Cornerstone Research Reviews | Glassdoor

Cornerstone Research Reviews

Updated June 20, 2018
139 reviews

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4.1
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Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
36 Ratings

139 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Work life balance, Pay, Intellectually interesting" (in 9 reviews)

  • "Great culture and interesting work" (in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • "Other reviews about work-life balance are generally correct" (in 15 reviews)

  • "Highly volatile hours with minimal opportunity to be compensated adequately for long hours" (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Interesting cases with great people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The people at Cornerstone treat each other uncommonly well, are extraordinarily bright, and work very hard. The cases that I've worked on (securities, retirement plans, merger antitrust) have all been interesting, and the level of technical skills used in the job is satisfying for someone who likes coding in R or Stata (though it can be avoided if you don't like that). I've worked on multiple front-page WSJ cases, but I didn't get to tell anyone about it because of confidentiality. Working on multiple cases at once can be stressful, but is good for varied experiences. The staffing system works well for a small firm, and I was able to consistently get on cases I was most interested in. The pay is pretty good for the number of hours that you work relative to management consulting and finance, and scales well at the analyst level past the first year. For people who are like me coming out of undergrad, I can't recommend it highly enough. From my perspective, Cornerstone has the best culture, highest pay, and most high-profile cases of any economic consulting firm. Exit opportunities are excellent and cover a wide range of options, including tech, data analytics roles, law school, econ PhD programs, and (most commonly) MBA programs. It didn't close any doors for me out of undergrad, which was important as my long-term interests weren't clear when I graduated.

    Cons

    The variance in hours you will work on a case means that some weeks you will be working all of the time, while others it will be a normal 9-6:30pm job. This can sometimes be anticipated, but sometimes it's out of the blue which can be really intrusive into your personal life. This variance averages out to about 50 hours a week, but I've worked more than 80 sometimes and more than 90 more than once. Management styles can vary significantly across cases and case managers, which takes getting used to but is actually nice in a first job. Also, no-one understood what I did, and it was hard to explain when people asked ("I do numbers for lawyers? But it's like, economics"). There's also almost zero name recognition outside of lawyers and other economic consultants.

    Advice to Management

    -Pay analysts 20% more: most of them can get jobs in tech that are less econ-focused (boo) and have fewer hours (yay)
    -Work to build consistent practices firm-wide regarding data management (Git, R). Part of the practice areas are using them and other parts aren't, but the knowledge and familiarity among analysts should be uniform.


  2. "Impressive people to work with"

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

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

    Pros

    The people are very intelligent and create a bridge between academia and business.

    Cons

    Nothing significant to say here.

  3. "Fantastic"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    Great culture
    Incredibly intelligent, humble coworkers

    Cons

    Some times work is tedious but thats the nature of the industry where every piece of work product has to be perfect.
    Not enough transparency about high level company strategy.

    Advice to Management

    make sure the growth is managed such that analyst culture is preserved


  4. "Great firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    An excellent firm to work for with a friendly atmosphere, commitment to its employees and quality of work.

    Cons

    No cons to report on.


  5. "Amazing Firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    *Great compensation and benefits
    *Opportunity to work with smart, fun, dedicated teams
    *Interesting work
    *Senior people are very engaged and approachable
    *Lots of room for growth and advancement

    Cons

    The firm is growing quickly resulting in a lot of change.

    Advice to Management

    Don't overthink decisions.


  6. "Good company to work for that is trying hard to turn from good to GREAT"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    -Great pay and benefits
    -Depending on your advocates, opportunities for growth and progression
    -Mid-size allows for lots of room to interact with individuals at all levels
    -Financially stable organization that rewards hard work

    Cons

    -Struggling to figure out how to move from just average to great; leadership mired down by fear of change
    -If you don't have a strong advocate, good luck with being positioned for growth and career progression
    -If you're not on the Consulting staff side of the business, at time you feel like just a cog to get the work down and that your opinions are not good enough to be taken seriously.
    -Noting the above comment...if you're strong and capable and don't take no for an answer, you'll eventually get in front of people who will take you seriously.

    Advice to Management

    -You have smart people here who want to help the company grow...listen to them; you're not always the smartest people in the room.
    -You've hired very smart opertaions staff in recent years and they know what they are doing, so let them do what they know how to do. Again you're not always the smartest people in the room.


  7. "A good place to work…that’s going in the wrong direction."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    - Compensation and benefits are pretty good.

    - Very limited work travel as an analyst.

    - Collegial atmosphere among most staff. People are non-competitive with each other, generally very bright and friendly, and collaborative.

    - Work on varied and often really major cases (billions of dollars at stake, headline issues). Can really get exposure to a variety of work and tasks.

    - Several of the major cons below developed recently as the firm has grown. The firm is totally capable of fixing them if they put an intentional effort into it.

    Cons

    - Hours and work/life balance can be really challenging. How many hours you need to work is often unpredictable and the problem is exacerbated by some bad management. Oftentimes these busy periods are filled with very stale work.

    - Learning curve for analysts really flattens out. The firm is not conscientious about development, and it feels like they assume you being busy with casework = development. The firm expects growth to just happen but does not thoughtfully maintain an analyst development program.

    - The firm has been growing and has not maintained many positive elements of its small firm culture. Many functions have become “corporatized,” but corporate staff and policies often act as a hindrance, rather than a help, to consulting staff.

    - Variance in manager quality within and across offices. Many managers are straight out of PhD programs with minimal management training. Some managers are great to work with, some are unclear with their expectations, demanding, and actively demotivating. Manager quality has also generally gone down lately as they have overall become busier and taken on more cases.

    Advice to Management

    - Conscientiously focus on how to maintain a development pathway for analysts and not have them get stuck with repetitive, uninteresting, and tiring work.

    - Remember that “Committed to Our People” is one of our core values. To lots of analysts (and above), it often feels like the first one to go. Be willing to actually invest in improving staff quality of life, maintaining a one-firm firm culture, and reducing silly corporate red tape.

    - Actively show staff you care during periods of extreme busyness. Don’t be tone deaf and tout “excellent performance” during staff meetings, without recognizing for many people that has meant serious stress.

    - Work to improve retention. It’s very costly (in time, dollars, work quality, and morale) to lose experienced analysts/associates.

  8. "Friendly, smart environment but the hours are unpredictable"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Associate in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Exciting cases
    -Collaborative work environment
    -Friendly and brilliant colleagues
    -Some excellent managers
    -Pays very well

    Cons

    -Hours average 50/week but are extremely unpredictable day to day
    -When on a busy case, hard to know when you'll need to put in an 8hr day or a 14hr day
    -Unpredictability exacerbated by a small number of poor managers. Senior leadership slow to address poor management among its ranks

    Advice to Management

    Taking management training more seriously. Do whatever possible to make work life/balance easier.


  9. "Great place to work and grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager
    Current Employee - Manager
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - incredibly smart but also very friendly and supportive colleagues, many of whom have become good friends over the years
    - team-oriented and non-competitive work environment, where you can learn and grow a lot
    - interesting and challenging case projects - no two days are the same and I've never been bored
    - very clear career path and good mentoring and advising culture

    Cons

    There can be busy stretches which require good time management and teamwork.


  10. "Analyst Position"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    Great people! You learn a ton and there are great perks.

    Cons

    It is a lot of work and the job can be stressful.


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