Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Reviews | Glassdoor

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Reviews

Updated May 16, 2017
104 reviews

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3.1
Star Star Star Star Star
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Dr. Ken Gabriel
22 Ratings

104 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Realing interesting work with great work life balance and good pay (in 9 reviews)

  • A variety of interesting projects (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • The new CEO has changed pay cycle to bi weekly saying it saves costs (in 5 reviews)

  • New CEO has been making drastic changes to work environment that is destroying the Draper culture that has been being built for decades (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "pcb designer"

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

    I have been working at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    great people to work with. Always exciting things to work on.

    Cons

    I love working for a company like Draper.

    Advice to Management

    they do it right!


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Stay away hardware engineers."

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

    I worked at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Very interesting work, more so than industry. Reputation is everything. Once you establish a good reputation work will find you ( because management isn't responsible for finding you work) and you will be given allot of creative freedom. Since you find your own work you tend to work with people you like. People are friendly and helpful.

    Cons

    Terrible location, horrendous traffic. Having to find your own project work. Most dysfunctional company I ever worked for. Cramped work environment. Being friendly and personable is valued more than competence. Can be very slow at times. New CEO has made some long overdue changes but he is destroying Draper Culture and work environment. Existing management too spineless to say anything ( classic case of Peter Principal). If you really want to work at a lab in the Boston are, try Lincoln instead.


  3. Helpful (2)

    "OK"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Member of Technical Staff in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Principal Member of Technical Staff in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Huge variety of technical opportunities

    Cons

    Very unresponsive management - opaque decision making.

    Advice to Management

    Open up, particularly to technical input from straff.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Changing culture"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Smts in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Smts in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Exciting and challenging technical work. Ability to have an impact in solving tough problems and work with smart engineers. Decent benefits.

    Cons

    Senior management not cohesive and do not appear to have much confidence in each other. Lots of changes that are often sprung upon employees.

    Advice to Management

    More open communications and filtering of important information down the organization. Need stronger involvement from support organizations that have too much turnover. Better management collaboration.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Clueless leadership"

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

    I worked at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great committed tech staff, top notch aerospace engineering.

    Cons

    New CEO is making changes without much strategy. Does not seem to listen. Spending money and energy on pointless TV commercials and strange building projects.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to tech staff, focus on customers not ego


  7. "Brilliant workplace"

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

    I have been working at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Incredible boss
    - Great hours
    - Fun and energetic environment

    Cons

    - Dismal office
    - Very dated interior


  8. "Great place"

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

    Pros

    Realing interesting work with great work life balance and good pay

    Cons

    None that I can think of

    Advice to Management

    It's already great!


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Stable company to stay at long term, difficult to advance quickly with only BS degree and limited work experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory full-time

    Pros

    Worked with many of the brightest people I've ever met. An easy-going work environment, especially for a defense contractor, great benefits, great location if you want to live in the greater boston area. The work that goes on is very interesting and is a great place to learn.

    Cons

    The company is going through organizational changes and there is not always a steady stream of work for the great influx of people they're hiring, it can be difficult to get onto a new project when one project has ended unless you were lucky enough to make the right connections quickly (this applies to newer people who are not as established at the company, in my experience)

    Advice to Management

    Be honest during the hiring process with what someone will actually be doing when they get there. Dangling the most cutting edge projects in front of people's noses during recruiting is disingenuous when a very small fraction of employees actually get to touch that work.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Solving challenging engineering problems of national importance."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Director in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Associate Director in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Exposure to a broad set of technologies. Tight collaboration with innovative academics. Cambridge is a great place to work, if you can get there. Not-for-profit status alleviates much of the financial pressure you might feel at a for profit (esp public) entity.

    Cons

    Commute can be brutal. New senior management is steering the ship in new directions - which can greatly upset the 75% of the staff who have devoted their careers to the more traditional Draper work. (Not saying the new directions aren't the right thing to do, just saying that a lot of good people feel seriously disenfranchised.). Not a lot of turnover at the mid-management levels, so it can take a long time to rise through the organization. Not a lot of corporate growth over the last two decades - so there aren't many new management opportunities created.

    Advice to Management

    Explain the reasoning behind your key decisions, otherwise it looks like you are just managing by fiat.


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Excellent Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Excellent benefits, flexible work schedule, top-notch technical staff, relaxed atmosphere.

    Cons

    Promotions are few and far between and very political.

    Advice to Management

    Top management is hit or miss. VP Engineering excellent. VP Programs not as good. Recent CEO is mediocre (not sure about new CEO).


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