Charles River Associates FAQ

Have questions about working at Charles River Associates? Read answers to frequently asked questions to help you make a choice before applying to a job or accepting a job offer.

Whether it's about compensation and benefits, culture and diversity, or you're curious to know more about the work environment, find out from employees what it's like to work at Charles River Associates.

All answers shown come directly from Charles River Associates Reviews and are not edited or altered.

34 English questions out of 34

August 28, 2019

What are perks and other benefits like at Charles River Associates?

Pros

The work environment is really friendly and relaxed at CRA. Everyone in the practice is very happy to help with any question no matter how big or small. There are many perks, including free food and organised company social events. The Life Science practice in London is relatively small (around 35 people) which means you have the opportunity to speak to everyone and they get to know you too. In the Life Sciences practice the workload is very reasonable, and I was not expected to stay very late unless the work was very urgent. You are given both a buddy and a personal development manager (PDM) who are there to support you, ask questions to and guide your progression over the summer. Your PDM will set goals with you and seek feedback from colleagues to gauge how you are progressing. The projects you work on are very varied and, if you show some initiative, there is ample opportunity to tailor the internship to your interest by asking around about projects that you want to get involved in or hear more about. The employees in the London office are, largely, quite young, with roughly 6 people having joined in the last year. This meant that they understand and remember what it is like to be new and are very happy to help.

Cons

There was a lack of practice-specific training which meant that in the first days/weeks it was sometimes difficult to know where to find information. It was sometimes hard to know the hours that were expected of you, since if there was a decrease in the workload it was often hard to find small tasks to do. I was the only intern in the London office, which has its benefits and drawbacks.

Advice to Management

Organise some life sciences-specific training, perhaps just an afternoon in the first week to flag up the important things to know and understand or become familiar with straight away. Provide a couple of practice-specific reference documents to all new joiners on their first day and ensure they have been directed to where they can access useful secondary resources. Perhaps schedule intern socials for earlier in the summer, in order to encourage the interns across practices to mix.

There are many perks, including free food and organised company social events.

August 28, 2019

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April 28, 2021

What is health insurance like at Charles River Associates?

Pros

good work life balance good healthcare benefits

Cons

very unreceptive to any feedback poor professional development framework no growth opportunities

good healthcare benefits

April 28, 2021

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February 22, 2021

What is paid time off like at Charles River Associates?

Pros

CRA is exceptionally organized, and works like a well-oiled machine. You will be able to work on a wide array of projects in many different areas. The problems are challenging, but interesting. You will become very proficient in whatever tools you use to solve those problems.

Cons

Work-life balance is nonexistent. Management touts “flexibility” in workload, but this flexibility is only meant to provide you with more work- very seldom are you encouraged to rest during periods of less work. As an analyst, you will be expected to work at a moment’s notice during nights, weekends, and holidays. Making personal plans and sticking to any kind of schedule is very difficult. Day-to-day experiences will vary wildly by project, and especially by project manager. Some project managers are organized, communicative, and considerate. Some are the polar opposite. You are expected to perform consistently across all of these projects- very little (if any) responsibility is placed on poor project managers. The overall culture at CRA is broken. Despite putting in the majority of the work, analysts don’t get to experience any ownership of the projects- they forfeit all successes and shoulder the mistakes. Even the best project managers are pushed to their breaking point by the tremendous pressures that upper management puts on them to take on more projects and promise faster deadlines. The generous amount of PTO given to employees is hardly ever utilized. Working in this type of atmosphere, the general dissatisfaction is apparent to everyone, but verbally recognized by no one (for fear of seeming unmotivated or lagging behind). Many of the junior staff learn to accept this “churn-and-burn” type of culture, which is truly unfortunate.

Advice to Management

So many of the cons above are the direct result of upper management (and the consulting industry in general) believing that “this is the way it has always been, so this is the way it must be.” There must be a large-scale reckoning with the fact that they are forcing their employees to work outside the bounds of human needs and abilities.

The generous amount of PTO given to employees is hardly ever utilized.

February 22, 2021

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January 27, 2021

Does Charles River Associates have a pension plan?

Pros

Great people Good benefits scheme Pension scheme Private insurance Supportive colleagiate style work environment

Cons

Poor work/life balance, almost as though its frowned upon to not keep working until midnight, all junior staff are under the impression this is required

Advice to Management

Instill efficiency into juniors, with a hybrid between quality and speed, not quality at the cost of personal life

Pension scheme

January 27, 2021

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January 27, 2021

Does Charles River Associates offer malpractice insurance?

Pros

Great people Good benefits scheme Pension scheme Private insurance Supportive colleagiate style work environment

Cons

Poor work/life balance, almost as though its frowned upon to not keep working until midnight, all junior staff are under the impression this is required

Advice to Management

Instill efficiency into juniors, with a hybrid between quality and speed, not quality at the cost of personal life

Private insurance

January 27, 2021

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34 English questions out of 34