Samsung Research America Reviews | Glassdoor

Samsung Research America Reviews

Updated March 1, 2017
27 reviews

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Samsung Research America President Yongje (YJ) Kim
Yongje (YJ) Kim
3 Ratings

27 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Good benefits, smart colleagues, Silicon Valley management is good (in 18 reviews)

  • At the time I was there they were loyal, reasonable about work/life balance and the benefits were Best in Class (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • work life balance and hq management (in 10 reviews)

  • Too much interference from HQ in Korea (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Avoid it"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Diego, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Samsung Research America full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    market salary, good health insurance, cheap food, sometimes interesting projects to work on

    Cons

    The US operation is a cost center without any direction and very little output. Every 3 months the direction changes, from wireless to control to AI to computation vision or whatever sub-category.

    In reality, people are scrambling to catch up onto the basics for the rotation, and read papers from 20 years ago. Before they finish reading and grasping the state of art (let alone delivering anything meaningful), the next one starts. You will be constantly checked on if you "understand" or "qualify" for the current project, in the same way that a shop checks your bag to see if you have stolen anything. Mostly the deliverable is "understanding" with emphasis on notational and gramma correctness.

    If you still want to try out this spining wheel toward nowhere, remember to negotiate your salary based on the expectation of 60 hour/week.

    If you indeed come on-board, be prepared that your work will seldom be acknowledged, and do not be surprised if you see that tech info is not properly shared between teams.

    Advice to Management

    Shut down this meaningless operation. Any academic institue back in South Korean probably can produce more.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Young and fresh graduated people will have good experience, but it may not be long lasting on your carrier"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Staff Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Samsung Research America full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    There are many chances to work for edge and latest mobile technology based upon cool mobile devices

    Cons

    HQ funding is very limited and almost of projects are strongly handled by HQ.

  3. Helpful (11)

    "Mission in Conflict"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Samsung Research America full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Modern campus
    Decent benefits
    Diverse cafeteria fare

    Cons

    Constant churn of short-term priorities and directions from Suwon
    Oppressive levels of bureaucratic requirements from ex-pat CFO
    No freedom to demonstrate why Silicon Valley R&D can be valuable to Samsung.
    The disheartening tragedy of good people being undermined and leaving

    Advice to Management

    There is no advice that will change the conflict in SRA. The only SRA management that has any influence are Korean ex-pats on assignment. And their instructions come from the East every day. Independence is what is needed to demonstrate the value and that will never happen.


  4. Helpful (18)

    "Non-Koreans are still not trusted"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Richardson, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Richardson, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Samsung Research America (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Leading-edge company with some very smart people. Fast-paced - the only constant is change. Very proactive in foreseeing and responding to external events - sometimes a little too aggressive in their responses to potential negative events. Have done an excellent job in building the Samsung brand worldwide, especially in the US. Good benefits. Decent salary. Excellent bonus plan that makes up for the somewhat lower salary.

    Cons

    Korean R&D managers and project leaders in Suwon are still untrusting of their US colleagues, regardless of the US employees' credentials or track record. If you are not Korean, you have to work twice as hard to gain their trust. Even after you think you have their trust, you are typically kept out of the loop on vital information needed to perform your job, out of an abundance of "caution". There is a pervasive culture of mistrust. Some of the Korean project leads have very limited knowledge of English and are simply unable to understand the nuances of email or verbal communications, especially from other companies that Samsung works with. But that does not stop those PLs from reacting to those emails or conversations and making (potentially harmful) strategic decisions, based on their erroneous understanding of the content. Unprofessional (and sometimes vindictive) behavior, politics and nepotism rule the day - if you are Korean, you are always correct; if you are Korean, you will always have a project; if you are Korean, you are able to circumvent travel policy with impunity, and so on and so forth. On the other hand, if you are non-Korean, you are only as good as your current project. Once your current project is over, the slate is wiped clean and you have to start all over again. In other words, non-Korean full-time employees are effectively treated as contractors, especially in the R&D organization. Your track record on your prior projects, however brilliant, means nothing. Your current job grade and title, that you have worked hard to earn, mean nothing. This myopic view is prevalent in all areas of R&D. Non-Korean R&D managers and employees who learn to tow the line, blindly play "yes-man" to everything handed down from Suwon, are likely to thrive. Others, who try to apply their independent thought processes, and are foolhardy enough to exhibit signs of having a spine, are unlikely to last very long.

    Advice to Management

    - Wake up to the realities of operating with a global workforce.
    - Treat all employees (Korean and non-Korean) with the respect that they deserve.
    - Understand that non-Koreans are professionals too who are also trying hard to work towards the good of the company.
    - Have all your Korean managers and PLs undergo periodic mandatory cultural sensitivity and professional etiquette training as well as English classes (both written and spoken) so that they can communicate better both within Samsung and with external organizations.
    - Have the courage to solicit and act on feedback from non-Korean employees on their Korean counterparts and project leads, to ensure that the values of the company are being followed by everyone.
    - Samsung is only as good as its people. To be considered a truly global company, it needs people from all over the world to succeed, not just Koreans!

    Samsung Research America Response

    Oct 3, 2016 – Communications Manager

    Thank you for your feedback. I am sorry to hear about your disappointing experience with some of our Korean project leads. Your description of our office culture and performance standards certainly ... More


  5. Helpful (18)

    "Depressing"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Samsung Research America full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - Some decent benefits (401k, health)
    - Very fast follower
    - Good hardware product features
    - Mountain View campus is nice

    Cons

    - No respect for employees, third world country management style. You will be reminded that everyone is dispensible
    - Very short terms goals with immediate expectation of results. No long term vision
    - Always re-organizing, and having frequent layoffs
    - No career growth, turnover rate is very high. Can't move to other teams.
    - Korean cultures in USA

    Advice to Management

    - Need to embrace US/silicon valley cultures
    - Management needs significant training and overhaul
    - Dispatcher based management needs to go
    - Give proper respect to employees
    - pursue innovative projects with long term vision

    Samsung Research America Response

    Oct 3, 2016 – Communications Manager

    Thank you for your feedback! I am sorry to hear that the future vision of SRA was not as clear to you as it should have been. Because SRA is the R&D division of Samsung, our vision for future ... More


  6. Helpful (17)

    "Start-up mentality without the fun culture"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - User Experience/Creative in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - User Experience/Creative in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Samsung Research America full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    New campus that was built within last year, lots of talented people from which to learn and collaborate, and good benefits.

    Cons

    Old-school approaches, backwards formalities, and a political mine field. Even though there are dozens of independent groups that feel like tiny start-ups falling under the Samsung umbrella, you can't switch from the one to another if you wanted. The only way would be to quit the company altogether, go through the interview process, and you may get it. Getting promoted is also a challenge, even if you're breaking your back. Most accomplishments filter through Korea and often treated via political lens. I've seen many amazing prototypes, which get killed because one VP doesn't like another VP. This place is good for learning new technologies, but not for someone who wants to grow with a company. It's primarily good for Korean nationals, who don't have to work as hard, but get all the recognition.

    Advice to Management

    There are too many inherent systems in place, which prevent SRA from being great. Unless they break away from Korea and change management tactics, nothing will improve.

    Samsung Research America Response

    May 31, 2016 – Communications Manager

    Thank you for the review. I am glad that you had the chance to collaborate with our talented team! I am sorry to hear about the politics though, which is in part due to our need to work closely with ... More


  7. Helpful (10)

    "Don't waste your time"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Samsung Research America (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great benefits, good cafe and coffee bar.

    Cons

    To much control from HQ Korea. Having layoffs.

    Advice to Management

    Good luck

    Samsung Research America Response

    Apr 7, 2016 – Communications Manager

    Thank you for your time here at SRA. I agree that we do have excellent food and coffee at our cafes! However, I'm sorry to hear about your experience with HQ. As the R&D division of Samsung, SRA's ... More

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Financial Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Project Manager in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Samsung Research America (More than a year)

    Pros

    You get to work with smart and industry leaders. You will learn a lot since you will not tied to your job title.

    Cons

    You have to be willing to accept Korean culture. Many projects can be scrapped due to HQ direction. Management style is so outdated.

    Advice to Management

    Dispatchers have too much authority in all activities just because they are from HQ


  9. Helpful (10)

    "Poor work life balance.. too much of politics.."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Irvine, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Irvine, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Samsung Research America full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Working on the latest technologies allows east access to latest technologies, tools.
    Opportunity to learn many new technologies.

    Cons

    Too much of politics. Very poor management. No work life balance and poor salary.
    Lot of Korean influence in the company (e.g. you are offered a Korean language class. Most of the high level meetings switch to Korean within 10 min)

    Advice to Management

    Be able to recognize a person with real talent/abilities rather than the one who talks more.


  10. Helpful (11)

    "Not worth it."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Turlock, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Turlock, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Samsung Research America full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Incredible benefits, fair salary. Company name will get you meetings with other companies.

    Cons

    No communication skills within the company. Bureaucratic nightmare. No loyalty and no reward or recognition for being loyal. Policies change faster than anyone can adopt them. Toxically competitive. HR does not follow up or follow through unless you're a VP level or above. Inappropriate behavior by VP is blamed on the victim. Rife with sexism.


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