MBDA Reviews in United Kingdom | Glassdoor

MBDA UK Reviews

Updated November 18, 2017
53 reviews

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United Kingdom

3.8
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Antione Bouvier
19 Ratings

53 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Don't expect much of a pay rise beyond standard living increases (in 7 reviews)

  • Very heavy on middle management and other parts of the company are controlling (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A great company to work for!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The opportunity to work:
    1) with great technology;
    2) with great people;
    3) autonomously;
    4) and build a career.

    The atmosphere is such that you can produce your best work. The company helps people to become the best version of themselves.

    Cons

    There are challenges associated with working here, as with any company, but if you have a good attitude, these challenges can be overcome!

    Advice to Management

    Thank you for providing a space where people can grow and make progress!


  2. "Graduate Systems Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Graduate Systems Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Graduate Systems Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)

    I have been working at MBDA full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great work life balance
    Good benefits

    Cons

    Salary a bit low
    Can be a bit slow

  3. Helpful (3)

    "12 Month Placement - Integrated Logistics Support/Customer Service Support"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service & Support/Integrated Logistics Support in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Customer Service & Support/Integrated Logistics Support in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Lots of investment into you as an individual, and encouragement to find a job you actually enjoy. The company take pretty good care of you.

    Cons

    Frustrating amount of red tape. Work can move extremely slowly at times and perhaps isn't fantastic for a young professional seeking to make an impact. The result of the slow progress leads to a workforce that doesn't feel all that guilty about being relatively inefficient. They do make damn good missiles though so what do I know.

    Advice to Management

    Some of the support given to placement students is really good, but it's important to make sure they're not left banging their heads off a wall for too long thanks to the aforementioned red tape. Lots of time is wasted on things which add no value because people like to argue about the infinitesimally small details when someone higher up should be available to just 'push' the decision through. Also someone needs to be given the full-time position of of hunting down everyone who likes to play the blame game and hitting them in the knee with a 7-iron.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Some good, some bad."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Systems Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fairly relaxed work environment
    Secure job
    Fairly flexible - lots of different types of leave available, e.g. Special leave for family issues, volunteer leave etc.
    Average pay for the sector, with a yearly bonus (usually about 2k)
    Work often interesting.
    Some mobility is possible in the company between departments (if you push for it)
    Flexible hours
    On-site gym

    Cons

    A few others have alluded to it below: MBDA is massively hierarchical, to the point where it’s a bit ridiculous. The general make up of a team is:
    Chief Engineer, Chief Systems Engineer, Chief Design Engineer, Chief Systems Proving Engineer, Chief Safety Engineer - just completely over the top. Bigger programmes then have an additional layer of ‘Heads of’, e.g. ‘Head of Safety’. Then there might be twice as many again Engineers below who actually do the work. I’ve found the groups of Chiefs above to be very protective over their positions, often the Engineers who work below them don’t get the power they need to get stuff done because they’re waiting for the Chief Engineer talking shops to agree things.

    My experience has been that the management haven’t been able to make time to answer queries which whether or not they realise it incurs delay after delay to various programmes.

    Again, as others have alluded to, it’s difficult to make an impact when you’re young and prepared to work hard when there’s this unnecessary layer of fat sitting above you preventing things from happening.

    Advice to Management

    Cut middle management. Get middle managers to do some more work, and try to stop them attending every meeting under the sun.


  5. "A good place to work but lots of improvements needed to make it great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at MBDA full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The culture is good. It is not high-pressured and micromanagement is not common at all. Excellent work-life balance.
    The benefits package is very good (reliable salary rise every year, great pension, flexi-time, canteen, parking and gym on-site, salary sacrifice schemes, bonus and much more)
    The work has its ups and downs like anywhere, but can be incredibly rewarding.
    You can progress in the company, albeit slowly.

    Cons

    Very heavy on middle management and other parts of the company are controlling. This means changing work practices is almost impossible.
    Use of old technologies. And very guilty of the "Golden Hammer" approach.

    Advice to Management

    Be willing to try some risks and new things (technologies, methodologies, etc).
    Empower your team leaders, but always aim for a consistent approach across the departments.
    If everyone below you is saying something doesn't work, then listen to them and take action.


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Good company, look after their staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Filton, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Systems Engineer in Filton, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    MBDA has many pros:
    - Yearly pay rises to keep up with the cost of living.
    - In my experience, managers do not micromanage and allow freedom with work, allowing you to develop your own solutions.
    - Responsibility given to staff, including graduates is excellent.
    - Training is offered to staff, dependent on needs. Not necessarily to be taken for granted!
    - Holiday is easy to take . Relaxed informal process of asking line manager.
    - Work is interesting, can be varied if you're in the right role.
    - Business starting to move in the right direction - promoting younger talent. (See more in advice to management). Knowledge sharing between projects is improving, this could and should still be taken further. Still too many people who are reluctant to share information about their project with another project (perhaps it makes them feel important... yes I've called you out, and sorry but there's no excuse for holding the company back under the guise of security considerations.

    Cons

    - Flexi-time system seems to be listed as a big benefit by many others. This probably was the case 10 years ago, but times have moved on and many companies now offer far less rigid core hours, e.g. 10am - 3pm. (MBDA has 9.30am - 4pm). This has significant traffic implications, particularly around Bristol. Being allowed to arrive at 10am and work later (or vice versa for others) would make a significant different to my ife, and is something to be considered. MBDA need to ensure they continue to attract employees and do not fall behind on this!
    - Many of the older generation still strut around with an over-inflated sense of self importance, despite in my opinion being part of the reason that things take so long to complete at MBDA, and why projects are always late.
    - Too much process, even with things which should be simple - like getting an additional computer monitor which needs 100 signatures, including from the Pope and Duke of Edinburgh.
    - Sometimes a struggle to fill the days work, managers need to ensure that they are correctly understanding the workloads and workrates of their team.

    Advice to Management

    - The graduate scheme should be more of a direct line/fast track scheme. It sometimes feels as if your graduate scheme runs as a bit of an aside, or additional recruitment tact, rather than aiming to develop the best people.
    - Implement further Flexi Time changes.
    - More integration and knowledge sharing between projects: the directors have the power to implement this and should continue to do so, but note points above about the good progress already evident with this.
    - Try to move away from a system where there is an allowance for employees to do 10% overtime. Sometimes this gives a false illusion of a good work life balance when in fact staff are expected to go a little bit beyond. This could be removed if work was better distributed and tasked by management, and perhaps some of the savings could be implemented into employee pay.


  7. "Good Place To Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bristol, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bristol, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at MBDA (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Lots of opportunities, good processes to learn from, effective organisational structure, flexi time and work life balance

    Cons

    A bit slow in times, easy to get stuck in a role if you aren't proactive at managing your career

    Advice to Management

    Continue in the direction of travel

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Principle Electronics Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Electronics Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Principal Electronics Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at MBDA full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Excellent facilities and training. MBDA support career development - this was the main reason for me joining. Good flexibility to moved around with in the company.

    Cons

    1) Very difficult to get large salary increases once joined. It is recommended to negotiate a good salary during your interview.

    2) Technology that MBDA is very outdated compared to the other defence primes. However MBDA are slowly changing as the older generation are retiring.

    3) If you come in as a manager you will spend over 60% in meetings that are sometimes pointless.

    4) Lack of training provided on company processes.

    Advice to Management

    Provide better training for new staff on company processes and systems.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Generally a good place to work, but with some major flaws"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Bristol, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in Bristol, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The decent benefits are decent (for engineering) and the flexitime scheme gives a respectable work life balance by UK standards. There is a limited training budget, but overall the training opportunities are above average. By and large there is a friendly working environment. There are some very interesting projects to work on. For (prospective) systems engineers and project managers, I would say MBDA is a good place to be.

    Cons

    Most of the recruitment is via the graduate scheme, with interviews conducted to assess general skills and behaviours. Unfortunately, in my experience, this approach is also applied to experienced candidates, so don't be surprised to not see your prospective line manager in your interview. On your first day at work you may also be surprised to find that your role bares little or no similarity to the one for which you applied and that your line manager wasn't entirely behind your employment. Be warned, you may end up as a square peg in a round hole!

    There is limited room for progression once you've reached level 4, which you should reach with 3-4 years experience post-graduate scheme. In order to move higher, you have to be managing a set number of people meaning that people that want to follow a purely the path to Technical Expert, rather than project management, are likely to be stuck at this level for many years, if not permanently.

    This is a systems engineering company, so if you're looking to do 'hands on' engineering, technology or scientific research be very careful because although there are areas of the business within which you can pursue these disciplines, on the whole they are are few and far between.

    Advice to Management

    Line managers should be in the interviews of non-graduate scheme candidates.
    There have to be better routes to promotion for staff as a whole, but particularly for purely technical staff, otherwise retention of level 4 staff will suffer.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "A poor culture, hidden within nice buildings"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Systems Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Principal Systems Engineer in Stevenage, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at MBDA part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    MBDA has nice facilities, better than most in the defence industry - you can typically find a gym and good food on site in most locations.

    Cons

    The company has a particularly resistive nature when it comes to change, this is largely due to the fact the company has a high number of 30+ year service employees and seems to have good graduate scheme retention; this has created a workforce with minimal view of non-MBDA concepts. It was made clear to me in the first few weeks that the company had certain ways of doing things, and that was that.

    MBDA is regimented in its processes, the company has structure but lacks agility. It seems that there are many good people not moving forward with their careers and not achieving promotions because the company is more interested in ticking boxes on forms and not thinking pragmatically.

    The majority of people who "make it" at MBDA and get promoted are generally the ones who worship the corporate doctrine and are happy to follow extremely rigid process.

    Advice to Management

    Relax structure of functions, increase agility. Give promotions on individual conviction and merit and not based on a career progression checklists.

    Your obsession with process has resulted in so many things being more expensive to talk about than actually doing.


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