Language Stars Reviews

Updated May 7, 2020

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3.2
49%
Recommend to a Friend
76%
Approve of CEO
Language Stars CEO  Matt Kinnich (no image)
Matt Kinnich
12 Ratings
Pros
  • "Working with children is very gratifying(in 6 reviews)

  • "Center directors and other team members are very supportive and resourceful in helping teachers before,during and after class(in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • "center directors are asked to sell and meet impossible quotas, along with cleaning centers and taking kids to the bathroom(in 7 reviews)

  • "Most of my fellow teachers are still there because they have no choice, since they depend on the company sponsoring them for their visas(in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. "Good Experience"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Language Stars full-time

    Pros

    I enjoyed my time at Language Stars. Leadership and team members were passionate about providing value to students, highly collaborative and always trying to make a difference in students’ and co-workers’ lives. Unfortunately, the business model could not be run profitably and the owners had to shut the business down. I’m now looking for a job, but I understand the need to shut the business down.

    Cons

    The business is no longer operating.

  2. "Chaotic"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Language Stars part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Flexible and friendly coworkers, interesting people

    Cons

    Management is chaotic, things don’t work

  3. "No more in the market"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Teacher in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Language Stars part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Traing learning good curriculum and good teachers

    Cons

    They think made money from students

  4. Helpful (4)

    "A Tarnished Legacy"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Language Stars full-time

    Pros

    The people that actually did the work at Language Stars were amongst the most dedicated and motivated professionals that I have had the privilege of working with.

    Cons

    This company was largely stuck in the 1990’s and early 2000’s in many ways. The infrastructure, curriculum, technology, and leadership was dated and dusty. Innovation had stopped a LONG time ago and the leadership lacked the vision to fulfill the potential that this idea and company once held. This alone probably wasn’t enough to undo the company as there wasn’t much in the way of competition. What really sunk the company was the big bang roll out of the DC market, which put a strain on the company’s resources at a time that the market in Chicago was maturing. That, coupled with the inability or inexperience of the founding leadership team in scaling a business, resulted in a buy out that sought out new leadership. The two leaders that took over after that happened didn’t have sufficient resources, the passion, or experience to undo or fix the strain that the company had been put under. Neither of these two leaders were bad people, and probably did what they thought was best, but unfortunately, after the initial leadership team stepped down with the company basically operating at a substantial loss, the company lived a hand to mouth existence, and could only survive on capital injections from the investment group. The second leadership team, had to enact necessary austerity measures to try and preserve the company which alienated it from long standing and existing employees whom had been sold a utopian dream that had been funded by incurring unsustainable debt. The unavoidable measures they took resulted in a coup, which replaced the second leadership team with the final leadership team. Whereas the second leadership team, not a perfect one by any stretch of the imagination, had been more pragmatic, the final leadership team was more theoretical and detached from what was happening in centers. I feel that the company could still have been salvaged at the point that had the that team took control of the company tried harder to intimately understand the ins and outs of the business that they agreed to turn around. The leadership began to operate in what could largely be described as an echo chamber and many of the people who could have been instrumental in turning the company around often had their ideas dismissed by a haughty leader who liked to show people how smart they were instead of distilling what was being said. They ran the company like a business school project, and now it has become just that, a case study on the wrong way to run the business. Ultimately the leader failed because they largely abdicated their responsibility as a leader. Instead of leading, they often failed to make important decisions, instead displacing their responsibility onto subordinates or ruling by committee in order not to be held responsible for the potential negative effect of any given initiative or decision. Instead of focusing on ways to improve short term results to buy enough time to keep the company afloat in the long term, the leader chose to focus on initiatives better suited to companies that were larger and more stable. A byproduct of this leadership style was an increase in turn over at all levels, which had already been high, but then became astronomical and unlike anything I have experienced in my professional career. By the time I left the company, the standards that the company had for its product and people and slipped so much that it was hard to watch, especially knowing how much the people who did the real work cared. They needed a leader and leadership, but it wasn’t there. The centers looked dingy, the quality of the instruction and curriculum was largely a shell of what it had been, and the people working there didn’t feel appreciated. I know a lot of people are under the impression that the CEO had a say in the company’s closure or that at a minimum, was fully aware that it was going to happen, but I am not convinced of this. I don’t think he is that type of person. A jerk, maybe, but a thief and fraudster, hardly. This company hasn’t been profitable for a very long time and no one was stacking cash in a swiss bank account contrary to what we’d all like to believe. This was a company that was struggling to survive after a series of blunders, bad decisions, and ill-equipped leaders that just ran out of time and money. Their biggest investor probably decided to cut its losses after tons of empty promises from the leader, another year of lackluster sales performance and losing millions on a poor performing business. As much as I want there to be a “bad” guy to point the finger at, there really isn’t one. Things got messed up and it just didn’t work out. Sometimes in life, it just doesn’t and real people end up getting hurt because of it.

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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Language Stars took everything and ran."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Language Stars full-time

    Pros

    Was a casual work environment until they abruptly closed and took everything from their employees and customers.

    Cons

    The ownership of the company decided to abruptly close, and stole thousands of dollars from loyal customers. They gave none of their employees any severance pay or benefits extensions.

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  6. Helpful (5)

    "Language Stars Bankrupt Fires All Employees HCP&Company"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Language Stars full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Language Stars stunned all of our employees and customers by giving us all not even one day notice that the company was shutting down and we were all losing our jobs immediately a few weeks after having us aggressively collect advanced payments for summer programs from our most loyal customers.

    Cons

    Language Stars stunned all of our employees and customers by giving us all not even one day notice that the company was shutting down and we were all losing our jobs immediately a few weeks after having us aggressively collect advanced payments for summer programs from our most loyal customers. Language Stars is almost entirely owned by the private equity firm, HCP & Company and the two direct "owners" who purchased Language Stars years ago are Jim Bland and Carlos Signoret. They have over $200 million in their investment fund and so they have no problem losing some money by closing Language Stars and taking every penny from customers who prepaid weeks ago as well as having our employees pay for their own flights to come see them a few weeks ago (where the CEO Matt Kinnich told us just two weeks ago they were not going to lay anyone off but rather were going to add positions) and then not pay any of us for our company expense reports nor a single days severance (even though they have several hundred million dollars to invest). As employees we are all in shock and know they will try to hide behind "we're bankrupt" when the ownership actually has hundreds of millions of dollars at their control. The only realistic hope of people getting their money back is to focus on the actual ownership which is HCP&Company, specifically Jim Bland and Carlos Signoret as they have all of the money and they will surely look to be in hiding even though they are the full decision makers. Since wealthy investors pay them hundreds of millions of dollars their reputation is everything to them. If they are exposed that is likely the only scenario where they might actually do right to all of the customers and return the money they stole from customers in recent months just they could reduce their own losses on this one deal while they make millions on other deals (of course they'll try to hide behind HCP&Company saying they are not Language Stars even though they are the owners). We all might as well have worked for Enron. These guys are unbelievable and took advantage of us as employees and all of our customers. Language Stars Majority Owners Jim Bland and Carlos Signoret

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  7. "Exciting!"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Language Stars full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I feel fortunate to work here. It is an extremely diverse workforce of intelligent, passionate people who eagerly share their culture and professional insights. I find this to be a humbling experience where everyone works collaboratively and are treated respectfully by all employees. The leadership team works tirelessly to make continuous improvements and ensure employees have the best possible experience.

    Cons

    A constant here is change. If you can't adapt to new processes, leadership, stretch assignments or whatever may be introduced, this may not be an enjoyable environment for you. Yet, change teaches us to be resilient and versatile; helping people develop professionally and personally, which seem to be appreciated by most here.

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  8. "Pay your top employees what they deserve"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Language Stars full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    good mission, passionate people, casual work environment

    Cons

    low pay and no growth opportunities

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    Language Stars Response

    November 10, 2017Director, Marketing and Communications

    Thank you for reviewing and sharing your experience working at Language Stars. When a position opens up at Language Stars, we always meet with qualified and interested internal candidates and evaluate if there is an opportunity to promote an employee from within the Company. Over the past six months, we've identified numerous opportunities to promote internal talent. Many of these individuals have been promoted to Manager and Director positions both within various Centers, our At-School team and Training team. We have also been very fortunate to transition a few of our part time teachers to full time teaching roles. Nothing makes us happier to see the personal and professional development and success of our team members. While employee compensation is a very personal discussion, we continue to find ways to celebrate and recognize our amazing team. Recently we implemented a new Employee Referral Program and enacted a birthday policy that provides full-time team members with an extra paid day off each year for their Birthday.

  9. "Exceptional Opportunity"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Language Stars full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Multifaceted work allows you to wear multiple hats and gain meaningful experience - in many places you can't get this opportunity as quickly as you can at Language Stars. Collaborating with intelligent people passionate about the company’s mission is motivating. Senior Management encourages a work/life balance, but "Cons" can lead to this being difficult to self-regulate at times.

    Cons

    Lack of accountability results in roundabout conversations, repetition of mistakes, and failure to execute goals in a timely fashion - not to mention insurmountable frustration amongst employees and thus turnover. Lack of iterative or similar systems to best manage and deliver on long-term goals.

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  10. "Spanish Teacher"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Spanish Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Language Stars part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Well educated people and the managers and Center Directors are so kind. Friendly environment. You will love the kids. Good training.

    Cons

    You can't support yourself with this job. Even if you work full time. No benefits.

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Found 70 reviews