Bates White Economic Consulting Reviews | Glassdoor

Bates White Economic Consulting Reviews

Updated March 9, 2019
46 reviews

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3.5
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Charles E. Bates, PhD
16 Ratings

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Pros
  • "They work on high profile cases" (in 4 reviews)

  • "Due in part to very careful recruiting, almost no junior staff are fired" (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "Some practice areas have a strong split between PhDs and non-PhDs" (in 6 reviews)

  • "Management is not transparent about what is happening in the firm and can be non-communicative to junior staff" (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time

    Pros

    -Friendly and collegiate environment
    -Interesting work

    Cons

    -Some fluctuations in weekly hours


  2. "Great place to work"

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

    I worked at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Interesting projects and smart colleagues.

    Cons

    High variance in hours.

  3. "Smart people, engaging work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work with very smart and genuine individuals

    Cons

    Work can be tedious . Difficult to progress to higher levels


  4. Helpful (1)

    "A mixed bag"

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

    I worked at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Management is very transparent
    -Management strives to make the company both a productive business and a friendly welcoming community
    -Consultant classes are typically very close
    -All things considered, pay is relatively good. Overtime pay is offered that ensures that if you do work a large number of hours, you will be compensated for it. As of Summer 2018, an entry level consultant who averages 60 hours per week for a year would earn around 95k including bonuses.
    -Management is incredibly lenient in very reasonable ways. For example, if there's no work to be done, you don't have to stay for an entire 8 hour day. You could likely come in late and leave early.
    -In some practice hours, very interesting/high-profile cases come up (think the biggest mergers / economic litigation in the news)
    -It is a flat, relatively small organization. As a result, more senior staff aren't just management; they are also mentors, friends, and members of your community.
    -In general, the people. I feel fortunate to have spent as much time I did with this community.
    -Due in part to very careful recruiting, almost no junior staff are fired. I was a very average, albeit hardworking performer and never feared losing my job.
    -The firm employs some premier experts in an industry that's protected by established legal norms. It has a relatively differentiated position that lets the firm be extremely profitable.
    -In the past, BW has been very focused on trying to develop each employee. They want to help you achieve your goals and grow. Unfortunately, I think the thinking behind this is out of date (see below).
    -The head people in the firm are all brilliant economists. Over the firm's 20 year history, this has translated to successful management, and I always had confidence in the people at the wheel, even if I didn't think they were doing a perfect job.

    Cons

    -There's a hard ceiling on the level of interesting work that consultants can do. The firm employees a relatively large number of strong economists. It only makes sense that when more interesting work arises, the economists get to do it. If you are given something more interesting, there's a decent chance it will be taken away and given to an economist.
    -The firm is somewhat backwards. They use out of date tech and processes in the name of consistency. This has additional costs for junior staff who sink enormous amounts of time early in their career in learning processes that are unlikely to help them in the future. This can feel like a tax that counterbalances the relatively good pay. You're stuck in a situation where you are unlikely to make management, and you are not learning optimal skills for making a lateral transition - so although you make good money in the present, your next step can be tough. The very important exception is if you have a strong academic record and intend to return to school. BW is a fantastic launchpad for law school, PhD programs in economics, and MBA programs to a somewhat lesser extent.
    -Litigation work has to be perfect. Unfortunately, this can influence the firm to ignore innovation due to the inherent uncertainty in changing norms.
    -In some practice areas, cases come up they may challenge your morals.
    -Although pay is relatively good, given the rates consultants are billed out at, it can seem bizarre/unfair that pay/raises are not higher.
    -Many reviewers have mentioned hours as a pro or a con. It very very much depends on the practice area and the current business cycle. I had periods of time when I was expected to spend 100% of my waking hours on work for a month or more at a time. I had periods when I was expected to complete ~50-60 hours per week. And I had periods when I only did 30 hours per week. It ran the gambit. The unfortunate truth in this is that this can destroy other parts of your life. You might have a two month period when you have next to no time for a family, significant other, friends, etc. While the average hours might be fine, the inconsistency of it all carries a heavy price. This can be very frustrating because overtime is based on a yearly average, so it can feel like you give your entire life to work for a period of time and do not receive anything extra for it.

    Advice to Management

    -I think many of your processes could be drastically more efficient. Perhaps that doesn't matter, since your competing as a premium product, and pricing doesn't seem extremely important.
    -You pitch the company as respecting work/life balance. At the time I left, many people felt the firm was not living up to that pitch. Just continue to be aware of that trend and don't let it get out of hand.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "They strive to be the best, but mainly on paper..."

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

    I have been working at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Free coffee, tea and yogurt
    - New building
    - I'm staying just for the pay, which is decent, and the tick on my resume

    Cons

    - They care more about clients than they do employees, which is understandable in certain ways, but they don't treat employees as talent or partners in the firm. And it goes without saying - without us, how would they manage to have these projects?

    - Every other week a "best of" survey to complete about how good BW is, and how it's so great to be here. (supposedly anonymous and you can't bill for this time, so you have to work extra time to compensate for filling these out actually)

    - Unlike other firms that I've worked at - they don't offer transportation benefits (only pre-tax, which honestly isn't too much a benefit - see below)

    - Pay your own costly parking in downtown DC

    - Lack of work/life balance, which means it really dilutes the actual salary rate (60 hours a week is normal)

    - Poor Senior Management communication including blaming lower level employees for miscommunication, missed deadlines and really anything that happens. And this is to clients, principals and partners. Not much of a responsibility taking group amongst Senior Management/Principals.

    - Lack of training - their training is giving a book with how to do things and expecting you to get it right.

    - Insane and robotic work expectations - nothing wrong with hard work, but it's hardly appreciated and never rewarded.

    Advice to Management

    - Renew your whole hiring strategy if you want good people to continue to come and work here. There are so many firms, and while BW has a great reputation, the proof is that upon arrival, the experience is quite different.

    - The clickish groups are ridiculous and border on harassing behavior and/or discrimination.

    - The communication between management and consultants is on an "expected to know basis" instead of transparent, open door basis.

    - Would be nice to have continuity as people leave and get fired. It's often with an email sent to just the practice, but there isn't a plan in place to deal with the workload and tasks.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Incredible people, okay work, low pay (at the junior level)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Consultant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You will find some of the most intelligent and thoughtful people you would still want to grab a beer with every Friday at BW. Depending on the practice, you may find yourself in super high profile cases seen on the news. Fairly good and consistent exit opps to top 5 b-schools, top 10 law schools, and PhD programs. Great new office. Intelligent PhD management.

    Cons

    The pay is on the lower end of the scale and isn't compensated enough for merit or the effort to strive for outstanding work. While there is an annual performance bonus, it is pennies to those of competitors. The recent pay raise announcement has to have been a joke because it amounted to $500, which is a 0.6% increase.

    Advice to Management

    Please reconsider the compensation at the junior level. Low pay and leaving the firm are the only topics that are consistently discussed at every happy hour or casual dinners among junior staff.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Consultant"

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

    I have been working at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time

    Pros

    Great work environment- collegial, collaborative, intelligent and driven coworkers. Good benefits, appreciative management, fun culture.

    Cons

    Opportunities and experiences vary greatly. You may be working 60+ hour weeks regularly, or you may have no billable work for several weeks. Most of this is due to the nature of the work, but it can be frustrating.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Great culture, bad industry, limited upward mobility"

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

    I worked at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time

    Pros

    1. The culture is great. You will know almost everyone in the office. The starting consultant classes are close with each other.

    2. The work-life balance is good for a consultant job. While other reviews complain about the work-life balance, it is better at Bates White than it is elsewhere. Compensation is structured to reward you if you work a lot of hours consistently.

    3. The size of the firm makes it easy to get involved or to move across practices/influence your staffing.

    Cons

    1. Economic Consulting is a boring industry. Half of the work is very dry litigation (asbestos, mortgage-backed securities,etc.). The other half of the work is interesting and high-profile, but you are doing unimportant and boring tasks. The lawyers you work for are doing the real critical thinking.

    2. Upward mobility is limited. While the firm is not up-or-out, both the promotion cycles and salary progression are very slow compared to other consulting firms at the consultant level.

    3. The skills are not very transferable to other industries. You will become an expert in Stata, but will likely never use it again after leaving. It is hard to pivot into other careers from economic consulting (bankers, management consultants, and data scientists all have an advantage over economic consultants).

    4. Some PhD economists have poor management and communication skills. In contrast to other types of consulting, you will be working with PhDs rather than MBAs.

    Advice to Management

    Promote high performers faster.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "A boutique firm that hires excellent people to do boring work--as good as it gets in a mediocre industry"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant II in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Consultant II in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Bates White Economic Consulting full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Junior staff are exceptional thanks to fastidious recruiting. Company has well-cultivated culture and some lively personalities at the top make life interesting. Experts in certain practice areas are highly respected and thus the company is able to get some of the most profitable and interesting work.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, the company chases less interesting business in its less glamorous practice areas, which are headed up by ambitious experts who have neither the technical expertise nor business acumen to ever really compete with the rainmakers. Unlike in other consulting firms, very little effort is made to give consultants a wide breadth of experiences. Hence, life can be persistently unfair for juniors who are matched to bad or mean managers/partners. To its credit, the firm appears to be shedding some of these people.

    Hours can vary a lot in certain cases.

    Advice to Management

    Rotate the consultants around more; be wary about accepting cases that lead to high variability in hours, as this degrades the quality of the work experience for most employees.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Marketing Temp"

    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 Bates White Economic Consulting full-time

    Pros

    Flexible working hours, incredible leadership team, respectful and knowledgeable co-workers.

    Cons

    None I could think of at the moment.