VSA Partners Reviews | Glassdoor

VSA Partners Reviews

Updated March 23, 2017
62 reviews

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3.4
Star Star Star Star Star
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William Rosen
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62 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • New office with nice view and free snacks (in 6 reviews)

  • CFO and Controller are very nice people (in 6 reviews)

Cons
  • Poor work-life balance for many full-timers (in 4 reviews)

  • One last issue I have with VSA is the lack of transparency (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Demanding, satisfying, challenging, at times exciting"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at VSA Partners full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    You'll never work with smarter people. The entrepreneurial environment allows ambitious people to thrive.

    Cons

    Internal communications are often an after thought, creating confusion and churn. Ambition can become competitiveness and, at times, "clickishness."

    Advice to Management

    Communication your ops decisions clearly.


  2. "Great mix of people and experience."

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

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

    Pros

    A great mix of people and personalities. Many opportunities and freedom to work on a variety of projects and clients. Learn from experienced and knowledgeable people. Transparency with upper management.

    Cons

    Idea sharing can be a challenge with too many people involved in meetings. Retaining talented people is difficult, but common to the industry.


  3. "Great learning environment"

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

    I have been working at VSA Partners full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    A great place to start your career, as there is a lot of trust in lower-level employees and they have some of the best in the business to learn from.

    People are always willing to help you understand and learn new things

    Transparency with new CEO William Rosen and other C-Suite

    No busy work

    They make sure no matter how small your role in a project is, that you know it's important to the bigger picture.

    Significantly more PTO than other companies (esp. at the lower level)

    Lively office setting

    Cons

    Very heads-down, people don't really get excited for cultural events

    Sick days count against your PTO

    Growth system is weird... As people's titles don't truly align with their roles and experiences.

    No 401k matching

    Advice to Management

    Re-evaluate how you give titles out... Someone isn't a "manager" if they don't manage people, and makes it seem like there is little room to move up in the company when an entry-level position is titled as something higher up.


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  5. "Get work done and you can be somewhat autonomous"

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

    I have been working at VSA Partners full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    More vacation time than other companies. Collaborative environment. Less strict on hours of operation. Stipend to take classes. Stipend for extracurricular group activities. No busy work.

    Cons

    If the project is heavy your hours will be too. Sick days are considered part of PTO.


  6. "Undergoing identity crisis as it scales"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    VSA attracts incredibly talented, humble and collaborative people.
    Clients are generally well known brands which allows employees to gain solid experience.
    Privately-held company which eases the business pressures of a larger, publicly-held agency.

    Cons

    As the company tries to compete in today's disruptive marketplace, it is attempting to be an all-service agency despite its strong heritage in printed communications. Design is still king here with senior leadership and career opportunities often reflecting the organization's respect for design.
    The company is fragmented across disciplines without a clear identity of what it wants to be (e.g. Consumer vs. B2B; Analog vs. Digital; Growth-oriented vs. Stable).
    IBM is a major client, so employees are forced to bend over backwards for this client.
    Lack of culture and career opportunities often means talented people often don't stay long.
    New York and Chicago offices almost feel like two different companies based on type of client work and team dynamics.
    Lack of transparency when it comes to the business; only received communications from senior leadership after a major account was lost.

    Advice to Management

    Let go of the past... Every great business needs to evolve with the times. Design is certainly a company asset, but support other disciplines with the same enthusiasm.
    Invest in outside thinking, culture and talent retention.


  7. "Senior Designer Contractor/Freelancer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at VSA Partners (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good leadership, good hourly pay as a contractor.

    Cons

    Teams are silo'd, upper management doesn't care about holding onto strong design talent.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Writer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Smart, talented group of professionals.

    Cons

    Major Identity Crisis. VSA was premier graphic design firm with strategic chops. Now they're trying to be full service ad agency and failing miserably.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Not Great for Growth"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Designer in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time

    Pros

    VSA has some of the best clients in Chicago, and the opportunities presented to a designer are plentiful. Those include being in meetings with senior execs, getting to somewhat interact with clients, and doing the occasional cool branding or website project.

    Cons

    VSA is not the place to go if you believe in blue-sky design that changes the world. This is corporate work. Designers will do a few years of production design before getting put on anything conceptual. VSA doesn't put a ton of value on designers because of this. There is a lot of turnover.

    VSA is a boys club through and through. 95% of upper management is male, and that is an attitude felt all the way down through the chain.

    VSA unfortunately does not value keeping designers around for the long haul. I was given a title promotion without any extra raise. When I raised the issue, I was told by the department head that "Designers don't usually stick around anyways.".... Maybe because you don't do anything to try and keep them??

    One last issue I have with VSA is the lack of transparency. Nobody knew anything about any of the decisions that upper management was making, including strategy around the separation of 'Core' and "Consumer Marketing'. Seemed like VSA was starting to favor Consumer Marketing, and putting little effort into acquiring clients and projects for the Core side.

    Advice to Management

    Transparency. Stop being so political. Consolidate consumer Marketing and Core, so that there may actually be a sense of community around the company, not division. Know the value of your designers and don't treat them as replaceable. It's not acceptable to give someone a title promotion without a raise. Finally, hire some more women in upper management.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "employment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    creative environment
    honest, hardworking people
    cool projects

    Cons

    lack of strong leadership / commitment to a strategy

    Advice to Management

    focus


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Identity Crisis"

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

    I worked at VSA Partners full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Rather laid back. Some really talented and smart people.

    Cons

    They have NO idea who they are and what they want to offer their clients, which translates to a culture that lacks transparency, direction, and hope. They are so far behind in terms of their capabilities.

    They promote with no rhyme or reason. I've been working professional for almost 15 yrs and this was the strangest place I worked at.



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