Working at Charles River Associates | Glassdoor

Charles River Associates Overview

Boston, MA
501 to 1000 employees
1965
Company - Public (CRAI)
Consulting
$100 to $500 million (USD) per year
Charles River Associates (CRA) is a global consulting firm specializing in litigation, regulatory, financial, and management consulting. We provide economic and financial analysis in litigation and regulatory proceedings and guide businesses through critical strategy and ... Read more

Mission: For over 50 years, CRA has been a premier consulting firm. Each of our practice areas is highly regarded, and our consultants are recognized for their creative and multi-disciplinary approach to solving our clients’ complex problems in the US and throughout the world ... Read more

Company Updates

  • Attending tomorrow’s career fair, University of Cambridge students? Plan ahead by taking a look at our careers page here: http://glassdoor.com/slink.htm?key=vQxXu

  • At CRA, staff have the opportunity to contribute to our careers blog, The Current, by sharing stories, providing advice, and writing on topics of interest to them. In this article, Associate Sydney Wong gives insight on the CRA onboarding process. http://glassdoor.com/slink.htm?key=vQrf3

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Charles River Associates – Why Work For Us?



Expertise

Litigation, Regulatory & Financial Consulting

Antitrust & Competition Economics, Damages, Energy & Environment, Financial Accounting & Valuation, Financial Economics, Financial Markets, Forensic Services, Insurance Economics, Intellectual Property, International Arbitration, Labor & Employment, Mergers & Acquisitions, Public Policy & Regulatory Economics, Regulation, Transfer Pricing.

Management Consulting 

Auctions & Competitive Bidding, Corporate & Business Strategy, Intellectual Property & Technology Management, Life Sciences, Organization & Performance Improvement.

CRA’s consultants and corporate professionals thrive on the challenges that are intrinsic to our work. We’re highly motivated, intellectually curious people who apply quality academic and analytical analyses to help companies, governments, and other organizations solve their most difficult issues. We offer multiple career options in a dynamic, collegial, and entrepreneurial workplace where the work is always interesting and the opportunities diverse. Anyone, at any level, can take the initiative to do great things.

We don’t believe in a sink or swim mentality. Extensive on-the-job training will ensure you develop the professional skills required to excel. You’ll gain an understanding of finance, analytics, graphics, and issues analysis as well as industry- and practice-specific knowledge, giving you the foundation to succeed at CRA or on the next step of your career path.

A typical day at CRA depends largely on the practice you work for, but there are a few universals. Whether the assignment involves restructuring a petrochemical business in Bahrain or supporting expert witness testimony in a contested merger case in New York, you’ll conduct research and use statistical software to organize, analyze, and deliver data-driven insights. You’ll have frequent contact with senior leadership, and you’ll always have the project team as a resource.

Your work also depends on whether you work in the litigation or management consulting field. Here are a few differences:

Litigation, Regulatory & Financial Consulting

  • Opportunities for success. Responsibility on small, collaborative project teams. Using a combination of economic, financial, and managerial skill sets allows consultants to advance within CRA and become highly marketable to top graduate programs and other career paths. Our alumni work at Fortune 500 companies, with all levels of government, and for prestigious universities.
  • Culture. Collegial, diverse, and supportive work environment.
  • Colleagues. Work alongside and learn from acclaimed industry experts.
  • Advancement. Recognition and reward for individual performance.
  • Work. Research-oriented, degree-relevant work on a variety of projects with the opportunity to specialize. Exposure to a wide variety of issues and industries. 

Management consulting

  • Opportunities for success. Exposure to a high level of responsibility, taking ownership of individual tasks and work streams, contributing to the case discussion with the team leadership, and immediately interacting with the client team, including client executives.
  • Training. Interaction with partners, experts, and client executives as well as a formal training program that includes week-long sessions at each career stage and focused sessions throughout the year.
  • Culture. Collegial and team-oriented.
  • Client interaction.Optimal level and amount of client interaction.
  • Advancement.Rapidly growing firm with entrepreneurial opportunities (such as client development).
  • Optimal work/life balance. Travel varies with the type of work but at less than 40% of time, it is less than at our competitors’.

We also encourage extracurricular activities that build camaraderie and stronger bonds. Each office regularly holds various social events, including gathering for sports teams such as kick ball and softball, summer outings, and informal happy hours. Offices also regularly participate in activities like road races and volunteer opportunities together.

A large part of our activities involves volunteering in the communities where CRA employees work and live, giving you the opportunity to interact with colleagues outside of a work setting. Giving back is an essential part of CRA’s culture year-round. For more than a decade, the CRA Corporate Volunteer Committee has organized and promoted volunteer activities, including holding clothing and toy drives, preparing meals, and conducting workshops for job-seeking high school students.

CRA’s Corporate Giving Committee enables us to support local organizations through charitable contributions. In fiscal year 2011, CRA contributed to more than 50 charitable and other not-for-profit organizations. Staff in each office—many with personal ties to the organizations—make nominations. Some charities that have received contributions include the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and Relay for Life.

CRA is also environmentally conscious. Our Green Office Initiative (GO) aims to make CRA a “greener” workplace through individual action and companywide initiatives. GO has become firmly established in the operations and culture of the company, with 30 representatives leading activities in nearly every office. GO initiatives include disposable waste reduction programs, recycling programs, e-waste recycling drives, the development of alternative transportation options, and promoting tips for being green. GO also hosts a “Lunch & Learn” series where client projects with environmental interest are presented to employees.

CRA recognizes and rewards individuals for performance and actively drives professional growth. We offer a formal training program that includes week-long sessions at each career stage and focused sessions throughout the year on a variety of subjects, from developing a business plan to project management to effective management to third-party data sets such as Bloomberg, CRSP, Lexis-Nexis, and Factiva. We’ll also support your efforts to gain professional certifications such as Chartered Financial Analyst.

A typical career path at CRA is: Analyst -> Associate -> Consulting Associate - > Senior Associate - > Associate Principal -> Principal - > Vice President. CRA encourages advancement within the company. One success story is Paul Maleh. He joined the firm in 1989 as an associate with the Energy Practice then rose through the ranks to lead the Finance Practice before becoming the Chief Operating Officer. Today he is CRA’s President and CEO.

CRA has offices throughout the world, giving you the chance to work in your preferred location. Our Boston headquarters, for example, are located in the John Hancock Tower, the tallest building in Boston, giving us amazing views of the city in a prime location. We also offer international work opportunities. There are numerous staff at all levels that have transferred to international locations within our global network of offices.

Graduate school

If you’re considering grad school in the future but want to gain some valuable work experience first, spend a couple years with us. We’re dedicated to your professional growth, so you won’t ever have to hide your aspirations. Best of all, our senior staff has connections to prestigious universities and will guide you through the enrollment process, helping you get into the program or school of your choice.

Each year during the late summer/early fall, CRA brings in representatives from about five graduate school programs—including representatives from MBA, law school, and public policy programs—to discuss the school’s programs and application process.

The caliber of the schools and programs in which CRA consultants are admitted is a testament to CRA’s commitment to develop high-quality skills in its people and is a valuable asset in both recruiting and marketing. Some of the graduate schools and degree programs where recent CRA consultants enrolled for the 2011–2012 academic year include Columbia Business School, London Business School, MIT, NYU Stern School of Business, University of Chicago Law School, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, among others.

After you’ve completed your PhD or MBA and decided you’d like to come back to CRA, we would be happy to welcome you back!

Alumni network

CRA also has an impressive alumni network and stays connected on LinkedIn. The firm’s alumni have moved on to new roles such as:

  • Employees at Fortune 100 companies
  • Senior economist with Australia’s antitrust and utility regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
  • Employee at Google responsible for launching new business
  • Professorship appointments at such prestigious school as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, MIT, and Boston College
  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General with the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice
  • Vice President with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
  • Special advisor to the CFO of the FBI
  • Energy & Environment Practice in DC before receiving a company-wide e-mail announcing opportunities to work in the new Bahrain office. Left to go to business school and became a freelance consultant.
  • Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Initiatives for IHS Inc.
  • Chief Financial Officer of an investment bank that ranks among the top 10 financial restructuring advisors in Europe

CRA’s professional teams share a common aim—to deliver high-quality results to our clients while collaborating and learning from each other. We are a company that values initiative, integrity, and open, inquisitive minds.

A diverse experience

On any given day, we have teams working in sectors as diverse as energy, mining, life sciences, and financial markets. Our clients may be CEOs, lawyers, government representatives, or regulators, and we might be providing guidance on everything from global business strategy to analysis that will be defended before regulatory commissions or in court. The diverse array of industries and clients we serve provides opportunities to apply current knowledge and continually broaden professional expertise.

“I've been exposed to many different industries, from consumer products and toys to software, telecommunications, and medical devices.”—Associate Principal, Intellectual Property, Chicago

“What’s really appealing is the diversity of expertise in the office and knowing that you’ll be fitted to a whole range of assignments. Your interests—not necessarily what stems from your background—have a role in that.”—Associate, Financial Markets, New York City

Camaraderie and collaboration

We work collaboratively with other team members and with our clients who often take note and express appreciation for our team approach.

“In competition cases, I really enjoy working with antitrust attorneys because we share a strong interest in the same subject, but we approach it from different perspectives. I nearly always learn something from working with lawyers on a case, no matter what the outcome is.”—Vice President, Competition, Boston

Business and academic environment

What we do for clients has a direct connection to what’s happening in the real world. It’s exciting to work with preeminent economists and business strategists on high-stakes cases for high-profile clients.

“Often when I’m working on a case and talking with different people, I feel like I’m in class learning.”—Associate, Financial Accounting and Valuation, Boston

Entrepreneurial spirit

People come to CRA and make a difference. We have an entrepreneurial spirit within the framework of an established organization that has a strong reputation, global operations, and a professional administrative infrastructure.

"Although we are a global, publicly owned company, we still promote and value an entrepreneurial spirit that contributes significantly to our continuing success.”—Vice President, Transfer Pricing, Boston

Undergrad/Master's

The CRA analyst experience

Working closely with senior staff on project teams across a variety of industries, analysts apply economic, financial, and business principles to real world problems. By providing insight into complex issues, CRA delivers meaningful, tailored, and practical solutions to our clients.

Analysts at CRA receive:

  • Exposure to a wide variety of issues and industries
  • Shared responsibility on small, collaborative project teams
  • Recognition and reward for individual performance
  • Connections to top universities and Fortune 500 companies
  • Access to acclaimed industry experts
  • Collegial, diverse, and supportive work environment

Analyst responsibilities

 Analysts at CRA typically:

  •  Analyze economic and financial data using spreadsheets, programming, model building, and regression analysis
  • Conduct industry, market structure, and competitor-positioning studies
  • Review and summarize analyst reports, client documents, and industry trade press
  • Perform interview-based research through clients, government representatives, and industry associations
  • Assist in the production and development of research summaries, expert reports, and the presentation of our findings
  • Ensure the integrity and accuracy of analyses

Beyond project work, analysts have the opportunity to be involved in recruiting activities, training and mentoring programs, marketing efforts, and community/social events.

Analyst qualifications

As the work varies from one group to another, each practice at CRA looks for a different combination of skills and knowledge sets. A sampling of these qualifications may include: a solid working knowledge of financial and economic concepts; a command of a broad range of research and quantitative skills; strong communication, writing and presentation skills; and in some practices, computer programming skills.

Above all, CRA seeks highly motivated and energetic undergraduate and masters candidates who are able to learn quickly, apply prior knowledge to current situations, solve problems, manage time wisely, prioritize tasks, and communicate well with peers, senior staff, and clients.

Process

Application submission

CRA receives applications via on-campus recruiting, college consortia, referrals, and direct applications.
To apply to CRA, please submit your resume, cover letter, and unofficial transcript by selecting the “Apply Now” link from the menu on the right. Please note your office preference(s) in your cover letter and on your application. Certain offices may request that you submit a three- to five-page writing sample that demonstrates analytical and quantitative abilities.

Please contact your school’s career services office for resume drop deadlines.

First interview

Successful applicants are invited for a first-round interview of approximately 30 minutes in order to perform a preliminary evaluation of skills, experience, and interest. At this stage of the process, we expect all applicants to have a basic understanding of both the firm’s services and the analyst position. If a candidate has not indicated an office preference in a cover letter, he/she will be asked to indicate an office preference during the interview.

Second interview

Second-round interviews will be scheduled by the hiring office. During this round, applicants complete a series of 30- to 45-minute interviews with consulting staff across all levels. Interview formats range from evaluative case studies to personal interviews.

Offer notification

All applicants will be notified of the status of their candidacy shortly after the second-round interview. Applicants may be offered a position with the firm, declined a position, or may be invited to be placed on a temporary hold list. Offers are linked to specific CRA offices.

Onsite visit

In some locations, applicants offered a position may be invited to visit the office to meet additional staff and tour the facilities.

Charles River Associates Reviews

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Charles River Associates President Paul Maleh
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  • Featured Review

    "Great Stepping Stone"

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    • Culture & Values
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    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    CRA is a great first job for those starting their careers after undergrad or those with only a bit of work experience. The senior staff I have worked with are all smart and experts in their fields. Project work is done mostly in small teams so you do take ownership of your work. Projects are pretty varied and you are able to get exposure on different industries. Work-life balance is really good for a consulting firm except only when projects become due. I feel like I have great exit opportunities from this job as well as a result of the varied projects I have worked on and the skills I have gained.

    Cons

    Some managers are overbearing and hard to work with. Mentorship opportunities exist but they should be utilized and enforced more.

    Advice to Management

    Improve training of senior staff members so they are able to manage teams better. Allocate junior staff members more fairly so work is spread out evenly. Improve mentorship opportunities.

See All 210 Reviews

Charles River Associates Photos

Charles River Associates photo of: Thank you to everyone who made #CRARacNRoll a successful week of learning, socializing, and professional growth. To our junior class of 2018, welcome to CRA!
Charles River Associates photo of: Wesleyan University, CRA is coming your way for coffee chats and an information session tomorrow, October 2nd. Plan ahead by visiting our careers page here: Goo.gl/kucgSe
Charles River Associates photo of: Fall season is upon us, MIT! See you at the career fair on 9/21 and the information session on 9/24. Plan ahead by visiting our careers page. Goo.gl/kucgSe
Charles River Associates photo of: Planning on attending next week’s info session on 9/18, UC Berkeley? Catch us on campus! And remember the application deadline for on-campus interviews is 9/19. Goo.gl/kucgSe
Charles River Associates photo of: Best of luck this semester, Harvard students! Look forward to meeting you at Consulting Networking Night 9/14. And don’t forget about the on-campus interview application deadline 9/19. Goo.gl/kucgSe
Charles River Associates photo of: Boston College, CRA is coming your way for a career fair on 9/13 and an information session on 9/25! Take a look at our careers page if you plan to stop by and chat. Goo.gl/kucgSe
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Charles River Associates Interviews

Experience

Experience
68%
25%
7%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
45%
40%
9%
4
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Difficulty

2.9
Average

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  1. Featured Interview

    Helpful (1)  

    Analyst Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Charles River Associates (Boston, MA).

    Interview

    The interview process was very straightforward and the firm was very communicative throughout.

    I applied online and received an offer for an initial phone screening with HR within 2 weeks. The phone screening was a simple 30-min conversation regarding my past experiences as well as some more generic behavioural questions ("Describe an instance of team work", "How would your team members describe you?", etc.). I was notified within the day that I had qualified for a second-round phone interview with a Principal in the practice I had applied to.

    The second phone call also lasted 30-min and consisted of similar content; mostly regarding my past experiences with a greater emphasis on the research that I had done. I was asked to describe my senior thesis project in detail, especially the types and sizes of the data series I had used. Again, I was notified within the day that I had been put through to the next round, which was a fly-in day to the Boston office.

    The fly-in day consisted of four 30-min interviews with different members of the practice I applied to, as well as a 1-hr lunch with two junior staff. The interviews focused mostly on fit and past experiences, although one followed more of an informal case-style wherein a Principal asked me a series of questions related to a case he was currently working on. Overall the interviews were very conversational and friendly in nature. I found that my research experiences played a huge role throughout the process. I received my offer via phone the day after.

    Interview Questions

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Charles River Associates Awards & Accolades

  • Most Competition Specialists, The International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers and Economists, 2016
  • Matter of the Year, Global Competition Review Awards, 2016
  • Vault Consulting 50: (#34), Vault, 2016
  • The Best Firms in Each Practice Area: Economic Consulting (#7), Vault, 2016
  • Best Consulting Internships (#10), Vault, 2016
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Pledges & Certifications

Veteran Hiring Commitment

Committed to helping America's military veterans find work

Pay Equality Pledge

Committed to paying equitably for equal work & experience

Diversity Commitment

Has programs that support a diverse and inclusive workforce

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