The Advisory Board Company Reviews in Washington, DC | Glassdoor

The Advisory Board Company Washington Reviews

Updated March 20, 2017
320 reviews

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Washington, DC

320 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Work-life balance is very good, which i highly appreciate (in 100 reviews)

  • Great benefits including 21 days off (in 44 reviews)

Cons
  • Not good work life balance, you might end up working weekends a couple of times (in 62 reviews)

  • A low starting salary and long hours for entry level jobs (in 28 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (7)

    "Market Research and Account Management"

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

    I worked at The Advisory Board Company full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The perks of working at the Advisory Board Company include:

    -Pretty decent health insurance and maternity leave benefits

    -Benefits that start immediately when you're hired (no 30-day trial or waiting period)

    -A generous amount of time off (20-25 days) at even the most junior levels

    -A lot of free food and other incentives if you work in revenue-generating departments (i.e., Marketing or Account Management)

    Cons

    The most important thing for anyone to understand about working at ABC is that your success in the company is certainly not dependent on your intelligence, work ethic, or dedication. The key to success at the Advisory Board Company is blending in with the crowd. Go to all of the happy hours, laugh at everyone's jokes, do the majority of your work and find good excuses for what you didn't accomplish, and you'll be golden. Put your head down, work your tail off, improve processes, increase revenue for your department, and you might as well quit while you're behind. In a more specific sense, here are what I’d consider to be the most important key points for you to know before accepting a position at the Advisory Board Company:

    -In most cases, the culture of ABC is a fraud. The company likes to boast its involvement in community service projects, “100% participation” they say to the investors and potential clients. What they won’t tell you is that they will count ANYTHING as community service (just bring in a single can of Spaghetti O's and you're a winner!) They also won't boast that those community service efforts are internally incentivized. Departments will have competitions for canned food drives, pro-bono offerings, etc. And the winners don't just get to feel good about doing something for the community. They get a buffet of free food, a day off, etc. Employees are also constantly complaining about the members/clients, laughing at them and discussing ways to manipulate them into a new contract. I once overheard a conversation where the person in charge of purchasing the membership left abruptly after signing the contract, and the person that replaced her never got informed about the membership. My colleagues would joke about how that member was paying for something they never used, and when I suggested telling the member so they could either cancel their membership or start using it to get something out of it, everyone laughed at me and replied, "Why would we do that? It will only lead to us either losing money, or having to do more work." Unfortunately, conversations like that are more common than not.

    -Top management is comprised of people who wouldn't be able to secure a job at the same management level (or probably even several below) at any other company. Almost all of them (especially in the DC office) have gotten to the top purely from being at the company for 15-30 years. And when you incorporate the rapid growth of ABC, it only furthered their quick jump to the top. They lead, but don't listen. They act compassionate, but behind closed doors will jest at anyone who disagrees with them or threatens their intelligence by actually knowing what they're talking about. Because of my past positions, I was a firsthand witness to this on a weekly basis. At one point I was asked to impersonate someone for a credit card company, and refused saying it was illegal and I wouldn’t compromise my morals for anyone, even if it meant losing my job. Another time I was asked to forge a signature on a client contract. Again, denying to do such a thing didn’t win me any promotions.

    -Middle management receives only a few hours of training (about half a day), and that training has no follow-up process to ensure that managers are continuously learning how to help their teams. I've seen one nightmare situation after another where employees leave the firm, because they're in emotionally abusive relationships with their managers.

    -The review process is a semi-annual review cycle that, despite the complaints among a large percent of employees, remains to be more of a degrading process than a helpful one. Each grid is divided into categories, and for 2.5 years I had a review grid with an entire category (20% of the overall grade) that, "didn't apply" to my position. So each review cycle I would receive the grade just above failing for that category. The logic behind it? My managers informed me that they couldn't grade me on something that didn't apply to my role. It didn't matter that I proposed rewriting the review grid (since there was no firm-wide standard for what review grids had to look like). I even came up with a new review grid based on positions similar to mine in other departments in the firm. However, in my entire 2.5 years in that position, it never got changed, so I was never able to get any kind of promotion.

    -Career Management (ABC's version of HR) will lie to you during the hiring process. They did it to me and almost every other associate-level (the most junior level at the company) employee that I spoke to. Almost each job title has a "senior" version that comes with an increase in pay (between $3,000-$5,000 per year). When I was offered my first job at the company and expressed my hesitation to take the position since it only paid $30,000 flat, the CM representative told me that as long as I did my job well, I would get an additional $3k in the first 3 months. Not only did that not happen in my entire 2.5 years in that role, I later discovered that hardly any manager will offer you that "bonus" in the first 6 months, and usually not even within the first year. Despite taking this information to CM on several occasions, when I left the firm in late 2016 this was still happening to new hires.

    -Layoffs are so frequent that finding job security is only easy for those naive enough to think they can't fall victim to the layoffs. Unless you're in top management, you're fair game. I have known employees who came back from maternity leave to have no job. I've known employees who worked for the company for over 6 years and had to leave overnight, at no fault of their own. I've seen every Associate-level employee in two different departments get laid off, while the two leaders of each of those departments got promotions.

    -While the company boasts an amazing work/life balance, and you may be lucky enough to get a manager who tells you to go home at end of business and not work late, that doesn't change your work load. When employees get laid off, fired, go on maternity leave, take 2 weeks of PTO, etc. that work doesn't just disappear; it gets put on your shoulders. Sound reasonable? Almost every employee that took the last Employee Engagement survey at the company last year said that they were overworked. The culture of ABC is so meeting-heavy that most employees will spend the majority of every day in back-to-back meetings, leaving little to no time for actual work. And the percent of meetings that are actually beneficial to the work are so few and far between, that it can drive you up the wall. Thinking about skipping a meeting so you can meet your deadlines and not have to stay late or work on the weekends? Prepare to be hounded for it. After all, misery loves company.

    Advice to Management

    -Start being honest with your clients, your employees, and yourselves (i.e., form the morals you claim to have).

    -Require all managers (from top to bottom) to attend bi-annual managerial training, with one full week of training when they are first hired in a managerial position.

    -Stop rewarding top management with salary increases and trips to the Bahamas in 5-star resorts for them and their families, and increase the salaries of those who actually do the work that has earned the Advisory Board Company the reputation that it has.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Great company and people, poor coordination"

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

    I have been working at The Advisory Board Company full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The Advisory Board has a great culture with a great set of coworkers. I have yet to meet anyone working here that I have not liked.

    Cons

    For several positions, the salary is below market average. There is also high employee churn in specific roles.

    There is a persistent issue of poor interdepartmental communication which causes problems to compound. This get exemplified with the oftentimes present lack of technical knowledge in some managerial roles. Sharing data and insights tends to become an arduous process and too much time is resultantly spent on explaining simple technical concepts or helping to perform simple pivot table transformations.


  3. Helpful (6)

    "Company at a Crossroads"

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

    I worked at The Advisory Board Company full-time

    Pros

    Great culture, benefits and flexibility. Strong, supportive environment. Good professional growth opportunities when the company is growing. Sales/marketing culture very strong.

    Cons

    Health technology space becoming very competitive. Technology products sometimes seen as inferior to others in the market. Key will be for company to leverage expertise in research and translate to technology opportunities but these departments are currently very siloed. Unclear who the decision makers/leaders are of key initiatives at senior levels. Tendency to promote leaders in the research department who are good researchers but lack leadership capabilities.

    Advice to Management

    Organizational issues should be solved sooner rather than later to remain competitive.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    "Senior Director"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Director in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Senior Director in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at The Advisory Board Company full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The company has a culture that will attract anyone. Intellectually curious, motivated, and social. Hey do a great job at providing opportunities to grow, but there is an element to buying into their ideas/way of doing things that is apparent.

    Cons

    There is a lot of discussion about willingness to change, but at the end of the day, an incredible resistance to actually do so. The company is very 'fat' they are over managed and as a result, the ability to move in an agile way has been completely lost.

    Advice to Management

    Management is very insular. The tight knit social groups among management resemble high school cliques. There needs to be a willingness to act in innovation rather than just give lip service to it.


  6. "Dedicated Advisor"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Director of Performance Technologies in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Associate Director of Performance Technologies in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Advisory Board Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great organization with strong learning environment. Great work/life balance.

    Cons

    Large company, easy to get lost in the crowd.

    Advice to Management

    Use your staff's experience in meaningful and value-added ways.


  7. Helpful (7)

    "Great place to start career, but challenges emerge at senior levels"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Managing Director in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Managing Director in Washington, DC
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at The Advisory Board Company full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Advisory Board has an uncanny ability to attract sharp, well-spoken, kind, and curious employees. Every department has a slightly different culture, but most teams offer a supportive environment for entry- and mid-level staff with lots of room to grow. The poorly-reviewed marketing associate and coordinator positions are typically held for no more than a year before you're able to take on more engaging and better paid positions. While the culture isn't a perfect meritocracy, sustained hard work doesn't go unnoticed and it's relatively easy to move up quickly. Flexible work options are outstanding and in most roles quality of work is far more important than facetime. This is a fantastic place to spend the first 3-5 years of your career.

    Cons

    There's currently a deep cognitive dissonance within firm leadership. On the one hand, leadership has been pushing an agenda of innovation, out-of-the-box thinking, and running to criticism. In practice, senior external hires have an incredibly hard time finding their way, new ideas are often harshly rejected without consideration, and those who push change are often sidelined. Deep change is needed to sustainably grow our technology business, and as a senior leader within that department it was challenging to attract the type of ideas and talent needed to succeed while accommodating senior leadership (senior team largely comes from healthcare research).

    As a female in leadership be prepared to face an environment that is still learning to work with and develop female leadership. For example, in a room of peers the female will always be asked to take notes (I watched this happen to a female Executive Director in a room of male directors) and male colleagues are often taken out golfing/drinking while female colleagues are excluded. Board and C-level execs are all male with the exception of our head of HR.

    Advice to Management

    Diversify your senior-level talent, especially by bringing in more female talent, technology-experienced executives, and topic area experts. This means not only hiring this talent but also creating a structure where they can succeed (e.g., proper onboarding). Policy committee only enhances the feeling that external hires and outsiders are not real idea contributors.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Great people, but growing pains"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Dedicated Advisor in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Dedicated Advisor in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at The Advisory Board Company full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Excellent, smart people to work with - best part of the job and can't emphasize that enough. Benefits and work life balance are for the most part great - especially big 25 day PTO policy. It's great to work with hospitals every day, you know that you are making an impact, no matter how small.

    Cons

    Though we have a great, healthcare mission, we're still a for profit company at the end of the day and cannot support all hospitals with forward-thinking solutions yet because they are not ready. Lack of trust in company's leadership to make the hard decisions. Growing pains. Not all products are workflow tools, could be put lower in priority because of all of the regulatory pressures on hospitals today.


  9. "Lots of growth opportunity"

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

    I have been working at The Advisory Board Company (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Opportunities to innovate and try new things. Fun friendly culture. Good training. Decent incentive structure. Good opps to rise relatively quickly for recent grads

    Cons

    Difficult to climb past middle management level. Lots of travel. Some uncertainty around org change / definition of certain management roles

    Advice to Management

    Try to develop new, clearer career paths that are more tailored to specific skill sets beyond just middle management


  10. "Great Benefits, Ability to Move"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Intern - Hourly in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Intern - Hourly in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The company offers great benefits, pretty decent pay, and provides the ability to move up

    Cons

    some institutions don't agree with tactics


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Good Company to Grow With"

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

    I worked at The Advisory Board Company full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Super smart people with a deep customer focus and a collegial corporate culture. Great training opportunities and upward mobility (to a certain point.)

    Cons

    Inorganic growth (through M&A) has created a too-dispersed organization that has a hard time moving quickly. No true technology or product execs.

    Advice to Management

    Bring in more senior leadership from outside the company. Disband Policy Committee.



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