Charles River Associates FAQ

All answers shown come directly from Charles River Associates Reviews and are not edited or altered.

20 English questions out of 20

17 May 2019

How are the career development opportunities at Charles River Associates?

Pros

The people are great, generally very supportive and friendly. If junior staffers find one or two senior staff that they can build a strong relationship with, it will open many doors (including some exciting professional opportunities)! At its best, working for CRA is an ideal first job for someone with an economics and quantitative background who is still debating their long-term career plans. It can be a great opportunity to learn in a fun and friendly environment, while preparing for the next step in your career. Plus, alumni have a great track record of going to top-tier graduate programs in business, law, public policy, and more!

Cons

A junior staffer's experience is entirely dependent on the practice group, and sometimes also on the office location and specific project teams. For example, some practices (i.e., Energy, Life Sciences) generally offer opportunities for significant professional growth, advancement within the firm, client interaction, and significant ownership of project work - all while building industry-specific expertise and maintaining generally good work-life balance. However, in other practices (i.e., Antitrust & Competition) this is more uncommon and difficult to achieve. Growth opportunities are limited after the first two years. Work-life balance can be non-existent at times (with some offices being far worse than others). The bonus compensation scheme is a black box, and incentives across the board are misaligned for junior staffers. Late-night and weekend work is often expected of junior staff, despite not receiving any additional incentives apart from being told "people will notice you working hard." Project staffing is ad hoc and dependent on a semi-official junior staff "scheduler" in each office to volunteer their time to try to create some order and balance. Due to the flat and unstructured hierarchy, expanding your responsibilities beyond the second year is entirely dependent on finding someone who is willing to delegate to you. Without such a patron, the job can turn into a meditative plug-and-chug. Meanwhile, supervisors are unable to provide concrete support and guidance, as they often don't work directly with their supervisees. At its worst, if you stay more than two years, the job can be extremely frustrating as you struggle to find opportunities for professional growth and maintain a semblance of work-life balance, all while hoping your annual bonus isn't completely deflated by the one or two slow weeks you had a few months ago.

Advice to Management

Some practices should reconsider treating junior staff as temporary help, and instead actually invest in creating an environment where junior staff want to stay longer than 1-2 years. Change the incentive and compensation structures. Promote mental health and true work-life balance. Offer guidance and real opportunities to junior staffers seeking advancement and greater responsibilities.

It can be a great opportunity to learn in a fun and friendly environment, while preparing for the next step in your career.

17 May 2019

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1 October 2018

Does Charles River Associates have any sort of mentoring programme?

Pros

Over CRA is a fantastic place to work. Excellent opportunities to move up for junior staff and the opportunity to work with extremely intelligent coworkers, from across the world. Also get the opportunity to work directly with expert witnesses, world class professors, and clients. Senior management provides great mentorship and actually want you to enjoy the work you do every day.

Cons

Work life balance can be tough at the beginning but you learn how to better manage your time as you progress.

Senior management provides great mentorship and actually want you to enjoy the work you do every day.

1 October 2018

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12 September 2020

What is the feeling of job security at Charles River Associates?

Pros

1. Good work-life balance 2. Pricing and Market Acess expertise

Cons

Multiple and many 1. No diversity and leadership doesn't seem to care. There has been no attempt to hire African Americans, Mexican etc. in the last 3 years even after repeated attempts- VPs just keep hiring their own clan. Out of 30+ principals and above- 0 people of color in last 5 years 2. The work has plummeted atleast 30% month over month. 3. No effort from leadership (Senior Principals, VPs) to help juniors grow- they only care about their own profit sharing 4. Bonus and incentives is decided behind closed curtains- its a joke how they decide your bonus

Advice to Management

Please listen to the juniors who are asking for help. The POD system which forces you to work exclusively for specific VPs is killing your culture. Consulting is about diverse projects and not running excel projects for a client for 2 years at a stretch - please fix this asap

There has been no attempt to hire African Americans, Mexican etc. in the last 3 years even after repeated attempts- VPs just keep hiring their own clan.

12 September 2020

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18 December 2018

How are senior leaders perceived at Charles River Associates?

Pros

Incredibly smart, fun and nice colleagues; flexible work-life balance; very supportive and accommodating HR; an amazing CEO who actually cares about his staff

Cons

Unpredictable work hours; a lot of the managers are PhD economists who are not very experienced at effectively managing teams and workflow

Advice to Management

More transparency around junior raises/bonuses and more emphasis on their career growth; not enough financial incentives for junior staff to work overtime/go above and beyond

Unpredictable work hours; a lot of the managers are PhD economists who are not very experienced at effectively managing teams and workflow

18 December 2018

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29 September 2020

What are some insights into the strategy or vision at Charles River Associates?

Pros

One of the key things i love about working with CRA is that you can work with industry experts in the field and working along with them on projects made me to learn things in months which in general would have taken years if not never!. Working on active challenges gave me opportunity to think and respond faster and at the same time to think of different strategies and to choose the best strategy on cases i work on.

Cons

in general Con's are something which can be worked on.. and CRA always does that, identifies Con's and works on it.. so i need not mention anything here.

Working on active challenges gave me opportunity to think and respond faster and at the same time to think of different strategies and to choose the best strategy on cases i work on.

29 September 2020

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20 English questions out of 20