Working at Cornerstone Research | Glassdoor

Cornerstone Research Overview

Menlo Park, CA
501 to 1000 employees
1989
Company - Private
Consulting
$100 to $500 million (USD) per year

Cornerstone Research – Why Work For Us?


Cornerstone Research is one of the nation's leading economic and financial consulting firms. We specialize in the analysis of complex financial, economic, accounting, and marketing issues that arise in litigation. Our work with prominent academic and industry experts provides clients with state-of-the-art analysis and has earned us a reputation for excellence and effectiveness. We attribute our success to a unique combination of factors:

  • Talented, analytically oriented, and highly motivated staff
  • A corporate culture that respects and celebrates the diversity of our employees
  • A dynamic work environment that fosters and supports our core values
  • Cutting-edge economic and financial research
  • Innovative approaches to solving challenging problems
  • A team-based approach to casework, emphasizing a combination of collaboration and individual initiative


Office Locations:

Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Los Angeles, CA

Silicon Valley, CA

New York, NY

San Francisco, CA

Washington, DC

London, UK


 

 

Clients consult with Cornerstone Research on a range of projects involving numerous industries. Cornerstone Research works on high-profile cases reported on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Our clients include nearly all major securities firms, financial institutions such as hedge funds and private equity firms, top consulting and other professional services firms, leading pharmaceutical companies, major participants in energy markets, Internet and other high-technology firms, large telecommunications providers, and others. A sample of the issues on which we work includes:

  • Securities valuation involving stocks, debt instruments, and derivatives
  • Competition issues related to mergers, joint ventures and cartels, and the behavior of market-leading firms
  • Intellectual property and the commercial value of innovation and technology
  • High-profile financial institution failures, including the role of risk management and the credit crisis
  • Healthcare and pharmaceutical disputes involving topics such as reimbursement issues and the dynamics of generic drug competition
  • The impact of cost and financial accounting practices

Cornerstone Research values the professional growth of consultants and recognizes their contributions. We believe that strong skills develop best through practical experience. To support consultants in building their skill set, our orientation training program introduces them to sophisticated analytical and statistical techniques used in our casework. Following orientation and training, consultants join case teams while continuing to learn new skills. They immediately interact with senior consultants, experts, and clients for tremendous learning and development opportunities.

Cornerstone Research also invests in professional development through focused and ongoing training programs, including:

  • Annual, tenure-based training
  • Cornerstone College, which offers self-directed courses on functional and practice area skills
  • Informal Brown Bag Lunch sessions on topics such as computer skills, practice areas, cases, and experience sharing
  • Mentoring by experienced analysts and senior consultants

The analyst position at Cornerstone Research typically spans three to five years and provides a strong foundation for building careers in finance, industry, consulting, or academia. From the start analysts play a central role on client engagements and on important firmwide initiatives. Analysts work on case teams that vary in size but typically include an academic or industry expert, senior consultants, and other analysts. Within case teams analysts make important contributions during all phases of a project, from developing case strategy, to conducting analyses submitted to the court, to preparing experts for testimony.

The analytical depth of our assignments, the breadth of industry exposure, and the experience working on case teams offer outstanding preparation for analysts applying to top graduate programs in business, economics, and law. Additionally Cornerstone Research offers programs to help prepare and assist analysts in applying to graduate school. In the past seven years, nearly three-quarters of analysts who left the firm chose to pursue a graduate degree, primarily in the fields of business, law, and economics.  Over 50 percent of these analysts who chose to pursue a graduate degree in business, law, or economics attended a top-five school, and more than 75 percent attended a top-ten school in their respective fields (as ranked by U.S. News and World Report). Those who chose not to pursue a graduate degree now work in a variety of fields, including academic research, finance, marketing, and technology.

CANDIDATE PROFILES

Analysts
Cornerstone Research seeks well-rounded, enthusiastic individuals who have demonstrated excellent academic performance in challenging undergraduate programs. We encourage candidates with strong analytical backgrounds, computer skills, communication skills, and an interest in business and economics to apply.

Summer Analysts
As an introduction to the analyst position, Cornerstone Research hires a small number of summer analysts for ten to twelve weeks, generally during the year prior to graduation. The summer analyst role and qualifications closely mirror those of the analyst position. Many summer analysts choose to join Cornerstone Research after graduation.

 

Cornerstone Research provides a dynamic work environment that offers an array of opportunities for associates to develop professionally. Case teams include consultants at all levels of experience, including those who have just completed their graduate education, recent graduates from top undergraduate programs, and senior staff with many years of consulting experience. Projects involve close collaboration with clients and academic and industry experts to research cutting-edge issues in industry and academia, develop case strategy, and determine how best to communicate findings. Associates participate actively in shaping the firm’s recruiting, training, and practice development strategies, as well as organizing social and community outreach events. Over time associates take on increasing levels of responsibility for the leadership and management of case teams, client and expert relationships, and firm development efforts.

CANDIDATE PROFILES

Overview
Associates at Cornerstone Research must have the ability to apply academic research to real-world issues and present concise explanations of complex analyses. The ideal candidate will possess a strong empirical background and excellent interpersonal skills. Cornerstone Research attracts individuals who are intellectually curious and want to work on a broad range of issues at the nexus of the academic and business worlds. 

Doctoral Candidates
We seek candidates who have pursued doctoral studies in finance, economics, accounting, or marketing, and who will be graduating in the upcoming year. We also seek candidates who have graduated and have academic or relevant industry experience. Several members of our consulting team have come to the firm with prior academic experience, from junior faculty to emeritus tenured faculty, and have transitioned successfully into our business.

M.B.A. Candidates
The ideal candidate will possess a strong academic background, an analytical orientation, excellent communication skills, and an interest in thinking creatively about complex economic and financial problems. Candidates also must have the ability and desire to take on increasing levels of managerial responsibility. Industry experience in finance, accounting, consulting, and other fields requiring sophisticated data analysis is also an asset.

Summer Associates
Summer associates join us for ten to twelve weeks during the year prior to graduation from their doctoral or M.B.A. programs. Cornerstone Research designed the summer associate program to mirror the experience of a first-year associate, including case assignments as well as formal training. As we do for all associates, we try our best to match summer associates with cases of interest to them. Many summer associates become associates at Cornerstone Research upon completing their graduate studies.

Finance

Cases involving corporate finance, asset pricing, market microstructure, and other finance issues arise in a variety of contexts. We apply sophisticated, state-of-the-art financial models developed in academia to complex business problems.

For example, cases involving business valuation often require developing sophisticated discounted cash flow models. Other cases may require an extensive analysis of market efficiency, complex derivative valuation, or bond default probabilities. Market manipulation cases may require an analysis and understanding of market microstructure. Accounting restatement cases may involve an analysis of how stock prices would have responded to alternative financial statements.

Our consultants apply and refine the latest academic models using the most detailed data available. We have access to many public and proprietary data sources.

Economics

Economic analysis and analytic tools are used in many of our assignments. For example, antitrust cases require theoretical and empirical analyses of the behavior of firms and the extent to which a firm’s strategies (e.g., contracting, pricing, tying, bundling, or mergers and acquisitions) enhance or harm consumer welfare. Antitrust analyses can include analyzing firm incentives within a particular market context and devising empirical and statistical models to test and predict firm behavior. Intellectual property cases often feature an analysis of the effect of innovation and property protection on competition and profitability.

The intellectual opportunities in our research are especially rich because most cases require analysis that embodies a clear theoretical framework and properly applies econometric models, as well as a broad institutional inquiry into the structure of the industry, the relevant production processes, and the nature of competition. As a result we work with data (e.g., customer and transaction data from the client) and qualitative information from internal marketing or strategy documents, written communications, and testimony by industry participants.

Accounting

Cornerstone Research has developed a deep expertise in addressing complex accounting issues, such as analyzing capital market responses to financial information, evaluating financial reporting in the context of the relevant authoritative guidance, and providing rigorous analysis of company economics to assess executive compensation and managerial accounting issues.

Our staff includes CPAs as well as individuals with advanced degrees in accounting. Our extensive experience supporting multiple experts on a range of issues enables us to provide effective analyses in accounting-related litigation.

Marketing

Cases at Cornerstone Research often involve complex issues in marketing. For example, in cases involving claims of false advertising for consumer products, we may estimate econometric models using scanner panel data. Marketing cases can also provide an opportunity to conduct original survey work, using conjoint analysis and other statistical methods to examine consumer preferences and choices. The nature of our work requires an excellent understanding of the consumer behavior literature and solid expertise in various quantitative and econometric methods used in marketing.

Cornerstone Research Reviews

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Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
36 Ratings
  • Helpful (4)

    "Interesting cases with great people"

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    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people at Cornerstone treat each other uncommonly well, are extraordinarily bright, and work very hard. The cases that I've worked on (securities, retirement plans, merger antitrust) have all been interesting, and the level of technical skills used in the job is satisfying for someone who likes coding in R or Stata (though it can be avoided if you don't like that). I've worked on multiple front-page WSJ cases, but I didn't get to tell anyone about it because of confidentiality. Working on multiple cases at once can be stressful, but is good for varied experiences. The staffing system works well for a small firm, and I was able to consistently get on cases I was most interested in. The pay is pretty good for the number of hours that you work relative to management consulting and finance, and scales well at the analyst level past the first year. For people who are like me coming out of undergrad, I can't recommend it highly enough. From my perspective, Cornerstone has the best culture, highest pay, and most high-profile cases of any economic consulting firm. Exit opportunities are excellent and cover a wide range of options, including tech, data analytics roles, law school, econ PhD programs, and (most commonly) MBA programs. It didn't close any doors for me out of undergrad, which was important as my long-term interests weren't clear when I graduated.

    Cons

    The variance in hours you will work on a case means that some weeks you will be working all of the time, while others it will be a normal 9-6:30pm job. This can sometimes be anticipated, but sometimes it's out of the blue which can be really intrusive into your personal life. This variance averages out to about 50 hours a week, but I've worked more than 80 sometimes and more than 90 more than once. Management styles can vary significantly across cases and case managers, which takes getting used to but is actually nice in a first job. Also, no-one understood what I did, and it was hard to explain when people asked ("I do numbers for lawyers? But it's like, economics"). There's also almost zero name recognition outside of lawyers and other economic consultants.

    Advice to Management

    -Pay analysts 20% more: most of them can get jobs in tech that are less econ-focused (boo) and have fewer hours (yay)
    -Work to build consistent practices firm-wide regarding data management (Git, R). Part of the practice areas are using them and other parts aren't, but the knowledge and familiarity among analysts should be uniform.

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Cornerstone Research Photos

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Cornerstone Research Interviews

Experience

Experience
67%
24%
9%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
71%
22%
4%
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Difficulty

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  1.  

    Consulting Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Cornerstone Research (Boston, MA) in October 2010.

    Interview

    First round consisted of two half-hour case interviews, back-to-back. They were pretty technical but the interviewers were very nice and open to answering questions.

    Interview Questions

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Cornerstone Research Awards & Accolades

  • Economic Consultancy Firm of the Year - USA, Acquisition International Magazine, 2014
  • Top 20 of World’s Competition Economics Practices, Global Competition Review, 2014

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