Booz Allen Hamilton Reviews | Glassdoor

Booz Allen Hamilton Reviews

Updated July 21, 2017
516 reviews

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516 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great Work/Life balance (depending on your contract) (in 500 reviews)

  • Most projects make it easy to work from home a day a week, if not 100% of the time (in 82 reviews)

Cons
  • Sometimes the work/life balance is not there (in 180 reviews)

  • When a contract ends, it is your responsibility to find a new one or else receive a lack of work letter, terminating your employment (in 80 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Nice start, longevity doubtful"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Washington, DC
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time

    Pros

    Work life balance depending on the project & limited demand of participation in "mandatory" firm-wide initiatives

    Cons

    - Lower pay than industry standard
    - Insignificant "yearly inflation" and promotion raises to salary
    - Fraternity like admin team environment
    - Poor feedback loop/process
    - Upper managements should receive performance feedback from direct reports so they improve management skills
    - Poor alignment of past skills/experiences to projects
    - Challenging to change projects when billable or find projects when "on the beach"
    - Federal projects tend to be "staff augmentation" not true consulting
    - Promotional track and requirements feels elusive for non-technical consulting areas, whimsical and need sponsorship from admin/project management

    Advice to Management

    See Cons section


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Body Shop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer Associate in Annapolis Junction, MD
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer Associate in Annapolis Junction, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, lots of opportunities to network. Great morale building activities like tbe hacker space, company trip to Kings Dominion and raffle for free concer tickets. They have lots of contracts and their resource management process had greatly improved to get you on billable work fairly quickly.

    Cons

    No matter how much they try to sugar coat it. The company is still a body shop. Number of billable people on a contract matters more than anything else to leader. Quality of personnel & proper fit to client are not really a priority. Especially on contracts that require clearances. A cleared c-player will get paid well and get the job, rather than the A-player without the clearance. This is very true in their Cyber Security Accounts. Training time is in addition to your required billable time, and business development (with ambiguous businesses objectives, and no ability to influence human capital policies) are also in addition to required billable time. Basically...they will take advantage of your time if you let them.

    Advice to Management

    Be clear about your account's Business Objectives. Maybe we would be willing to help grow business if we knew your true objectives. Also, be more transparent to employees on how their rates are calculated and how they are paid. By the way...the new feedback system in career central is not used as intended. People still wait till the last minute to do them like they did with the old Assessment system. The new Career Central system has not changed anything in improving our assessment and promotion process.

  3. Helpful (6)

    "At best a 2-3 year pitstop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Washington, DC

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work schedule flexibility if you are not on client site; work / life balance (if you chose to do so)

    Cons

    Innovation is stymied at every step; it's a very political organization and if you're not on the inside you are so far outside that you'll never get promoted regardless of merit starting with moving up from the lead associate position; folks running the innovation group are almost all people who have been with the company 20+ years and mostly had no other job experience in their lives

    Advice to Management

    Bring in external hires in leadership positions; shrink the SIG significantly and stop pretending that most of the people in the SIG are doing innovation;


  4. Helpful (5)

    "Required Work/Life Ratio is Out of Balance!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Falls Church, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Falls Church, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I sought a position with Booz|Allen|Hamilton after retiring from 40 years of federal service, principally in strategic communications. I had been a senior manager with such responsibilities as ghost writing for senior Defense Department officials and writing speeches. I possessed a Top Secret/SCI clearance and, at age 60 when I retired from the government, was not ready to stop working. I sought a position with BAH because it enjoyed an exceptional reputation and because I had been favorably impressed with the BAH contractors I crossed paths with during my federal service. There were a number of positions I interviewed for and I was ultimately hired to serve as a strategic communications associate on a BAH contract supporting the Defense Health Agency with its TRICARE medical health program for servicemembers and retirees and their dependents. I looked forward to sharing my experience with the members of the BAH team and assisting in the production of exceptional communications products for the client. As a new employee, everyone on the team was very welcoming and helped me through the onboarding process. The members of my team were some of the most intelligent, passionate, diverse and professional colleagues you could ever hope to work with.

    Cons

    Upper management is laser focused on everyone being 100 percent billable to ensure the kinds of profits they forecasted and promised to shareholders. If you are not bringing in "billable hours" you will receive a Lack of Work (LOW) letter and will be given 30 days to find a new contract or be let go. That made me feel that I was simply a revenue generator and NOT particularly valued.

    For all my experience, I found I was given rather mundane tasks to perform and that the work was not particularly challenging. Creativity in accomplishing tasks was not wanted or encouraged. Further, we were encouraged to NEVER give ideas to clients on how to better accomplish tasks or improve products and told simply to “do precisely what the client wants when he/she wants it.”

    The firm also expected that employees attend varied events during our off-work hours in addition to on-site client support. We were also frequently given additional work relating to growing new business for BAH that we were required to do in our leisure time away from supporting our clients. These tasks were frequently provided on short notice with extremely short deadlines for submission and most were definitely the equivalent of another full-time job. Rarely was I compensated for any time I spent working such business development support work. Often, too, the individual placed in charge of pulling the proposal or presentation together to pitch the new business was a young associate seeking a ticket to a promotion. If this individual thought you were being uncooperative or that your level of enthusiasm for the completion of the work was not what it should be, they didn’t hesitate to throw you under the bus with senior managers. These individuals, as well as your team client-support team colleagues, had input to your job performance evaluations. So one was obliged to always “put on a happy face” and do whatever one was asked to avoid negative assessments from coworkers and colleagues.

    Further, I found there was very little direction from management in how many tasks were to be performed. It's a lot of demanding to get things done without much direction, which is fine as far as avoiding micro-management. Perhaps because of my years of experience my colleagues and managers felt they didn’t have to give me much direction, but most of the time I felt like I was out on an island figuring most things out by myself. Colleagues were so busy getting their assigned work done, and ensuring that they got their 42 billable work hours each week, that I didn’t want to bother them for help or direction on how to complete some tasks. This, as you might imagine, led to dissatisfaction with work and afraid to ask for help.

    Management is required to constantly be bringing in new business and they couldn’t be working business development if they were always answering “stupid questions” from subordinates or explaining to superiors why a particular employee wasn’t functioning at 100 percent.

    On my team, the team manager was located in another state. We held daily staff meetings by conference call and she would actually be on-site in the client support role only a couple of days each month. That wasn’t really a sufficient amount of time to get to know me very well or to know what my strengths were so that I could be given tasks appropriate to my experience.

    I was an 80 percent disabled veteran when I left military service. This required that I have numerous appointments for health care for various medical issues, most frequently during work hours. I tried to schedule as many of the appointments during pre-work or after work hours, but that was not always possible. Paid time off with BAH is rare and there are NO DESIGNATED SICK DAYS. So, I found myself always in a running battle with both my client site manager and my career manager over my needs to take time off. I was lectured more than once about how my absences from the workplace demonstrated a “lack of concern” for the client and for BAH and that I should stop such absences IMMEDIATELY. So, needless to say, my career manager was on my case about this CONSTANTLY. While hiring me may have helped BAH reach some goals for hiring disabled workers or disabled veterans, they were not happy or supportive of the time I had to take off for medical appointments. The career manager is the person who has nearly complete control over your career path and can force you down a road you don’t like if they don’t like you. I’m afraid that was one lesson I learned the hard way at BAH.

    To stay 100 percent billable, I was never to be sitting at my desk waiting for someone to assign me work. If I was efficient with my time and completed tasks faster than was anticipated, I was expected to be eagerly seeking other work and the “right work.”

    There is a lack of passion, culture, and real leadership. There is a ton of management. The " Leadership" team dusts off core values and ethics a couple times a year but doesn't live these or demonstrate them on a daily basis. The "culture" of the firms seems to be manufactured - a lot of people pretending there is a meaningful culture. It's not that there is a negative culture, it's just that it's very bland, neutral and not at all aligned to what the firm says it is.

    Finally, I lost that TS/SCI clearance while working for BAH because I wasn’t engaged in work requiring such a clearance. BAH uses clearances to substitute for a National Agency Check and doesn’t assume custody of an employee’s clearance. Rather they allow unused clearances to “archive,” meaning an individual can lose their clearance because it is not being actively used.

    Advice to Management

    There are managers and there are leaders. If you don't have the experience to distinguish between the two and realize one is unarguably better for long term profit, you are hurting the company.

    Listen to your employees. They know the client and the environment, therefore be willing to tailor how business is done to ensure success rather than assuming one-size fits all. They also see the talent and unique skills of their peers that are often overlooked and not acknowledged.

    Hear, don't just listen. Put your phone away and any of your preconceived notions about the employee you never actually work with. If you're sitting down to review someone's work, take the time to understand what that work entails.

    I left employment at BAH right before I was to receive my six-month performance assessment because I knew my career manager was going to tell me that I wasn’t a good fit with the firm because of the amount of time I was taking off for medical appointments. I would recommend to management that you be more flexible concerning time off for medical appointments when hiring a disabled employee and, most certainly, having to be away from the office for such appointments is NOT a metric for measuring an individual’s interest in or loyalty to either the firm or a client.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "A year in reflection."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer in Annapolis Junction, MD
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer in Annapolis Junction, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Enjoy the aspect of changing jobs within a company. Numerous opportunities, if your willing to travel, learn new skills, and don't mind the extra risk of uncertainty.

    Cons

    A lot of uncertainty with any position there. Not a stable place of employment. New things come and go, the company seems to chase every new idea without properly vetting it.

    Advice to Management

    Be a manager to personnel, by understanding their talents, ambitions, and strengths/weaknesses. Actually meet with your staff one on one (as mine does not). Help staff look ahead for new opportunities within the accounts, to avoid the "bench".


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Benefits are tragic"

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

    I have been working at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time

    Pros

    Great people - after nearly twenty years in corporate America, my team is by far the collaborative to date.

    Cons

    Very conservative culture - great if you're ex-military or gov't but a big transition from the commercial space. Biggest con are the health benefits and lack of sick days--absolutely appalling. I used to be an independent consultant with expensive health premiums...my current benefits package at Booz Allen is actually worse. I heard they used to have amazing benefits--such a shame since most of their competitors are investing more and more in health and paid time off.

    Advice to Management

    Attracting and retaining top talent is frequently discussed as a priority and yet health and PTO benefits are hilariously bad (and tragic compared to your competitors).


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Inefficent Leadership"

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

    Pros

    Variety of opportunities in defense space.

    Cons

    Job instability if your contract ends- they do not help you find new projects.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Consultant in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Associate Consultant in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Large company with numerous opportunities in the San Diego area and across the country

    Cons

    - Constant change exacerbated by lack of change management.
    - Excessive overhead costs that drive uncompetitive rates.
    - Unethical human resource practices.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Mind-numbing Internship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Former Intern - Research Assistant in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If you can tolerate the horrendous inefficiencies of the US government and accept that you are powerless to remedy them, then you can achieve a sort of nirvana. You may not ever work on anything interesting, but you'll have an okay salary for the D.C. area. Your colleagues won't be particularly bright or motivated, but they'll at least be nice.

    Cons

    - Must be able to nod and smile through hours of inane management doublespeak.
    - Must accept that you will only ever work on mildly interesting projects for the rest of your life and will be prohibited from ever talking about them with anyone outside of your immediate team because of incredibly strict secrecy guidelines.
    - Must accept that you will have many colleagues that have chosen to work in proximity to government because they prefer to have nothing asked of them.
    - Must remember that government is not a meritocracy. New grads will be asked to remove their college GPA from resume because "the government could not care less about how you did in school" (direct quote from Booz Allen recruiter).

    Advice to Management

    Give your interns something substantial to do. Stop hiring people that lack talent and are disinterested.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Good name to have on resume. that's it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mc Lean, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mc Lean, VA

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

    Pros

    well known name in the consulting industry

    Cons

    you are just a number. they (execs) don't care about you and will replace you in a second with someone who will do the job for less.


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