I worked at Exponent full-time (More than a year)
Surrounded by intelligence, At times I literally felt there was no problem that couldn't be solved. Exponent gives you all the tools you need to develop a successful consulting career and for those that have no experience when they begin the mentoring relationship that occurs once new associates are assigned to a manager is like an extension of graduate school. I highly recommend if you are highly technical but would like to expand into the business world.
The first raise could be higher. There are only five opportunities for promotion and the first one was a small adjustment.
Advice to Management
Continue to build a well rounded group of associates and try to minimize overlapping skillsets to create more of an atmosphere of collaboration. I believe it already is like that but more diversity could improve the team dynamic.
I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Exponent (Menlo Park, CA) in February 2017.
The process started with a phone call from a senior associate and then a second one a few days later with the senior manager that I'd be working under. Both conversations were just an introduction to see if you are interested in consulting work as well as a bit of poking into your background. Afterwards, I was scheduled for an onsite interview which consisted of a 40-45 minute presentation on a previous project of my choice in front of a group of 10-12 engineers/scientists, one-on-one interviews with 7 of them throughout the day, and a casual lunch on campus where they get to know you as a person a bit more.
All the interviewers were extremely friendly from the associates to the principle engineers/scientists. They are pretty open to answering any questions I had from the job to the company culture and they are very honest about their answers. The big thing they all stress is that consulting isn't for everyone as not all engineers and scientists are good communicators. The way the company is structured, your total pay heavily depends on the number of billable hours you accrue for the company. The great thing is the opportunity to earn more as they also pay overtime equivalent to the hourly rate you would charge the company your consulting for. The benefits are top notch for all full time employees (the best I've ever seen during this job search).
However, this also means you are competing for more projects against your peers so your people skills are used not only to communicate with the customer but also to entice other managers to trust you and give you more work. This is encouraged (as it should be) but the environment can be very competitive amongst your peers. Also, they were very honest with me that there would be times where there wasn't a large volume of work coming in and thus opportunity to get more hours goes down sharply. In lamest terms, when there's work there's alot of it, when there's not you're scrambling to get a chance to help the other groups who do have a project so that you can be recognized by their hiring manager. There are many of pros and cons to this.
These are the pros and cons I went through when I considered this position that I hope will help you:
1) Great pay if you add end of the year bonus and overtime.
2) Excellent employee benefits (401K, stock options, health/dental insurance)
3) The ability to control your own work schedule (to a point). Work normal hours, get normal pay, work hard and long hours, get rewarded.
4) Interacting with some of the top companies across many industries (especially in Silicon Valley). This could land you a job at your dream company if you happen to work on a project with them, meet some of their higher ups, and do a good job for them.
1) Not always a team environment. When your not working with your main group, its a competition with other associates to participate in extra projects. So if you like unity this may not be the ideal place for you.
2) Living in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area. Let's be real, it's VERY expensive to live here even on this salary.
3) Can have high turnover. People find better opportunities all the time because of all the companies that one can work with while with Exponent. If you value consistency, this might be a concern for you.
4) Opportunities to move up. Based on my conversations with the interviewers, I sense that while they would love for you to move up and be a principle engineer one day, the availability of positions can be scarce. If your thinking of staying here long term, keep this in mind.
Ultimately, I accepted because the team that I interviewed with is a great group. I think the pros outweigh the cons here if you are willing to work diligently and earn every dollar. In my opinion it is one of the best options for young professionals looking to expand their network and get that dream job one day.