Exponent Reviews in Menlo Park, CA | Glassdoor

Exponent Menlo Park Reviews

17 reviews

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Menlo Park, CA

3.7
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Exponent President, CEO, and Director Paul R. Johnston
Paul R. Johnston
6 Ratings

17 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Interesting projects: the variety of projects that the company takes on is impressive, and exposes you to many new things (in 15 reviews)

  • It is possible to have "work life balance" at Exponent if you don't care that much about advancement (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • No respect for work-life balance (in 9 reviews)

  • If upper management doesn't know you or doesn't like you for some reason, advancement can be very difficult (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Tough, rewarding, and a huge variety of work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technician in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Technician in Menlo Park, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Variety, projects with significance, lots of room to grow and learn more skills

    Cons

    Employee retention is poor in some groups, poor work life balance if you can't say "no" to more work, disconnect between upper management and consultants

    Advice to Management

    Work on employee retention, work-life-balance, guidance for growth, and remove the one way mirror between consultants and upper management


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Senior Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Exponent full-time

    Pros

    Great people across a variety of different disciplines. Great opportunity to gain expertise and pivot into areas you might not have considered. It's a great place to be if you genuinely want to be a technical consultant.

    Cons

    Random hours, utilization can be inconsistent. Comp was out of sync with what engineers in the Valley make. Very little company culture.

    Advice to Management

    There's fairly high turnover in talent. This is a necessary part of any professional services firm, but some of the most capable talent get lured away by the other opportunities in the area.

  3. Helpful (13)

    "First job after Engineering PhD. Left after 7 years."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Managing Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Managing Engineer in Menlo Park, CA
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If I had to do it all over again, I would absolutely take the job; but I would come in to Exponent with a 3 to 6 year exit plan.

    -Worked with collection of the smartest and most driven scientists and engineers I've ever met. Some of them were very fun to work with.
    -Work was often exciting and relevant to big news stories.
    -Grew "soft skills" including writing, marketing, and client management.
    -In theory, hours could be flexible, as long as work got done.
    -Big name clients offered interesting full time employee options.
    -Solicited by head-hunters for interesting full time employment options.
    -Exponent paid for certification testing (e.g. P.E. license) and associated continuing education courses or materials.
    -Mentors were easy to find in the early days.

    Cons

    -Work required being on-call almost 24-7. In my experience this became more true as time went on.
    -Travel (flying with at least one overnight stay) with less than a week notice (sometimes same day) was very typical and occurred several times per year.
    -Was not uncommon for consulting staff to quit within a year.
    -Moral drops after the "novelty" of project work wears off.
    -No monetary incentive for mentors.
    -No training on how to be a "manager" associated with being promoted to "manager".
    -Mentors were harder to find and less useful after a few years.

    Advice to Management

    My advice: Be more transparent with how turn-over in the junior consulting staff can be a good thing for both Exponent and the junior staff. This job opens a lot of doors for full time positions at big-name client companies for the junior staff. When employees leave for those positions, it can strengthen the relationship between that client and Exponent. Rather than telling junior staff, "We want you to make Principal some day" (which I'm betting on the order of 1 in 100 or less actually do), tell the junior staff, "We want you to grow in your career path and maintain a positive relationship with Exponent." That's a more truthful and healthy mantra.


  4. "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Human Resource Manager in Menlo Park, CA
    Former Employee - Human Resource Manager in Menlo Park, CA

    I worked at Exponent (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent work environment and culture.

    Cons

    overtime was required, worked over 50 hrs per week


  5. "Solid Employer"

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

    Pros

    Mature and experienced leadership in IT department. Balanced technology vision. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Lack of a flex or remote option for tech workers


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Fast paced, fair"

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

    Pros

    Very important projects
    Brilliant and personable colleagues
    Recognition for hard work and potential

    Cons

    Unpredictable schedule
    Lack of investment in equipment and support and tech-staff


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Excellent opportunity for meaningful work and client exposure"

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

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

    Pros

    Work on next-next-generation technology
    Exposure to C-level clients
    Fast-paced educational environment
    Flexibility of hours, career progression
    Opportunity to make over-time

    Cons

    Sub-market pay for SF bay area
    Constantly looking for billable work

    Advice to Management

    Salary is enticing for someone just finishing graduate school, but not competitive for the bay area

  8. Helpful (6)

    "Smart people, stagnant culture and benefits- keep up with the Bay Area!"

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

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

    Pros

    Working on a wide variety of interesting projects (often at the same time) is a huge plus for the right personality. Encouragement to publish and cultivate client relationships, while maintaining a strictly unbiased work product is also great. Great people to work with- smart, vibrant, flexible.

    Cons

    The negatives are almost entirely infrastructure-related. We need a cafeteria that doesn't serve terrible food. Yes, it's cheap. Yes, it's also terrible. Everyone knows it. Gym? Recreation? The ban on stand-desk purchasing was a great indicator of short term money saving for long term loss of talent.

    Advice to Management

    The writing is on the wall- how many young and very bright Ph.D.s have we lost to Google, Tesla, Apple, and Lab126 in the past two years? Count them. Adjust salary upwards to at least approach the market rate, and provide quality food and a gym or fitness incentives.

    Employees staying past 7:30pm? Allow them to purchase dinner up to $25. I can't tell you how much more productive I would be if I could stay for dinner...but I can't, so I lose about three hours of work potential every day.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Work hard and see a bunch of different projects in a very short time..."

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

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

    Pros

    Extremely flexible schedule (except when it's not due to client expectations). Salary at higher levels can be good with a relatively low-level risk. Getting compensated for overtime is nice.

    Cons

    Depending on your manager and the expectations of the client, you may have "surprise" commitments that pop up at the last minute that take over your evening. Salary at the lower levels is below market rate.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Some interesting work and a poor work/life balance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Associate in Menlo Park, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Some of the projects are quite interesting because they are high profile, involve prototypes or pre-released products, or are truly interesting problems. Schedule can be fairly flexible. Very few meetings.

    Cons

    Project management is non-existent. Some of the projects are exceedingly boring. weekend work is often expected and career advancement is hugely based on luck, not skill.

    Advice to Management

    Invest more in the career development of junior staff (associate to senior associate level)


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