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Altman Vilandrie & Company Reviews

Updated January 26, 2018
28 reviews

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4.0
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Rory Altman & Ed Vilandrie
17 Ratings

28 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "So far so good!"

    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

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

    Pros

    Smart people, great friendships, nice offices, stimulating work, strong commitment from HR and MC to make improvements. It’s unique to find a small firm, founder led, that can still attract some of the same people as the bigger consulting firms.

    Cons

    Long hours, typical of consulting and law...though not worked one weekend since I started. Pay is competitive and benefits are fine. Free gym in Boston and SF.

    Advice to Management

    Keep making improvements, consider raising benefits coverage to 100%


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Sleep is a luxury here"

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

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

    Pros

    Deep industry knowledge in TMT space

    Cons

    If you decide to work at this form, there will be a day when you have to get up at 6 to catch an early flight, only to find yourself getting yelled at by a client over a mistake you made at 2am last night.

    For the percentage of due diligence projects the firm gets, don’t expect to get a normal consulting hour - chance is, you are more likely working on a Private Equity schedule. There are senior people at the firm who are perfectly satisfied with 3,4 hours of sleep every night and expect you to do so as well. Don’t expect they will say no to the client - I have not seen that for once in my tenure here.

    Dinner at home on weekdays? Maybe twice in a year.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Top-notch strategy shop with unparalleled TMT expertise"

    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

    I have been working at Altman Vilandrie & Company full-time

    Pros

    -Amazing culture among colleagues; truly wonderful people who are supportive of each other and have a great rapport
    -You'll never doubt that the analyses your team is churning out is best in class work, arguably higher quality than Big 3 given the level of AV&Co's expertise in TMT
    -Very high standards of management means you will challenge yourself and learn a lot
    -Wonderful admin/HR staff that truly makes staff feel like their professional development is a priority
    -Low travel; a rare find in consulting
    -Interesting, intellectually challenging projects and subject matters
    -Comp is at or above market level across the board
    -Meritocratic culture makes you feel like you are in control of your career

    Cons

    Hours are long but I won't even go into that because anyone entering this field knows that work/life will be a challenge. Nothing nuanced to say here.

    My biggest (and maybe only) pain point is the feeling of complacency that seems to emanate from senior leaders lately. The founders and management committee members seem perfectly happy with the firm staying where it is (roughly) in terms of size, scope, revenue, etc. Totally understandable for guys in their 40s who've had a long and intense 15 years, but not exactly an exhilarating notion for younger staff or new hires. Would be great if there was a greater sense of innovation and forward thinking at the firm; after all part of the reason to work for a smaller firm over the McKinseys and Bains of the world is the prospect of getting in early on a business that is *growing*. It seems like the short- and medium-term plan is for the firm to stay the course, which isn't exactly an inspirational mission.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Fantastic firm. Steep learning curve. Amazing opportunities!"

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

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

    Pros

    - 100% focus on strategy and diligence projects only. No dilution in project quality by taking up operational projects like other best in class strategy firms have been doing
    - Quick 4-6 weeks projects are pretty typical. They keep things interesting but that also means that you are on a steep learning curve for at least the first year
    - Access to top clients early in the tenure
    - Extremely talented co-workers who are fun to work with
    - You will learn more about Excel and PowerPoint than you thought was possible
    - No need for face time and analysts are encouraged to stay at home if there is no need to be in office
    - Strong and detailed review process after every project and then bi-yearly reviews to discuss promotions. Completely merit based and comprehensive review forms provide tactical feedback to work on
    - Very helpful HR and Admin staff that make life so much easier

    Cons

    - Obviously working hours are challenging. No surprises here. Typical week ranges from 55-70 hours / week. However, this is pretty typical of consulting in general and expected when joining. One great thing is that management has taken strong steps to kill weekend work. I haven’t worked even a single weekend during my tenure here. PTOs and personal time are very well respected
    - Staffing decisions can be ambiguous; Although it is difficult to get them correct because it is a function of projects in pipeline, personal preference and capability
    - Need more flexibility for inter-office transfers


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Consultant"

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

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

    Pros

    Great place to learn and progress rapidly

    Cons

    Variable work hours often leading to long hours


  6. Helpful (8)

    "You'll learn a lot and then you'll leave"

    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

    Pros

    • Emphasis on attention to detail and application of more quantitative rigor than most consulting peers give AV&Co. a well-earned reputation for quality work throughout the industry
    • Entry-level staff are asked to build sophisticated models in Excel, a responsibility that would be reserved for more experienced consultants elsewhere
    • Low travel policy enables close camaraderie among peers; strong attendance at company-sponsored happy hours and events strengthens the sense of community
    • Alums go on to coveted positions at impressive companies

    Cons

    • A typical workweek is ~65-70+ hours, with the extremes pushing 90-100. This has appeared to improve in recent months, but there also seems to be a cyclic nature to work life balance pushes, improvement, a pat on the back by leadership, and a return to the original hours. Compensation is typical for consulting, but you'll consistently work closer to investment banking hours.
    • No matter what is reviewed on here, there seems to be a crop of eager, intelligent new hires itching to join every fall. Leadership knows this and manages junior staff ("resources") accordingly, fully expecting to burn through newer hires in under two years.
    • This ambivalence toward retention is felt at every level of the firm, as evidenced by several high profile management committee departures in recent months and near-complete turnover of analyst classes every two years (the factor retaining the vast majority of junior employees for even that long is not job satisfaction but rather the absence of enough free time to apply to and interview for other jobs). In spite of this known retention problem, hastily made hires are routinely pushed out by management (i.e. left unstaffed for several months with the expectation that they'd seek employment elsewhere).
    • The knowledge that all of this is inevitable combined with a prioritization of client satisfaction over employee satisfaction and misaligned incentive structure (management is compensated on commission, not effective leadership) may help explain the inefficiency of work and consistent late nights.
    • One of the founders' disdain for junior employees (or perhaps all employees) is often palpable and his attempts to relate are obliviously tonedeaf; everyone without exception has a horror story in this regard. The other founder is revered but rarely around.
    • The firm positions itself as a meritocracy, but quality of project experience and quality of professional advisorship varies significantly, rendering a fair comparison across employees impossible and favoring those with lower pressure projects or stronger personal relationships with leadership. An empty promise of promotion is often used as a bargaining chip for retention.
    • Leadership is almost entirely male (there is one female principal), making it difficult for women to find role models/mentors and envision themselves growing at the firm.
    • The firm has grown from a once close-knit community to a larger organization, but office gossip has remained strong. It may once have been innocent, but now it's far more insidious; personal and professional matters that should be kept confidential are indiscriminately spread among leadership.
    • The firm pitches itself as focused on TMT, but be aware that in practice this is much more of a 60/40 split between private equity due diligence work on tech/telecom infrastructure (think fiber, cell towers, data centers) and everything else.

    Advice to Management

    • Find a way to message to your staff that they are valued. Thank people for their hard work always, not just after complaints of all-nighters and major personal sacrifices. Do not minimize their requests as whining; do not complain that they are expensive (this is a common occurrence and very inappropriate behavior).
    • Incentivize good leadership, not just project sales; support leadership in walking away from bad clients.
    • Either be more selective in hiring or stand by hiring decisions and invest time and energy in training/professional development; stop flailingly hiring en masse and then lazily labeling people as underperformers - it's not as sneaky as you think and it's bad for already low morale.
    • Invest more in mentorship and build out your alumni network.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to learn and grow"

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

    I have been working at Altman Vilandrie & Company full-time

    Pros

    - Generally very high quality work, feel good about giving accurate, impactful insights and recommendations. It's the top TMT-focused strategy consulting firm in the US because of their high standards for their work
    - Supportive peer culture; incredible people that want to help you learn the ropes and will become some of your closest friends
    - Invest in people; they spend a lot of time, effort, and money on employees: company sponsored happy hours every Friday, ski trip, special events, etc. as well a concerted effort over the past few years to improve the day-to-day experience with committees focused on W/L balance, the Analyst program, professional development, etc. and some pointed policy changes and initiatives that have made a noticeable impact

    Cons

    - Variable experiences; especially within your first year, employees will have very different experiences depending on who they work with, what types of projects they are on, etc. Some of this is unavoidable, but more can be done to even it out.
    -Long hours; There are very high expectations here for high quality work, which can often lead to long, unpredictable hours. The culture of "overdelivering" is slowly changing, but it will always be there somewhat - not 100% a bad thing
    -Operational inefficiency - despite its preeminence in TMT strategy consulting, this is not an old, established company that has all of its policies and procedures solidly nailed down. Right now, management is in the midst of implementing new policies, changing procedures and programs, etc. so there is some organizational uncertainty that can be frustrating to some people. It's in the flux stage between a start-up and an established professional services firm, and still trying to figure out its identity

    Advice to Management

    Figure out what you want to be and how you want to get there, tell people what that plan is, and then hold everyone to it.

  8. 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.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Specific industry focus, boutique experience, smaller firm size and lack of travel lets you get to know your coworkers better

    Cons

    Narrow industry focus and boutique experience can be either a pro or a con. Longer hours than my peers in consulting, but better than banking. Culture could be better.


  10. "Great opportunity"

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

    Pros

    Great company. Salaries on par with the big names. Interesting projects, especially for those who are interested in TMT and don't want a generalist role.

    Cons

    Brand name is less known outside the TMT industry.

    Advice to Management

    Great!


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