Cornerstone Research Reviews in Menlo Park, CA | Glassdoor

Cornerstone Research Menlo Park Reviews

Updated January 15, 2017
15 reviews

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Menlo Park, CA

4.0
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Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
3 Ratings

15 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • The demands are hard to predict so work-life balance can be difficult (in 13 reviews)

  • Highly volatile hours with minimal opportunity to be compensated adequately for long hours (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Nice company to work for"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Cornerstone Research part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits. Take good care of employees. Perks such as employees appreciation days. Good training.

    Cons

    May have to juggle many projects at the same time.


  2. "Great place to work"

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

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Smart people, thoughtful leadership. Don't underestimate how good this company is to you; as a first job out of college, can quite easily do worse.

    Cons

    Hours are unpredictable is the primary beef, but vacations are sacred and I'd you're a solid performer folks will work with you to lighten the load.


  3. Helpful (7)

    "Great Co-Workers and Culture, Unpredictable Hours"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Great analysts, highly intelligent and talented, fun to work with. Seriously, if you come straight out of undergrad you will love your coworkers.

    -Good culture overall

    -If you can get managers to look out for your interests you can get interesting work and opportunities to hone the skills you want to work on

    -Pay is generally pegged to be competitive with MBB, sets the standard for econ consulting

    -Great flexibility with vacation time, just plan your trip and let people know about it and you'll be good to go

    -Excellent exit opportunities. As an analyst, it's highly unlikely you'll stick around on the career track but your options are extremely open. Analysts attend top MBA programs, Law schools, PhD programs, or even Med schools. Due to the marketable skill set developed here (data, data, data), analysts regularly get poached by some of the top companies in the Bay Area (Google, Apple, Facebook, Uber, to name a few).

    Cons

    -Highly volatile hours with minimal opportunity to be compensated adequately for long hours... you don't really start getting any sort of additional compensation until you've crested sustained 60+ hour weeks.

    -Some managers bend over backwards to please the client, even if it means setting unrealistic deadlines and selling the analysts downstream

    -If you let yourself get pigeonholed you can end up getting a steady stream of very boring work, so make sure to push for work you're interested in or else you can get shafted

    -Analyst career path is practically non-existent. They are starting to change this a little bit, but for the most part Cornerstone tends to hire academically-minded, unproven people into the career track instead of giving opportunities for solid analysts with knowledge of the industry to move up

    Advice to Management

    -Provide more opportunity for analysts to move into career track-- you're missing out on proven talent! Having a more viable career track would also increase the attractiveness of the job to people straight out of undergrad.

    -Fix the extraordinary hours bonuses, it's insulting to barely be compensated for crazy hours


  4. "Great people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Menlo Park, CA

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people and great culture. Interesting work. Really good place to work after college. Helps build technical skills and gives a lot of exposure to different types of problems.

    Cons

    Long hours and volatility in your work schedule. The nature of the work means that deadlines can change unexpectedly and you are always at the whim of your clients, so pacing your work can be very difficult.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to focus on maintaining the great culture.


  5. Helpful (3)

    "Senior Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good Culture, Interesting Work, Good Atmoshpere among your peers

    Cons

    Work life balance can be tough, but better than banking or management consulting, and the compensation pays accordingly


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Senior Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Really good culture, typically 45-50 hours per week, though some weeks can be more than 80

    Cons

    Lots of variability in schedule, work can be rather boring (lots of footnote checking)


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Thoughtful people doing rigorous economic research for private sector questions in the context of litigation."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You work with smart, interesting people. The have a great, inclusive culture. There is a sense of flexibility around when/where you do your work that goes against the typical 'face time' workplaces. You get exposed to a variety of fields (Law, Academia, Business...) and are well set up for an array of grad schools. Great training.

    Cons

    The analysis can be mundane at times. You typically work on the defense side of litigation, so clients aren't always in the right. The analysis is always defensible, but it's sometimes in support of bad actors. If a deadline is near or an attorney team is demanding, hours can be long and unpredictable.

    Advice to Management

    I think the company is well run and self-reflective. The best professional culture I've ever been a part of. The highs and lows of workload are extreme, which could be improved upon but Cornerstone has limited control over this aspect.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Great First Job"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smart people, collaborative culture, good work-life balance, great graduate school opportunities afterward, may get nice office, managers are often understanding and good leaders

    Cons

    work tedious at times, 2 degrees removed from companies (clients are law firms and you don't interact much with them as an analyst)

    Advice to Management

    do a better job of retaining top talent, give analysts more input on the projects they are put on


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Great starting place to develop your analytical/leadership skills,but you must learn patience and endure long hours."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Menlo Park, CA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    For the most part, you work with extremely intelligent people; however, intelligence does not translate into great management at the firm. Everyone is friendly, approachable and eager to develop and train one another. There are a handful of exceptional managers that know how to run a team and genuinely care about their employees both in and out of the firm. There are lots of leadership opportunities that prepare you for your next job or grad school at the analyst level. The people are what sell the firm. The social atmosphere definitely shines. Hopefully the upper management will maintain the culture as the company grows.

    Cons

    When push comes to shove, at the analyst level you are just a cog with an expiration date. There is no potential to grow within the firm, unless you are on the east coast and get a CFA. The associates and first year managers definitely abuse your time and have very poor management skills. Unfortunately, since the firm pulls revenues by billing hours, those managers that can get their team to bill look the best in front of the execs, even though their work may have zero meaning. The workflow isn't consistent and there is a lot of down time during the day. This translates into lots of weekend work and work on the holidays. Lots of workers are profiled into programmers or document employees, which leads to a mundane workload.

    Promotion for analysts are based on tenure and not performance. Also, there is a bit of favoritism when analysts are chosen for leadership positions.

    In order to have successful career, which holds true for most careers, it is important to seek out those exceptional managers, gain their trust, and be very vocal about projects of interest.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on developing the younger associates and managers into those exceptional manager that make the firm what it is. Secondly, improve the once strong culture that faltered over the years.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Good consulting firm, but could be even better."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Analyst in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people - they were smart and fun to be around.
    Case variety - unlike some firms, there is the opportunity to jump around from one practice area to another.

    Cons

    It's a service business, so the customer is always right. This can lead to some silly requests and long hours.

    At the analyst level, pretty much everybody is promoted and everybody earns about the same salary + bonus. Struggling analysts often move along with the pack.

    At the manager level, too many people are promoted from Associate to Manager or Manager to Senior Manager without having really done anything all that great. It's somewhat out of inertia and an unwillingness to admit they made a poor hire.

    Advice to Management

    Be willing to cut dead weight sooner, at both the analyst and associate level.

    Managers should understand that the analysts do the bulk or the dirty work - if the manager is on their side and supportive, the analysts will want to work for them. A number of managers don't understand this, and simply pass on tasks and messages from the clients.


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