Working at Optimal Solutions Group | Glassdoor

Optimal Solutions Group Overview

College Park, MD
1 to 50 employees
2000
Company - Private
Business Services
$5 to $10 million (USD) per year
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC (Optimal) is an innovative and rigorous small public policy research firm located at the University of Maryland's M Square Research Park. Optimal is proven and experienced with over 100 projects completed domestically and ... Read more

Mission: Optimal distinguishes itself in a highly dynamic environment by its quantitative expertise, innovations, and its use of best practices. Optimal's mission is to be recognized subject matter experts who exceed client standards by working on timely, meaningful ... Read more

Company Updates

  • Optimal Received Dunn & Bradstreet's Highest Rating of 3A1 - for firms up to $10 million in revenue. This rating reflects Optimal's financial stewardship along with its commitment to reinvest earnings back into employees, facilities and technology

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Optimal Solutions Group – Why Work For Us?


Optimal's Office:

Optimal Solutions Group, LLC is an innovative and rigorous public policy research firm located at the University of Maryland's M Square Research Park.  Google Maps Street View

The office includes an on-site gym, a game room, a modern employee lounge, large meeting spaces, nearby walking trails and proximity to the Metro with a short ride on the shuttle. Employees have  new interactive monitors, new laptops along with new desk chairs and standing desks upon request.

The office also has fresh flowers, fresh fruit, cookies, candy, speciality coffees and teas throughout the office.  The staff also frequently enjoys company sponsored lunches and outings such as zip lining, go-kart racing, ice skating, laser tag and ice skating.

Each day starts with a positive quote of the day and holidays are celebrated with pot lucks, cube decorating contests, gift exchanges and costume contests.

Interns have a specially created "intern haven" hang out and the office has a new Entreprenership & Innovation Center which houses the "Garage" conference rooms with writable walls, active seating, rolling whiteboards and photographic artwork.






Optimal has maintained high performance ratings on large and impactful projects as evidenced in federal contractor performance rating systems.  Since 2012/2013, Optimal has increased its performance to its highest levels of ratings while also taking on challenging international projects.

For the U.S. Department of Education, Optimal provides statistical support to the Nation's Report Card - the National Assessment of Education Progress.

For the U.S. Agency for International Development, Optimal has conducted rigorous evaluations in 24 countries for the Feed the Future Program under its Learning, Evaluation and Analysis Project.  Currently, Optimal is collecting early reading data from up to 50 countries in the first integrated dynamic data repository.

Optimal provides support to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in a number of areas including the Ombudsman, Healthcare Learning Models and Medicare Appeals.

For the U.S. Small Business Administration, Optimal provides evaluation support on a number of critical small business initiatives whether traditional or new ones involving innovation clusters.

Optimal also works with other agencies, non profits, private companies and has over 100 projects that it has successfully performed as a prime contractor.

For all of Optimal's projects, Optimal has always been committed to ensuring client satisfaction while also balancing employee interest, experience and availablity.


Optimal has been in business since 2000 and is compliant with federal standards whether federal acquisition regulations, data security, labor standards, federal/state/local taxes and equal opportunity employment among others.

Optimal takes its commitments seriously and has completed several series of federal accounting audits of which no unethical findings were determined.  In addition, Optimal has hired an outside firm to conduct annual audits of its financials and controls.

Optimal is in good standing with its clients, its partners, its vendors, its neighbors and the community.

Optimal's owners frequently volunteer, mentor, contribute to the community and have served in positions of public trust.  In addition, they encourage staff members to do the same and encourage employee-sponsored charity with matching donations.




Optimal has developed a Real-Time Framework in Public Policy Research which has been instrumental in helping agencies do more with less and at a higher quality.

In anticipating of Internet research and social media data, Big Data, Open Data, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and complexity of social challenges, Optimal has created an Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center.  This Center has created products to address a rapidly changing social policy landscape.  Optimal frequently brings in speakers, experts and partners to round out its expertise in order to develop rigorous and effective solutions.





Optimal goes beyond the call of duty for its staff.  Though a small firm, Optimal has an on-site gym, game room, modern employee lounge, large stocked kitchen and new IT equipment.

Benefits have been outstanding for many years and they include perks such as pet insurance, a green car contribution, college savings program and, student loan repayment, tuition remission, short term and long term disability, life insurance, Metro Fare Cards, conferences, association membership, project management training, health, vision, dental, a 401k, profit sharing, team performance bonuses, unlimited training, access to university resources and more.  These are all benefits sought by Optimal's owners and executives who work with multiple experienced vendors to ensure that benefits remain affordable to all staff members.

Staffers have flexible work schedules (with approval), 3 weeks of paid time off (more with seniority), end of year bonuses and other on-the-spot bonuses.

For training, Optimal has access to Lynda.com, CITI (for researchers), brown bag speakers, and paid seminars and workshops in addition to monthly project manager meetings.  There are books, periodicals, journals, magazines, newsletters everywhere!

Each employee has a personal dashboard in the ADP system to see their paycheck, pay stubs, W-2, required and recommended training and human resources policy updates.

All employees are to work with their supervisor to create a Subject Matter Expertise Plan to ensure their professional development.

As soon as client performance ratings are received, they are immediately shared with the staff. Management also opens nominations for the Employee of the Quarter prior to the corporate staff meeting.  Other awards such as project excellence, publications, support, subject matter expertise, employee of the year, project manager of the year and many more are given every year.

Events such as "walking to California" with company-supplied odometers, zip lining in Rock Creek Park, Go-Kart Racing, cube decorating contests, river clean ups, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and ice skating are planned by the owners each year to ensure there is a break in work activities...sometimes making events mandatory and closing the office to make sure all get together for team building and fun.

The staff is expected to put in a productive 40 hours a week.  Some come in later who have approved schedules and leave later.  From time to time, there are demanding client deadlines or proposals to keep the work flowing -- but these tasks are not expected to be continue over long periods of time.

Senior management reviews deliverables according to client standards and personally review every progress report and monitor client interactions.  The senior team spends a great deal of time on proactive risk management through its project manager meetings, training and project quality reviews.

In addition, there is a corporate communications protocol to ensure misunderstandings are minimized when it comes to budgets, due dates, technical direction and quality.

Employees are provided surveys to pick priorities, events, trainings and other areas of their interest.

To be clear, if a company provides an exceptional facility, benefits, awards, bonuses, profit sharing, training, high-level projects, competitive salaries and a vision with resources to go forward, it expects much from its employees.  Most will deliver and performance ratings, regulatory compliance, financial viability all demonstrate this.

Optimal sees the employee as part of a three-legged stool where the client, company and employee all need to be balanced with the other.  No one leg stands alone.


Optimal Solutions Group Reviews

1.6
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Optimal Solutions Group President Dr. Mark Turner
Dr. Mark Turner
31 Ratings
  • Featured Review

    Helpful (1)

    "Interview, Working Environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I had interviewed for Business Intelligence Analyst Intern at Optimal. The interview was of two rounds, one was an online test and another was a face to face interview with the tech lead. Interview process was smooth and they asked me questions about basic programming and then moved on to SQL. Also was asked why I wished to be in a BI domain.
    Great top level management with a vision for the future.
    Want to implement best practices via technology
    Lot of good projects to work on
    Impact of work clearly visible on projects

    Very good compensation and benefits if you get employed full time.

    Cons

    If you cannot work in an agile environment, you need to ramp up.
    Need to know how to multitask.

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Optimal Solutions Group Photos

Optimal Solutions Group photo of: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center
Optimal Solutions Group photo of: Quite Place to Read
Optimal Solutions Group photo of: Reading Corning near Intern Row
Optimal Solutions Group photo of: Reading Corner
Optimal Solutions Group photo of: Real-Time Framework
Optimal Solutions Group photo of: Revelo - Big Data Tamer
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Optimal Solutions Group Interviews

Experience

Experience
18%
43%
37%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
75%
12%
6%
6

Difficulty

2.6
Average

Difficulty

Hard
Average
Easy
  1.  

    Research Analyst I Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Minneapolis, MN
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. I interviewed at Optimal Solutions Group (Minneapolis, MN) in April 2017.

    Interview

    Two research analyst/associates interviewed me, and they mainly ask about my research experience on my resume. I gave them details about my experience and the research projects I have conducted, and they seemed to believe that I am knowledgeable at explaining my research skills and projects. However, I did not make it to the next round with the founder. After one week I got an email that they cannot move forward with my application. I am surprised because my eligibility should be enough even for their Research Analyst III position. It is a neutral experience, and they respond quickly enough.

    Interview Questions

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Optimal Solutions Group Awards & Accolades

  • Global Emission Reduction Pilot for Small Businesses, Environmental Protection Agency, 2012
  • Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Company, Inc. Magazine, 2007

Optimal Solutions Group Locations

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