Acumen Reviews | Glassdoor

Acumen Reviews

Updated April 15, 2018
109 reviews

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2.8
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Thomas MaCurdy
64 Ratings

109 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Some teams have no such thing as work life balance (in 13 reviews)

  • The salary is insanely low for a programmer in the Bay Area (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Data and Policy Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great job for a person out of college!

    Cons

    Pay can be better compared to other companies in SF


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Data and Policy Analyst III"

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

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

    Pros

    Good place to start.
    Friendly environment.
    Smart colleagues.
    Make a change to the policy making.

    Cons

    Below market pay.
    Different teams have totally different styles.
    Some teams have no such thing as work life balance. Their turn over rate is incredibly high, since their hourly salary is incredibly low.

    Advice to Management

    Raise the salary. High turn over is no good to the company and the small benifits won't change it at all. Look at the trends of ratings here.
    Bring more people in who experts in management. Consider MBA programs for the leadership.
    Be more ambitious, be prepared to get into private sector business.
    Raise money to be more powerful and do some thing bigger like other silicon valley company did.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great first job out of college"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Data Systems Programmer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Data Systems Programmer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    – Intelligent coworkers
    – Potentially interesting work
    – The first two weeks of work are SAS training, so no experience with SAS is needed
    – Visa sponsorship (anecdotally, 1/3 or more of the employees are non-citizens)
    – I seldom work more than 40 hours/week. This varies by team though.

    Cons

    – Low pay and minimal benefits
    – SAS isn't used almost anywhere else
    – Low retention (Also a pro! Employees move on to better, higher-paying jobs after 2 years on average)
    – Not a social workplace at all. It feels like being in an elevator with strangers, except for 40 hours/week. It's downright awkward.
    – Since seniority is prized and retention low, management is a motley crew of whoever sticks around. Two big groups: good programmers who make bad managers, and MaCurdys (the CEO hired ~4 family members for top leadership roles).

    Advice to Management

    Underpaying recent college grads is a great model for filling entry-level jobs, but you need a better system for identifying good managers.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Meh."

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

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

    Pros

    Don't have many pros for this place.

    Cons

    Not a great place to work.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Amazing place"

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

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

    Pros

    - learn a lot about healthcare policy and meet a lot of talented young individuals
    - have a substantial impact on healthcare policy in the United States
    - go home feeling satisfied about the intellectually challenging and interesting research

    Cons

    - lower pay compared to other places in the Bay Area as well as less perks
    - experience really depends upon the team you are placed under

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the amazing work!


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Wouldn't recommend - wish I had believed the negative reviews"

    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
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Bagels on Friday.

    -Projects that ostensibly work towards a good thing for society (better and more informed public health systems).

    -SAS training if you want to be trained in that software.

    -Can be a very easy job, depending on your team.

    -Not a bad first policy job for those who want a more tech-oriented career.

    Cons

    -Antisocial work environment at best, hostile at worst. No one is friendly.

    -Lack of transferrable skills for employees.

    -Low pay and benefits.

    -Highly variable work schedule. If your team happens to be well-managed, you have a good work-life balance. If not, you're stuck with a horrible one.

    -Poor management. Like, really poor management, as in I didn't know if I would be working until 5 or 11 pm until late that afternoon.

    -Far from city areas, meaning virtually everyone has to commute.

    -Limited projects that depend almost fully on CMS.

    I have to be honest, I wouldn't recommend working here to anyone. There's awesome projects to be worked on; pub policy/econ/polisci grads have a great chance to increase tech skills, while policy-oriented tech workers have a great chance to enter policy. The problem is the workplace. It's highly inconvenient to get to, rabidly antisocial, lacks benefits or adequate salary, and is unpleasant to work at. The only person to whom i would wholeheartedly recommend this job would be a double public health/computer science major who hasn't learned SAS. If you aren't that ideal person, I would seriously look elsewhere. SAS is taught but is not that helpful in the broader work environment. Unless you get hired as upper management, you don't get a good sense of healthcare policy. And honestly, the work environment is really bad. I had never experienced such a negative and isolating experience until working here.

    Advice to Management

    You need to revise the management situation. People are leaving, which creates a very small pool of hirable managers, many of whom lack basic people skills. Create a situation such that entry-level employees actually want to stay at the company/


  7. "Good experience"

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

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

    Pros

    1. Work with very kind and intelligent people
    2. Team work is well organized and interesting
    3. The Environment is great, and since the company is located in bayside, the view is perfect

    Cons

    The salary is not as high as many other tech companies

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great first job out of undergrad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Health Care Data & Policy Analyst I & II in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Health Care Data & Policy Analyst I & II in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Worked on interesting projects and learned a lot. Mangers/coworkers were friendly and eager to teach. Fun work environment. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    My career development started to stagnate. Ultimately left to pursue a master's degree. Also, the company was experiencing some growing pains as it was growing rapidly.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Basic Benefits / Low Morale"

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

    I have been working at Acumen full-time

    Pros

    In general, really basic benefits and amenities:
    - Multiple break kitchens (a little outdated and could be renovated)
    - Standard coffee/tea
    - Fruit served on Tuesday and Thursdays at 1:30pm (not sure why not mornings)
    - "Snack" served on Wednesday at 1:30pm (usually a value pack of bulk treats, like pretzels)
    - 1 company catered lunch per month
    - Donuts 1 day per month
    - Great location by the bay with multiple commuting options (BART, CalTrain, 101 Fwy)
    - Health, vision, and dental insurance (all basic)
    - 401(k) company matching vests ONLY AFTER four years
    - Partial tuition reimbursement ONLY AFTER staying 2 years after completion of the program (otherwise, must repay tuition to the company)

    Good for fresh grads with no work experience, but experienced or mid-level career professionals may find the work culture stifling with little growth. Everyone is relatively young, so few issues interacting between generations.

    The company aspires to grow into a big company, but will probably stay a small company due to challenges in scaling. This is a great opportunity for those who like the small office environment.

    Cons

    Lacking market-rate benefits and amenities:
    - No gym reimbursement or membership (they introduced FitBit though)
    - No commuting benefits
    - Basic holiday (2 weeks holiday + 1 sick week; both accrue at a slow rate and are not given on day 1)

    Low team morale and many share similar poor opinions of upper management. Unlike most companies, many employees desperately avoid working with the CEO.

    Many recent grads are hired and become inducted into a work culture that is unlike normal work environments. The work culture is comprised of over-work, low pay, basic benefits and little perks, and office gossip masked by intellectual elitism and superiority. Due to their inexperience, unfortunately, they won't know that other companies' work cultures can be different (and normal) until they leave.

    For those who know what it's like to work in a productive work environment, they will recognize that Acumen needs a change in their work culture and the outlook for growth is exclusively dependent on upper management. Unfortunately, both work culture and little opportunities result in the reason for much of the turn-over.

    Advice to Management

    No advice; everyone knows you're aware of these issues.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "Benefits are poor and management needs help"

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

    I have been working at Acumen full-time

    Pros

    - Very smart co-workers
    - Interesting projects
    - Monthly lunches
    - Limited fruit twice a week
    - Great parking lot

    Cons

    - Other reviews are correct, the benefits are very poor here. People have to fight for fruit and snacks every week. If you happen to be in a meeting when the snacks, fruit, or any kind of food comes out, tough luck.
    - Unbalanced workload. If you are in a senior position, you will have a heavy workload. Work is not evenly distributed and taking time to update or improve a processes is not prioritized.
    - Limited shuttle from the Bart station. If you try to come in early or stay at work past 6pm, you effectively do not have a ride to the Bart Station.
    - HR does not take feedback very well. Observing their response to these reviews are a great example. Some of these reviews are very specific about the issue yet HR requests for the reviewer to talk to them in person. It seems like HR rather focus on who is unhappy than resolving the issue for everyone.
    - HR updates policy or change benefits without broadcasting to the employees. It is very hard to find any relevant information. For example, employee bonus policy or 4 year PTO bonus policy is unclear. Unless you know someone that has the email from that one time HR sent it out years ago, it will be very hard to figure out what the surrounding policy is.
    - You do not get Veteren's Day or MLK day off.

    Advice to Management

    Employees will stay if there is interesting work and they are treated respectfully. Don't try to hide policy changes or communications about cuts away from us. It does not work and it sows animosity.


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