Council On International Educational Exchange Reviews | Glassdoor

Council On International Educational Exchange Reviews

Updated April 24, 2017
99 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-time Part-time

2.8
Star Star Star Star Star
Rating Trends Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
James P. Pellow
62 Ratings

99 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

Pros
  • Great people to work with, passionate about the mission of the program (in 9 reviews)

  • Important mission, good compensation in terms of time off, robust health insurance with emphasis on wellness (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • You'd think that a non-profit in a hip city with a mission to do cool things couldn't lose (in 10 reviews)

  • The staff turnover at the VP and executive level is tremendous, and the board of directors of CIEE does not seem to care (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Great place to start....Butttttt"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Campus Coordinator in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Campus Coordinator in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Council On International Educational Exchange full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Was field staff so I didn't have to work in Portland, ME. Being filed staff i received a bunch of monitors and a laptop and phone which helped me keep work and my personal life separate.

    Cons

    Where to begin. If you value having your opinion heard, please avoid. Lots of blind direction coming from the top and it essentially trickles down into an unorganized mess. The job I signed up for and the job I ended up doing were two completely different things. It was pitched to me as a remote advising position and I ended up in a strictly sales driven position which is not what I wanted to be doing. There was a sales incentive and sales calls that had to be made. The numbers across the bored were in the toilet so it seems they were using my position as a scapegoat. The problem is the cost of the programs are too high. The pay was abysmal

    Advice to Management

    Redistribute your money. LOWER THE COST OF YOUR PROGRAMS!!! The fact that there are dozens of other outside providers coupled with the fact that many universities have their own study abroad programs now makes it incredibly difficult to convince a student to spend sometime $4000 more for the same experience they could get somewhere else.


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Amazing Team, Negative and Stressful Environment"

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

    I worked at Council On International Educational Exchange full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I worked with some of the most wonderful people in Marketing, it was a great team. There were some creative ideas and the final products - web and print were always high quality. The benefits are fantastic - especially the time off. Great building in an awesome location in downtown Portland. I enjoyed the projects I worked on and believed in the mission.

    Cons

    It was a negative and stressful work environment within Marketing. We would have a hard time keeping up with all the changing initiatives coming from the top. The ideas would come fast and we would have to act faster, even though the plans were never thought out. The Marketing team was rarely looked at as experts, even though it was a team of smart workers who did great work. We were order takers and had to do what was told, even if we didn't think it was a good idea. When I started there was creativity and more freedom, but that all changed a few years into the job and I don't see that changing back anytime soon.

    Advice to Management

    Unfortunately many members of a great team have left and more are still leaving. There needs to be better management around Marketing. Work with Marketing on new initiatives and take their advice - they know what they are doing.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Bonus tease"

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

    I worked at Council On International Educational Exchange full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great colleagues, nice travel opportunities

    Cons

    I worked as an Account Manager and over the course of 3 sales years the bonus structure a) changed every year from an all or nothing to a per sale model, b) sales goals were completely unattainable and thus all or nothing resulted in nothing, c) per sale model was so low that it provided little incentive, d) management used unmet (unattainable) sales goals as reason for letting employees go.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of dead-weight, party loyal managers. Employees, international and domestic partners and most of all students deserve better.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. Helpful (7)

    "Stay away"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, ME
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, ME
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Council On International Educational Exchange full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great team of hard working people who care about the mission.

    Cons

    Management only cares about how much money they make.

    Advice to Management

    The constant turnover in senior management is telling. The Board should replace the CEO.


  6. Helpful (14)

    "CEO runs CIEE like David Miscavage runs Scientology"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Portland, ME
    Former Employee - Manager in Portland, ME
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Council On International Educational Exchange full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Colleagues in the Portland office and around the world are dedicated, hardworking folks. The benefits are better than most in the field and salaries and bonuses can be lucrative if you tow the party line and do as you say,

    Cons

    Run by a dictator who has his cult like following because he has brainwashed folks with money, fancy titles and a belief they are doing good when all they are doing is making Jim Pellow richer, more powerful and more greedy,

    Advice to Management

    Stop pretending you are a non profit organization dedicated to promoting cultural understanding when all you are is a factory of people focused on numbers. The rest is lip service.


  7. Helpful (22)

    "Income inequality alive and well at Portland non-profit"

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

    I worked at Council On International Educational Exchange full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    A non-profit with a mission to promote exchange and study abroad is an exciting proposition. Never a dull moment in terms of intrigue, politics, and shenanigans.

    Cons

    You'd think that a non-profit in a hip city with a mission to do cool things couldn't lose. Right? Think again. CIEE is losing BIGLY. Stunning management turnover, despotic leadership, program quality failing, reputational decline, and incompetent leadership abound at this little gem in the Old Port. In recent days our one remaining champion, the head of human resources, was dismissed likely due to her efforts to stick up for the little guy getting the shaft here. Issues have been raised to the board of directors with no action taken. The problem is a "bad attitude" of "some" staff. My manager told me to post positive reviews on this site to "help our reputation." That was the last straw for me. And the slap in the face at the end of it all was to find out that the corrupt, incompetent and narcissistic leader of this non-profit walks home with a salary in excess of 500k (look it up!) while front line staff struggle to pay their rent. But maybe, if the despot is feeling generous, he might toss a bonus your way at year end to buy your positivity, to erase the scars of another torturous year.

    Advice to Management

    The solution for management is obvious. Get rid of the CEO and his team. In the meantime, for those considering this 'best kept secret in Portland' , don't work here. If you still do work here, get out. If you are happy at CiEE, good for you. But many are not and if we care about the mission we have to raise our voices.


  8. "Not bad"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, ME
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Portland, ME
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Friendly and competent colleagues. Vibrant, energetic and modern office in nice urban locations. Interesting market direction. Expanding tech.

    Cons

    Some uncertainty about the direction the company is taking in order to expand into new markets. Banking on growth much like for profit companies. The cubicles are small and often feels crowded.


  9. "Intern"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Intern in Portland, ME
    Former Employee - Intern in Portland, ME
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Efficient work ethic and well-managed.

    Cons

    Not a lot of upward mobility.


  10. Helpful (50)

    "5 Stars for the Team ; 0 stars for the CEO"

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

    Pros

    The employees/team members at CIEE are truly remarkable. They are committed to exchange and study abroad and go the extra mile every day despite the current management situation. Employees really support each other. Portland is a brilliant spot for the headquarters as it provides quality of life and a beautiful seaside environment.

    Cons

    There is not much more to say that hasn't been said already on this site, but I will add a few things.

    The board of directors and the senior management team of CIEE should be ashamed of themselves for supporting the agenda and the practices of this not-so-new-anymore CEO. During his tenure there has been a revolving door on staff - most damningly his own "inner circle" team. There was much talk of, "it's normal for a new CEO bring in his own team" and "things will calm down once he has his team in place" during his first years. Unfortunately, 4 or 5 years later, things have NOT calmed down in the least: the opposite is true as both 20 year seasoned veterans and newly hired VPs and Directors have walked away or been dismissed. The instability created by all this puts both the organization and its students at risk. Biting off more than it can chew, the CEO drives and attempts to implement half-baked programs, marketing schemes, and processes. He pulls the plug on ideas just as fast as he initiates them. When he is in doubt and facing a crisis of attrition, the CEO simply throws money and titles at remaining at staff, promoting them to try to retain them. This has lead to major title inflation and a proliferation of VPs - leading to a deep resentment among staff about how and why these individuals got their roles. Performance management is a joke, bonuses are random and based solely on who toes the party line.

    The senior leadership and the board of directors are engaged in a self-delusion that everything is going well and the company events and presentations are like zombie rallies with everyone smiling and clapping. There is never an acknowledgement that there are problems with the culture that need to be addressed. This is not a work in progress where we all have a voice. Lip service, propaganda, and free happy hours are key tools under the Pellow management regime.

    There was a time when working for CIEE was a source of pride as it was the leader in its field. As our reputation has been systematically dismantled by the actions of the CEO, the board and the senior team, it feels like we are working for an organization in decline. Sure, powerpoint slides tell us periodically that we've never had more revenue. Then, on cue, applause is initiated. But how did we get that revenue? At what human cost? Putting how many students at risk due to overtaxed and demotivated employees? Crushing how many careers in the process? Scrolling through the list of names of board of directors on the website, anyone can see an accomplished group of business people, diplomats, educators. One wonders if they have any notion of what is actually going on here. If they do, shame on them.

    Advice to Management

    Relieve the CEO of his duties. Put this very dark period behind the organization.


  11. "Wonderful company for Portland, meaningful work but long days"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Coordinator in Portland, ME
    Current Employee - Senior Coordinator in Portland, ME
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Council On International Educational Exchange full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    CIEE offers a great atmosphere and strong mission. Depending on the position there are opportunities for travel. Benefits are decent. Good mid level managers

    Cons

    Opportunities for advancement are few and those that come along are often not openly competitive. Departments and teams can be stovepiped. IT development is start and stop.

    Advice to Management

    I appreciate the activities to get various departments to mingle. Maybe institute some brown bag lunches on various programs and departments? Require posting of positions for at least a minimum number of days internally


Showing 99 of 108 reviews
Reset Filters