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MSCI Reviews

Updated June 17, 2017
530 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.3
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MSCI President, CEO, and Director Henry A. Fernandez
Henry A. Fernandez
232 Ratings

530 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • work life balance can be challenging if you need US overlap (in 16 reviews)

  • Senior management is not really up to the job (in 32 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (13)

    "Top Tier Company and People"

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

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

    Pros

    As an employee of MSCI for over three years, I think the best thing about the firm is the varied experiences our environment offers. I have been given the opportunities to own projects from start to finish and to work in areas/functions I had not previously had experience. I feel my opinion is valued and matters because I am converse with senior leaders every day as a NY employee.

    I also appreciate the opportunity I have to interact with peers around the global who are leading minds in the index and analytics space. Our products win awards and are valued by our clients and I am proud to continue to play a part in this.

    Cons

    There is nothing that comes to mind.

    MSCI Response

    Jun 29, 2016 – Executive Director, Americas Recruitment Lead

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on your experience at MSCI. We are very pleased to hear you are enjoying your work and that you are taking advantage of the opportunities the firm is ... More


  2. Helpful (8)

    "Toxic atmosphere, hostile work environment, disappointing salaries"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - casual dress code;
    - ability to telecommute;
    - app. 20 days of annual leave;

    Cons

    - hostile work environment;
    - toxic atmosphere;
    - unispiring management;
    - absolutely no oversight over the actions of the lowest-level management;
    - very disappointing base salaries in comparison to market rates;
    - annual bonuses are paid out at random, since no objective metrics are used to evaluate performance;
    - since there is no oversight and no objective metrics are used, promotions happen at random;
    - lack of true long-term strategy (it seems to change as often as the management);
    - questionable hiring practices;

    Advice to Management

    RMG managers always talk about people being the most important asset of the company. I would go even further, people (their knowledge, skills, and experience) are the only asset that the company has. An inability to manage this asset is shocking. There is no managing going on at all most of the time. It is just all totally haphazard. The company can't retain talent. It appears to me that RMG retains and promotes the mediocre (at best).


  3. Helpful (6)

    "Get out if you can"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Still working with some of my friends who are smart and still make it a somewhat fun environment

    Cons

    Lack of career growth
    Lack of creativity
    Lack of organization when it comes to planning and getting things done
    Everything is done in a cookie-cutter fashion
    Too bureaucratic

    Advice to Management

    Treat employees with more respect


  4. Helpful (5)

    "Avoid if you can"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Plenty of vacation days.
    Ability to network with clients and issuers (read: potential employers).
    Interesting co-workers.

    Cons

    Poor long-term career prospects.
    Uncompetitive base salaries.
    Disappointing bonuses.
    Limited learning opportunities (at least on the corporate governance side).
    Toxic atmosphere.
    Promotions/bonuses motivated by reasons other than performance.
    Talent or hard work are not appreciated.
    Low morale - most ISS employees are looking for a new job these days.
    Uncertain future.

    Advice to Management

    Treat people with more respect, be more transparent, and inform better.
    Get some kind of strategy and try to stick with it for a while.
    MSCI - fire the current RMG management, and get some new people -> the current management is so bad that no matter who you hire, it can only get better.


  5. Helpful (5)

    "It was one of the largest disappointments ever."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Salary and benefits package were pretty good. Co-workers were very helpful and liked to share knowledge.

    Cons

    Middle to senior management left so much to be desired. Friends were promoted or favorites, instead of those actually working. Often times, junior members on the team were left on their own to figure out things instead of getting explanation or guidance from more senior members.

    Advice to Management

    I noticed most of the senior management that was in place when I worked there have left. Their job titles and apparent roles had changed quite a bit. I would advise the current management to value their employees and listen to their ideas.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "I would make more money as an assistant manager at Walgreens"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Adequate vacation time to help you forget how miserable your job is.

    Cons

    My primary issue with MSCI is its financial abuse of its employees. Compensation is inhumanely low, no matter how well the company's stock is doing. The company must assume that its employees have extremely low expectations and zero ambition to find other jobs.

    Senior management above VP level is completely uninspiring and has no interest in helping employees advance in their careers. There are still a few outstanding employees left at the company but it seems they too are trying to leave ASAP.

    Don't apply for a job at MSCI; working at the company will take many precious years off your life and will likely drain any savings you have as salaries often don't increase from year to year, not to mention the cost of therapy needed as your feelings of self-worth will surely plummet. Oh, and good luck paying off those college loans...not going to happen in this decade.

    If you need a visual illustration of what life at MSCI is like, watch the movie Misery (or read the book), and imagine that you are Paul Sheldon and MSCI is Annie Wilkes. This will provide you with a sufficient portrayal of MSCI's strategy of luring its employees in with its innocuous appearance, followed by the unflinching "hobbling" that it systematically conducts on each employee.

    Advice to Management

    Management cuts overhead to an obscene level and still can't turn a solid profit (should I laugh or cry about this?). Time for a new strategy -- perhaps invest in Walgreens?


  7. Helpful (6)

    "Hard to work for a company that lies to its employees."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The employees in many of the departments are good people and are a joy to work with, but this excludes nearly all management.

    Cons

    Senior Management tells HR to tell any employee that is concerned about their low salary that it will ensure that they are brought up to market rate at the end of the year, but refuse to discuss at anytime market rate figures or ranges. At the end of the year, they don't increase salaries (nearly across the board) by much. Most of the jobs in several departments are being shipped overseas despite a lack of qualified applicants in those regions. End of year reviews are useless because if your manager decides you performed well, but senior management doesn't want to give you a bonus that reflects that performance, they just tell your manager to change your performance score (this really happened and was discussed with several employees during their performance reviews by the managers forced to change the scores).

    Advice to Management

    Reconsider your strategy to ship jobs overseas, especially if the talent is not there. Implement a competitive compensation package from top to bottom, not just at the top. In general, value your employees.


  8. Helpful (11)

    "Unhealthy environment altogether"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - Wages above average, if you don’t count the 30+% overtime you will be asked to put on it
    - Decent year-end bonuses
    - Offices are usually in prime locations in the financial capitals (although relocation and travels are discouraged)
    - Attractive health care coverage, average 401k retirement plan
    - Established reputation among customers
    - Respected research team, especially in Berkeley and Geneva

    Cons

    - Lengthy interview/hiring process; this will mislead you thinking they know what they are looking for: quite the opposite
    - MSCI is a software and service company that heavily rely on engineering, although it is very difficult for an engineer to have a voice heard at strategic level in order to contribute to the execution strategy of what designed and planned
    - MSCI is unable to retain talents they so carefully selected from the market. They say they only retain the best, more often they only retain who can’t have chances elsewhere
    - The company is in constant turmoil struggling to keep up with the CEO’s aggressive growth strategy based on merger and acquisitions. This reflects badly on the human capital causing high turnover rate affecting overall operations, customer service, product development, ultimately affecting competitiveness on the market
    - Management is largely inadequate and ineffective: senior managers (mostly Morgan Stanley dropouts) seem busy on keeping the status-quo while trying to land safely to hefty
    retirements; junior management is, on the other hand, highly unfit, under trained and in many cases sycophant (ie "yes-man") while facing their boss and arrogant while facing reports
    - The company shows incapable of elaborating and promoting a single culture throughout the global locations; this causes frustration and sense of exclusion on the many and lets
    some overly zealous managers assuming tremendous decisional power without the necessary checks and balance mechanisms.
    - The company is missing a global strategy for the Human Resources:
    a) Training is reduced to the minimum required by regulations
    b) Training for skill improvement is largely unfunded as budget for training is either minimal or non-existent
    c) Managers completely lack the role of career mentor for their direct resources with the result that people feel “stuck” in a position without possibility of moving on to another functions
      As a result people burn-out and quickly move on to another companies when they can.

    - Politics, rivalry and “prima donna” attitude common on some “empowered” managers (London office), are festering the company feeding anger, frustration and setting teams and offices against
    each other.
    - Top managers and officials are too distant from the life of the company as if they don't want to be bothered , and mid-level managers inadequately deals with the reports in a sort of antagonist (as opposed to a collaborative) way
    - Managers fail to help and empower associates in doing their job: micro-managing and lack of delegation contribute to quick people’s burn-out.

    Advice to Management

    The integration process with Riskmetrics and more recent acquisitions is showing by far more challenging than just consolidating office space and network links.
    The integration of products is lagging and your promise of saving $50M in 2 years (2010-2012) in operational costs does not appear in the right course.

    Clearly the strategy of the integration process is not executed well; sadly your inner circle of Morgan Stanley expatriates managed to cash in a hefty reward for a task having still uncertain outcomes.

    It is time for you to reconsider the work of your COO since front and back office operations have been clearly under-achieving in spite of the many HR directors, product managers, and IT directors rotated in the last few years.

    Others need to be held accountable (including the so called engineering team in Hungary) for badly copying and poorly implementing the Morgan Stanley IT model at MSCI (one size
    does not fit all).

    Give a clear signal of renovation to the market and sever your long-time ties with Morgan Stanley and your cronies: they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    It’s time to slim down the management, you owe it to your investors other than to the people of MSCI; even Morgan Stanley will appreciate that.

    You can’t keep MSCI’s balance sheet shining just with financial tricks and M&A’s; this will only buy so much time if you don’t start working on the consolidation and evolution of your products.

    Recent FY10 filings show MSCI is less competitive Revs per employee vise (-35% of Operational Revs/employee, FY10/FY09, and -40% of Operational Income/employee, FY10/FY09: sluggish revenues over a ballooning headcount) and it is in way more debts then it was right after the initial IPO.
    How are you going to address this?

    How far you think you can go before the market comes back and gets you if you don’t start working on the real asset of your company: your people.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Unfocused driving, no accountability and tired, paranoid culture"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Client Coverage in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Client Coverage in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MSCI full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Highly skilled associates

    Average to decent salary

    Resources from the hybrid of organizations

    interesting projects

    Cons

    Senior management care only about themselves. Local office heads and senior veterans not motivated to really help underlings. Often make it known they despise their role.

    in tricky market we know not where we're going. Fragmented data, models and meetings.

    Clannish, devisive behavior interfering with client mtgs, conference participation and trust.

    Favoritism, etc.

    Guidance and accountability seriously lacking in the Coverage, Project Management and Facilities units. Particularly in the New York and SF Bay offices. Good luck getting any emails answered. Or seeing any consistent meetings out of them.

    Outsourcing so much that we've chopped off our own feet and it's a challenge to go forward. Especially without vision, communication, trust and fairness.

    Advice to Management

    There's a lot we would like to give, but we've seen others shot down for nicely doing so. What is clear Is that leadership needs to change and vision needs to be clarified. After that, professionalism re-instilled in what used to be a great company. Pay attention to your product formation teams, new sales and upsells. Also to local office management and HR, to help with these areas. We can really hit walls when we need basic questions answered. That wastes even more time and productivity. Also look at who actually has shown up to work through the years instead of working remotely and not findable. Then keep telling us where we're going so we can actually do our jobs.


  10. Helpful (9)

    "MSCI should not be trusted."

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

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

    Pros

    You will have an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, especially people from India and the Phillipines, as you train them to do your job.

    Cons

    MSCI uses all forms of trickery to extract as much work from employees as possible. The company will tell you one thing and then do another, all without offering a reasonable explanation.

    Advice to Management

    Employees in developed markets are very valuable and worth their cost. Someday you will learn this lesson.


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