Knewton Reviews | Glassdoor

Knewton Reviews

Updated April 19, 2019
50 reviews

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2.7
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Brian Kibby
11 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. "Incredible company. Incredible team. Incredible mission."

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

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

    Pros

    Working with the best minds in the world to improve education through AI.

    Cons

    No material cons come to mind.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Doesn't matter anymore, but my time sucked"

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

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

    Pros

    Espresso machine, free lunch, regular happy hours, free alcohol, pool table, dog-friendly office, catered hack days, holiday party

    Cons

    The CEO is an absolute clown. The first time I met him he asked where I went to college. When I told him he responded "not our market!" Really awkward. The only time you see him is when he's giving hokey inspirational speeches complete with made up salesey catch phrases and sending completely irrelevant emails to the company meant to inspire us when they really just made us question his intelligence.

    Senior leadership is extremely secretive despite the fact that they constantly advertise open communication. It's all lip service and they're all slimy. They're extremely defensive of the bad decisions they've made, especially the horrible office we moved into.

    Ohhh, the office! Yeah, Knewton used to have a beautiful office with enough desks for each employee (apparently that's a luxury!), a patio, and plenty of nooks to hide in and do great work. The new office was dark, had no new mother's area when employees arrived (even though there was a new mother), was in a subway dead zone, often had one working elevator, disgusting bathrooms, and nowhere to have company-wide meetings. My commute to work usually involved being verbally assaulted by the hoards of homeless people, drug addicts, and construction workers in the area.

    The worst part, by far, was having to work with the Sales team. They were put on a pedestal after the launch of Knewton's alta and touted as the people driving our company. In reality, they're the most dimwitted, narcissistic, yet demanding people I've ever seen. They treated every suggestion a professor had as something that had to be done by engineers or the product team immediately, since a lost sale could mean the loss of their job.

    When the layoff happened, we got to watch some of the best employees at Knewton be carted into a room and sent home forever while the sales team all remained. Seriously, don't work here. Actually, you probably can't, because it really looks like they're trying to be bought after we were made to sip the Kool-Aid that Knewton was on a path to success and about to change the future of education. Good riddance.

    Advice to Management

    Get a new CEO and fire most of the sales team.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great people, flawed management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Knewton full-time

    Pros

    You will work with amazingly talented and kind people. Good place to get your foot in the door and learn many different roles.

    Cons

    We could not get products launched. When I was at the company, middle and senior management were either not experienced or did not have an interest in developing people and building a successful product.


  4. "loved my experience at Knewton"

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

    I worked at Knewton full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    great environment, great office, nice coworkers, free lunches, flexible schedules, great perks

    Cons

    Very little to no complaints about my time there


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Dont walk, Run away"

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

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

    Pros

    Challenging??? Nobody made anywhere close to the aspirational goal numbers. If you work in Sales, it is not a healthy environment.

    Cons

    Many. Its just a regular old publishing job. No real departure from traditional paradigm. There really is nothing to see here, Pearson, Macmillan, any other group will keep your best interests in mind before anyone in the management team will


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Don't 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 Knewton full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some really great, smart people. I started before the new CEO came on and it was, at the time, a great place to work. Very exciting. The technology has teeth and it is very impressive what the Engineers have accomplished.

    Cons

    Awful senior management. You're not valued unless you get close to the CEO. He hired only people he knew when he came in so it quickly became a club. They don't handle internal issues well. It's clear the Board only brought this CEO in to get the company ready for a buyer and it's increasingly clear they're just selling it to a Publisher. The new pricing model is laughable, not sustainable, and clearly a cash grab. Absolutely no transparency from upper management. Senior Leadership is obvious when they're trying to be sneaky, skirt around certain questions instead of being straightforward, and are all around shady. Soon they most likely won't even be a company. They blew through money. Good thing someone is actually buying them or they'd just go bankrupt.

    Advice to Management

    With one or two exceptions, all of Senior Leadership should be removed.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Wasted potential, just another publisher"

    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 Knewton full-time

    Pros

    Most ICs are really good to work with and you can learn a lot from them if you're new to the industry. But beyond that, free lunches and flexible schedules are pretty nice to have in terms of perks.

    Cons

    Senior management is looking to sell the company and make whatever little money they can. There is a lot of big talk there, but very little substance. Middle management is in shambles (most, if not all, are looking out for themselves and that's it) - they either have no industry experience or have no one to learn from. No one really cares about transforming education, which is where all of Knewton's potential has been wasted. Every few months brings a new vision, but there's no one really to execute on it. No one trusts anyone, almost nothing gets done, but fingers do get pointed at frequently. If you're in the inner circle, you may feel valued, but do not be fooled into thinking that you actually are of value to the company.

    Advice to Management

    Think of the hard workers when the company is sold

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Had potential, but..."

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

    I worked at Knewton full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    My colleagues were smart, dedicated, kind, and passionate. When I began, Knewton felt like a truly mission driven environment with a group of hard working and enthusiastic people who truly cared about making education affordable and accessible. It was fast paced but exciting, and we were all on the same "team".

    Cons

    As soon as the new senior leadership came in, everything at Knewton changed. The culture became a cutthroat aggressive sales driven environment, where you were only valued if you were part of the CEO's inner circle. Senior leadership shared little information on actual company performance. It became quickly clear that the mission had pivoted from bettering education to gearing the company up for a sale. Senior leadership would benefit, those people who built the company would not.
    Little opportunity for career development, unless you were friends with the club up top.

    Advice to Management

    Be honest with your employees. Instead of talking a big game of caring about people and making sweeping "inspirational" talks/posts, actually value those employees who work hard and deserve fair insight into company performance and future.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "It's a popularity contest"

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

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

    Pros

    The product is interesting, really smart engineers...

    Cons

    The leader at the top is a clown. He only hires his 'friends' in the publishing industry. If you aren't part of his clique you have no job security. While the product is interesting there are many instructors who just don't want adaptive courseware to be their only solution for their course. Frankly, Knewton hasn't gotten that much traction.

    Advice to Management

    Its obvious the CEO is shopping the company around...


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Not Recommended"

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

    I worked at Knewton full-time

    Pros

    Very relaxed culture and generally nice people within tech.

    Cons

    In my opinion, Knewton is a poorly managed company. Senior leadership is not transparent on how Knewton can become successful commensurate with investor expectations. There is little realistic and productive goal setting for the business.

    The product does not seem to deliver much value, despite consuming over 10 years of engineering time.

    The company's HQ was downsized to a cramped and dark office.

    Advice to Management

    Try being honest and transparent.