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Acumen Reviews

Updated January 24, 2019
132 reviews

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2.9
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Thomas MaCurdy
79 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "good work life balance, good working environment, nice colleague" (in 7 reviews)

  • "Worked on interesting projects and learned a lot" (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • "Some teams have no such thing as work life balance" (in 15 reviews)

  • "Very low salaries for Bay Area and not at par with other consulting/analytic companies" (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Nice people and working environment"

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

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    My team members are nice and willing to help. Have not worked on any projects yet, but so far so good. I have anticipated that the projects mainly involve data cleaning so I won't complain.

    Cons

    Salary is not attractive so as the benefits. Different group has different style. Some people can work very late.

    Advice to Management

    My manager is great, easy to communicate with.

    Acumen Response

    Nov 12, 2018 – Recruiting Manager

    Thanks for taking the time to leave us this review. I think a lot people agree, nice people and working environment!


  2. "Interesting work, good learning curve, poor salary/benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    There is a lot to learn initially, specially if you have never worked with claims/policy data. I find the part of the work to be mentally stimulating and part of it to be monotonous/mechanical. In terms of work culture, I think it varies across the company, some teams are nice and everyone gets alone. While some other teams lack structure and collaboration. So if you are lucky to be on a good team, you will like it. Other pros include:
    -Location (scenic)
    -Giving and receiving constructive feedback on deliverables/documents between team mates, which helps you to improve the quality of your work and communication skills
    -Diversity
    -Young professionals

    Cons

    -Very low salaries for Bay Area and not at par with other consulting/analytic companies
    -work from home requires manager’s approval each team
    -you are expected to work over 10 hours when deadlines are close and they don’t pay overtime.

    Advice to Management

    -promote work life balance
    -encourage team structure versus hierarchy
    - structure teams to prevent overburdening managers which leads to manager burnout resulting in team burnout.
    -provide opportunities to take part in educational programs like MBA or project management.

    Acumen Response

    Feb 12, 2019 – Recruiting Manager

    Thanks for taking the time to leave us this review. We do provide opportunities for educational growth, we have the Professional Development Program (PDP) and Tuition Assistance Program (TAP... More

  3. "Friendly Workplace and Challenging Tasks"

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

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Colleagues are friendly and always willing to help if you have questions.
    - You will get promoted quickly if you show your values to the company;
    - Management recognizes your contribution to the company and for sure you will be awarded for your efforts! (e.g. extra bonus, bigger salary raises. etc.)
    - More employee benefits provided by the company, including free gym passes, free sport classes, discounted services including car rental, theme parks, rental cars, and many many more!
    - Pretty flexible working hours.

    Cons

    - Company culture can be improved so employees can feel involved.

    Advice to Management

    N/A

    Acumen Response

    Feb 12, 2019 – Recruiting Manager

    Thanks for taking the time to leave us this review. Please feel free to reach out to HR or Recruiting if you are having issues not feeling involved. Sounds like your pros are worth reaching out to us... More


  4. Helpful (6)

    "A good company hindered by mismanagement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Acumen full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Two come to mind:
    - Acumen does high-quality, important work for public health in America. It's data reserves are unparalleled and should be extremely enticing to those interested in health economics.
    - Acumen provides recent graduates good entry-level opportunities to develop technical and management skills and to get quantitative/analytical work experience on their CVs.

    Cons

    Acumen suffers from the Peter Principle - that competent employees are promoted until they become incompetent. This leads to the reality described in many other reviews: that Acumen is flush with intelligent people who work together on research teams that are poorly managed. Becoming a manager should be coupled with the training needed to take on new responsibilities, especially operations and personnel development.

    Advice to Management

    Building strong company culture starts from the top. Many employees consider working directly with the CEO to be more of a burden than an opportunity, which speaks volumes. The research department specifically should be spearhead by a vocal leader - someone who communicates openly and often with the entire team, who sets clear goals and benchmarks for success, who inspires people to come forward with questions and ideas.

    Upward reviews should be built back into the performance review process. Instead, offering "please feel free to come to HR with concerns about your manager" discourages open communication and elicits a fraction of the honest feedback that is needed to identify weak leadership. Employees should be required to provide constructive criticism to their superiors, and superiors should be required to receive that criticism and act upon it.

    Acumen Response

    Feb 12, 2019 – Recruiting Manager

    Thanks for taking the time to leave us a review. We are always looking for ways to improve, I'll be sure your comments reach our HR department. I hope you addressed these concerns while you were an... More


  5. "Good Managers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst
    Current Employee - Data and Policy Analyst
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I have had great managers that trust me to work independently.

    Cons

    The projects are all government contracts and can be inflexible, and slow moving.

    Acumen Response

    Jan 15, 2019 – Recruiting Manager

    We are happy to hear you have great managers, thanks for the review!


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Totally fine"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexible schedules, open door policy, good place to learn new skills, and enhance current knowledge. Hard working staff however that can also be a con.

    Cons

    Benefits are lacking, and there are many very easy ways to improve moral and to increase tenure. The first would be for HR to stop kidding themselves with the gym memberships, and fit bits. No one cares about that. What people want are real benefits. People want time off, competitive salaries, and support services. To start, the number one would be good health insurance, with low costs. Difficult to obtain but not impossible. Additionally, the funds put towards gyms and fitbits could be used to implement a paid family leave policy for the entire company. The CA requirement is a MINIMUM however HR seems to think that its a favor to have 6 weeks partially paid. The key here is FAMILY leave, meaning that if you have a sick parent, spouse, you get sick, or other family member has an issue you need to tend to, you can take time off to care for them. If you have a child, or adopt, you can take time off without the stress of partial pay and very limited time. Paid family leave actually improves the bottom line. It is a proven win-win. Additionally, because many staff have families that are abroad, it would be very helpful to be able to take that time knowing you have to travel very far to reach family, and again, not have the stress of no pay or partial pay.

    Advice to Management

    Some teams work a ton, while others not so much. More thought needs to be put into resource management, and a growth strategy should be more transparent. Consider hiring managers from the outside, and investing in an external trainer. While our current HR/Operations tries, let's face it, they have a lot of other things on their plate and this is not their specialty. Hiring an outside trainer to either actually train, or design a training would be beneficial. Not all staff are cut out to be manager, and frankly, I'm not sure how many actually enjoy the process of managing people. There may also be an opportunity to differentiate between managing projects and managing the people.

    Acumen Response

    Dec 31, 2018 – HR Director

    Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to write and express their concerns. We will continue to discuss benefits and training and align that with our business goals... More


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Policy and Data Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Former Employee - Data and Policy Analyst in Burlingame, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Acumen (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Location?! Nothing else can make to 5 words.

    Cons

    Low pay, bad benefits, hostile environment, no distinct company culture. managers and HRs.

    Advice to Management

    The level of management varies a lot. Some of their managers are chill, some of their managers are high-maintenance, but overall they have no clue what they are doing. Please find people who are suitable for management, not because they are here longer.

    Acumen Response

    Jan 7, 2019 – Recruiting Manager

    We appreciate you leaving us a review, thank you. We are lucky to work in such a great location!

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Low pay, bad management."

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

    I worked at Acumen full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Some managers are very knowledgeable in their fields. If you are lucky enough to be placed under them, you can learn a lot.

    Cons

    Micro-managers, useless HR, and an abusive management style stemming from the very top. When the CEO straight up swears at his employees, throws papers and pens around in frustration, and his sons crack degrading jokes during meetings, it's not hard to imagine what the rest of the company is like. It's not uncommon to hear people sniffling in the cubicals, sobbing in the bathrooms, or straight up crying in their cars.

    There is absolutely no reason to stay. You can go anywhere else and be paid twice as much for half as much work.

    Advice to Management

    When teams have an extremely high turnover rate, as in new hires are quitting in weeks/months, you should start looking into the whys. And when those same people deign to attend an exit interview to try and give feedback, HR should actually LISTEN and ask questions instead of robotically repeating an "I'm sorry (you feel that way)". I was in and out of there in less than 15 minutes; they don't actually care about trying to improve the company. But I guess its understandable, it's not like HR actually has the guts to bring up complaints to the MaCurdys and their select favorite managers.

    Acumen Response

    Jan 22, 2019 – Director of Business Operations

    Unfortunately, while we hire with hope for long and mutually beneficial employment relationships, it doesn't always work. No matter the reason, this result stinks. We will continue to strive for... More


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Run away"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burlingame, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burlingame, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Acumen full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Sometimes the dogs that people bring are cute

    Cons

    Oh boy. I will narrow it down to the major downfalls and mention only a few of the many, many other issues I had with working here.

    1 Respect. I did not feel my personal “non work” time was respected. At all. It was quite common for my former teammates to work many, many hours over and above 40 hours per week. I did so as well, easily averaging more than 55 hours per week. I never felt I could make any plans after work because I literally did not know when I would be able to leave. It was absolutely horrible and caused me no small amount of stress.

    2 Expectations. Shortly after I was hired it became clear that I needed to learn a lot more technology skills than were listed in the job description. I already had average skills in general and above average with some software, but rather than invest in training me, I was left to “figure it out” most of the time and felt ridiculed for asking for guidance or resources. To be clear, I was eager to learn and wanted to do my job. I was unable to do so because the instructions were a riddle written in a language I don’t know and then hidden all over the galaxy. Everyday I had to go on an epic journey just to decipher what the issue IS— let alone begin to address it!

    3. Mystery Priorities. Tasks and projects would frequently be assigned to me without regard for my capacity or time to actually complete them. When I brought this up, which I had to do regularly, I was made to feel less than and was given very negative feedback. I cried almost every day at this job, and I wasn’t the only person sobbing in the ladies room. Here is an example of what I mean. I am
    Working on a long-term project (many months long) and managing many day-to-day tasks. Near the end of the day, say after 4pm, several tasks that I have never done before would be assigned to me—not by a manager but by a coworker—with a due date of today. Now, I had already scheduled the rest of my day as being consumed by my normal tasks. I inquire as to the priority level. The answer makes me feel like I should never again utter an inquiry that could possibly Question The Importance Of The Task. So I cancel my plans after
    work and knuckle down. Now, say something like this happens a lot. Well, maybe I should schedule time in the afternoon— what a novel idea! I do so, I come in earlier, I stop taking a lunch break or any break at all, and soon enough you have your normal day: arrive early, complete as many tasks as you possibly can without regard to quality because there are Just Too Many Tasks, slam down some free coffee, open up that long term project that you were just told isn’t quite on the right track but there’s nothing wrong with it but maybe if it was just different and work on making it different, be introduced to some new hire, have many tasks you know nothing about or next to nothing about assigned to you by random people on your team, research how to complete said tasks, answer questions from other teams about ongoing issues, answer questions from your own team about ongoing issues, have a meeting,
    try to ignore the dogs barking in the hallway, book a meeting room so you can have an hour of quiet, have some person you’ve never spoken to before Ping you on Skype asking if they can use the room for an Important Meeting With A Client, surrender the room without hearing so much as a thanks, continue blowing through the tasks you think you may know how to do and hope for the best, reread the mystery tasks that somehow have to be done by today so says A Person, have a cry in the ladies room, have four more meetings—one of which you end up having to lead, return to your desk to find More Tasks Due Today, and all the while your phone never stops ringing.

    4 Culture. The inhumanity of the culture I experienced at this job is illustrated by this anecdote: a male colleague spills a thermos full of coffee on the floor while in the audience of a presentation. The copious amount of coffee immediately floods the area, soaking peoples’s shoes & misc. rather than get up, apologize, and gather materials to sop up the mess, he ignores it completely as if it never happened. As if he didn’t just soak people’s feet and bags and notebooks in warm,
    weak coffee. That is about how much consideration I felt from most people here.

    5 Benefits. As far as actual benefits, there is the usual health and retirement options. I consider these a Con because, in addition to modest pay, the modest benefits leave much to be desired.

    Advice to Management

    If the job requires overtime, pay overtime.

    Consider fostering a spirit of collaboration rather than competition

    Acumen Response

    Jan 21, 2019 – HR Director

    Hi - I am sorry we did not meet your expectations. It seems there are a lot of areas where you had a different perception of how the organization should be versus the actual work place. Thank you... More


  10. "Good place for now"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Acumen full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Hardworking, driven coworkers; mission-driven work that have real-life consequences

    Cons

    Not great about promoting work-life balance

    Advice to Management

    Need to set realistic deadlines

    Acumen Response

    Dec 27, 2018 – Recruiting Manager

    We appreciate you taking the time to leave us a review, thank you.