RAND Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

RAND Washington DC Reviews

Updated September 21, 2017
31 reviews

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Washington, DC Area

4.2
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RAND CEO Michael Rich
Michael Rich
16 Ratings

31 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Internal labor market is stressful; you need to be fully covered at all times, which can be difficult if you work on the domestic side (in 11 reviews)

  • There is a dark side to the "internal labor market (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Summer at RAND"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Summer Research Fellow in Arlington, VA
    Current Contractor - Summer Research Fellow in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at RAND as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The people there are extremely knowledgeable. There are several great opportunities for research

    Cons

    The office is in the mall, which is uncomfortable during the summer since there are so many summer field trips.


  2. "Interesting Work - especially for those who like to work alone"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Research Analyst in Washington, DC
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at RAND part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Work spans a wide variety of "hot topics" and supports a diverse client base
    - The staff is very bright with really interesting backgrounds which enhances the overall quality of work
    - There are many opportunities for cross-discipline work among the different centers and locations
    - Academic mindset

    Cons

    - Academic mindset - for some people this is a selling point, to others not so much
    - Do not expect much support - if you need assistance with something you will have to hunt to find people who can help you
    - If you like to interact with your colleagues during the workday, this is not the right place for you. Working in the DC office is like working in a graduate library - other locations may be a bit more lively.
    - If you are coming to RAND from another job (in industry or government), it may be take some time to adjust to the slower pace of work

    Advice to Management

    You have a very talented staff but there doesn't seem to be much effort to reach out to engage them so they feel like they are part of the organization. Recommend avoiding the trap of giving all of the work to the same individuals because there are untapped resources on the staff who do not get a chance to show what they can do. Recognize expertise - a handful of people cannot be experts on all of the work RAND does.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "RAND is a place where smart people get to work on interesting problems."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Technical Analyst IV in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Technical Analyst IV in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The people are the biggest pro. The impact of the work is probably second. The flexibility and benefits are nice too.

    Cons

    The coverage system can be frustrating at times. The institution can also be slow to grow / evolve, meaning we rarely have access to the newest technologies.


  4. "Project Consultant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Consultant in Bristow, VA
    Current Employee - Project Consultant in Bristow, VA
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at RAND (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very easy to get along with the people who work there. Very relaxed environment.

    Cons

    So far there are no real problems that I can spot.

    Advice to Management

    none


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Rethink the structure"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous in Arlington, VA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Great Benefits
    -Flexible hours
    -Smart people
    -Challenging work

    Cons

    -The matrix causes conflict between units and research organization which leads to in-fighting and vying for position
    -Exceptions for the researchers are the rule
    -Support staff are obviously not as respected as researchers and are sometimes ignored or thought of as "getting in the way"
    -Elitism at its finest

    Advice to Management

    -Re-think the matrix and recognize the conflict instead of ignoring it and hoping it will go away.
    -Do 360 reviews for ALL directors and above with action strategies for addressing issues and blind spots.
    Recognize the discontent in the WO and don't keep trying to pack people in as sardines.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Summer Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Summer Associate in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Summer Associate in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at RAND full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great summer job. Treated as a colleague and equal to everyone else. Interesting projects and lots of flexibility (teleworking, etc.). Very friendly and smart people who are always doing creative and challenging work. Solid pay and perks. One of the best jobs I've had.

    Cons

    A little tough to navigate the organization and its structure at first. People stay in their office and keep to themselves generally so it can feel unwelcoming, but if you stop anyone to talk to them that feeling will go away quickly.

    Advice to Management

    Build a bigger RAND Summer Associate alumni network/presence. It seems like SA's have to try and find opportunities to stay connected.


  7. "Great Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Facilities in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Facilities in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people
    Opportunity to learn and gain experience
    Leaders and mentors galore

    Cons

    Resistant to change
    Upward mobility depends upon openings

    Advice to Management

    Keep supporting your staff and encouraging retention

  8. Helpful (13)

    "Still Grateful to be Here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Behavioral Social Scientist in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Associate Behavioral Social Scientist in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    I love the challenge of working on a range of projects, and that I get to work outside of my disciplinary specialty in truly interdisciplinary teams. I love the lack of micromanagement: the freedom to manage my own time, a very flat hierarchy, and responsibility to accomplish tasks without someone leaning over my shoulder.

    I also like my colleagues. There's a range of social skills/personalities here, but the vast majority are sincerely collegial and a pleasure to work with. I've been mentored by several more senior people, for which I'm grateful, and I've had a chance to interact with and try and help juniors here. I also get to teach in the graduate school, and that's very satisfying.

    While RAND doesn't have a lot of ethnic diversity (which likely reflects larger social and cultural conditions, not RAND hiring/management), I do like the gender diversity at RAND--there's no glass ceiling here.

    I also appreciate that merit is generally recognized. I was promoted to full scientist after 2 years, and I think that fairly reflected my contributions and potential here at RAND. I'm compensated and treated fairly overall by the institution, get to do meaningful work, and I feel a lot of loyalty to RAND.

    Cons

    -You have to find your own work (RAND's "internal labor market"). Basically you have to quickly create a network of people who know and trust you to contribute value to projects, and get booked for 230 days of labor each year. That can be stressful, and may favor social skills over competency.

    -There are small pockets of highly toxic people who get tolerated because they have contacts and bring in business (they "bring value to the institution in other ways" as one unit manager told me). That may be a deal with the devil, trading a short term gain for longer term harm to RAND.

    -The Washington office has run out of space (hiring a lot), and so people who aren't in their office a lot are getting kicked out, and will have to use hotel (ad hoc) office space. I think most of us understand this is a difficult problem, but the presentation and implementation have been bungled pretty badly and caused a lot of resentment. It's being framed as "We've done the research and kicking people out of offices who are in the office less often will make them interact with other staff more often." That's been met with eye-rolling to anger.

    Advice to Management

    1. Help us figure out what constitutes a good hire. I'm about done recommending people I know are fantastic researchers, who then get torpedoed as applicants, and I have no idea why. No one knows hiring logic beyond "this person can bring in business."

    2. I think most of us see the value in the internal labor market as both a test and training for being a certain kind of valuable and connected researcher. But my guess is that filling in EXACTLY the right number of coverage days is a productivity drain. Give research staff a small pool of discretionary days so that we still have to find work, but don't need to somehow magically come up with exactly 233 days (or whatever it is) and not go over.

    3. Consider the cultural impact of keeping toxic individuals in place because they have a certain government connection and bring in business. I'm not sure the short term gain outweighs the long term harm to the workforce.


  9. "Think Tank Life"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends

    I worked at RAND part-time

    Pros

    Smart people doing interesting work in a collegial atmosphere. I really enjoyed the opportunity to do high-end analysis with a talented team tasked to model and assess Defense Department human capital challenges.

    Cons

    The academic atmosphere is a happy one, but sometimes that means the analysis gets disconnected from the real-world and the progress is slow.


  10. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Arlington, VA
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Arlington, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at RAND part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Interesting work, casual colleagues, incredible freedom!

    Cons

    Freedom can be costly if you don't have good instincts about projects


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