Stax, Inc. Reviews | Glassdoor

Stax, Inc. Reviews

Updated March 30, 2017
44 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.4
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Stax, Inc. CEO Raphael Musher
Raphael Musher
31 Ratings

44 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Projects expose you to a wide variety of industries (in 6 reviews)

  • The fast turnaround period helps you learn a lot about an industry in a short period of time (in 5 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (3)

    "Hidden gem within consulting"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Stax is a great opportunity to work on a variety of projects across many industries. From commercial due diligence in health care to blue-sky corporate strategy in consumer products, you see a wider range of projects than most other consulting firms. Because it’s a boutique firm and teams are small, associates have the opportunity to own work streams and contribute more than you would at other firms. It's a work environment where your time and insights are valued, where you will be continuously challenged intellectually.

    Can't really complain about the work life balance. While you shouldn’t expect a 9-5 work day, the hours do seem to be a lot better than most of my friends who also work in consulting. Another big benefit is the lack of travel, which is rare in the industry and something that personally makes a huge difference.

    Stax is also growing rapidly, recently expanding both its Chicago and Boston offices. A great result of this growth is the firm’s greater investment in its talent development. Stax has recently hired a full time talent development director and one can already see the improvements in the on-boarding process, on the job training, and personal career development.

    While Stax might not be for everyone, if you are look for intellectually stimulating and impactful work, you will be hard pressed to find a better opportunity.

    Cons

    Stax's small team structure can be a double edged sword. The opportunity to take on many hats and own your work can also be seen as understaffed. You need to find a balance between taking on roles and not trying to do too much.

    The culture can also be improved. While everyone is close at the office, I would love to spend more time with my colleagues after work.

    Advice to Management

    Continue recruiting quality talent, especially at the higher positions. It feels like managers and directors are stretched thin at times


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Associate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Stax, Inc. full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great company keep up good work

    Cons

    No negatives that i could notice

    Advice to Management

    keep up good work!


  3. Helpful (3)

    "A toxic work environment and unreasonable managers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Stax, Inc. full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    WIll greatly build up your stamina and help toughen your skin.
    Gives you decent consulting foundations

    Cons

    Paid lower than industry standard and scolded for expensing meals or cabs despite the expectation to work banking hours
    Difficult managers who expect you to be on call all the time and do not offer any advice for improvement. But they will skin you for any infraction
    Hectic schedule because we over-promise on timelines
    Shady HR department
    Weird caste system between ranks
    No camaraderie between peers

    Advice to Management

    There's a reason everyone has left the company. You are unable to retain any of your associates or consultants and even some of your managers. Literally besides the directors, everyone I worked with is no longer at the company because of the environment of fear and anger you create because of the leadership you have promoted. And you're hiring people from really great schools and programs like Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Princeton, but they're all leaving for greener pastures.


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  5. "Part-time Research Associate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Stax, Inc. (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The company is ideal for aspiring consultants

    Cons

    Research Associates are not given a chance to analyse data collected.

    Advice to Management

    Be welcoming to contract employees as you will benefit from their contributions


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great place to start career as consultant, but not without it's share of fleas"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Stax, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    Stax can be a great place for a those looking to break into the consulting industry. The firm will provide a young associate/consultant with as much project and client responsibility he/she can handle. For those who are self-starters, willing to own their development, and will use every project experience as an opportunity to grow and improve their skill set, Stax can be an ideal environment. Project lengths can last from 3 weeks to 3 months, depending on the type of work. As a result, Stax’s project mix can provide you rapid exposure to a number of industries very quickly—ideal for a young consultant looking to gain a broad understanding, quickly for how different industries work.

    Most consulting firm’s boast their “collegial” and “non-hierarchical” environment, but in reality, you’ll often be delegated responsibilities and will not get meaningful client exposure until you’re a manager or even a principal at the firm. At Stax, the exact opposite is true. As early as a 1st year associate, I was responsible for leading whiteboard sessions at client off-sites, leading smaller diligence projects, and would have significant presentation responsibilities at client read-outs.

    If you prove yourself to be competent, hardworking, and most importantly a positive team member, management will do everything they can to keep you happy and give you the types of projects that will stretch you to develop. I can say there was rarely a day I wasn’t challenged to enhance my analytical, strategic thinking, or interpersonal skills.

    Also, having built a business around the private equity community, the company boasts an impressive client list. On projects, you will be engaging with some of the best minds in the private equity industry. Some of my greatest learning experiences have been listening to these clients talk about how they evaluate deals and what their investment theses are for the project we would be working on.

    Lastly, for those looking to maintain a semblance of a normal life outside of work as a consultant, Stax probably offers the best work-life balance out of any consulting firm. You’ll certainly work long hours, but the limited travel model, flex staff, and international staffing model (giving the team 24-hour productivity) you’ll be able to enjoy your weekends and leave the office at a decent hour.

    Cons

    Stax is not the environment for everyone. Tight project deadlines, variability in skill-sets across teams, and a management team juggling more than they can handle can create significant frustration. Maintaining perspective is critical and can be a challenge for a young consultant.

    When the firm is stretched thin, the lack of processes the organization has in place can create a feeling of chaos. In those situations it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and even resentful of management for not better managing the flow.

    The almost myopic focus on project work and sales has created a void in organizational leadership. Managements inability (whether justified or not) to separate themselves from the day-to-day grind of project work, step back and thinking critically about how to improve the business has created a situation where problems aren’t effectively addressed and continue to reoccur. The lack of progress in improving already identified problems can be frustrating.

    Advice to Management

    I think members of the management team needs to reflect on how much they can take on and do well. They should consider applying a bit of humility and bringing in the right resources help drive the change they want. Too often initiatives fall flat or are done poorly as a result.

    Pay closer attention to the culture of the office and be more explicit about creating the type of culture you want in the firm. As a small firm, a single individual or a few bad actions can significantly affect the culture of the firm. MGMT needs to be more cognizant of the ripple affect even seemingly minor actions can have on the organization.

    Be more decisive. Make a decision, move on, and deal with the consequences. Lack of swift action allows problems to fester and resentment to grow.


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Had Potential, But Didn't Execute"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Stax, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    • This isn’t a bad place to work out of college because you get exposure to high profile clients and can receive solid mentorship if you attach yourself to the right resources, but be careful to not stay too long, as you will get stuck.
    • There is a great work/life balance here, as the Research and Offshore teams take a lot of Consultants’ plates. Aside from a few projects, you will often find yourself at home by 6.
    • You gain exposure to a lot of different industries, so you can figure out where you want to spend the remainder of your career, but many of the industries can be dull.

    Cons

    • The recruiting funnel beings with the Human Resources department, who has limited-to-no understanding of what type of consultant the firm needs to recruit. The current consulting team has to interview subpar candidates, and eventually select the one who either seems the nicest or is most likely to join the firm. The low quality of hires, especially recently, has negatively affected culture, work product and reputation.
    • The CEO is barely involved in the operation of the Company, which is too much involvement! He, along with the rest of management, is unable to convey realistic goals for the firm. The firm wants to achieve a balance of diligence work and strategy work, but it does not have the right people to drive strategy or offer insightful recommendations to portfolio companies.
    • Research Associates, who are mainly contract-based workers, often drive more content and value compared to some of the more longer term Stax employees (i.e., those who were hired when the Company was in its infancy). This as an issue because it highlights the deficiencies of the full time team, yet it is exacerbated by the fact that the consulting team treats RAs poorly, which doesn’t encourage them to remain with the company.
    • I could elaborate more on specific weaknesses, but in short, the company is headed in the wrong direction. There was a time a few years ago when revenue was growing and true talent was being recruited, but when the company tried to shift to fifth gear, it stumbled and ended up in reverse. Aside from getting rid of “old school” employees, as well as anyone hired within the last one and a half years, there is no way to remedy the issues that plague this firm.

    Advice to Management

    • My advice to current employees is to go find employment elsewhere. There are many good consulting firms that are hiring, and they are all better than Stax.
    • My advice to management that doesn’t have equity is to go find employment elsewhere. There are many good consulting firms that are hiring, and they are all better than Stax.
    • I took the advice above, and I couldn’t be happier.


  8. Helpful (6)

    "Consultant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Consultant in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Stax, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    1) The most obvious benefit of working at Stax is the relatively immediate access to high profile Private Equity clients.
    2) The work-life balance is unheard of within consulting. The fact that some other reviewers are actually complaining about it is mind boggling to me. If you're somewhat efficient with your work, you will never leave the office after 9pm. I was with the firm for a year and a half and owned several projects; yet I probably worked ~45 hours on average. This is the main reason that a (very limited) number of smart people stay at Stax despite the fact that they could be somewhere else.
    3) While they do manage to sell a few small projects here and there, the Sri Lanka office mainly serves as a support office for Boston and Chicago. Web survey programming, data analytics, secondary research, and slide production are handled by the Sri Lanka office; leaving a very low work load for full time consultants in the U.S. offices.

    Cons

    1) Quality of co-workers. While everybody is very sociable and easy to get along with, you won't find a lot of smart people. Compared to other consulting firms, Stax has trouble hiring quality talent. There were examples of full-time consultants writing their slides with the help of Google Translate. To be fair, they have found their ways of mitigating that problem, including outsourcing a lot of time-consuming work. Even average consultants can handle the remaining work load. However, if you're looking for a place to learn from smart co-workers, Stax is not for you.
    2) Bad leadership. With the exception of the leader of the Boston office, leadership is incredibly inefficient. The CEO is completely removed from the company (except for being on its payroll and posting a few poorly written LinkedIn articles a year).
    3) While they like to tell new recruits that there are plenty of opportunities for strategy work, the reality is that 90% - 95% of all projects are all diligence. It takes 5 - 6 projects to become really good at diligence, and after that, your learning curve will flatten - quickly.
    4) No feedback culture. There is a lack of direct feedback. Obviously, it is somewhat up to you to collect feedback on an ongoing basis; but people are not used to provide feedback and have trouble delivering negative messages. If you don't want to be in for surprises at mid-year and year-end reviews, you'll have to hunt managers and consultants down for feedback.
    5) No up-or-out culture. Contrary to other consulting firms, Stax will keep bottom performers around forever. There are examples of full-time employees that have been a the company for 7+ years and they're still at the Consultant level.
    6) No capacity to promote top performers. Once you're at the consultant level, you'll face a situation in which you're not only going to be doing the same tasks that you've been doing at Senior Associate / Associate level, but you'll also quickly realize that you might never get promoted to Manager. They had a similar problem at the Associate -> Consultant level last year, so they coined a new position (Senior Associate) which bought them a little time in promoting some of their associates. If I'm not mistaken, they're now looking for "Senior Consultants" on LinkedIn.
    7) Compensation. Both your base and your bonus cap (%) will be significantly lower than at other consulting firms.

    Advice to Management

    None. There are so many more cons I could have listed; I wouldn't know how to change course in order to save this place. Good luck though.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Great opportunity but limited by lack of infrastructure"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Stax, Inc. (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Hands-on learning opportunities, exposure to different industries and types of analyses

    Cons

    Inactive management team, lack of training, not open to change


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Consultant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Consultant in Omaha, NE
    Former Employee - Consultant in Omaha, NE
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Stax, Inc. (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Challenging, Great Culture and People

    Cons

    Work life balance can be improved

    Advice to Management

    -


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Great Company, Smart People, Great Place to Learn"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Associate in Boston, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Stax, Inc. full-time

    Pros

    Stax is a great company with a strong niche in the private equity due diligence space and a sizable and fast-growing corporate and portfolio strategy business. Its greatest strength is the people working there. From associate through CEO, Stax has some of the most capable, creative, and business savvy people that I have had the pleasure of working with. Relatively all consultants combine an ability to think outside of the box while focusing on answering the client's critical questions.

    From an employee perspective, this is an exciting and fast-paced place to work--and more importantly, to learn. For anyone interested in understanding the ins-and-outs of private equity and corporate investment strategy from a market perspective, this is the place to start. The work is both interesting and challenging for all levels of the consulting staff--particularly associates who are a critical part of each project.

    Stax's client list is impressive, boasting some of the largest PE firms and corporate clients in the world, and its opinion is highly respected. It is an all-around great place to work.

    Cons

    Because it is a relatively small but growing company, it has room for improvement in terms of onboarding, personnel development, and compensation; however, it was apparent to me prior to my departure that these are areas where it has focused its attention moving forward. None of these issues had any impact on my departure.

    Advice to Management

    Provide clear, consistent, and direct feedback on the performance (both good and bad) and trajectory of an employee. Constructive feedback allows employees to understand their strengths and weaknesses and know what they need to work on improving.


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