Development Finance International - Committed, hard working and driven staff and management | Glassdoor
There are newer employer reviews for Development Finance International
There are newer employer reviews for Development Finance International

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Helpful (1)

"Committed, hard working and driven staff and management"

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

Pros

- small committed and driven team
- clear agenda
- unique expertise
- flat management structure

Cons

- flat management structure
- ad hoc assignments
- high expectations

Other Employee Reviews for Development Finance International

  1. "DFI exceeds my expectations; after nearly 8 years I still love it!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in Bethesda, MD
    Current Employee - Senior Manager in Bethesda, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Development Finance International full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I have been at DFI for almost 8 years, and as a result am very familiar with the organization and its evolution. Reflecting upon my years working here, the most notable pros are:

    Upward mobility and new opportunities: I was hired as a Research Associate focused exclusively on Latin America. I am now a Senior Manager with pretty much global coverage and leading DFI’s work in multiple sectors. Through hard work, dedication, developing new skills, deepening my learning and knowledge about business in emerging markets and the International Financing Institutions, many doors have opened affording me new and exciting opportunities at DFI. This naturally require time and great deal of effort, but the opportunities which DFI has offered me far exceed my expectations when I began at the company. This is one of the main factors which keeps me excited to work for DFI.

    Colleagues: While there is a range of work styles and personalities at DFI, I trust the judgement and integrity of my colleagues. Working with people who I am confident will make the right decision and do the right thing for the company and our clients is critical for me. Furthermore, DFI is full of very intelligent people who are creative and passionate about their work. At any job you want to surround yourself with people like this as it creates an environment where you can grow professionally, develop new skills and acquire new perspectives.

    Exciting and challenging work: The work at DFI is dynamic, fast paced and can be at time demanding. This, in my opinion, is one of the difference makers of the company, and is something that I love. The focus of our work - business in emerging markets - is something that I am passionate about and find very exciting. Emerging markets are quickly evolving and producing new opportunities for companies like DFI and our clients. It is also gratifying to know that our work creates a positive impact in the lives of people in emerging markets. In addition, working with a range of Fortune 500 clients and having a view into how these companies lead in their respective sectors is very exciting for me.

    Access to the world: This is the icing on the cake. As I mentioned above, having been hired to conduct research on Latin America, it was hard to imagine that I would end up traveling to and leading projects in many, many, many countries across Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America. Traveling with your clients to these places where we are conducting business has been very rewarding and among the highlights of my tenure at DFI.

    Cons

    Like every company, there are areas of improvement at DFI. The most notable cons about working at DFI include:

    Team unity: While I have this listed as a con, this is an area where DFI has improved vastly over the years. With new and younger colleagues coming on board, there is an increased sense of team and unity in the organization. Colleagues now get together outside of work to socialize and do different activities which is great. This sort of team rapport was not as strong when I first came to DFI many years back, and I hope that the team unity that I am seeing at DFI continues.

    Professional development: DFI supports its employees with professional develop around communication / public speaking, a few colleagues have taken some courses in person and online, and DFI continuously encourages its employees to attend external events and seminars, however, younger colleagues could benefit from more systematic professional development options. I realize that there is a cost associated with this, but this would be a good way to motivate employees and help accelerate their skill development. It will also help DFI expand its capabilities and service offerings.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "A mixed bag and room for growth - talented colleagues, interesting work, difficult fit, and challenging management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Bethesda, MD
    Former Employee - Associate in Bethesda, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    - The Clients: This varies, as with any consulting job, but a number of DFI's clients are top-tier, Fortune 500 companies with teams that are great to work with. The scope and geographical focus vary and you will get experience working with some high-level people.

    - The Work: This certainly depends on the projects you are on, but the work can be really interesting. Its a relatively complex space that includes international finance players, governments, and private companies. As a young person, you can engage with people at a very high-level, that you would likely never interact with otherwise, and provide actionable support.

    - Career Prep: A lot of the work you could do will teach you a lot and look great on your resume. Depends on the project, client, and team.

    - Colleagues: A lot of the people you work with are smart, motivated, and nice people. There is definitely a sense of camaraderie, particularly with non-senior management staff. It's a small team and you can definitely learn from your peers. Some of the people I admire and respect the most in my professional career are at or were at DFI, depending on what project or who you work with.

    - Travel: Again, depends on the account, but you can get the opportunity to travel a few times a year or more. Always fun.

    Cons

    - August 2015 reviews: If you've read these you can probably tell, a number of them were scripted in response to the negative reviews that were posted.

    - Understanding Flaws/ Willingness to Learn/ Positive Change: In my time at DFI, there was a significant amount of turnover. The reasons for leaving were varied, but the departures were all justified internally as people being "bad fits", "not being able to handle the type/intensity of work", "immature or personality disconnects". Particularly from ownership and upper management, there was a denial of any fault lying in the company itself. Only at the very end of my time at DFI were exit-interviews instituted and was there any structured effort at understanding how improvements could be made. There is a strong aversion to any sort of constructive feedback and top-down management is very strongly instituted. The company is relatively stagnant and people who thrive often tend to insulate themselves as much as possible from the rest of the org.

    - Company structure: Most consulting companies are pyramidal in structure. A few very high-up experienced people, some middle management, and then a base of younger professionals. DFI is upside-down. They have a high number of senior management staff with very few younger support staff. This means that middle management often wastes time on tasks far below their pay grade, Associates are over-worked and often become glorified assistants, and that internal growth can be difficult. Also, this means that staying within budget and billable hours can become an issue - if a project has a lot of senior staff and one associate, it will cost a lot to the company and could easily exceed billable hours.

    - Employee treatment and compensation variances: There are some very loyal and committed people at DFI. They do not seem to be rewarded, encouraged, or supported in the way one would hope. Rather, it seems the focus is on keeping them doing the work they are doing, at the pay they are doing it at for as long as possible. PD opportunities are limited and training is something that happens at the discretion of your manager. Also, something that I find significantly concerning, is that pay ranges very significantly based on the company's need at the time of hire and one's ability to negotiate, irrespective of title, role, or experience. This is true across all levels of the company and there are people making significantly less than others in the same role, level. Some benefits exist, but some surprising ones are missing - such as maternity/paternity leave.

    - Poor valuation of time and health: Time = Money. DFI often does not value the time of its people as an asset. Rather, it seems to be approached as a sunk cost - since we're already paying a set salary, people's time is basically a free commodity. Middle management is often caught up doing things that would be better handled by a lower pay grade and menial, easy to out-source tasks are often done by staff. Examples of this range from scheduling trips, printing things for people, creating binders, database searches, etc. Also, there have been incidents in which people's health were compromised that would have been easily avoidable if ROI, job description, and time value was considered.

    - Ego/Politics/Stress/Fear: At times, DFI can feel like a House of Cards episode. There are a lot of passive-aggressive tendencies, very strong and inflexible egos, and people are often worried about being caught doing/saying the wrong thing. People's communications (personal and professional), movements, and actions are all open to being watched and reported on to the highest levels of management. It is very evident who favorites and least favorites are. There are instances of people being pushed to tears and be spoken to in a way that is thoroughly unprofessional by long-standing staff members that were never reported or dealt with out of fear. After leaving DFI, I've had to work hard to return to assuming best intentions.

    - Upper Management: Upper management are at times unapproachable, intractable, and struggle with differing opinions. All the cons begin and end here, as in all companies, and they often do not take responsibility or don't acknowledge issues that may exist. Also, dissenting, new, or differing opinions have to be very carefully constructed, are rarely asked for, and even more rarely accepted.

    Advice to Management

    You are doing exciting and relevant work. Now is the tipping point. Either DFI can acknowledge the areas for growth and create a plan to improve, or it can stay the same. If management can buy into a plan for change, invest in its young talent, and improve company culture - I believe the business could grow and thrive. Remove people who create a combative, passive-aggressive, political environment from staff and client facing roles.

    If there is not willingness to do that, shy away from hiring entrepreneurial, independent thinkers or there is a high chance that they will be dissatisfied and likely leave.


There are newer employer reviews for Development Finance International
There are newer employer reviews for Development Finance International

See Most Recent

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