Charles River Associates Employee Reviews | Glassdoor

Charles River Associates Reviews

Updated March 14, 2017
131 reviews

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131 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Depending on the office and project, can have a pretty good work/life balance (in 11 reviews)

  • steep learning curve, plenty of opportunities for client interactions (even as a junior associate), working with very smart people (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • A lot of the senior level staff are not interested in the personal growth of the junior staff and only focus on the present work they need to get done (in 16 reviews)

  • Work/life balance can be better but it's not over the top (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (8)

    "1st year analst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst
    Current Employee - Analyst
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - employment
    - relatively good co - workers
    - learn how to work with unprofessional people
    - learn how to use Stata, SAS, and R possibly ( the use of R is actually useful)
    - compensation is above accounting and IT consulting
    -

    Cons

    I'll break this down into 3 components: work life/culture/seniormanagement, exit opportunities, advice to potential recruits

    1. Work Life/Culture/ Senior Management

    CRA primarily works in the context of litigation consulting, most people here would much rather be in management consulting ( I know I would). That being said, work life here can be difficult, you're dealing with experts, lawyers, HR, and project managers that had phD' with no idea how to lead.

    The cases (usually the defendant) hires their counsel (lawyers) who then hire experts (CRA). Often times our clients are not in the complete right, so you'll often have a hard time morally justifying your work. The skills you learn are not useful at all in today's business environment, outside of academia or economic consulting. SAS MIGHT be useful, but chances are you won't need it. R is extremely useful for alot of jobs but its difficult to learn and your ability to learn it while working here is determined by whether you need it or not.

    2. exit opps

    as touched on earlier, you don't gain as much skills that are transferable as in management consulting. From management consulting, you can go to PE, VC, Banking, MBA, corp dev, econ consulting (idk why you would), etc. From economic consulting, you can essentially only continue with econ consulting, or go to some type of school (MBA,Law, phD). Your skill set just isn't applicable for most jobs, as most jobs don't have a legal component to it. Not to mention that the analysis you do is backwards thinking (since its after the fact)

    3. advice to potential recruits

    CRA would be a good place if you only want to work at one place before you go off to bschool or something else.

    If you do decide to work here (or forced to as in my case) don't stay longer than a year, the older you get, the less employable you become (many others have said this for economic consulting, not just CRA specifically)

    Advice to Management

    up the pay to market level, be clear about how bonuses are calculated, make workshops for case managers to understand how to lead.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Analyst"

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

    I have been working at Charles River Associates full-time

    Pros

    Pay is pretty competitive; nice office and location; good benefits; general autonomy on a day-to-day-basis as long as you get the work done

    Cons

    There's a lot of work; a stay-late + face-time culture; work ranges from very dull to somewhat dull; not collaborative typically (mostly work alone all day); consultants don't seem to be too happy/talk too much (however admin groups typically seem quite happy); work hard/go home environment than work hard/play hard; overall it's a job so what can you expect, but I wouldn't expect it to be much more than that despite what HR (who are amazing by the way) may say in the first week's training

    Advice to Management

    Management recognizes that culture is the biggest challenge the firm faces and it's working on it. This is a respectable goal, and extremely hard given that the firm is mostly, well, economists. Paul is great though.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Consulting Associate"

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

    I have been working at Charles River Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The firm has an academic culture, and relatively flat organization with strong ties to the best universities. It is also growing. Junior staff have opportunities to switch practices if they want to broaden their experience.

    Cons

    Litigation clients call when they are under extreme pressures ... which rubs off the staff. The pathway to moving up in the organization is not always transparent. In certain practice areas, they no longer produce "insights" for public consumption.

    Advice to Management

    Economic consultants are great at numbers, but not necessarily great managers of people. Teach senior staff how to manage staff well.


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  5. "Project manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 Charles River Associates full-time

    Pros

    Good office culture and flexibility with hours.

    Cons

    Number of hours can get excessive.

    Advice to Management

    Headcount levels could be increased.


  6. "on par with the course"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consulting Associate
    Current Employee - Consulting Associate
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    you get to work with some very smart people
    wide array of cases - work was interesting
    very generous benefits
    convenient office location

    Cons

    salaries are below market rate
    hours can be long and unpredictable
    bonus = black box
    promotions = if you don't work for an outspoken manager, forget about a promotion.
    junior staff are pushed out after a couple of years, no incentive to mentor them
    I never got a mentor. Managers only care about billable hours and not about my professional development
    some grade-A introverts in the middle-management cohort
    zero name recognition of CRA outside the industry

    Advice to Management

    people will care more about their work product if there was any sort of professional development or you at least showed people what could learn if they stayed for more than a year.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Good place to start for Econ majors. Growth opportunities are limited without an MBA or PHd."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Interesting cases.
    Most colleagues are very intelligent.

    Cons

    Work is very feast or famine. Lot of pressure to never make a mistake because it could really hurt a case your working on.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Good place to start"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Associate in Los Angeles, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Pretty good place to begin a career after college. Most of the people you work with are very intelligent. Depending on the office and project, can have a pretty good work/life balance. Great time-off and health insurance.

    Cons

    Everything depends on your project and manager. This in itself isn't a con, but life can get pretty bad if you get on a terrible project. Junior staff are pretty much expected to leave for graduate school at some point. Again, not a bad thing, but not a great job if you plan on working your way up from the bottom.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great Fulfilling Work with Really Nice People"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles River Associates full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    This is the best place for economic consulting (a.k.a. litigation consulting) with depth and breadth of industries and projects. Compensation is great and the company places a great deal of importance on quality training and professional growth. I feel taken care of at CRA. And this is not even getting at the fact that there are many really nice and professional people working here.

    Cons

    I would appreciate more opportunities to present be it in front of internal or external clients.


  10. "Associate"

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

    I have been working at Charles River Associates full-time

    Pros

    Good company to work for.

    Cons

    no work life balance as in other consulting companies.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Dry, unfulfilling work"

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

    I have been working at Charles River Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you want to get a phd but don't want to go right away, this is a good stepping stone

    Cons

    Very dry work as junior staff - just data cleaning and other segmented tasks that are given from higher management. No way to move up in the company without going back to grad school. Culture can be a little too formal (at least in Boston) - other offices could be different. Ultimately, I regret choosing this as my post-grad job and am now actively looking for alternatives



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