Bridge International Academies Reviews | Glassdoor

Bridge International Academies Reviews

Updated Jan 30, 2020

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3.6
80%
Recommend to a Friend
87%
Approve of CEO
Bridge International Academies CEO Jay Kimmelman (no image)
Jay Kimmelman
120 Ratings
Pros
  • "It has transform lives through education by offering world class quality education to the less privileged in society(in 11 reviews)

  • "Fast-paced startup environment with new challenges everyday(in 10 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (10)

    "Hard-pressed to find a more mission-driven, dynamic organization"

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

    I have been working at Bridge International Academies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Bridge is a fantastic place to work and grow, if you're the kind of person that can fully utilize the opportunity. Across all of our teams, time and time again, you'll hear people say that the "people" at Bridge are the best part. We have an amazing team who work day-in and day-out to work for something we strongly believe in. When you work with people from so many different backgrounds and people who work on the various part of the Bridge life-cycle (i.e. tech, finance, operations, academies, etc.), that's crucial and invigorating. There are a lot of positive things to touch on with Bridge from an operational point of view (fascinating methodology, fail-fast and innovative approach, etc.), but I think it's important to focus on the fact that it's perfect for people who want to grow professionally. Your managers will go a long way in making sure you have the space to dig deep into areas you're interested in and the relatively horizontal structure of the org helps, too!

    Cons

    It can feel like more of a sprint than a marathon at times, if you let it. People work hard and you'll see long hours for many. Because most people are deeply-committed to the work we're doing, I don't think you get too many complaints and if you're active in time management, it's totally reasonable. That being said, I realize it's not for everyone. In my opinion, that comes with the territory of working in a global organization trying to tackle one of the world's most important issues.

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    Bridge International Academies2017-09-11

    Bridge International Academies Response

    November 13, 2017Global People Operations Director

    Thank you for your feedback. Appreciate the caveat that you have included on how it can feel like a marathon. What we are trying to achieve at Bridge was considered impossible until we did it; thanks to thousands of our teachers and support office staff. Of course, that does not mean that we cannot improve on employee experience. We will do our best to keep improving. Please keep the feedback coming. The People team

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  2. Helpful (1)

    "Not worthwhile"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Curriculum Writing Fellow 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bridge International Academies full-time

    Pros

    Talented colleagues and interesting mission

    Cons

    Repetitive work, poor communication from management, atrocious pay, few opportunities

    Bridge International Academies2019-10-05
  3. "Management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bridge International Academies full-time

    Pros

    You learn a lot about data

    Cons

    Data does not translate to realities on the ground; senior global management have zero to none respect for the employees working in the country. The teaching is lost because of the manner in which it is presented. Global HR is extremely rude and has no regards or respect for the staff.

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    Bridge International Academies2018-11-16

    Bridge International Academies Response

    November 23, 2018Vice President, People

    Thank you for your feedback. It looks like you did not have a chance to share your concern regarding a specific person with the People team before you left us. We apologise if someone from our team was rude to you. And we request that you let us know what happened. You can email me or, if you think we may not be objective in this matter, please do reach out to Shannon May, our co-founder (and who also heads the People team) so that we become aware and learn from our mistakes. Divya Venkat Vice President, People

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  4. Helpful (10)

    "How poor leadership, chronic miscommunication, and lack of culture, can decimate organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Bridge International Academies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Bridge's work is immensely important, and as such you feel that you work does matter and make an impact. We partner with third world countries to cultivate an effective and rigorous education program, and the many hands that go through Bridge all contribute to different pieces of the puzzle. From effective teacher training to creating an innovative curriculum to integrating data analysis to drive decision making, it is incredibly easy to buy into Bridge's values and more importantly sustain them in your everyday work. In the Boston office, Bridge has brought in many intelligent, hard-working people who are inherently passionate about their respective careers. The staff itself is a wonderful community to bounce ideas off, and I learned a lot just by speaking with the many different people that are connected to this organization – both within and outside the US. Bridge employees are open, kind, and driving influence within the office culture. When everything is in sync, Bridge operates on a level that completely outshines their competitors. Their methodology and approach is dynamic and allows for innovation and feedback to be looped at a consistent level. Bridge’s focus on defining best practices and having a continuous growth mindset are model aspects of what every workplace should thrive on.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, a lot of the good things at Bridge have been overshadowed by a lot of the bad things. Whilst the problems I am about the describe are few and fixable, the ignorance and indifference shown by the organization to address these problems have deteriorated the Boston office to near extinction. Let's start with leadership. First off, it's impossible for me to provide an opinion on the CEOs because I have had zero contact with them. I have never received a newsletter from them (let alone an email!) that explained to me the goals and approach they have in mind for Bridge. In fact, the only impression I have of them was when Shannon visited the Boston office for a 1-hour presentation, of which she spent the first half advertising Bridge with (information that we helped develop), and the next half constructively "critiquing" the academics department. From that presentation, it was clear that there seemed to be a clear disconnect between what Jay and Shannon wanted to talk about and what the academics department expected. (Whether or not these comments were warranted was another story, but keep in mind that Shannon did specifically state clear action steps to improve student outcomes, just that we do so.) These qualities unfortunately also trickled down the hierarchy of our office, ultimately creating unqualified directors and managers and suffocating the office with their incompetence. One example I like to bring up is a director's consistent efforts to cultivate a productive, devoted mindset within our team and to keep the office vibe right amidst stressful times. Noble intentions that were ultimately hindered by two key things: 1) this director didn't even try to build relationships with incoming staff members and only spoke with them at length on work performance issues, and 2) efforts to develop office culture lasted for 2 weeks during new staff orientation before it was completely dropped and forgotten. The more damning part for me isn't the fact that management made such a lazy and apathetic attempt - it's the complete lack of foresight and vision that allowed them to even believe that office culture can be developed through handouts and powerpoint presentations in the first place. (What's another highlight of inept leadership? On the final working day for nearly half of her academics staff, the same director was mostly absent and neglected to say goodbye to anyone on her way out of the office. Stay classy Bridge!) Communication and transparency around Bridge are nonexistent. Most people who work there now cannot tell you what Bridge's goals are for the next 3-6 months, let alone understand the strategies and direction Bridge will take to meet these goals. As such, the office is completely disengaged with their work and is satisfied with just going through the motions. This is further exacerbated by a scrappy, get-it-done-above-all-else mentality that has frequently forced people to spearhead projects that they have little to no background knowledge on. I remember a writer who was tasked with developing several teacher guides on Nigerian history but given zero time and support to research the country itself enough to deliver a quality product. Under other organizations, this would've been seen as a constructive opportunity for the writer to learn and develop new skills: under Bridge, this is just another example of the do-or-die mentality that supersedes quantity over quality, of a culture that pretends to care more about people than the product. This is an organization where your loyalty is expected but rarely deserved. I'm confident that my description, along with the prevailing theme of high turnover rate, lack of direction, long working hours, and the relentless expectation to give more than you get from previous reviews is enough to make you decide if Bridge is right for you and your career. But truthfully, I also know that Bridge is capable of being better. Things were completely different when I first joined the company in January 2017: collaboration between departments ran rampant, flexible and changing deadlines were met without drama, morale within the office was high and constructive. Given that most of the staff working then are gone now, it is a great opportunity for you to work with a clean slate and rebuild the culture from the ground up. I will conclude that I know that a return to form for Bridge is achievable. I just hope that - for the sake of the children that we are working for - things can improve from the tragic state of affairs and complacency that Bridge finds themselves in now.

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    Bridge International Academies2018-06-01
  5. Helpful (8)

    "Great idea, terrible execution"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bridge International Academies full-time

    Pros

    Passionate, smart, and great people to work with Great mission and successes to date

    Cons

    Leadership is atrocious- starts with CEOs and co-founds, Jay and Shannon. Toxic manipulators, especially Shannon. Came out of a town hall meeting where she spoke and never felt so dejected or critical of the business. Numerous layoffs that were not warranted Poor business planning and collaboration- felt like the whole company was a chicken running around with it's head cut off. Low pay, especially in Boston office where cost of living is high. Little upward mobility High churn

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    Bridge International Academies2018-02-26
  6. "Great place to grow!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Fellow in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bridge International Academies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    A great place to grow in a quickly expanding organization; meaningful and impactful work; dedicated and motivated teams; potential for international travel

    Cons

    Difficult work/life balance No professional development/ mentorship

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    Bridge International Academies2017-10-31

    Bridge International Academies Response

    December 11, 2017Global Talent Acquisition Manager

    Thanks for your review and your positive words. All the best, The People Team

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  7. Helpful (2)

    "Amazing opportunity, frustrating environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 

    I have been working at Bridge International Academies full-time

    Pros

    This is a truly unique opportunity in the education world. The ability to have a so direct impact on some many students is hard to find. Having a real impact on the lives of some of the worlds most disadvantaged is incredible.

    Cons

    Bridge can be a frustrating place as planning, management and direction can often feel scattered.

    Bridge International Academies2017-10-08

    Bridge International Academies Response

    November 13, 2017Global People Operations Director

    Dear Employee: thank you for your forthcoming feedback. We appreciate it. For 2018, one of the critical goals for People is to demonstrate clearer structures to our staff through improved onboarding (including communication of organisational structure) and ongoing feedback mechanisms. We have built out employee experience teams across our locations whose purpose is to promote better communication across teams and help us understand how our work falls under the bigger picture. Please do keep the feedback coming. Thank you The People team

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  8. Helpful (4)

    "Steer Cleer-notice that positive reviews are only higher management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Bridge International Academies full-time

    Pros

    - sick days - many nice people

    Cons

    - NO Benefits (no 401k, no insurance, only 5 vacation days) - MUST WORK 40 HOURS A WEEK even though only minimum wage is offered - **minimum wage** for college graduates, many of whom are very accomplished and have prior work experience -- they say this is because most of the budget goes towards the schools, but that hasn't stopped the higher ups from driving luxury cars - menial, repetitive, mindless work (copy editing, screenshotting, data entry) - no room for raises or professional growth - feedback is asked for but NOT anonymous (which defeats the entire purpose) - arbitrary rules such as : -no work from home even though all work is on your personal computer -must make up hours even if there is nothing for you to do - cannot leave early even if we have run out of tasks

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    Bridge International Academies2017-11-02
  9. Helpful (1)

    "Not a Fellowship"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Writer in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Bridge International Academies full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Sick days, some nice people, never take work home.

    Cons

    Ok, this position is billed as a fellowship, which implies an educative component. That is what made me sign up despite the lack of benefits or adequate compensation. The work is menial, and all of the onus is put on fellows to reach out for any professional development, and even then there is little to no follow up. During the two weeks of onboarding, the company went on and on about a culture of commitment, but they have no commitment to us. We make eleven dollars an hour, when it has been shown that a livable wage in MA is twenty five an hour. There is a lot of big talk about keeping the vibe right and remembering why we are here, but the employees are largely ignorant of the countries we operate in. Often, struggles like border disputes in India are treated as simple inconvenience or are outright laughed at. There is a lack of transparency in organizational objectives and methods, and improving quality often means only improving testing outcomes. This company operates as a non-profit to justify poor treatment of employees, while operating as a for-profit, meaning that teachers, young professionals, and families of students are expected to carry the company financially. I would not recommend this for anyone, it should be a part-time paid internship for current college students. Calling it a fellowship appropriate for grads, many of whom have years of education experience, is an insult.

    Bridge International Academies2017-10-23
  10. Helpful (2)

    "Challenging & Interesting Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Bridge International Academies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Most jobs involve travel to Africa and/or India. You get to have a positive impact on thousands of children.

    Cons

    Company is struggling to make ends meet financially, no raises last year, lots of jobs are being cut. It can be difficult to work on improving things when the company is struggling just to stay afloat.

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    Bridge International Academies2017-09-30

    Bridge International Academies Response

    November 13, 2017Global People Operations Director

    Thank you for your feedback. We structure our compensation and benefits to be aligned to why we do, what we do. We work towards achieving a balance between ensuring that our compensation and benefits policies are competitive, our mission and the customers whom we serve. We are also conscious that we operate in an environment where its important to serve our customers during the school hours. Nevertheless, we appreciate the feedback and thank you for the time that you have taken to share. The People team.

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