Mathematica "project directors" Reviews | Glassdoor

Mathematica Employee Reviews about "project directors"

Updated Aug 15, 2019

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3.5
68%
Recommend to a Friend
76%
Approve of CEO
Mathematica CEO Paul Decker
Paul Decker
91 Ratings
Pros
  • "Decent work/life balance (I work between 40 and 45 hours a week, generally and have work from home twice a week to accommodate family needs)(in 26 reviews)

  • "flexible on work-life balance, brilliant colleagues, ever-changing and interesting work(in 17 reviews)

Cons
  • "Junior staff members are at the mercy of their task leads or project leaders when it comes to performance reviews(in 11 reviews)

  • "There is no mentoring of Project Directors(in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "project directors"

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  1. Helpful (4)

    "Fantastic colleagues, interesting work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Researcher I in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Mathematica

    Pros

    Colleagues are personable, talented, and dedicated. Company culture is positive and comfortable. Kind of an academic vibe in terms of seminars and presentations but with a stronger policy focus. Company has a good reputation in the industry and is doing interesting work. Good flexibility in terms of schedule; you can work at home, come in a little late or leave a little early if that's necessary some day, etc.

    Cons

    Very deadline driven, which means work can get stressful. Because you will work with many different project directors, it's up to you to let them know if you are busy on other projects. Need to speak up for yourself. But supervisors are good at helping you figure out when and how to do that.

    Mathematica2012-02-13
  2. Helpful (14)

    "Rating Mathematica a 2.5: there are pros, but they're increasingly hard to see"

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

    I worked at Mathematica full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The quality assurance principles at Mathematica are fantastic and set the company apart from its peers. You will feel confident in the products you deliver to clients because they are thoroughly vetted—not all companies can say the same. If you have a question or need to work through the best way to do a task, people are very open to talking with you and offering guidance. Mentorship and quality of projects varies... greatly by who you know. Some people are lucky enough to work with senior staff who take an interest in them, but it is not uncommon to hear people at the C level who have been trying to break into different project areas for years without much success. The company is also flexible and generous with their work from home policy. As far as the office culture, people are friendly. I didn’t feel Mathematica was particularly introverted.

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    Cons

    First, let me reiterate the critique from another recent review: “retention has become a major issue - good people are leaving the company at a steady pace due to the lack of any semblance of work-life balance and limited opportunities for growth. Corporate leadership is aware of the issues but they ascribe to the “burn out and replace” management philosophy.” This comment was true to my experience. People in the... international, health, and admin divisions (e.g., comms) are staffed well above 100% for months on end. Employees are expected to be available after they leave the office and on weekends to meet deadlines. The junior staff (B levels) do this work without appropriate compensation as they are encouraged by project directors to not report overtime worked. There is an idea that everyone at Mathematica is nice, and most are, but the energy of the office feels stressed out and antisocial due to everyone being stretched beyond their bandwidth. Almost no one takes a lunch break away from their desk. So good employees are leaving. They would rather have a work/life balance or at least be paid at market rate for their time and effort. Mathematica is a consulting company, but it doesn’t pay like one or recognize (and compensate) hours logged. Employees are only evaluated for promotions once per year and there is no meaningful bonus to speak of before the D level. Salaries are also not adjusted based on office location—this matters given our offices are in extremely expensive places. For C level staff and below, yearly raises are essentially the cost of inflation.

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    Advice to Management

    The management and CEO seem out of touch with the staff. They have yet to roll out many programs that were in the works 3 years ago. Focus on burn out and appropriate utilization rates for staff. Hire more people or bid on fewer projects. People can't produce high quality work with no time to do it. Also, pay your people what they deserve!

    Mathematica2019-08-15
  3. Helpful (29)

    "Killing me softly with this song"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Management in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Mathematica full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Associate Director, HR who responds to the reviews Bagel Fridays

    Cons

    Talent comes here to die. Skill comes here to get rusty. Why? because this company lives in 1980s rather than 2018. The Assoc. Dir, HR, who so graciously took time from their busy schedule to respond to the reviews, and I seem to be working for different companies. Either that or they have been so numbed by their surroundings (senior management) that they can't tell the difference. What they said is all a big... corporate speak for "I will tow the party line and if possible will put the onus on the employee." In a response to one of the reviews it was said, "Recently we have had more opportunities to work on IT projects and our staff has embraced those projects." The reality is the staff has no idea how to handle IT projects. Simple trivial tasks are over-estimated. The technology leadership has no idea it is 2018 because they are still living with FORTRAN and SAS which btw is being put in operations on a programmer laptop not even centralized servers. They are hiring external vendors to stand up internal corporate tools, while you have qualified people to do that work (and have time to do it by the way). The real IT staff you have hired, do not get pulled into the right conversations because your VPs and CTO and “Supervisors” don’t want to lose their control. In response to another review there was mention of “exciting time of change”. More like don’t know where the card will land. Even after numerous re-orgs, the key structure remains the same. Its all a matter of who knows who and not who is the best person for the job. There are senior personnel reporting to supervisor on a junior level. Mind you, this is a matrix org so the supervisor is not the task manager. Here supervisor is supposed to be a mentor to help you find your place in the organization.. Steve jobs said - It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. What this company does is the exact opposite or even worse. They hire smart people and then make up stuff without their input. (External world still thinks its becaue of all the smart people they hired). Then they go in town halls and chest thump about the future and use cool jargon. Anybody remember Enron? Their town halls were full of chest thumping till the day they closed. The monthly project reviews are a farce. There is no mentoring of Project Directors. Mostly because they don’t have a clue or just care about their own fiefdom. Asking lame questions in a 15 min session does not give you the picture of the project. Coming to the, "Mathematica’s Diversity Council" Just by hiring diverse people does not stop your company from being racist. You need to embrace their difference in mannerisms which are culturally motivated. Not everyone speaks/ acts like a white person. Do you even know the ratio of non-white senior management or even Project Directors? One white project director handles multiple projects when other capable personnel are relegated to the shadows. BTW, your management does not share forward looking information or strategy. They share their past performance, and strategy decisions they have made without the employees' input. Finally to the CEO. In my years here I have yet to see him walk down the hall talking to people. Who is your company Mr. Decker? the senior managers who hold their nose high or the staff member that is prioritizing the work they do for your company, over their families, their illness, their children, their life? Why don’t you stop by the desk of a staff member and ask them how has the day been for them? What is it that you can do to make their jobs easier? Please ask your senior managers to clear their calendars and stop hiding behind pretend busy schedules. After all if they don’t work for their staff who do they work for?

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    Mathematica2018-12-19
  4. Helpful (10)

    "Will the real senior management please stand up !!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Mathematica full-time

    Pros

    Good amount of PTO Good Pay (which at times is bad because you price out the competition) Nice selection of Tea and Coffee

    Cons

    Mis-management galore. Politics all over the place. Antiquated policies and processes. Don't have a good handle on staff development. Multiple bosses for one person. Project problems are brushed under the rug till very late. most of the work is put on the shoulders of a few staff members. Newly hired senior staff have no idea of the culture of the company. Management wants to hire people to address gaps in the... knowledge but does not empower them to take appropriate actions. Senior management is too distanced from staff and does not understand project problems. New Project Directors have no idea how to to run a project. Supervisors harass people with asinine demands. Mr. Decker is great on the web conferences but has never taken a chance to meet and listen to the staff.

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    Mathematica2018-10-03
  5. Helpful (13)

    "Has potential but falls short"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Work life balance is second to none Great benefits Overall nice colleagues committed to the vision DC has a modern office space with nice amenities

    Cons

    I've heard Mathematica described as a place filled with unhappy people who refuse to leave. And in my experience that is exactly right. It is close to being an amazing company. Unfortunately it is plagued with lagging leadership who won't innovate or change, disinterested managers who make or break you, inconsistent project directors with asinine demands, and junior-mid level staff constantly having their days... hijacked by crises that could have been avoidable.

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    Advice to Management

    As you grow, you must adapt! you need innovative services that stay competitive. Managers and project directors who are held accountable. Software that gets the job done. And proper training and systems to ensure things work EFFICIENTLY. I know a lot of growth came fast, but I worry the company won't survive (or at least thrive) without significant revamping

    Mathematica2017-11-28
  6. Helpful (18)

    "Missing Management Oversight"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Researcher in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The company is full of smart, hard-working, and thoughtful employees. The family-friendly policies and supportive atmosphere make this a great place to work for individuals with families. The expectation is to work hard but minimize working overtime (unless absolutely necessary). Everyone is happy to step in and help make sure no one is overwhelmed.

    Cons

    I've been with the company for 3 years now and am still struggling to find work to keep me fully engaged. The management doesn't help senior staff find work- you are completely on your own trying to find projects where you can assist. This is even further complicated by the fact that project directors have staff they prefer to work with so are not keen to include new individuals even if they bring the appropriate... skill set. However, management emphasizes the need to increase billable hours and then does not help staff find billable work. This is demoralizing to staff that want to contribute to the organization's success but feel that their efforts are thwarted.

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    Advice to Management

    Management needs to sit down and look at staff skills and availability against existing projects and INSIST that staff get put onto projects where they can positively contribute. A once per year reconciliation process is not an effective way to manage a company of this size and leads to staff discontent when individuals are not fully utilized

    Mathematica2016-12-15
  7. Helpful (7)

    "Nice salary but work is boring"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Survey Researcher II 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Smart people all around, some interesting projects, great opportunity for bookish PhDs to learn business skills, nice salary relative to other similar companies, nice work/life balance

    Cons

    Terrible management in survey division, cold working environment, work not divided in an equitable manner, some supervisors and division managers (especially in DC survey division) play favorites, little accountability at higher levels, little contact with the outside world (all communication outside of the company must go through project directors), not much opportunity to learn substantive or methodological... research (or survey research) skills,

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    Mathematica2014-06-20
  8. Helpful (19)

    "Avoid if you can..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Analyst in Princeton, NJ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Mathematica full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Every employee, besides secretaries, gets their own office

    Cons

    1. Worked for this company over 5 years. some of the key points to remember when you work here - discrimination, favoritism - Yes, exists here. During my employment at Mathematica, I have heard Male project directors cracking racial/offensive JOKES and mean words towards female employees -- Making 'STINKY' environment to work. You are NOT judged based on your skill-set, experience, or hard-work - but... based on your face-value (what a joke !) 3. Their attitude towards everyone is "you're replaceable", they will spend $1,000 to save $10, they make it impossible to move on within the company. 4. Senior research and management staff often ignore emails from junior staff, and it can be hard to get help when you are stuck on something. 5. Incompetent support staff (accounting, IT, secretaries, etc). Not good enough for the 21st century. Limited professional development opportunities. 6. Lacks cultural diversity. Definitely missing dynamic, and diverse corporate culture. 7. Some staff lack professionalism. Personal relationships often drive business decisions and staff are treated differently based upon their personal relationships. 8. No career-growth or advancement opportunity for most of the staff.

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    Mathematica2014-06-05
  9. Helpful (12)

    "Good environment for research but room for improvement"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Mathematica full-time

    Pros

    - Very pleasant and friendly work environment - Extremely smart and talented colleagues - Dedication to high-quality work - Many opportunities on interesting projects - Flexible attitude to work schedule and telecommuting - Generous compensation and benefits

    Cons

    - Can be a high stress environment at times, especially when deadlines coincide - Usually more than the 40 hours a week that are advertised. Work on weekends is rare, but work at nights (from home) is common - Senior research and management staff often ignore emails from junior staff, and it can be hard to get help when you are stuck on something. - Large variation in quality of project directors. -... Incompetent support staff (accounting, IT, secretaries, etc). Not good enough for the 21st century. - Can be thrifty. Computers are a decade out of date, office chairs are bottom of the range, and accounting will argue over a few cents when processing reimbursements

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    Advice to Management

    - Encourage senior staff to be more accessible and responsive. It's harder now that the company has grown but it's important. - Senior staff and project directors are far too busy. Many cope by sacrificing their personal time, but inevitably it compromises the quality of interactions with them. Also makes career progression an unattractive path for junior researchers. - Find a better way to integrate new research... staff quickly. Sitting around doing nothing or working on projects you don't care about for 6 months is demoralizing. - Don't be so thrifty. Having a corporate retreat once every 5 years is not good enough. Buy some new computers and chairs. This will pay off in terms of better staff morale and productivity.

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    Mathematica2013-02-15
  10. Helpful (10)

    "Good pay, predictable work, poor work environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Researcher II 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    1) Every employee, besides secretaries, gets their own office 2) Mathematica has a good reputation in the field 3) The pay and benefits are probably better than average for these types of firms 4) Mathematica gets good contracts and interesting work

    Cons

    1) Limited professional development opportunities, especially for junior staff 2) Co-workers are competent but not self-reflective about their craft. 3) The culture is predictable (a plus to some) but bland. I've worked places with a much more interesting, dynamic, and diverse corporate culture. 4) Some staff in the human services research division lack professionalism. Personal relationships often drive business... decisions and staff are treated differently based upon their personal relationships. 5) Mathematica does not hold staff, especially senior staff and project directors, accountable to expectations and policies. 6) There's a perception that the "Mathematica way" is the best way; there is a lot of pressure to conform. 7) As other reviewers have mentioned, Mathematica's commitment to diversity, especially in the human services research division, is suspect at best. I'd encourage you to read what others have said here on Glassdoor about diversity because I think they are correct.

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    Advice to Management

    Hold staff accountable to corporate policies. Create procedures to limit the role of personal relationships in professional decisions. Focus on increasing diversity and valuing different perspectives.

    Mathematica2012-05-24
Found 11 reviews