Systems Evolution Reviews | Glassdoor

Systems Evolution Reviews

Updated July 17, 2017
178 reviews

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Bill Gallagher
58 Ratings

178 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Lots of people like the idea of a flat organization, but it's not a fit for everyone (in 9 reviews)

  • If you are only interested in doing billable client work, you won't be happy here (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "The Perfect Consulting Model"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Dallas, TX
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in Dallas, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Systems Evolution full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The key components of the organization fit together and compliment one another better than any organization I've come across...
    1. The ownership model and flat organization breeds collaboration and healthy accountability, while avoiding the cutthroat nature of the big firms. The CEO and leadership team simply refuse to treat their folks as subordinates, but rather as peers and fellow shareholders, which breeds an incredible team environment.
    2. This culture (i.e. team-first, family-based environment) drives growth - from recruiting support to new business development, everyone seems willing to pitch in at a moments notice.
    3. Our culture and our recruiting model ultimately ensures that the growth we see is slow, steady and sustainable. We simply refuse to compromise in the area of talent and cultural fit (and will turn down work as a result of being short available resources), and that's a recipe for long term success.

    Cons

    This is not a place to simply deliver (e.g. bill) and go home. You're not just "an employee" at SEI. As a shareholder, some folks will need to shift their mindset and embrace their ownership in order to be successful here.

    Advice to Management

    Stick to your laurels, and don't flinch. The model is truly one of a kind. Let's hope the secret doesn't get out!


  2. Helpful (5)

    "Outstanding Firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Principal Consultant in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Systems Evolution full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Above all, the people and culture is what keeps me at SEI. The collaborative nature of our consultants, their willingness to help and contribute to the success of projects outside of their own really sets SEI apart from other consulting firms. The compensation model is progressive. New consultants start out by earning a salary and eventually are eligible for promotion (after 1 year). At that point, your earnings are a calculation based on your billable hours and bill rate. This can be very lucrative, especially if you combine it with the fact that you have ability to have an equity stake and earn distributions on top of your billable earnings. Also, our leadership is outstanding. Our CEO is a former consultant who was promoted through the ranks. He is very approachable and understands SEI from bottom to top.

    Cons

    The equity ownership model is outstanding, but (apparently) it is complicated to understand. Even some people who have worked here for several years don't understand it based on what I read in another review. Without getting into the details, statements in that review around new offices, founder's shares, bonuses, and distributions are either flatly wrong or much more nuanced than described. If you are a potential candidate looking at SEI, ask questions about it during the interview process. If you are an existing employee and don't understand certain pieces of it, ask your MD or Services.

    I will echo sentiments in other reviews… you need to get involved and participate in the growth of the consulting firm. If you are only interested in doing billable client work, you won't be happy here. Extra-curriculars are part of the culture at SEI. Also, there is some degree of risk. If you aren't billing, you aren't earning. There are ways to mitigate this risk. As you might surmise, in my opinion, the benefits outweigh the risks.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to promote collaboration, especially across offices. Continue to be transparent and accessible. Continue to grow.

  3. Helpful (5)

    "Great organization! - Glad I made the move!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in Phoenix, AZ
    Current Employee - Consultant in Phoenix, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Systems Evolution full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    In an employee-owned organization that thrives on collaboration and participation, SEI stands out with an amazing team of individuals who genuinely care about the organization they represent each day at our clients. Before discovering SEI, I thought all consulting was a travel-intensive line of work…not the case at SEI where it is a local consulting model. From the start when I heard about and participated in the ‘gauntlet’ interview process, I knew SEI was unique. Those who make it through the rigorous interview process have an “it factor” not commonly found in the industry. They specialize in being able to get things done and want to drive their own business to be better. Management is very collaborative with each office and accessible to all consultants. As an employee of SEI you GET the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the company (recruiting, business development, and marketing). SEI thrives on collaboration, offers a great work-life balance, excellent comp/ownership model and most importantly, truly great people to call your coworkers and fellow owners! If you are looking for a place to just come do the work, you may not be a good fit…for all the others, are you up for the challenge?

    Cons

    Tough to think of any, but finding the right people to fit the seasoned consultant role who also have an entrepreneurial mindset can be a challenge. The gauntlet process is rigorous for a reason!

    Advice to Management

    Continue to be actively engaged in each office and guard the culture.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Great People and Clear Business Model"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Consultant in Cincinnati, OH
    Current Employee - Consultant in Cincinnati, OH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Systems Evolution full-time

    Pros

    SEI's business model is straightforward: hire great people, treat them like professionals, and get barriers out of the way.

    SEI hires self-motivated top-performers and puts in place incentives clearly linked to organization and client goals. The company truly believes in fostering a community, providing a multitude of social and professional venues for consultants to share experiences. I have also seen some tough personnel decisions made, reinforcing in my mind the company's commitment to excellence, but with more compassion than I've ever seen from an employer.

    SEI works to remove barriers as well - SEI is a very flat organization, with management levels practically nonexistent. Financial information is regularly published for all, allowing every employee to make decisions that benefit the company and, for most, their own ownership shares.

    Finally, SEI seeks clients who truly value SEI's problem-solvers. From Day 1, I have felt like a trusted part of the client's team, in large part due to SEI's reputation and relationship with the client.

    Cons

    Employees must participate in SEI - just heading to the client everyday is not enough to be a successful employee/owner.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "Great company, great culture, great people!"

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

    I have been working at Systems Evolution full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    (1) Flat organization; (2) employee-owned; (3) entrepreneurial/extracurricular expectations and autonomy move together; (4) refreshingly progressive incentive model for any industry, but especially the consulting industry; and (5) GREAT people - all experienced, driven, and dependable..

    Cons

    It's not for everybody, and it's certainly not easy! But we have fun while doing it and are rewarded accordingly.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Great Consulting Firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in Phoenix, AZ
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in Phoenix, AZ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Systems Evolution full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    1. Hire Rockstar consultants
    2. Employee Ownership = driving success
    3. Flat organization model
    4. Family oriented
    5. Allows for autonomy and ability to work in many verticals

    Cons

    1. Slight change in culture, however I am sure they will swing back to core values
    2. Lack of leadership = too many cooks in the kitchen

    Advice to Management

    The Phoenix market has a huge upside. Keep your eyes on the core values and the culture will follow. Don't try to make this something it is not. Remember 'We are a small boutique consulting firm'. I am proud to be an alumni of SEI.


  7. Helpful (9)

    "Used to be great, but has lost its way"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Principal Consultant in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Systems Evolution full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I worked at SEI for 6 years in two different offices, so have a good perspective on the overall organization. When I joined, I truly thought I had found the company I would spend the rest of my career with. The founder had developed a great model that had a collaborative cultural at its core. When asked why I joined SEI and what kept me there, my answer was consistent...the culture. The premise of the company was simple...build a environment where people love the work they do, enjoy the the people they do it with and reap the rewards of helping to drive growth & success.

    Cons

    The con to SEI is that it is a con. When the founder stepped down, it was the equivalent of dad stepping down from the family business and turning it over to the kids. The kids, in turn, are not competent to lead the organization and are focused on building their personal wealth instead of building on the core values of the founder. The emphasis is on opening new offices for one simple reason...the new CEO and is top lieutenants can stake out 'founders' shares that will become worth millions when the hard working, but duped, consultants they hire build the local office into something. What a model...the founders collect a salary while the local consultants bear all the risk and collect nothing while on the bench and actually build the business. Meanwhile, the local MD doesn't commit to the new location (despite all the talk of it being a local model, almost none of the Managing Directors live in the same state as their office (nor does the CEO). The "chosen few" collect huge salaries, bonuses and distributions, while the local office struggles to sell any new business (not surprising since the hard working consultants are busy delivering on their engagements while also recruiting, selling and running the business while their MD is busy "networking" in every city but theirs.
    They also preach an open book management style, but only show highly summarized & manipulated numbers that don't conform to any accounting standard. The internal joke was that it was based on "Cincinnati math" ( in other words, the numbers the management team wanted you to see). They advocate contributing capital to buy in on an equity stake, but neglect to inform the newbies that their accounting classifies the stock purchased as revenue, which artificially drives profits up and, you guessed it, results in bonuses for management and huge distributions for the "founders".
    At the end of the day, it is equivalent to a pyramid scheme. The company has seen major turnover in every office because long time employees have figured out the scam and have realized the new CEO and his cronies have only one thing in mind...lining their pockets st the expense if the staff consultants they bring in. The math is simple...long time consultants are highly compensated for their hard work, thus are less profitable. New staff consultants carry high margins and are willing to drink the Kool-Aid & bust their humps in hopes of becoming one of the chosen ones.

    Advice to Management

    Stop screwing with the model for your own gain. Go back to Dan's founding principles and mantra of people over profits. It used to be a great plsce to work. I loved being a part such a great company, but left disappointed at what the company had become. It was on a trajectory for huge success, but has been struggling for years due to the failure of management to lead.

  8. Helpful (6)

    "The greatest employee ownership model, only outdone by the greatest culture & values"

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

    I worked at Systems Evolution full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The company is an incredible aggregator of exceptional talent. The highest financial-IQs of anywhere I've worked - because every employee is an investor, a shareholder, a owner. The hiring, and interviewing is robust, and meets or exceeds every 'best-practice' I've ever read.

    Cons

    The con for me was the type of work. I didn't 'grow up' professionally in the IT/big data world, and the consulting just wasn't that fun, for me. But for those of you who are called to this type of work, there's no better place in the world for experienced consultants.

    Advice to Management

    Keep. It. Up.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Three years and counting"

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

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

    Pros

    During interviews, I am often asked what is the thing I like best about SEI and without hesitation I reply "the people". Whether it's in my own local office (I've been lucky to work in two) or folks in other cities, I'm still amazed at what a good group of people we hire. Are we perfect? No. But I've been in the professional world for 20 years and this is, hands down, the most collaborative, sharp, likeable group of people I've ever worked with.

    Cons

    It's not easy. There is a lot going on, especially in a newer office. But that's consulting. The key difference I see is at this firm is that we work as a team to solve a problem and try to have fun while doing it.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to encourage open communication. Also, it would be great to have more in-person inter-office collaboration and interactions. Hard when you have a local delivery model but hopefully not impossible.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Glad I made the move"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Senior Consultant in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Systems Evolution full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Excellent compensation and ownership structure
    Highly collaborative work environment
    Interesting work with high profile clients
    Great work/life balance
    Outstanding colleagues from all walks of life

    Cons

    Not for everybody - you will need the drive to go above and beyond to be successful here and help build the business, excellent delivery is just the start, you also need to have a entrepreneurial mindset and a will to win.

    Advice to Management

    Building a business has it's challenges anywhere and requires a highly collaborative and mentally tough team; we are fortunate to have that in NYC, and need to keep it so, guard the door!


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