Optimal Solutions Group Reviews in College Park, MD | Glassdoor

Optimal Solutions Group College Park Reviews

23 reviews

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College Park, MD

1.6
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Optimal Solutions Group President Dr. Mark Turner
Dr. Mark Turner
15 Ratings

23 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There is a lot of projects to work on (in 2 reviews)

  • Want to implement best practices via technology (in 2 reviews)

Cons
  • Billable hours are all management cares about (in 6 reviews)

  • No one ever leaves there on good terms (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great Opportunity to Grow"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in College Park, MD
    Current Employee - Research Analyst in College Park, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I've been at Optimal for a few years and enjoy working here. There is potential to grow and expand your skill set. I came in with limited qualitative research skills, but have learned about different statistical programs via online training's and my project teams. It's also great because you can work on more than one project to hone in on where your interests lie in the research field. Additionally, Optimal offers opportunities to attend conferences and events (both company and professional events).

    Cons

    I have met staff that come into a professional workplace with unrealistic expectations. Working a forty-hour work week is the standard here, but when deadlines are pending and deliverables are due, there is an expectation that an employee should stay to get the work done or prioritize over other tasks. I don't think this is unreasonable, given it is not a regular occurrence. A lot of it comes down to managing your time and workload well.

    Optimal Solutions Group Response

    Nov 1, 2016 – Vice President

    Thank you for the great review. Optimal is a great place to learn and grow if you are able to see the opportunity...whether challenging and important social projects, international work ... More


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Listen to reviews"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous in College Park, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous in College Park, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    There are some really friendly people here. Many don't stay long, though. There are opportunities for getting skills, and some limited growth opportunities.

    Cons

    You should ask which project you'll work on in the interview. Believe the reviews. While not all projects are as dysfunctional as the majority of Glassdoor reviews would indicate, some definitely are. Though tempting do not think "it can't be that bad, I'll be able to handle it." Unless you want to deal with a fear-inducing and passive-aggressive management strategy. Find out if the project you're being hired to work for has high turnover before taking the position. You will regret it if you don't.

    Advice to Management

    HR is unhelpful. To fix your negative image, look into replacing some senior-level management.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Hard pass"

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

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly and generally nice coworkers. New feeling offices, with free parking. Walking paths nearby to catch some fresh air.

    Cons

    Executive management is vindictive, backstabbing, immature. The rumors are true, they will try and sabotage future opportunities for former employees despite an amicable departure and the blood, sweat, and tears on behalf of the employee to do high quality work.

    They are a bush league "policy research firm" with a questionable reputation in the government.

    Advice to Management

    HR cannot be trusted to advocate for employee concerns. Senior mgmt need to take a hard look at the fear culture they have cultivated and how to turn the company around and be the type of company they so desperately claim to be


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  5. Helpful (4)

    "Rotten experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in College Park, MD
    Former Employee - Research Associate in College Park, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Somehow, they manage to hire some good people. Some employees bond over the awfulness, like how inmates bond.

    Cons

    No committment to quality. CEO and wife routinely attack employees. Work is like 22 hours/day because they bid low and understaff every project. The eery thing there is when you walk in it is silent, like drugged up robots. No one ever leaves there on good terms. You always feel like you are working with slime. Too many underhanded deals.

    Advice to Management

    do something else

    Optimal Solutions Group Response

    Oct 24, 2016 – Vice President

    The CEO and the COO (there is no "wife" job title) abide by federal client standards in addition to industry standards whether project management, software development or research. This is ... More


  6. Helpful (32)

    "The good reviews are written by COO"

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

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group (More than a year)

    Pros

    on the metro. some contracts are interesting.

    Cons

    The positive reviews posted here are written by the COO. If you work here long enough you recognize her writing. And they (COO and CEO) don't like the bad rap they get from employees on glassdoor so they write their own. and the billable hours fraud has been going on for years. Understaff the project, overwork the employees, overbill the govt is not an ethical model.

    Optimal Solutions Group Response

    Oct 24, 2016 – Vice President

    Yes, the COO is admitting to writing positive reviews about Optimal. We had requested for employees not to engage on Glass Door in the past because it seems to bring on more negative reviews. But ... More


  7. Helpful (23)

    "Worst company to work for in DC area"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Associate in College Park, MD
    Current Employee - Research Associate in College Park, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group full-time

    Pros

    It's very easy to get hired at Optimal. But beware of everything you hear -- not everything they tell you will come true.

    Cons

    The working environment at Optimal is ruined by the top management, who choose to manage through fear and misinformation. I was lied to outright about several different things during the interview process, including what projects I would be working on, as well as the success and nature of past projects completed by the company. Be very careful to check everything they tell you against an external source before accepting a position.

    One of the main things that kills any joy that employees at Optimal take in their work is the poor communications skills of the top brass. They seem to delight in dressing down individual employees in front of other employees -- and they call this motivation. They also seem to enjoy diatribes leveled against employees as a group via email. It's a very emotional and volatile place to work. The top brass does a really great job of presenting a happy face while courting prospective employees. They are really, really, excellent salespeople for their company. But it is a facade, and after about or 4 months of work, the new employee finds they are actually in the worst job imaginable.

    There is no respect for an employee's life outside of work. Billable hours are all management cares about. If you are young and this is your first job out of school, this is not a good place to work, because you'll end up thinking all companies are like this. They are not. Parents, don't let your children take this job. Optimal preys on kids fresh out of school to provide them with cheap labor, but they work the kids 80 hours a week and give them little to no training on the job. Kids fresh out of school would be better off taking a fast food job than working at Optimal. Their starting salaries are not a liveable wage in Washington, DC. I've witnessed so many young interns and new hires get emotionally wasted by this company, for salaries that don't even pay their living expenses.

    In my experience with Optimal, they get government contracts by underbidding every other company (and by virtue of their special status with the SBA). This means that the contract usually requires more work on the part of the employees than is budgeted for. The top brass doesn't want to go over budget, so the employees must put in a lot of unpaid hours to complete the project. If the project is not done on time and well, then the employees are harangued individually during staff meetings. Optimal wlll tell employees that this is standard at all consulting firms in DC. It is not.

    The turnover rate is extremely high, but you probably will not hear about that in the interview. Most employees leave within a year of being hired, with the exception of three or four long-term employees. The negative reviews here on Glassdoor accurately reflect the plight of many people who have worked there. I have witnessed it.

    Walk away. Just walk away.

    Advice to Management

    There's nothing that makes up for your style of management. If you continue to not see yourselves as the problems, you'll just push more people out the door who will end up reviewing your company on Glassdoor.

    Optimal Solutions Group Response

    Oct 24, 2016 – Vice President

    Our ratings performance ratings are high and can be validated in the Federal Government's Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS). These ratings are a direct result of senior ... More


  8. "Great learning experience!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in College Park, MD
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in College Park, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    At Optimal, I have been given various types of tasks across many different projects and have learned a great deal from each one. Each project is invariably different from another yet there are fundamental similarities in the way research is conducted and what principles are used to conduct studies, and it is very interesting to see how projects overlap at times. Even as a junior staff member, I have been given the opportunity to work closely with senior level staff and upper management.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, some researchers do not give their position/Optimal an adequate amount of time nor do they realize all the opportunities they are provided with to do high-level work and, as a result, leave the company. This can create a negative energy when they leave and tarnish Optimal's image, but I do not feel that the image created appropriately depicts the company.

    Advice to Management

    Don't take researchers leaving Optimal personally because it is not a reflection on you.

    Optimal Solutions Group Response

    Oct 25, 2016 – Vice President

    Thank you!!!!


  9. Helpful (11)

    "Very abusive work environment"

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

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    small business environment
    attractive location, close to Metro

    Cons

    It is a very abusive work environment. Executive managers bully and intimidate junior staff, by discussing staff within the office and sending demeaning emails. Senior Research Managers do not manage effectively and they do not support or defend their team members against the abuse of Executive Managers.

    Advice to Management

    Take a step back and realize how you treat your staff members. Your behavior is very concerning. A happy staff is a productive staff. People do so much with what little advice and support they get. Imagine if people were not scared and got adequate advice to do their jobs properly. Treat people as though they are human beings.


  10. Helpful (8)

    "WHERE DO I START???"

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

    I have been working at Optimal Solutions Group full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Hmmmm. Give me a minute. Time's up, can't think of anything

    Cons

    Cons - Con artists who can convince you to join this company with promise of career enhancement. Con - will not be allowed to do your job , without constant input from upper management, After all, Coo and CEO know how to do everything JOB within the entire company! What experts. Con - co-workers afraid to talk for fear of losing jobs. An eerie environment.

    Advice to Management

    Please consider having a meeting to research where you're going wrong. Something is seriously wrong here.


  11. Helpful (9)

    "Over promise, under bid and under deliver to clients."

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

    I worked at Optimal Solutions Group full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Small business, so you get to wear many hats. Good if you are independent learner.

    Cons

    Employees asked to work on projects that question their integrity. Training…none. The organization has been through multiple HR people and people come and go a lot. Senior researchers offer no recognition at all and do not know how to give direction. Owners squabble a lot in front of staff making for an uncomfortable work environment.

    Advice to Management

    Senior researchers should not be project managers. Hire real managers to manage projects.

    Optimal Solutions Group Response

    Oct 24, 2016 – Vice President

    Optimal conducts rigorous, non-partisan program evaluation for U.S. federal agencies including the Dept. of Education, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept of Health and Human Services, Small Business ... More


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