Bertelsmann Reviews | Glassdoor

Bertelsmann Reviews

Updated April 7, 2017
45 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.8
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Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe
Thomas Rabe
12 Ratings

45 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Prod Markt. & Distrib. University before 2011/No choice listed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Outside Sales Representative in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Outside Sales Representative in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Not great pay, but you learn about several industries interaction: media, retail, and entertainment. It is a databank of rich info off what sells and doesn't, and perhaps, why. You can connect with many more successful networks and schmooze to migrate up to a better/ (not bigger Company) opportunity. You have lots of entree and invites if you wish to use your clout. I attended functions and openings on my own,/on the company coattails in a way, like a university professor. You have lots of respect- like working for a Major Studio, or ehhhhh ...roadie for a hit band. I'd rather be on a bus in the back seat going somewhere than be in a Bentley parked in a storage yard. Access is everything- unfortunately you must have a few qualities also. It is a great intern op.

    Cons

    No one has stock per se to hit a homer. The pay is not as good as a gov't job or Wall Street Corp. Play. They have volatility, and must diversify, even more for their employees. Rather than make independent spinoffs with the efforts of the BERT. ranks, yet not let them have a piece of the future or pie.

    Advice to Management

    This was a job I had some time ago. Much has changed. Books are not as big. Pay more. Give A Week to work in a nice place with the company than the current one for a working vacation. They are worldwide, use it as a prize. Diversify. Listen to the consumers.


  2. "Excellent Employer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 Bertelsmann full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    High Integrity Leadership, work life balance better than most

    Cons

    I do not have any cons


  3. "good place to work till they sold us to direct brands"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Equipment Scanner Operator in Indianapolis, IN
    Former Employee - Equipment Scanner Operator in Indianapolis, IN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Bertelsmann full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    good raises,good people to work with,good supervisor,

    Cons

    they sold our company to direct brands

    Advice to Management

    come back and invest in north america again


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  5. "Good company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Director in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good benefits, intelligent management, good work life balance

    Cons

    Nothing major other than hq is in Germany so offices need to stay in touch.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work


  6. "Average company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - IT Manager in Garden City, NY
    Former Employee - IT Manager in Garden City, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Global company, diversified, ability to move between divisions

    Cons

    Slow moving, bleak industry outlook


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Boutique office in Washington and great working environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Research Fellow in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    flat organizational structure, making communication easy, smooth and real time; great leadership, very accessible and encouraging; helpful colleagues who can turn to for questions

    Cons

    Being a fellow does not provide the best means to get to the heart of their business; still very research oriented and less project-based elements.

    Advice to Management

    None.


  8. Helpful (5)

    "Great place to work if you speak German and are a really good networker"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Bertelsmann gives you a lot of freedom and responsibility from day one. They promote an entrepreneurial culture which, in practice, means that if you have a good idea that fits to their business, chances are they'll let you work on it and they'll also fund it. If you are a good networker you're career can take off very fast. At Bertelsmann, everything is about knowing the right people within the company and making sure they know you. If you're on the radar of one of the big guys, there is a good chance they'll simply put you in a position that's two or more levels above your current role.

    Cons

    They claim to be the most international media company which may be true but doesn't mean that you'll get transfered to another country easily. Even if you work at their German headquarter it will be a long and painful process to land a job in another country. There is no support whatsoever so you have to manage the whole process yourself. Mostly this is due to their decentralized structure which is beneficial for the entrepreneurial culture but hazardous for a number of other things like international assignments, knowledge transfer, or building global networks within the group. Moving from one division (e.g. their Broadcasting arm) to another (e.g. RandomHouse, their publishing business) is nearly impossible. You may have worked several years at Bertelsmann but that other division will treat you just like any other applicant. Again, a problem that arises from the decentralized structure. Your career and salary highly depends on your network. If one of the presidents likes you, you'll get those international assignments easily and a ridiculous salary on top of it. It's been often reported that some of the German folks who work in the US receive housing allowances and travel allowances (to go back to Germany) as well.
    Their management development follows the same principles outlined above. If they know you they'll put you into all those great programs. If they don't, well, you'll have to market yourself very aggressively to be considered for seminars, etc. Bertelsmann spends a lot of time and money on employer branding which is, obviously, targeted at prospective employees. They recruit from top-tier business schools and host costly recruiting events. These efforts lead to two problems:
    1) The high-potentials from Harvard, Columbia, and ISEAD who actually accept an offer from Bertelsmann get frustrated very fast and leave the company, often within their first year. They expect to be promoted to VP or president of a smaller Bertelsmann company but mostly find themselves stuck in whatever division Bertelsmann decides to dump them. Once they leave, Bertelsmann has usually invested significant training dollars in them - not to mention the initial recruiting costs.
    2) Current and loyal employees feel frustrated as well since they have to watch Bertelsmann pampering those new hires while they don't receive any training or promotions.
    That being said, it should be obvious by now that Bertelsmann is not good at identifying top talents or top potentials within their existing workforce. Every marketer knows that retaining top employees is multiple times more effective and cost efficient than hiring new employees.

    Advice to Management

    Enable employees to transfer between division/companies easily. Support international careers. Focus on identifying and retaining top talent and top potentials rather than attracting new talent - or at least balance both efforts better. Make basis for promotions more transparent.


  9. "Good company with great benefits"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Director in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Director in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    At Bertelsmann you aren't stuck doing just one thing, you are given a lot of responsibility to run your business.

    Cons

    Senior management is remote and unresponsive.

    Advice to Management

    Be more involved with rank and file.


  10. "One of the best, anywhere"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bertelsmann full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Outstanding opportunities, culture is second to none. Was always proud to be an employee. Wonderful experiences with a variety of cultures and industries.

    Cons

    Not sure if this is a con, but if you want to advance, it is very helpful to learn the German language.

    Advice to Management

    Stay the course, you do it so well!


  11. "Great place to start a career in publishing ."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Great entry level experience
    Great coworkers
    Autonomous work environment
    Great opportunity for advancement
    Networking
    Good company morale
    Awesome coworkers
    Professional resourced

    Cons

    Starting salary not great but there is opportunity for growth once you get your foot in the door.
    A lot of mundane data entry in the entry level positions
    Company changes
    Downsizing

    Advice to Management

    Management is great and really takes the the time to develop and work with promising employees


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