Low pay. Really high turnover. Of the 7 people I started with, only 2 made it a year.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCare about employees, have some ethics.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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