Gerson Lehrman Group Reviews | Glassdoor

Gerson Lehrman Group Reviews

Updated February 21, 2017
301 reviews

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301 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The flexibility that GLG offers its employees to be themselves and have a good work/life balance as they achieve at work is the best I've seen (in 29 reviews)

  • Very smart people - always working on very interesting things (in 21 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance can be limited (in 17 reviews)

  • Early mover status cemented their success not brilliance of senior management (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (29)

    "CEO gets rich, and the rest of us clean up his mess..."

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

    Pros

    pretty cool offices, free coffee (woo-hoo), and, gee, can't think of much else..ok, your colleagues at the worker bee level are good people

    Cons

    Read the critical reviews above and note how many "likes" they get. Then look at the "positive" reviews and see almost no likes. We all know what's going on here. Management/HR bangs out positive reviews in desperate attempt not to have the honest, awful reviews overwhelm the ratings here. But people vote with their feet and clicks -- the terrible reviews get likes, and employees are fleeing this place. They leave for all the reasons listed above in prior reviews. I focus on the atrocious CEO who has taken this company down more rabbit holes at an enormous expense than anyone company CEO I can think of. He lacks just about every skill and talent a CEO should have, and inspires zero loyalty. I've never heard so much back-stabbing of a CEO in my life. I used to think he might care that his employees think so little of him. Now I don't. He's made a fortune off this company, and has clung to this job for his dear life. He could never get anyone to hire him as a senior manager at a real company, much less to be a CEO. He's wrapped himself around a monolithic senior management -- all white, all male (save for one woman in senior management) and all cut from the same cloth. This appalling lack of diversity makes a restricted country club look like the rainbow coalition. Take a wrecking ball to this whole motley group. Or just fire the CEO

    Advice to Management

    Find us an intelligent, decent, respectful, and honest CEO. In other words, everything the current one isn't.


  2. Helpful (38)

    "Remember that movie, "The Shawshank Redemption"? My time within ROPs was pretty much like that movie."

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

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

    Pros

    I can think of a few positives from this crucible, but that’s probably only because I’m what most people would call an optimist.

    I'll value my time within ROPs at GLG mainly due to the fact that it showed me just about everything that I don't ever want in a job moving forward, as well as just about all of the things that I'll never again subject myself to for a bi-monthly paycheck.

    I had also always heard that misery loves company, but I didn't truly understand what this meant until I began working on my team within ROPs. I was fortunate enough to work alongside and befriend many of my fellow ROPs associates, who unsurprisingly were suffering through the same terrible experiences that I was. We were overworked, mistreated, lied to, deceived, ignored, belittled, disrespected, and underpaid – but we all shared those experiences and bonded over them.

    In summation, I’m no longer subjected to the scornful ire of a micromanaging tyrant (my manager), getting paid far too little to work far too many hours, while constantly putting up with the general disrespect of clients, council members, and various “colleagues” on research because of my position within ROPs. So yes, leaving GLG in and of itself can be considered a positive.

    Cons

    Oh boy…where do I start? In this role you can expect:

    Terrible Work/Life Balance. Or more accurately, the lack of any kind of balance between work expectations and what used to be your life. When you enter a role on ROPs, you quickly see that the work is not only monotonous and repetitive, but you also see that you are expected to handle a volume of work that far exceeds anything that should be expected of a single individual. Any pleas that you make to your managers will fall on deaf ears or will be met with utter disdain, as your struggles are only indicative of your incompetence as an employee, not the fact that management is out of touch with the reality of the position, the teams that they manage, and the ridiculous pressures placed upon the employees.

    TERRIBLE (middle) management. You will be micromanaged, and it will drive you to resent your job with every fiber of your being. Managers treat their employees like children. I’ve seen them shush people, scold them for laughing, criticize how people dress, and if you’re not ‘in’ with them, you’ll know.

    Monotonous and mind-numbing work. The roles within ROPs center around basic administrative or transactional duties, and you will be expected to perform these tasks day, after day, after day. It’s been said that GLG is a glorified call center, but I’d say that “self-aggrandizing middle man” is more accurate. This is particularly fitting of the teams within ROPs; Member Solutions, Surveys, Network Development, and especially Project Support. Do not be fooled by the sleek (yet extremely vague) job descriptions.

    Assigned seating. Yes, this was actually a thing. I’ve heard that GLG has moved to an “activity based” model in the new office space, but that doesn’t stop managers from micro managing what seat/area you’re consigned to.

    Structural Inequality. You do not get to pick the practice area that you are assigned to. You are simply placed wherever there is a vacancy. To some extent, this does not matter because no prior industry knowledge is needed (nor will you need to learn any) for you to perform within the various practice areas (Life Sciences, Corporate, Hedge Funds, Private Equities, etc.) as the roles and tasks are all repetitive, administrative, or transactional. This creates a great low-cost plug and play business model for the company within both research and ROPs, that also helps lessen the impact of the extremely high turnover rates. Unfortunately this does not make the employee feel like anything more than replaceable fodder. Another problem with this model for a new hire is that some practice areas are inherently more demanding of time or more difficult to work in than others, so you may land in a terrible situation and without having any say in the matter.

    General Disrespect. Your managers will openly and casually speak negatively about other employees. They will also encourage managers on other teams to voice even the most pedantic and mundane of complaints. Rather than actively working to find solutions, your manager will instead chastise you regarding the negative feedback that they’ve received (little did I know that MY manager routinely solicited others for their complaints). If you ask for further clarification regarding the negative feedback, none will be given. Which begs the question – how are you supposed to grow and improve within your role if there is no context provided for you to correct your mistakes? Another perk of the childish managers that you routinely deal with is that any mistakes you do make will be held over your head and used as leverage for the rest of your time on ROPs. Also, any compliments or positive feedback forwarded to your manager without your knowledge will be withheld from you, by your manager, in yet another silly little psychological ploy.

    Because the majority of employees within ROPs are in their mid-twenties, cliques usually form within the teams. As such, it’s highly beneficial for you to befriend your managers, because you are more likely to receive promotions or more leniency on the day to day within your role. On three of the teams within ROPs there are no male managers; this seems to be a little more than coincidental. I’m a woman who firmly believes in female empowerment, but oppressing anybody in the workplace, for whatever reason, is absolutely abhorrent. I’d say that this is indicative of the cronyism and politics that run rampant within this business segment.

    Management is about as transparent as a brick wall. Many important discussions regarding your future and the direction of your team will not be shared with you, and once decisions are made, things will be sprung upon you at the last possible second. This can be very jarring and unpleasant, but also creates the perception that management is just making it up as they go (but I have the utmost confidence that they know exactly what they’re doing).

    God forbid you have any bright ideas, creative suggestions, or constructive feedback; if you do, keep it to yourself. If you share an idea (or anything for that matter) with management, it will be shot down, ignored, cast away, dismissed, or viewed as contrarian. It’s almost as if the management seeks to quash the bright, enthusiastic employees as fast as they possibly can because they feel threatened.

    Terrible double standards. Managers come and go during the work week as they please, while you and your colleagues break your backs working overtime just to satiate the demands of the research teams and clients. Management will constantly pressure you to do more, in less time mind you, so that you will work less OT. Even better, they will question the validity of your time sheets, as if you would willingly want to spend your nights and weekends keeping up with the demands of clients. Don’t consider asking for off days, as your managers will treat this like pulling teeth, even though your contract explicitly states your right to utilize the “flex time off" policy. Managers on the other hand can message their respective team mid-day, letting them know that they’ll be OOO or working remote for that day.

    Advice to Management

    Please listen to what I am about to say, not for me, but for the well-being of ROPs and the employees that work so very hard to facilitate the work that is done at GLG.

    It’s been said that people leave managers, not companies. While I do not wholly agree with this statement (I also believe that there’s no use in working for a company whose mission/product you do not fully believe in) it does still carry quite a bit of truth, as I witnessed countless intelligent, hard-working colleagues depart their teams on ROPs in downright disgust during my time with GLG. I also finally realized that I didn’t have to put up with the endless micromanagement and childish antics of a despicable manager and decided to break out as well.

    Gallup CEO Jim Clifton wrote in the summary accompanying his organization’s 2013 “State of the American Workplace” employee engagement study. “The single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the rest—is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits—nothing.”

    It’s time to finally take a look at the teams within ROPs that have been completely mishandled, as well as the managers who are forcing the exit of far too many young, hard-working employees far too soon. The actions of certain managers within ROPs have directly accounted for an immeasurable waste of potential and the departure of a large amount of talent and upside that will surely impact the future effectiveness and the success of ROPs as a whole.

    Rid your company of these petty tyrants that care only about ensuring that they can carve out a nice little insulated nook within GLG for the next decade rather than leading and managing their employees, fostering the further growth and development of their employees (this is supposed to be a “learning company” is it not?), and helping the company grow and continue to push forward.

    You won't have to look very hard to find the teams in need of a leadership change; they'll be the teams that everyone is leaving, or have already left. At one point I’m pretty sure the Project Support Team had like four managers and two associates; I’m no expert, but that seems fishy…

    Do your job. It's time to clean house.


  3. Helpful (4)

    "VP, Business Development"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I joined the firm in its exciting, yet rigorous, growth phase. I loved my boss, Aaron Liberman, as well as my other sales colleagues. The CRM was awesome and easy to navigate. Mark was amazing and so were our hard working analysts and team leaders. Look, it's New York. If you want to make money, you put in the hours. Take big bites of that sandwich while you're young because you eat a lot less later. From a sales perspective, we all were very competitive for new client acquisitions. If we didn't work as hard as we did, nobody would make any money. Yes, it is demanding but if you're smart, a GREAT team player and can navigate the politics, you'll do just fine. It was the best job I had in New York. Remember to enlist upper management in all your endeavors, including your peaks and pits. They will listen. Obviously, they have if you look at where the firm has come since 1993 when we were on 41st Street! Dedicate your mind to making it fun - it can be heaps of fun. Your whine will quickly be noticed and you will have your necessary resources dedicate their time to someone else excited about their role and moving forward. Lucky you to work for GLG!

    Cons

    If you want to get ahead in sales, doing your homework to get ahead will keep you at the office until 11 or 12pm. There is only one senior executive that I did not care for, so I avoided him until I had another big win. True, it may feel like a sweatshop if you're just out of college but this is now WORK! Mark, Aaron and Marla were great mentors as well as Sam, Legg and Dmitri. Developing LERA was so much fun and a great learning experience which I still leverage today. Work hard. Play hard. Have fun together because you create your own workplace environment. Teaming is the key to success at this firm.

    Advice to Management

    Less micromanagement from top execs. Allow the research analysts lean more on their respective Directors. Sales is one of the hardest jobs at the firm, so if you're not ready to put in the blood, sweat and tears - do not apply. Same goes for research analysts.


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  5. Helpful (27)

    "If you're looking at this company, you're looking in the wrong places"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Steady pay. Seemed like a lot coming out of college, but quickly realized it was nothing to boast about.
    Austin is great and it's somewhat affordable. Your money goes pretty far in this city.

    Cons

    1) Stagnation: you do the same repetitive task over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. Client comes to you with request about researching *Insert Generic Topic*. You plug keywords into a search engine and see who is in network that can speak to this topic. You propose to the client, and if they approve you schedule the call. This is the entire job, unless you are in Sales. People quickly realize they aren't moving forward or growing in their professional life. Monotony breeds boredom and discontentment. You don't learn anything. You don't research exciting and different topics.
    2) Overwork: the job is not hard per se. The problem is you are expected to satisfy unrealistic metrics or the company will move on from you. I was expected to work long hours (usually 12+ hour days). I saw great employees burn out from overwork. People constantly take on more and more, with little recognition or increase in compensation. If you can't cut it, there's the not so subtle reminder that you can be replaced by a fresh grad.
    3) Vague visions: GLG cycled through so many cliché mottos and slogans, it's difficult to recount them all. "Up and to the right!" "Transforming the way people learn" "Become essential!" "(insert word root)-ize!" These big slogans were meant to inspire, or at the least distract from the fact that we were all glorified administrative assistants. We didn't transform how people worked. We catered to clients, managing their calendars and bending over backwards to try and keep them happy in hopes that they'd actually increase their contract if/when they renewed. Because GLG is viewed by clients as a resource/expenditure, whether or not they increased their contract was usually dependent on how much flexibility they had in their budget for that FY.
    4) Profits over people: this company only cares about the numbers you can generate. How many calls did you schedule? How much money did you bring in? It's a 'what have you done for me lately' mentality. They dangle the carrot in front of a bunch of recent grads, expecting them to compete against each other to see who can schedule generate the most 'TPV' (total project volume). They don't care about diversity, innovation, or employee well-being. It's all about the money. Honestly – that wouldn't be a problem, except when you realize that GLG makes A LOT of money, but that you still have to fight for a raise or justify why you should get a paltry bonus.
    5) Lack of recognition: credit always goes to Sales people for making unrealistic promises to the clients. If you're in research, you're in the trenches delivering on those promises. Maybe you get a small sentence in an email, or a $10 bottle of wine. But you aren't recognized. You are just one cog in a giant machine.
    6) Excessive hierarchy: there are a lot of accomplished and talented people in this company, mainly in c-suite, or in the associate classes. However, if you look at the LinkedIn pages of most middle tier managers (or spend any time working with them on the day to day) you'll notice striking similarities. They come from 3rd tier schools with a liberal arts degree. They join up with GLG and spend their entire careers here (lifers). They are promoted by virtue of seniority. People with ambition or talent don't stick around at this company. The middle management is terrible. On the flip side, GLG has realized that lifers don't have actual business acumen, so they've started recruiting ex-consultants. These people have impressive track records and bring good ideas to the company. It's a shame that GLG can't keep talented employees, but it's not surprising. I'm just really disappointed that this company retains so many incompetent people.

    Advice to Management

    Kudos for finding a profitable business model. You recruit people fresh out of college, offer them a decent paycheck, and then move on from them when they ask for too much.
    Start looking more closely at the managers. Don't give someone a pass because they've been with the company for 6 years. Make them earn their promotion, don't let them rise up through attrition. These individuals are the ones that slow this company down, dilute it's overall quality, and pollute the culture. If you continue to bring in talented and inspiring leaders – as you are doing at the highest levels – you retain more talent. But no one wants to listen to a petty micromanager that speaks in platitudes and buzzwords. They don't have any real business knowledge and it shows. Your 'Manager Bootcamp' is a good idea, but the training is being wasted on people that have no business managing anything at all.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Great Potential and Great People"

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

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

    Pros

    I worked with some of the kindest and easy going people I've ever met. Everyone had goals and were incredibly smart.

    Cons

    Management only cultivated talent that they hired after college. GLG does not do a good job of hiring from outside and they also have enormous challenges in retaining top talent.

    Advice to Management

    People should be challenged and have a better understanding of a positive career path at this firm.


  7. Helpful (18)

    "Employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I suppose there are some positives – but nothing you can't find anywhere else in NY.

    Cons

    Just a very weird company... management seems to be confused about what their roles are, the office is stiff and bureaucratic (in NY at least).. and wildly political. It also seems like no one knows what they're actually doing. It's all about WHO you are, not what you do – and management feeds that culture through hiring. And of course the result of hiring people based on their connections or previous title – instead of through a proper vetting process – is hilarious incompetency at every level.

    There are some good people here though for sure. And not saying every job or vertical is bad either. I just wouldn't recommend it.

    Advice to Management

    Bring in people who know how to manage, and add some structure to the organization.

    And quit it with the "Activity-Based Working" thing... you guys are just forcing your executives to work out of conference rooms.


  8. "Good opportunity"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Strategy in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Strategy in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time

    Pros

    A growing company headed in the right direction. The company is making the right investments in development and growth after a period of adjusting to compliance challenges that built some bad habits. Large market opportunity. Strong compliance.

    Cons

    As mentioned the company (probably rightly) is concerned about compliance, which can impact the competitive posture. Also as the company had some doldrums in the mid 2000s the company still has some bad habits which were built in that period, but the right changes are underway. There is a good opportunity to drive change and add lots of value.

    Advice to Management

    Continue on the path to change. There is a great market opportunity.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "GLG is an excellent company to work for"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 spent nearly 4 years working at GLG and it was a great experience. It is a vibrant company, growing rapidly, with smart management and good morale amongst its employees. The NY office has a cutting edge feel, with radical architecture and lay-out, plus a terrific barista, that give the environment the exciting feel of a high-tech start-up that has arrived. The flexibility that GLG offers its employees to be themselves and have a good work/life balance as they achieve at work is the best I've seen. I am musician outside of work and I was always supported by management and my colleagues and this meant a lot to me. While competition has gotten stronger it was rewarding to work for a company that the market recognized as a cut above the rest. GLG is an incredible place to grow your career and network. I grew directly from learning from my managers, who were fantastic people, and my colleagues, who were smart and intellectually curious.

    Cons

    GLG is growing rapidly and the pace of change can feel intense, and perhaps that's not for everyone. But if you're a driven person it shouldn't be a bad thing.

    Advice to Management

    Find ways to continue the positive efforts to communicate about the rapid change and growth of GLG.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Great place to work"

    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

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Very smart people in middle management and new entrants to the company

    Cons

    Lots of changes across the company


  11. Helpful (2)

    "Business Development Associate"

    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
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Gerson Lehrman Group full-time

    Pros

    Everyone is ambitious and willing to help you

    Cons

    Nothing I can think of



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