Gerson Lehrman Group Reviews | Glassdoor

Gerson Lehrman Group Reviews

Updated September 17, 2018
448 reviews

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2.8
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Paul Todd
26 Ratings

448 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Hours are intense but work life balance is good compared to other finance/consulting type roles" (in 34 reviews)

  • "Very collaborative work environment" (in 30 reviews)

Cons
  • "The work-life balance is absolutely horrendous" (in 36 reviews)

  • "Unless you are in the A team of the BU boss' favorites, you don't get any facetime with the senior management" (in 18 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (5)

    "Grow with a Growing Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Vice President in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Vice President in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I always say it feels good to work for a company that's doing well and GLG is on something like its 10th+ quarter of consecutive growth. That success is reflected in the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of the work which (in my experience) leads to an unparalleled level of stimulation (and requires some patience, which other reviews point out). Given growth, it also feels like everyone is working towards the same thing - people are collegial and nice, and collaboration is increasing. I've had several jobs and this is one of the few places that no one raised their voice at me. And even more refreshing, people aren't just nice - they are interested... in your perspective, in your contributions, and in your life outside of work. Everyone - top down - is interested in new, big ideas, and willing to experiment. They are well-positioned to continue to succeed, and I'm very bullish about the impact they'll have on the business world. Oh, and the offices are so nice! People (especially disgruntled reviewers) mention that as a throw away point but nice offices matter and reflect GLG's investment in its employees.

    Cons

    Rapid growth is mostly good, but it means a lot of change and sometimes it's not implemented as seamlessly as it can be. Also, while I didn't work in client services - I recognize those jobs could be both intense (like every account management job) and monotonous, but I do believe you learn a lot of transferable skills. The reviews here that refute that are too cynical. And those who say no one goes anywhere interesting after GLG is just plain wrong - people go on to hedge funds, tech companies , nonprofits, etc. Finally, while there's a lot of diversity of background at GLG, there's not a lot of true diversity -- especially on the leadership team and board. You can't change the culture to be more inclusive, or make campus / mid-level hires more diverse if you don't fix that.

    Advice to Management

    Prioritize diversity and inclusion (especially when it comes to senior hires, and on the board), continue to be communicative, recognize that not everyone is having a good experience and do what you can to help those who aren't happy (e.g. provide career transition services; anonymous HR coaching, etc.)


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Good for Self-Starters in Short Stints, Otherwise too Tumultuous"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Manager in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Breadth of opportunities, potential for movement in company,

    Cons

    Poor middle management, very high turnover, constant shift in strategy, big disparity job descriptions and actual positions

    Advice to Management

    Think about culture & don’t claim that you’d like this to be one of the best places to work unless you change a number of things too-down.

  3. "A realistic perspective"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    As most reviews have mentioned, one of the strongest assets GLG has are the people. The workplace is laid back, engaging and encouraging of team interaction. The benefits package (including flexible, e.g. use as needed, PTO) is one of the strongest I've seen and there are regular opportunities for networking with C-Suite execs and subject matter experts.

    Cons

    As with any company that grows quickly, there are always opportunities for improvement. The new CEO introducing a lot of changes so I am excited to see how they all pan out.

    Advice to Management

    Keep an open mind and continue to listen to employee feedback.


  4. Helpful (14)

    "Manager--Misleading Job Description and Few Hard Skills"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Manager in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Research Manager in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The company used to hire very bright and driven people. Given the hours that your butt was expected to be in your seat, the people were the brightest spot at the company.

    Free coffee and friendly baristas are also an undeniable perk even if the service only exists to keep your butt in your seat for a greater percentage of any given day.

    Austin is a fun and relatively cheap city - perfect for GLG's pay scale.

    Cons

    The work - Though the job description has changed marginally since I applied, it is still fairly misleading. What was billed as a research position was actually a glorified secretarial/head hunter mashup. The work itself is mind bendingly boring. Scheduling calls and browsing linkedin do not require much, if any, training. The most challenging part of the job is ramping up on all of the proprietary (made up) lingo.

    Work life balance - This frequently comes up in critiques of GLG for a good reason. 10-11 hour days are expected. The firm assigns outsize value to being seen in your seat after 7pm regardless of whether there is any actual work to be done. Weekends are not protected, in fact working on weekends is expected.

    Management - From senior leadership down to team leaders, the management at GLG is fraught with issues. GLG consistently rewards loyalty. Thus, some of the more senior leaders (at least in the Austin office) have been rewarded for years of service rather than business acumen. This results in managers who may have been highly efficient at scheduling calls and hyper responsive to emails (all qualities of an A+ GLGer) but have little to no people leadership ability. Poor management is compounded by the practical absence of an HR department. The unlimited vacation perk that is used to draw in recent grads is actually in the hands of a maybe-competent manager. In practice, this looks like some employees taking 4 weeks of and others being told to cap vacation at 10 days.

    Career advancement - In my, and others, experience who have interviewed at clients or anyone who has experience with expert networks, GLG has proven detrimental in the interview process. Financial Services/Consulting firms do not respect GLG and its employees--they view GLG as a glorified call center.

    Within GLG, career advancement is based on a black box of ever changing metrics. There was never a single performance review where I felt that I could confidently peg where on the internal "curve" I would fall. Year end bonuses are determined by where you fall on this internal curve ranked against your peers as well as a subjective review of each individual by management. This subjective piece adds to the black box mystique of performance reviews. If you get lucky and find a manager that will step up for you, the road to manager will be a breeze. Otherwise, have fun hanging out as an associate until you give up and go to Facebook.

    Advice to Management

    Start hiring people of the same caliber as the company - In my opinion the insistence on hiring overqualified individuals is a huge contributor to the abysmal rate of attrition.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Great for a fresh grad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Austin, TX
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly co-workers in the best working environment ever.

    Cons

    Repetitive daily activities, lots of workload


  6. "Manager"

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

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time

    Pros

    Learn a lot about the corporate world, great location in Auston, fun people

    Cons

    Don’t learn a lot of “hard skills” to be transferable to non-sales or account management roles


  7. Helpful (19)

    "More of the Same - Desk Research is our Job, Low/No Tech"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Project Manager in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Enjoy the working level players - good people, young, talented, fun
    Great offices although we're a little too into how awesome they are and they certainly don't mask the Cons longer-term
    Clients are OK - almost exclusively private equity firms and some people take the time to develop a relationship, others are transactional and GLG is a tool of theirs vs a partner.

    Cons

    Won't repeat much of what's posted about GLG but I'd agree with 99% of what's posted. Simply put: an OK place to work 1-2 years out of college but then you should move on. Finding out the hard way that the "skills" developed here aren't valued a great deal at other companies NOT conducting desk research. I've been here 3+ years and I'm finding out the hard way as I interview for new roles elsewhere.
    We get hired by (mostly) private equity firms to find experts having a specific profile. We often need to Google and use detective work to find these experts and then convince them to speak with PE firms for $. A grind of a job that rewards hustle and luck.
    We think of ourselves as a "learning company", maybe even a consultancy like McKinsey. We couldn't be farther from any of that in reality.
    We are *NOT* in any way shape or form a tech company, and our tech ambitions are weak despite what management would have you believe. I know some IT help would make the job more effective and less of a grind but nothing happening.

    Advice to Management

    1. Be realistic about what we are as a company. You just gave a company update and so much of it is aspirational vs real. The "worker bees" aren't dumb and we all know what's real vs fiction
    2. Get a clear strategy with clear actions and communicate it. Thought this would happen with the new CEO but it's been six months already and still waiting. He seems to be drinking the pre-existing Kool-Aid. Seems like a nice guy but he's a new CEO so learning on the job? Good for him. Bad for us. Many of the mngt team are into THEIR brand vs. company's.

  8. Helpful (12)

    "An in-depth look at GLG"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Manager in Austin, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    *This review applies to the Austin office and is relevant to any new college grads/new associates all the way up. There are many similarities across disgruntled employees in different regions, but I can't speak for all offices*

    SOCIAL: Most people enjoy the social camaraderie with their immediate team, people they start with, or some others you pass by daily.

    COFFEE: You get a barista with free coffee and drinks daily. Not bad, but I expect at this point it's 500 millenials waiting for their daily latte

    LUCKY TEAM PLACEMENT: I'll be honest - I coasted for a while. It was an absurdly easy job and I got in right before the awful recruiting requirements. People generally left me alone and I could take long breaks because it was so easy to schedule calls. You just have to be over-wired to new emails and respond quickly. I left before most people most days because there was no way it was worth my time to stay longer. Not like you get paid more or recognized more

    SUMMARY: I don't blame or fault anyone for holding down any job. But this is not a place to be if your career is very important to you. It's a place to be if you want to seem like someone with an important career as a veneer, but really you just make enough to party in a fun city and don't really care about doing something that drives you

    Cons

    All of the complaints are valid. It's gotten to the point where GLG has paid for a phony review to be "featured" first even when filtering reviews in chronological order. They also try to create a brand in line with clients (Google the company and you get McKinsey and Goldman as similar companies, which is laughable). When I started, the company was at a solid 3.5, but over time everyone realized it wasn't deserving of that score. So let me tell you exactly why every new review is an echo of 1 and 2 stars:

    GLG is the epitome of the dreaded office life made fun of in Dilbert, Office Space, etc.

    WORK PRODUCT: You do and learn nothing of value. I'm serious. You will forget what you did even hours beforehand as the days pass into numb monotony. Create a project about an industry? Sure, you get to email/call people until you schedule a call. You don't even get to be a fly on the wall. You're not a thought partner.

    CAREER GROWTH: You can't transition to other jobs, even "liberal arts, no hard skills" jobs, without tremendous effort. This doesn't even position well for Account Management roles at smaller Austin companies. I was extremely lucky to not need to rely on any time or experience at GLG to find my next gig. Others I started with are not so lucky and they are finding 1-3 years out of college that they will start at the ground floor anywhere else (which means 0 career progress)

    SKILLS: If you care about skills in general and are still open ended on career, you'll find the review process to be 1) made artificially nerve-wracking by management + politics and 2) as weak as everything else. They could not come up with actual skills that you should pick up so they've filled in the review rubric with overlapping, meaningless, subjective points. "Oral communication," "Written communication," "Problem solving," etc. are all added BS that gets lost in the noise when you literally cannot do the job without being able to talk and you don't really solve anything, you just follow the internal tools to schedule calls. If you didn't already have these skills, you wouldn't have been hired.

    HOURS/BALANCE: I never understood why everyone was so pressured into staying late and working nonstop for something they hated. You cannot let a company create that culture for its employees because firstly it's really illegal to force unpaid overtime, but they've conned everyone into feeling like they're in trouble if not taking on new projects at 7pm while the team next to you is gone.

    FALSE LEGITIMACY: The office buzz and lingo gives GLG an air of legitimacy that initially sparks a new hire to work hard and not step on any toes. This turns into resentment as you realize the numbers you bring in don't really mean anything and senior leaders are too busy to pay attention. Performance based recognition is a joke.

    MANAGEMENT STYLE: They've bought into all the worst management fads. Consensus management - that they all complain about but still don't let smart people be responsible for spearheading efforts without lagging down with 15 different teams. Open offices - that basically become disease havens every winter and keep the gossip culture of IMing everyone strong, even those sitting right next to you.

    MANAGEMENT CONT'D: You gradually realize how terrible management is. No one in that chain of command leading a BU has experience outside the awful job of being an Associate and scheduling calls. So they are clueless on communicating with tech. They are clueless about what changes and hiring needs to happen so they continue hiring carbon copies of their younger Greek life selves from 4-6 schools. They make the same mistakes with people over and over.
    And they are incredibly gossipy and self-serving. Every single time I got to know a Sr Manager or VP+ better who grew up at GLG I realized I never wanted to end up like them.

    GOSSIP/HIGH SCHOOL: I once sat in on a focus group to address office gossip. Not making this up. It was all managers and up. The first thing someone said was "I know we're supposed to address gossip, but I just LOVE having a juicy piece of information and thinking about the reaction it's gonna get from someone on IM." So I knew I could tune out the rest of that meeting after 30 seconds. That person is now a Sr. Manager!

    GOOD ONES: There are a select few Managers (all seemingly on their way out) who make life bearable for their Associates. It's mostly protection from the BS that doesn't matter and managers relying on most hires being reasonable enough to do a good job for their paycheck. Past that promotion you've stayed too long.

    PROMOTIONS (SCAM SCAM SCAM): Promotions are the biggest scam here. It's empty titles that get you to think you're going somewhere when you aren't. Past that, it's all politics. They do not give raises, they do not give cost of living adjustments in an absurd inflation zone, they squeeze you until you say you'll leave. You earn nothing but title even as you are expected to be cream of the crop to be promoted. And at stages like Manager, VP, etc. you find that you'll generally have to downgrade for the next role if you find it.

    Advice to Management

    Make up your mind on where to take the company. You have home-grown SVPs/VPs/Sr Managers all the way down who are just good at doing the monotonous day to day task of scheduling. Either commit to making it fully this temporary, high turnover culture and hire masses at lower tier schools or don't require a college degree. Because you will make a detractor of every smart college grade with ambition within a year.

    Or actually commit to the changes you want. Let the smart hires take over. Phase out bad SVPs/VPs like a startup should have done years ago to bring in actual talent up top.

    You took a terrible middle route which is to ramp up hiring overqualified people for the role you are evolving to be more brainless, and then hiring ex-consultants to make the current monotony just a faster paced, worse monotony. You can fix everyone hating their days with a team of good engineers and product leaders. Instead, you just hired a taskmaster to bring everyone as close to the brink as possible and then told him to do the same to the other BU.

    Why stress your employees out so much? Our clients are demanding and morally bankrupt; we know this is a constant. If you continue letting the mismanagement continue you'll keep needing to hire 100 new grads who need to get up to barely passable speed. Of those, you'll lose a majority within a year. YOU as an executive team are directly responsible for a terrible culture. The money may still flow but it took me getting a real job to realize how important a good career is.

    Being respected by management (not just your team that knows you well), having your ideas heard and implemented, being paid a reasonable wage... these were pipe dreams at GLG.


  9. Helpful (20)

    "DO NOT WORK HERE."

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

    I worked at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time

    Pros

    The baristas and people are cool.

    Cons

    Positives:

    Only positives are the people (especially the people I started with)

    DO. NOT. WORK. HERE. Not even if you’re desperate for a job. Not even if they offered you 1 billion dollars (which you’d have to pay back by the way). GLG is literal toxic. I suppose if you have a somewhat decent manager then that makes your time here better. My manager (in particular) is evil, nice/nasty, passive aggressive and micro manages everyone on her team. It’s like everyone there (most people anyway) are apart of some weird cult. I’m all for being proud of where you work but not to the point where I ignore the blatant lie that is GLG. Yes, it is a glorified call center. With baristas and cutesy offices you can’t even use (unless you’ve been there longer than a year) You’re given an impossible metric (metrics = call center) to hit (I heard from people around the office that this metric was actually raised because people were hitting the previous one so fast) sounds like self sabotage to me. Also it’s weird seeing other people interview for my job but I guess that’s what it’s like when you recruit new graduates, burn them out in two months and readily replace them. You can drop today and they would not care. GLG doesn’t care about it’s employees they only care about the money makers... “the product” (and truthfully they don’t care about them either) so to speak. Also the HR department is a HUGE joke. If you read the job description it’s extremely ambiguous. It’s because they’re trying to cover up their joke of a company. I moved from another state under false pretenses. I was told I’d be receiving relocation assistance. Which turned into a sign on bonus. Which turned into a sign on bonus I HAD TO PAY BACK IF I LEFT. My problem isn’t with the sign on bonus (because you usually have to pay those back if you leave) WHY LIE ABOUT IT. Honestly I wouldn’t have moved if I knew this was what GLG was all about. If you have any type of real degree don’t come here. You won’t learn anything to bring to another job (or yourself). You do learn “soft skills” but my soft skills are the reason I was unfortunately offered the job. I don’t even know why a degree is a requirement. NOTHING you do here requires a degree. I know people (at GLG) who have a degree in public health, physics, IT, business and are not even using it. You sit at a computer all day and are berated and publicly embarrassed for not meeting an impossible goal. And you know what? It’s covered up by house made coffee. The “work life balance” is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard of. A typical work day (if you aren’t senior because it gets EXTREMELY out the box once you’re “promoted”) is 9-10 hours. But “GLG has heard the complaints around work/life balance and wanted to make it better” HOW? I get to work when everything is opening and because I don’t get home until after 6 I can’t get anything personal done. HOW IS THIS WORK LIFE BALANCE?! GLG is 20 years old and still thinks it’s a startup (and a tech company) Or at least tries to come off as a start up to appeal to younger people. It’s a trap. It’s a hamster wheel of disappointments and stress. Whatever you do don’t come here. You’ll regret every moment. Everyone does. The only people still here are people who have a liberal arts degree/old/and people who settle. Its amazing when someone has been with GLG more than 2 years. There are people who just started and are already planning to leave! Why plan to leave when you’re at a job you love? Why plan to hire more people after hiring a huge mass of people? This whole company and its leadership is SKETCH. There’s not much diversity or any diversity initiative. The unlimited vacation/sick time is decent. However it’s at your managers discretion (hence another reason why HR is pointless) so good luck with that if you have a manager that has a huge God complex/Ego/ on some weird power trip. Why have an HR dept if managers are going to have so much power? They’re nothing but paper pushers and liars anyhow. If you want a job or a career that’ll be beneficial to your future do not I repeat... DO. NOT. APPLY. HERE. If you want to work in a toxic storm of a company that doesn’t benefit you besides providing a decent pay, anxiety for not hitting metrics, and cold calling/messaging go for it! I personally didn’t go to college, work my hardest to be the top of my class... and acquire a huge amount of debt just to work in a fancy call center. This job is the pinnacle of making rich people MORE RICH while you’re being paid pennies and being demeaned for not making certain numbers in a week. If you value your time, future, and pockets don’t bother even reading the very vague job description.


  10. Helpful (4)

    "Good for a first job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time

    Pros

    Young office (so good if you are young too!). A lot of smart, nice people work here.

    Cons

    The work is not meaningful (this is a personal opinion of course). A professional teaching and learning platform is a misleading way of framing what the company is about.


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