2U Reviews | Glassdoor

2U Reviews

Updated 2 Dec 2019

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3.6
64%
Recommend to a Friend
79%
Approve of CEO
2U CEO Chip Paucek
Chip Paucek
406 Ratings
  1. Helpful (5)

    "Has potential but faces significant growth and scalability challenges"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 2U full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Many of my coworkers were incredibly driven individuals. Most of the company is bought into the mission of expanding access to higher education, at least when they first join the company. Once you reach the level of manager and above, there's a lot of room for cross-collaboration between departments so you'll learn how other teams think when facing shared challenges. The starting salaries for entry-level (first... career) employees is decent (although recruiting does not negotiate on starting salary).

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    Cons

    I spent more than five and a half years working for this organization. I joined because I saw the potential for it to grow into a truly world-class company that could drive change in higher education through the implementation of technology. Over the years, we were constantly reminded by the executive leadership that "we're on a rocketship" and opportunities for professional growth were limitless. While it certainly... did grow (from ~350 employees in early 2014 to over 3,000 by 2019), it did so in a way that compromised the culture, failed to hire strategically, and did not identify changes in the industry quickly enough. One of the biggest challenges facing this company is a lack of tenured and trained management (across departments). Many of those currently working in leadership roles within the company have never worked externally. Rather, they joined the company at the right time, impressed the right people and were quickly promoted to leadership (including C-level roles). As a result, groupthink runs rampant throughout much of the management teams across departments. Within the Admissions department, everyone starts at the entry-level role (Admissions Counselor) before they could progress at 2U, regardless of prior professional experience outside the company. The executive leadership team adamantly refused to hire externally for Admissions management, preferring instead to promote from within. While this can be great for career progress, especially at the entry-level, it creates a gap in leadership and lack of thought-diversity amongst its leaders and was a likely contributor to the 2019 mass layoffs of 68 managers, directors and VPs within Admissions and Student Success. The same day the CEO announced the Admissions and Student Success layoffs, he turned around and told the rest of the company that the layoffs were a direct result of "poor management reviews on Glassdoor" and lack of quality leadership training. What's ironic about this statement is that even after the layoffs, the 2U response to negative Glassdoor reviews includes boilerplate messaging stating, "One example is a required training curriculum for all people managers at every level, covering comprehensive leadership skills, including new employee onboarding and training." If the CEO blames poor management training and negative Glassdoor reviews as a reason to layoff 68 people, why would 2U continue to promote the virtues of its in-house leadership "people manager" training? I never understood why 2U didn't contract out with one of its university partners to bring in graduate faculty to teach management and leadership strategy. Surely that would have been more cost-effective and morale-boosting, than laying off your most tenured managers? Prior to the day of layoffs, there was not one moment when the senior leadership of the company indicated that managers weren't being trained correctly to run the department. Many of the managers had just completed the 4th round of "People Manager" training just weeks prior. It's also interesting to see that in 2019 much of the executive leadership team (ELT) were replaced by external hires so hopefully that brings new ideas to the table, strategically challenging the leadership to rethink how they manage this company. 2U also likes to tout its "Best Places to Work" survey results each year. While I do believe they take employee feedback from the survey into consideration, it's worth noting that they also pressure employees into completing the surveys as quickly as possible, noting the percentage of the company who has already responded, and guilting those that haven't into responding before the deadline. This survey was sent out several weeks before the 2019 layoffs were initiated so it will be interesting to see how the responses evolve in 2020. To be fair, it's not all doom and gloom. There are still many wonderful people working at 2U and it's acquired companies. I do truly wish them the best and hope their voices are heard when it comes time for changes within the organization. If the company can continue to pivot as the industry evolves, I think it has the potential to grow into that world-class organization we imagined just a few years ago.

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    Advice to Management

    1) Start with a change from the top. It's time for a new leader who knows how to scale the company without losing sight of the people who built this "rocketship". You have the right board of directors, and several of the ELT are incredibly talented. Make the right decisions about who's going to steer this ship back onto course. 2) Rather than asking the 2U Communications team to reply with the boilerplate answer of... "We’re growing quickly, revealing areas we need to continue to focus on, and we are continually making improvements for our employees, our university partners, and their students. " why don't you reply to this review (and others) with action items you are taking. Many other companies actually include responses from their HR leadership team to respond to these reviews with the identification of their title and take-away action items. What specific steps are you taking to train your employees for their success and the growth of the company? What improvements are you making based upon Glassdoor feedback?

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    2U2019-12-02
  2. "Good company for young adult"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Contract Administrator in Baltimore, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at 2U full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Very flexible and they have unlimited PTO

    Cons

    Poor management style within the company

    2U2019-12-01
  3. Helpful (9)

    "They should adhere to their own moto. "Open, honest, candid.""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Admissions Representative in Tempe, AZ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 2U full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Unlimited PTO even though it is a trick.

    Cons

    Ever since 2U bought out Trilogy Education Services, the culture, the care and compassion went out the window and everyone even Vets became just a number.

    Advice to Management

    Hire managers who care less about partying and more about professionalism and helping their advisors grow, and who do not visibly show favoritism.

    2U2019-11-30
  4. Helpful (9)

    "Worst place I've ever worked"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Full Time Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 2U full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Not much. Perks you might think of (like the Company Meeting) have been cancelled and--as others have pointed out--served largely just to reinforce the CEO's ego anyway. (He puts his own quotations on the walls.)

    Cons

    2U is the equivalent of a corporate gingerbread house. It looks nice when you're standing on the outside but quite different once you open the door. The company's values are hollow--perhaps they are what the company WANTS to be, but otherwise they're just slogans. Others have pointed out that favoritism is alive-and-well at 2U. They are correct. When you start, you learn quickly who these individuals are--not... because they come out and tell you, but because of way they talk to, the fact that they constantly blow off meetings and seem to only ever volunteer to talk to a more senior executive about something so that you don't have to / get to. CEO is in way over his head given the company's current state. When the company was doing well (quite well, actually), he could afford to be the CEO he wanted to be--the dapper suits, the expensive music videos, etc. All things to make the employees love him. Today, the Reckoning has come (notably--he failed to see it when he should have), and now he's left cutting staff, cutting costs, etc. 2U is ripe for disruption. It is over-staffed, slow to move, and can't decide anything without 8+ meetings that have 15+ people in them.

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    2U2019-11-27
  5. Helpful (7)

    "Misleading Managers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Instructor in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 2U full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great salary and compensation. Good learning opportunity for learners.

    Cons

    Bad managers who mislead on to your future with the company

    Advice to Management

    Be honest and have clear communication with employees

    2U2019-11-26
  6. Helpful (10)

    "Roller-coaster of Disappointment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Admissions Counselor in Lanham, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at 2U full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    There are some really great people at the company on a peer level. Casual environment. A place at times I have really loved working due to the what I believed our mission to be and some great co-workers.

    Cons

    Many of the negative reviews here are fairly accurate which is sad because I wanted to at least say they were exaggerated but nope. It's also not a shock that most of the negative reviews come from one department. Since Admissions has a great deal of pressure on them and from our viewpoint there are only negative consequences to anything (if you are doing well you get to keep your job is the perk I've heard). But... for any other department that messes up it doesn't seem like there are the same pressures or consequences. Between the PMP and the call recordings it feels like there is zero trust with our department and what little we had keeps getting taken away bit by bit. If you start the company in admissions it's often hard to move to a role outside of admissions. I've heard those working outside of admissions really like their jobs so that's something. It's a sales job for education which is one thing but pushing counselors to push students into programs they may not be right for by saying "They never knew they wanted to do this until you encouraged and kept pushing them to do it" is maybe not the best practice. Then counselors feel obligated to do it to meet their "aggressively achievable goals".

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    Advice to Management

    Listen to your counselors more. Stop using their relationship with students to push them into doing things they are not comfortable with. And to higher up management, if Admissions or student engagement is such a big part of this company engage with them more on a personal level on what can help them and the student be successful rather than "monitoring" them. There is too much talent in that department for them... not to be taken seriously.

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    2U2019-11-21
  7. "Excellent Benefits, Take Care of Employees"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Admissions Manager in Denver, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at 2U full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Amazing health benefits (HSA Account with Employer Contributions), Employee Stock Purchase Plan, Unlimited PTO. Pay is fair for roles.

    Cons

    Outwardly facing job titles can be confusing (Admissions being a sales minded role/department doesn't help for those looking for jobs outside of the company).

    2U2019-11-20
  8. "Truly lives up to its Great Place to Work reputation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Web Producer in Brooklyn, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at 2U full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    A company that truly espouses its culture and mission. Smart and dedicated people. Opportunities to learn, grow, and advance. A spectacular office setting with copious free snacks.

    Cons

    I can think of none.

    2U2019-11-19
  9. Helpful (11)

    "Poor Executive Leadership and a culture of sheep."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Student Success Advisor in Lanham, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at 2U full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Nice office to work out of a lot of great amenities. Work from home opportunity is nice. If you can bear it for a few years you or your spouse can get a Masters for free or highly discounted....but be warned you will give up part of your soul.

    Cons

    Its like a High School culture with an overall lack of professionalism. Clique culture is rampant and your identity is more important than your quality of work. But if you are a good actor and skilled at telling people what they want to hear you will move up quickly. Also helps if you are anything but a straight white male. They have a culture of "Feedback" but only if that feedback totes the company line. Granted... some divisions are more corporate than others but anything student facing is a challenging environment to work in. Who wants to work a job where they record your calls?

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    Advice to Management

    Sr leadership is weak and their thought process is very insular and group think like. They have an attitude like they are the smartest person in the room and lack consistent vision. Stock plummets 86% in a single day but there was an attitude of "nothing to see..move along". The market does not lie and when your company becomes "overvalued" and "uninvestible" according to Wall Street don't act like nothing is wrong.... But the CEO cashed in 18 million dollars in 2018 while the stock was inflated so he is doing ok. Plus a company needs a CEO who is a serious business man and decision maker, not an overly emotional idealist. If I had to see that guy cry one more time I was going to lose it. The board needs to out the CEO and bring in someone else or the company will sink or be bought out. Just let Bezos take over! Also I voluntarily left 2U for another opportunity so no hard feelings at all but from the outside the place is a mess.

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    2U2019-11-18
  10. Helpful (16)

    "Just when you think it can't get worse"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Admissions Counselor in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at 2U full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Every day you get to see if our management team will make a worse decision

    Cons

    - mass layoffs - recording everything you do on the phone with students - distrustful management

    Advice to Management

    Remove everyone's tuition burden so that we can quit. I am SO READY to leave this place but can't.

    2U2019-11-13
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