Altman Vilandrie & Company Reviews in Boston, MA | Glassdoor

Altman Vilandrie & Company Boston Reviews

Updated May 5, 2017
14 reviews

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Boston, MA Area

4.1
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Rory Altman & Ed Vilandrie
9 Ratings

14 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Fun, bright firm"

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

    Pros

    Bright, interesting people; competitive pay and benefits; casual and entrepreneurial environment. Generous company events, lunch 2x. a week.

    Cons

    Infrastructure still evolving - company is at inflection point but some good leadership work is on the horizon.


  2. Helpful (8)

    "I would not allow a friend of mine to work here"

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

    I worked at Altman Vilandrie & Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The junior consulting staff (analysts and consultants) at AV&Co. is comprised of brilliant and witty people who can become invaluable life-long friends.

    AV&Co. will force you to develop skills (e.g., Excel modeling, Powerpoint slide creation) that will allow you to succeed in your next job.

    Cons

    Overall, it is important to consider that the average tenure of analysts and (post-MBA) consultants is ~18 months; feel free to ask current employees for this metric during your interview process. While many people consider 2 years the norm for consulting, it should be informative to potential employees that the vast majority of new hires are gone before 1.5 years. The discerning applicant may realize that this is why AV&Co. has recently enlisted several headhunting firms to help source "off-cycle" hires.

    The quality of life at AV&Co. is vastly worse than at other peer consulting firms. On the average project, one can expect to receive requests around midnight each night for new work. While workload necessarily varies from project to project, on the whole AV&Co. directors are unable or unwilling to push back against client demands and scope creep.

    There is extreme favoritism and a culture of gossip within the firm, perhaps due to its small size. Concerns mentioned in confidence to HR or staffing by junior consulting staff are routinely "accidentally" mentioned to the management committee. Staffing is handled by one woman who will publicly mention to other staff that certain individuals are "under-performing."

    Quality of life varies widely from individual to individual, and changing this is beyond one's control. As mentioned above, favoritism and unchecked politics leads to wide staffing discrepancies. It is not uncommon for one employee to repeatedly find themselves on 3-week diligences and averaging >75 hour weeks until they leave the firm, while another will routinely be staffed to months-long qualitative projects requiring 45/hours of weekly work. Please note that the employees in the latter group are likely to stay longer and thus be the ones present at "sell day" type events, sharing their positive experiences with prospective hires.

    There is 1 female member out of the ~30-member management committee. While one could argue this is an industry-wide problem rather than an AV&Co. specific issue, it's not clear to me that AV&Co. has taken any action to support female employees. On the contrary, this gender dynamic can create some 1950s-era scenes (think all-female admin staff delivering lunch to male managers' offices). Female prospective analysts should consider how this ratio may effect their ability to find a mentor with whom they identify; having a personal advocate is important due to the political nature of AV&Co. staffing, reviews, and promotions.

  3. Helpful (12)

    "Amazing Professional Development, Great People, Interesting Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Altman Vilandrie & Company full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you can handle the hours (see cons below), then AV&Co. is a great place to work. In particular, I think AV&Co. provides likely unparalleled runway, opportunities, and pace for professional development.

    Before I dive deeper into the professional development piece, here are some other quick hit pros:
    - Low travel: You'll likely average ~2 trips of a couple days each for most of your projects. Rarely will you find yourself on a classic Monday to Thursday management-consulting style travel project. In addition to the benefit of actually getting to live in the city you chose to be in, this also means more opportunities to build relationships with your coworkers, from peers up to the most senior-level members of the company, including the founders
    - Industry focus: There's plenty of variety within TMT (even with AV&Co's heavy emphasis on telecom), but the focus still means that you'll more quickly develop area expertise (which translates to more respect and engagement from clients) and avoid the risk of a generalist firm that you get staffed on something you find truly boring (assuming you find technology interesting)
    - Strategy focus: AV&Co's 'Strategy'-focused nature means that you're almost never working on internal efficiencies, cost-cutting initiatives, BU-reorganizations, or process improvement projects (read: real 'management consulting' is about firing people) -- instead, you'll generally be working on questions like "should we launch this product, or buy this company, or enter this market" or projects focused on a more limited scope within this vein (e.g. competitive research, growth initiative business cases, customer data analysis, network deployment planning)
    - Analytical bent, and dedication to quality work: Let's be honest, AV&Co. has a bit of a chip on its shoulder as a challenger to big-3 consulting firms for client business (frequently goes head-to-head with Bain/McKinsey/BCG, and frequently wins depending on what the client is looking for). When combined with some fanatically detail-oriented senior leaders, this means a serious dedication to high quality work. AV&Co also has a strong analytical bent, and which means you can be confident that anyone who makes it to senior analyst has real chops (including you, if you can cut it). You will become an excel expert, and probably become pretty proficient with large-data manipulation (either in SQL or SAS).

    OK, on professional development: AV&Co has (IMO) a remarkably transparent and fair review process, and truly places no artificial boundaries to how fast you can move up the ladder -- at least up to the consultant (post-MBA) position. If anything, the risk is the opposite: the expectation is that you will be constantly reaching for stretch opportunities technically above your role's definition, and there will be disappointment if you're perceived as resting on your laurels. You'll get formal project reviews after every project (multiple for projects that are over 6 months), and unlike the big-3's 2 or 3-year, time-oriented up-or-out approach, promotions at AV&Co. are evaluated every 6 months regardless of tenure.

    AV&Co loves promoting senior analysts straight to the consultant ('post-mba') position without an MBA. Making Manager may or may not be more political (there are more obvious potential math problems there on the ratio of managers to other staff, but I have no hard evidence of someone getting their promotion unduly delayed, and in one cycle a perhaps irresponsible number of manager promotes were made at once). Making it to partner/director level is a tough transition: there's an unfortunate inverse relationship between time/effort being a good manager and time/effort one can devote to selling projects, which is the required next step for principal.

    Cons

    I wish I could have started with cons, because it's pretty simple: The hours can be long, with high variability and short visibility. A slow week is ~50 hours. A standard week is ~65 hours. A bad week is ~75 hours. A terrible week (on average, a handful of these per year) is 80+ hours. 'Beach time', very rare if you're performing well, is of course a different story. So, not as bad as your I-banker friends, but not easy.

    If you've never worked hours like this, I encourage you to do some simple math in your head: a normal 65 hour week, if you're starting work at 9am, you're not working the weekend, and you're getting out at ~5pm on a Friday, translates to an average of ~11:30pm Monday-Thursday.

    If the trade-off of benefits (pros listed above) vs. long hours is worth it to you (it certainly was for me), then I can't recommend AV&Co. more highly.

    A bit more context on hours, lack of beach time, and AV&Co's general issues: AV&Co. has never had a problem selling projects and growing revenue each year. AV&Co. has had perennial problems hiring and retaining enough folks at a rate to match their annual increase in business. So, over the past few years, each year's 'peak season' would get longer and longer, with less and less 'beach time' across the organization, and more and more cases of unfortunate overlap between projects (below manager level, all consulting staff is on a single-project staffing model). These are great problems to have from a business perspective, but not great from a work-life trend perspective. However, as I was leaving AV&Co, awareness of these issues among the management was coming to a head, and I believe they've taken earnest steps to rectify the situation in the start of this year with a hiring push. I can't speak to the results of that effort.

    Advice to Management

    Most of you are aging-out of cultural participation. This is going to have long-term negative impact on the cultural strength of the company (think happy hours and ski trips with only analysts in attendance). This is compounded by the insistence that Boston remain the 'main' office, when most of your culturally active junior leadership isn't in the Boston office. Also, let's be clear that this isn't a one-off thing: it's a fact of life that, ceteris paribus, most of your young, motivated, smart folks are going to prefer NYC or SF to Boston (I'm not one of those folks, but it's true).

    I would encourage you all to make an effort to stay engaged (make sure that a management committee member is at every happy hour if possible), and stop fighting the inevitable that NYC and maybe even SF should be the 'starter' office for most new hires within 5 years. Otherwise, you're just like our more dinosaur-like clients fighting/denying the impact of the latest big technology trend.


  4. Helpful (9)

    "If you are pragmatic, seek to shine and not blend in - this place is for you."

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

    I have been working at Altman Vilandrie & Company (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I have had a great experience during my time at this organization. This is the first time I have ever written a review regarding my employer. From the top the vision is transparent; you are invited in the "circle of trust" on day one; getting to soak in intellectual knowledge from industry leaders. Secondly the meritocracy they promote is real; I've consulted for Amazon and Facebook and Apple.... all these companies talk about a merit based environment but few implement it. If you are looking to blend in - join fidelity - but id you truly seek to make a difference and have your voice hear AV&Co is the place for you.

    Cons

    I would love to see some type of presidents club award given to top performers company wide. Where the recipients are given a week trip on the firm.This isn't even a con; its more of a suggestion box item.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work. We solve problems that some of the greatest companies in the world believe are unsolvable.... and we have fun doing so. Thank you for providing such an engaging environment and quality coworkers, it makes work fun each day!


  5. "Summer Analyst"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Summer Analyst in Boston, MA
    Former Intern - Summer Analyst in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Altman Vilandrie & Company as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great exposure due to flat structure, great culture, friendly people, fun happy hours! AV&Co. frequently competes with the Big 3 in the TMT space and wins projects against them and after working for a summer with them it's clear why.

    Cons

    Can't really think of a con.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work!


  6. Helpful (5)

    "Summer Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Summer Associate in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Summer Associate in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Altman Vilandrie & Company (More than a year)

    Pros

    Low amount of travel. Reasonable work hours. Strong credibility and name within telecommunications companies. Good mentorship and succession planning.

    Cons

    Lots of industry experience therefore not as standardized on client management process.


  7. Helpful (6)

    "If you are interested in TMT and strategy consulting, this is the place to be..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Analyst in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Analyst in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Interesting TMT projects, smart and fun colleagues, great learning environment!

    Cons

    Typical consulting lifestyle, similar to other strategy firms.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "Great post-graduate stepping stone"

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

    I have been working at Altman Vilandrie & Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    AV&Co. is a growing, small consulting firm, which means there is a lot of opportunity for ownership and advancement.
    AV&Co. also has a focus on telecom, media and tech (TMT), which means most projects are related to interesting content that helps shape you into an industry expert.
    Exit opportunities are great with many recruiters proactively reaching out to employees for their consulting background and industry expertise.
    Being a small firm with a flat organizational hierarchy means that younger tenure employees can work directly with (and learn directly from) senior management, which helps foster and advance an incredibly tight-knit, fun culture.

    Cons

    AV&Co., like other consulting firms, has long hours and struggles with a good work/life balance (consulting total compensation often offsets this a bit).
    Also, the elevated stress for working in a fast-paced environment for high-profile clients can be a burden (which can be quite intolerable for some)


  9. "Solid TMT Boutique Consulting Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Analyst in Boston, MA
    Former Intern - Analyst in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Altman Vilandrie & Company as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Access to directors and informal mentorship, less travel than competitors, TMT focus, lots of responsibility and learning opportunity for young employees, early promotion opportunities

    Cons

    Little known name, less control over staffing than most other firms, office politics dictate hiring/promotion decisions, more operations focused (little pure strategy work), long hours for consulting (80 hrs/week not uncommon)

    Advice to Management

    Should be challenging to manage growth in coming years, don't spread net too wide, continue to hire diverse employee base


  10. "If you're interested in tech, this is the best consulting firm you could work with."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Business Analyst in Boston, MA
    Former Intern - Business Analyst in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Altman Vilandrie & Company as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You gain a fundamental understanding of the technology behind the companies you work with. AV&Co analysts are known for their prowess with quantitative analysis and modeling. You'll be well-equipped for work in the tech field afterwards. The pay is excellent and the connections you make will continue to provide value in the future.

    Cons

    The hours can be rough and it's an intense place to be, but that's the nature of consulting. Embrace it and learn everything you can.

    Advice to Management

    Keep an active interest in the startups that come out of AV&Co! AV&Co could be branded as an elite training ground for future founders.


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