Abt Associates - Could have been worse... but not by a whole lot | Glassdoor
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Helpful (13)

"Could have been worse... but not by a whole lot"

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Research Assistant in Bethesda, MD
Former Employee - Research Assistant in Bethesda, MD
Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
No opinion of CEO

I worked at Abt Associates full-time (More than a year)

Pros

- Compensation and benefits are good for someone straight out of undergrad
- Work/life balance is pretty good - RAs average 40-45 hours per week
- Cambridge office and some Bethesda divisions have relaxed dress policy
- Decent introduction to government work
- Some projects (for me ~25%) are challenging, interesting, and important

Cons

- RA work is usually unchallenging and uninteresting (for me ~75% of the time). Expect to be formatting reports, editing resumes, checking reference lists, proofreading documents, and making deliveries to federal agencies in downtown DC.
- Management sees junior staff as disposable with a 2 year expiration date:
     - managers invest almost no time or money into professional development for junior staff
     - many of them aren't interested in your career path beyond Abt and don't mentor
     - several don't even spend a few minutes per year to have a friendly relationship with junior staff (my practice manager didn't know my name for almost 12 months)
- "Feast or famine." You'll often have too much or not enough work, which matters because you're expected to bill 40 hours per week and managers usually expect you to stay late to make up for the company's failure to get you work.
- Senior staff are technical experts, not management experts. They rarely do anything above the bare minimum for staff camaraderie and productivity - an annual outing and annual performance review.
- No connection between an RA's work quality or tenure and their work responsibility - this depends entirely on the supervisor and chance (e.g., if a supervisor takes maternity leave)
- Depending on your division, there may be a large age gap between the couple junior staff and the senior staff.
- No opportunity to advance above RA level without a Master's degree

Advice to Management

- Hire a management consultant and prioritize improving the anemic internal management of junior staff.
- Hire more junior level FCAs instead of RAs to do the administrative work (formatting and editing documents) that RAs far too often get tasked with.
- Make mentoring and checking in weekly on junior staff workloads, work satisfaction, goals, etc. a requirement for supervisors.
- Require supervisors to explain what their overall project is and how an RA's part fits in when delegating work.
- Have supervisors establish goals for escalating junior staff responsibility, e.g., culminating in junior staff joining in interfacing with clients.
- Invest in junior staff professional development. A semi-annual Excel course isn't cutting it.

Other Employee Reviews for Abt Associates

  1. Helpful (7)

    "Decent"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Associate in Bethesda, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Abt Associates full-time

    Pros

    - Mostly good colleagues
    - Interesting work (sometimes)
    - Fairly flexible
    - Nice office
    - Senior management is good

    Cons

    - Some senior level people are obnoxious bullies
    - Need be fairly aggressive about marketing yourself internally to get on good projects (i.e. not the ones with the obnoxious senior staff)
    - Promotion policies are opaque
    - The annual review process is bad

    Advice to Management

    The organization is mostly good, but the bullies need to be reined in.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Interesting work, but poor management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Analyst in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Associate Analyst in Bethesda, MD
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -interesting work
    -Very smart and nice colleagues
    -Work can be fulfilling and you can make a difference
    -Some managers are very good at giving you room to grow

    Cons

    -management says one thing for compliance reasons, but expects the opposite for billing reasons.
    -try's to be a small company, but struggles because it is actually a large one
    -growth is undirected and their needs to be more structure and coordination of what the company is trying to do.

    Advice to Management

    -Good economists and doctors don't always make the best managers. Keep technical experts doing technical work and not running projects and the company

There are newer employer reviews for Abt Associates
There are newer employer reviews for Abt Associates

See Most Recent

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