Booz Allen Hamilton Reviews in McLean, VA | Glassdoor

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Booz Allen Hamilton McLean Reviews

Updated January 3, 2018
698 reviews

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McLean, VA

3.1
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698 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Amazing work-life balance with the most flexible schedule in the industry (in 531 reviews)

  • Most projects make it easy to work from home a day a week, if not 100% of the time (in 85 reviews)

Cons
  • Sometimes the work/life balance is not there (in 181 reviews)

  • If not, employees get lack of work notice (in 84 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Lead Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Great work environment, smart people (smarter than you!),

    Cons

    Like many large companies, if you loose your connections to upper management (retirement, job change), or if the ground shifts beneath you, it is sometimes difficult to find your way forward unless you are very good at making new connections.


  2. Helpful (225)

    "Great people, terrible business"

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The people are great. Everyone -- even the difficult types -- are eager to work and excel. There are some senior officers with questionable morality, but most people here are great people to work with.

    Cons

    1. Federal clients. Don't forget that you'll move at their pace, not yours.
    2. The nature of the job means that sooner or later you'll be strategizing ways to get more money from the client (i.e. federal government), regardless of whether or not you'll actually add value. BAH runs on government money, a large chunk from DoD, and thus is part of the bigger problem we have in this country with fiscal responsibility.
    3. Living off the American taxpayer. Much of the money that flies around in DC is at the expense of everyone else everywhere else in the US, BAH is a major player in this system, particularly the defense technology sector.
    4. You'll never get paid what you're worth. The three lowest ranks (Consultant, Sr. Consultant, Associate) seldom make what they're worth, while senior management (looking at you, officers) make insane amounts of money.

    Advice to Management

    I'm leaving this job for two reasons, despite being hand-picked and groomed for greater responsibility by senior management.

    1. You weren't paying me enough to do the job; especially when you factor in the amount of stress this job puts on a human being, the amount of time I sacrificed with my family, the amount of guilt this job inspired in me as an American.
    2. The job is not meaningful to anyone who doesn't lust for profits. At some point each of us gets a look at how the sausage is made, and then it becomes clear that the government is basically asking (literally sending out solicitations and announcements) to be ripped off. They don't need what we're selling, but they buy it anyways because Congress tells them to. This buys Congress fancy retirement plans at the same businesses that profit. But everyone else loses, and Booz Allen isn't doing enough to be a part of our nation's long-term fiscal stability.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Smart peers and hard work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time

    Pros

    Management and staff are incredibly smart and encourage innovative thinking and collaboration. You’ll hardly ever be the smartest person in the room, but you will be respected.

    Cons

    The work expectations can be hard to meet. Late hours and weekends are often part of the regular workweek, even for non-consulting staff. They are trying to foster a good work-life balance, but the culture hasn’t caught up with the messaging.

    Advice to Management

    Continue the words of encouragement. You still have a way to go with work-life balance.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "All Around Unfriendly Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Contract Analyst in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Contract Analyst in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good Reputation within the government business community.

    Cons

    Bah is a meat grinder. The majority of employees "hotel" which means you have no fixed office location. As a new person, you will have limited access to in person resources. This makes navigating through the company a challenge. Bah also promotes resources annually - meaning you are pitted against your co-workers from day one. Management is pitted against management..you get the picture. In certain instances I was expected to work 12 hour days and was poorly treated if I wasn't available to put in more hours. The expectation was that everything should be fast, perfect, and under budget.... I resigned before a year was up - it was that miserable. Get yourself a blood pressure cuff if you plan to work there!

    Advice to Management

    Laugh a little......be decent - your workers are human. Good managers back their people. Bad managers (and there were many of them) throw their workers to the wolves.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "In Transition"

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Extremely flexible work environment. Opportunity for advancement for client facing staff.

    Cons

    Unbalanced playing field between client facing and corporate staff. Traditionally, corporate support staff in a contracting firm work long hours and carry heavy workloads. At Booz Allen, that holds true with the added bonus that there is no possible mechanism for promotion within the corporate structure. Nor are there bonuses below a certain pay threshold, which is counter-intuitive. As a result, there is massive staff turnover which only hinders the business.

    Advice to Management

    Communication, communication, communication. In the endless zeal to find the latest and greatest methodologies for communication, leadership is failing to actually communicate the direction of the company. Its important that the employees understand management's vision rather than constantly reacting to management's directions.


  6. Helpful (5)

    "BAH--A Company in Decline"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Program Manager in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Overall, pretty good benefits.
    Most managers are pretty flexible in leading their teams.
    Work-life balance is pretty good for junior staff who work full-time on client site.

    Cons

    Booz Allen is no longer an elite consulting firm. Breaking off the elite commercial practice in 2008 (Booz & Company--which has since re-branded as Strategy& and is now part of PwC) left Booz Allen Hamilton with a large public sector practice that provided most of its support to the Federal government. The firm bet big on its disastrous "Take Share" hiring policy back in 2010 which led to a deep bench of available staff. When anticipated work did not materialize to the levels projected, it resulted in a lack of work situation and literally thousands of employees at all levels up to partner were let go from 2011-2014. The company went public in that same time frame (late 2011) and had to pull a lot of cost-cutting levers to project itself as a profitable company to investors. Losing a lot of re-competed work to small businesses and the government's spending cutbacks due to Sequestration all contributed to BAH going from a company 26K+ employees to under 20K at its recent low. Growth projections had the firm at topping 30K employees, so the company was way below the targets the C-suite Partners had set back then. These days, new talent is hired in at starting salaries less than the firm offered at the same level a decade ago. Job security is very uncertain even if you are on a billable task. Management will move a higher salaried worker off of a task to be replaced by a lower paid new hire. Workers in a lack of billable work situation are generally let go within 2 weeks to 2 months depending on tenure.

    Promotions are very hard to come by and annual raises are anemic due to the firm's strong culture of holding down costs.

    The firm is no longer at, or near, the top of the list for advanced degree professionals who are truly interested in being a consultant. Deloitte is a much better option for someone who wants to do this type of work in the federal space and work for a large well-known company.


  7. "It all depends on who you work for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in McLean, VA
    Recommends

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Big contracts, lots of opportunity if you can navigate once you get inside

    Cons

    I joined to be a part of a management consulting firm, but they are really moving away from that now in favor of science, engineering and technology work. You can still survive there as a management consultant, but only in that context -- they don't really pursue management consulting gigs, ceding that ground to competitors in the space.

    Also, the experience can be very inconsistent based on who you report to. There are some excellent managers who pay attention to their staff and help them grow, but there are others who either play favorites or have no understanding of what it means to be a leader. And, since the firm reorganizes regularly, you can go from being in a great place to a poor one quickly.

    Advice to Management

    Choose leaders who are good at leading people, not good at technical skills. Upskill the ones who need help and hold them accountable for how they treat their staff.

    Also, be honest with employees about where the company is going and while you still believe in your management consulting heritage, it's really all in the past tense now.

  8. "Great place to work"

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

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You learn a lot, even if you already know a lot. Highly structured, compensation , benefits, coworkers, free meals

    Cons

    Can be daunting at times with the fast pace and eye for perfection


  9. "Stable"

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Seems like a pretty stable company to be with if you’re into government contracting. The benefits are decent.
    If working for government clients, usually means a definite 40 hour work week.
    Training opportunities are the best I have seen yet.

    Cons

    PTO isn’t great. No sick leave.
    Low pay.
    Can’t telework.
    Not really consulting, just a general contractor being tasked by clients to do odd jobs.
    Working on client site you lose touch with the Booz culture.
    Government contracting can be extremely boring.
    Mostly men, former military officers in leadership. I haven’t seen much diversity yet. Old school not a cutting edge or modern/hip place to work. Hard to find internal information as their websites and internal communications is a mess. I have been bored to tears on my current project and can’t escape.
    This isn’t consulting.

    Advice to Management

    Let your younger staff flourish in roles that they are interested in and actually worked hard for in college.
    Increase pay.
    Hire people for what they are worth.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Recruiters"

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Honestly none on this review title - Recruiters

    Cons

    They announce lot of openings. Most of them are just fake.
    As recruiter gets satisfied with you and works on interview schedule, they never get back to most of the candidates. While they keep you in the pipeline, without having the courtesy to keep you in sync, they try to find cheap, cheaper and cheapest salary person. This happened to many people that I came to know.
    After initial call, if recruiter says he is impressed with you / likes you/ you are the great fit and he would get back to you with interview schedule, don't ever count on his word. You keep looking somewhere else.
    This is the cheapest company on the planet of earth

    Advice to Management

    Fire all your current recruiters. Set right management goals, policies,process for recruitment. Train new recruiters related to professional courtesy.
    Post only jobs that you are intend to hire.


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