World Economic Forum

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World Economic Forum Reviews

Updated September 3, 2014
Updated September 3, 2014
30 Reviews
3.4
30 Reviews
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  1.  

    Great experience working with well-educated internationally minded colleagues. Limited growth opportunity.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    It's an inspirational work environment working with well-educated colleagues committed to making a difference. Perks are pretty good such as the 401k plan and 5 weeks vacations. Opportunity to travel to annual and regional meetings. The ambiance is good, it feels like a family owned-business.

    Cons

    The processes are heavy, constantly changing and not always for the better. Limited growth opportunity for the non 'Global Leadership Fellows' of the Forum.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Tend to hire over qualified people for the job resulting in high turnover.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2.  

    Summary of the New York office of the World Economic Forum

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Intern  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Intern in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum as an intern for less than a year

    Pros

    - A very well respected organization with great networking opportunities.
    - The New York office was very collegiate and welcoming.
    - The work environment is not overly demanding and you are given the scope to work on issues which interest you.
    - Overall this is a good place for personal career growth, but that growth might be best applied outside of the organization if opportunities for vertical mobility are lacking.

    Cons

    - A difficult organization to categorize and understand from the outside, so it can be challenging to know in advance if you will be a good fit.
    - Specific to the New York office, the ethos of the organization is more aligned with the private sector than with the public sector, and so this influences the nature of the work and colleagues, therefor the organizational focus is not wholly directed at public benefit.
    - The impact of work is not evaluated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - The management can improve how well the organization effectively communicates its role and ambitions with the public.
    - Interns and temporary staff are under-paid, particularly for New York.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Lackluster management. Get in, stay for a few years and get out.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Associate  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Just as the Forum serves as a platform for its constituents, the Forum serves as a platform for its employees. The network you gain at the Forum is unparalleled. As a hub and connector, the Forum can enable you to meet the right people - both constituents and colleagues - to take you to the next step . If you approach the Forum with a cogent strategy and the right attitude (drinking a little bit of the Swiss Kool Aid helps), you can find advance your career in a wonderful way.

    Your colleagues will be some of the best and brightest with the warmest hearts. Just like any organization, there will be sour apples who are jaded, cynical, or entitled. There will be a few that make you think, "How on earth did you get here? Who hired you?" But the core of the organization exhibits a wonderful culture of curiosity, nerdiness and helpfulness. The folks, for the most part, are humble and authentic. Jive with the culture and you'll be rewarded.

    The social cachet that comes with working at the Forum is fun. For those in the know, they light up when you say where you work and start asking you about people you've met and places you've been. For those not in the know, they assume you're a spy, an economist and/or an elitist.

    On the whole, compensation is good. I came from the rag-tag non-profit sector so everything seemed great! I can't say how my ex-private sector colleagues may feel.

    Cons

    For the first year on the job, you will repeated try to answer, "What we do?" For subsequent years, you will find a way to BS an answer that may or may not seem intelligible to a layperson.

    Our founder (who is still running the show for 40+ years) describes the Forum as adaptive to the needs of the global system. Others might say we're schizophrenic. Another review says management has a "weather-vane approach to strategy." I'm in incredible agreement with this statement. A shiny new trend/topic emerges and captures the attention of senior managers. Resources are diverted. Results are mixed.

    Like the obstinate Swiss alps visible from the windows of HQ in Geneva, the organization has resisted some innovative change. Process are burdensome, sacred and often times confusing. The main explanation being: This is how it's always been done. Some processes are set in stone: event logistics being the most notorious - do not try to mess with them. Yet some are curiously completely non-existent: business development, account management, project management. Knowledge is kept in the minds of employees and transferred verbally or through formal or informal meetings, not on any robust internal platform.

    We may tout the vast array of changes, new ideas, innovations, but at the heart of what the Forum does is staging Davos and similar events. Davos is where the working calendars start and ends. Most projects, constituent strategies, internal incentives are planned around Davos. The Forum is heavily an events organization.

    Decentralized management structure and a founder-first, top-down culture creates fiefdoms (a common word you will read on Glassdoor). Your time at the Forum will be heavily impacted by who your manager and your colleagues are. Some teams have stellar reputations with happy, engaged employees. Some teams are a recurring management quagmire with high turnover and distrust. Yet the Forum keeps these poor managers employed. Some have internal reputations as untouchable because they were hired by the founder.

    Top brass (the managing board) is heavily comprised of white men from Europe or North America. Why is it so difficult to hire and retain a female senior executive? Why is it so difficult to hire and retain a senior leader from the developing world?

    Career development is self-initiated. Talent development is not a core investment. Trainings are sparse and barebones. HR is mostly used for talent acquisition and benefits management. Don't expect career support from them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Invest in back office functions. With the quick growth of the organization and need to live up to our shimmery brand, teams like HR, finance, legal are heavily taxed and inefficient. HR should take on career management. Finance should be able to nimbly process contracts and manage revenue. Legal should not be so heavily outsourced.

    Managers should be evaluated on management ability and not just internal networks, tenure or domain knowledge. Invest in growing and promoting talent. Be a talent incubator instead of bringing in a constant stream of outsiders to fill top executive roles.

    Take a critical look at the internal incentive structure. In the quest for growth, competition has brewed between teams causing confusion and multiple asks for money/support to external constituents. Incentive teams to collaborate beyond simply telling them to collaborate.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Community Manager  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Community Manager in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Good networking opportunities, great food, nice premises. Good opportunity for a new graduate to learn what the corporate world is really made off and gain the skills to navigate through increasingly dysfunctional companies and organisations.

    Cons

    This entity has no impact whatsoever despite the constant rhetoric (reminders) of it being a one stop shop for public private partnerships. If you do choose to work for this entity, then in addition to filling your address book, try to learn the tricks of getting ahead without compromising integrity, honesty and hard work. Learn to manage those who use dysfunctional means to get ahead, but don't plan a career here!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you really want this organisation to be world class, then hire professional management that exemplifies hard work, honesty, and embodies the values that are really needed to 'improve the state of the world'. The foundation would be much more powerful, much more influential and certainly much more respected (beyond the networking platform of Davos).

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  6.  

    Join with a clear idea of what you want, otherwise you'll wake up in 5 years panicking what happened to your career.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Director  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Associate Director in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Depending on the team you join, this can be an incredibly interesting and rewarding place to work. Comfortable and family friendly, and opportunities for development of soft skills. High level of autonomy and perks such as travel and exposure to high level executives mean that you get out of this organization what you put in.

    Cons

    Difficult to translate your work into the outside world, and high degree of ambiguity.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need a more rigorous approach to recognizing the talent that is producing real value for the company, as oppose to the talent that knows how to network and "sell themselves" internally by talking.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Team Coordinator

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Team Coordinator  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Team Coordinator in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The type of work is not difficult. This is not rocket science. Travel, benefits package, and European style vacation allowance is a perk not seen in America. Get to work with some of the most educated and brilliant people in the WORLD.

    Cons

    The work can be tedious and mundane. There is a lot of politics, low growth opportunities within the company for entry level positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow for advancement of Coordinators to CM positions and pay them better

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great opportunity when you have a plan

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Team Coordinator  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Team Coordinator in New York, NY

    I worked at World Economic Forum full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great platform and great opportunity to build contacts

    Cons

    Outdated and rigid processes add to inefficiency and stiffle the Forum from being as powerful as it could be.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9. 3 people found this helpful  

    Intersting company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time

    Pros

    Travel, meet interesting people, network

    Cons

    Dull work, logistical and administrative

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Great Place for having a relaxed life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Associate  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Project Associate in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Its a great environment. People are chilled out minus the usual office politics. However dont expect to do any real work....unless running a talk shop is real work for u

    Cons

    There is no link to real world impacts.

    You are more bothered about a CEO's hotel room than improving the state of the world

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get senior management who see it more than a retirement plan

  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    former employee

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Team Coordinator  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Team Coordinator in New York, NY

    I have been working at World Economic Forum full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    great travel perks, meet interesting people (co-workers & clients), great networking

    Cons

    very political. they value academic credentials more than output in the office.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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