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There are newer employer reviews for Booz Allen Hamilton

One of my favorite companies.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton (more than 5 years)

Approves of CEO
Approves of CEO

Pros

A great place to learn leadership skills.

Cons

A service oriented company, not a product development company

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  1. Helpful (9)

    This once great consulting firm has become an outsourcing company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate in Huntsville, AL (US)
    Former Employee - Associate in Huntsville, AL (US)

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    There are pockets of the firm that still retain the former greatness of the Booz Allen culture. The collaborative spirit, adherence to core values, thought leadership, excellence in everything that they do, career development for all staff, professionalism (acting that way and treating others that way), client service, hiring the best and brightest. To date, I have not run upon anything quite like those aspects in my 10 year career. I learned things at Booz Allen that I would never have learned elsewhere, and really the "secret sauce" of what made Booz Allen great could really work anywhere.

    Cons

    Things were great when I first hired onto Booz Allen in 2008. Then things went quickly south. First the Carlyle buyout in mid-2008 which changed things a little but not appreciably. Then going public in late 2010 when the Partners said "nothing would change" when in fact everything changed (weekly utilization drills, increased scrutiny of expenses). Then the mass hiring in 2011 of unqualified staff for non-existent positions in the ill-timed, ill-advised "Take Share" initiative. Then the mass downsizing in 2011-2012. Bit by bit, the firm has become beholden to the shareholders versus what it was always beholden to: its clients. This has led the company to value a "butts in seats" outsourcing approach to government contracting versus the classical management consulting approach of the gilded age of Booz Allen. No longer are people valued at Booz Allen, they are just a commodity to be sold cheaply. When your task runs out, you're out the door. In some fairness to Booz Allen leadership, the clients (or really, client, the Federal Gov't) don't value thought leadership in the classical sense (The gov't provides the thought leadership, right?). Joking aside, I don't think that Booz Allen knows what hit them since the change was so gradual they really think that nothing has changed in the culture of the company.

    One last thought and that is that the management at Booz Allen made a fatal mistake in relying on the double-digit annual revenue growth model where the firm's revenue grows fast, faster than the infrastructure can keep up leading to a growth-binge-growth-binge model where profits come from the infrastructure not keeping up. This model may have been great for the fat years, but is dismally insufficient for the current fiscally constrained environment.

    Advice to Management

    Go private again. This is what you always said was your big strength. Being private meant you could take long-term risks without worrying about immediate payoff. You could keep people on the bench longer because you weren't as worried about profit margins. You also didn't waste all that time on quarterly earnings reports and other drills.

  2. Helpful (11)

    Unchallenging, Stifling, and Bureaucratic

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Consultant in Washington, DC (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Consultant in Washington, DC (US)

    I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton full-time (more than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Booz Allen's reputation is still very good, its c-suite level management team has a clear vision of where the company's best business opportunities lie, and understands what it takes to keep the company on a profitable course. I also believe that management (both upper and middle) is sincere in wanting to build a company that supports its employees and their professional growth.

    Cons

    Culture: BAH has a very conservative corporate culture, and this can mean that management and others are not straightforward - there is a lot of euphemism. When things go well, there is effusive praise and management engages in the best practice of calling it out. When things don't go well, no one will speak directly about it - and the words used are things like "opportunity" to make it sound positive.

    Bureaucratic Organization: Since BAH sells into the federal government, they are organized to reflect federal government mindset on talent and personnel, which is preoccupied with over-specialization, and an emphasis on experience over talent or potential. This means that success is not really measured by results, but by what certifications one can say they have and what training courses you can put on your transcript. The focus on specialization further means that it is nearly impossible to move laterally - even as a low level employee. Entry level consultants are immediately branded and pigeon-holed with a particular specialty and market.

    Bid Strategy: BAH has grown immensely fast over the last 20 years (until recently). To capture all this business, they have hired aggressively and moved into ever more areas of federal government business where at scale, they can generate profits. This means, though, that Booz is now engaged in mostly contracts that are long-range and don't involve very high-level, strategic, or challenging work. In this sense, they are putting butts in seats, rather than hiring the best and brightest and moving them around to challenging assignments.

    Honestly, none of the people I knew at BAH who were impressive, smart, or effective stayed for much more than a year and a half. Its not a world class consulting company, its a well-reputed government contracting behemoth.

    Advice to Management

    Break apart barriers between teams and dis-incentivize the turf-based behavior of managers at the Senior Associate level. Create lateral opportunity for young employees and market these resources to the federal government with a more forward-looking mindset.

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