Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Reviews | Glassdoor

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Reviews

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Michael Van Valkenburgh
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  1. "Good starting firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in Brooklyn, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in Brooklyn, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    MVVA pays higher than other firms for entry level jobs.
    Good health insurance and standard number of days off.
    Great projects and very talented staff.
    Will look good on your resume.
    Staff has few good office culture practices like birthdays, going away parties, happy hours, meet the staff and michael bakes great!

    Cons

    The hours are ridiculous, and if you work close to a "normal" week, say 45 hours, you'll be reprimanded or assumed to not be working.
    People will work for years to get a small promotion. Often times, I saw hard working individuals be passed over and other senior staff who were terrible be treated better.
    Winter time off is horrible. There is a system called "snowflake" hours, where if you are able to work billable overtime hours to a project you can then apply those to in-between holidays. It honestly turns into a big race to try to get overtime hours approved by your project manager, which typically doesn't want to because it makes the project go over budget.

    Advice to Management

    I appreciate the opportunity to work here and the individuals I meet in the process, but ultimately I'm glad I left to somewhere that provides me a better life-work balance and benefits.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Long hours, high stress, zero creative input."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Designer in Brooklyn, NY
    Former Employee - Designer in Brooklyn, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You will work on some of the most high profile, exciting projects that currently exist in the field landscape architecture. The work produced is beautiful, top quality and easy to be proud of. The junior staffers are generally friendly and can be fun.

    Cons

    The environment is very stressful and unhealthy, especially as a younger staff member. There is a competitive spirit, but not in a good way- if you leave before 7 pm you will get stares. This is fueled by the erratic behavior of several of the upper managers. The office has a very dysfunctional culture, and if you are young you can expect to be hazed into it. As a young designer you will have very little input in this top down style office.

    Advice to Management

    Ease up, get outside more, and don't ridicule your staff.

  3. Helpful (8)

    "Long Hours = Burn Out"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Designer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Senior Designer in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great opportunity to work on exciting projects around the country and world. Great benefits, above competitive pay and bonus, good opportunity to learn

    Cons

    Long hours. Sometimes 70-80 hour weeks. Burnout is a reality here.

    Advice to Management

    Don't treat employees like pieces of furniture.