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Cornerstone Research Reviews

Updated 21 April 2019
155 reviews

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4.0
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Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
45 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "A lot of hard-working and smart people" (in 13 reviews)

  • "Interesting projects--high-profile, good economics" (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • "Expectations vary between teams, and the New York office especially has bad work life balance expectations" (in 17 reviews)

  • "Sometimes long hours do need to be put in to get the job done" (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great Place to Learn, Tough Industry to Make a Career In"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Boston, MA (US)
    Former Employee - Research Associate in Boston, MA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Cornerstone is filled with smart, kind, caring, and hardworking people. The company really believes that it's employees are its greatest asset, and tries it's hardest to treat them fairly, which it mostly achieves. The best aspects of the job include:

    - Compensation (above comparable firms and management consultancies with adequate adjustments for hardworking, strong performers)

    - Intellectual stimulation. The work is truly challenging and many problems demand serious research and creative solutions--at its best, Cornerstone engages in academic "debate" at the highest level. You work with some truly elite experts and academics on the most interesting economic and financial questions in litigation.

    - Supportive, collaborative culture. Teams value your contributions and welcome your ideas.

    - Training and growth opportunities. You will master excel, SAS, STATA, and if you're strategic, R as well. The firm has been a bit slow to port to new technologies, but adapts with the changing demands of the landscape. Your project management and attention to detail will be excellent, by necessity.

    Cons

    While Cornerstone was a great first job and I owe a lot to the company, there are several things that ultimately caused me to leave:

    - Inconsistent quality of management. Some of the senior managers lack good project management skills, which can really negatively impact the team's experience.

    - Demanding clients. CR is a professional services firm, and clients do and will continue to demand last-minute work and revisions. This means the hours will be lumpy and it can be hard to plan around personal commitments. The firm tries hard to accommodate people, but could still do a better job.

    - Litigation pureplay. Every problem CR works on has some legal/regulatory aspect. This means you're always looking backwards, cleaning up some mess or resolving a dispute. While the topics are often interesting, the work can also be very uninspiring.

    - Relatively poor brand recognition. It is what is it is--litigation consulting doesn't have the same profile as mgmt consulting or banking. It's a different, more low-profile niche business that fewer people understand.

    - Skills eventually become less transferable the longer you stay. You continue learning, but it becomes much more about how to do the specific job better.

    - Extremely infrequent feedback means problems take a long time to get fixed.

    Advice to Management

    - Pay more attention to project management skills when hiring career-track employees.

    - Possibly most importantly, create a genuine culture of consistent feedback. Managers and/or anyone with direct reports should have weekly 15-minute check ins. While time consuming, this process is standard at other comparable firms and helps employees grow and teams troubleshoot problems. Having one big feedback dump at the end of a project is outdated and ineffective. That review should be a summary of how much the person grew and addressed the growth areas that came up throughout the course of the project in their weekly meetings.

    - Find interesting work opportunities.

    - Embrace new technology faster.

    - Don't be afraid to do things within your core competency outside of litigation.


  2. "CR"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Consultant
    Former Employee - Consultant

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    Great culture. Very smart and friendly coworkers.

    Cons

    Small salary considering long work hours

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Textbook definition of a toxic work environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Phd
    Former Employee - Associate Phd
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Pay is phenomenal coming out of PhD.
    Immigration benefits are immeasurably good.

    Cons

    In no particular order:
    The firm hasn't changed in the last 20-30 years it seems. Demands crazy work hours while doing things terribly inefficient. Work starts at 5 pm when some manager who has no regard whatsoever to your personal life asks you to do something due tomorrow morning. There is incredible push back to use better programming skills, automating tasks and so on. They bill by the hour and the more you literally sit down in the office and wait for two 20-year olds with no basic understanding of econometrics or coding to do the work half-right, then figure out where they got it wrong and reconcile their errors, the happier the managers are. You are paid to be inefficient. Whole business model is to fleece clients by charging crazy hourly bills for doing absolutely nothing.

    Company has a terrible work culture where people at every level delegate everything to the next and assume no responsibility when something goes wrong. You get zero guidance how to do anything, then you just return the favor by putting a clueless analyst on the spot.

    Way to get any promotion is to make sure that you are some partner's guy and you have followers that you can offload 95% of the work. Noone wants to do anything any different than how it is done 30 years ago. It is a business model waiting for their "Koday moment" to happen

    Advice to Management

    Have you even looked at PhD Associate turnover? Everyone who can leave, leaves as soon as they get best of the benefits


  4. "Great people, interesting work, good pay"

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    1. Great people--smart, friendly, collegial
    2. Interesting projects--high-profile, good economics
    3. Good compensation--bonuses can be significantly over target

    Cons

    1. Unpredictable and variable work hours


  5. "Good comp, smart people, volatile hours and stress levels"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Associate in New York, NY (US)
    Former Employee - Research Associate in New York, NY (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    A lot of hard-working and smart people. Good compensation. Interesting cases are often on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Business growth seems very strong.

    Cons

    It's fundamentally a client services business, so there is a lot of volatility in hours and stress levels. This is true both across individuals and for individuals over time. Graduate school sponsorships are decades behind top strategy consulting firms.


  6. "Great place to keep using economics PhD outside of academia"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Boston, MA (US)
    Current Employee - Associate in Boston, MA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Continue to perform economic analyses after your PhD. Access to incredible data. Involved in front-page, interesting issues. Very bright and collaborative coworkers. Significant investment made in maintaining firm culture. Recent expansion in workplace flexibility (e.g., work from home whenever needed).

    Cons

    Significant variation in hours. Fixed timeline for promotion.


  7. "Interesting and challenging work, brilliant colleagues"

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Super interesting cases, great experience, great colleagues, top of the market pay

    Cons

    Inconsistent workload - periods of being slow or being super busy

    Advice to Management

    Great job!

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great culture, interesting cases"

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time

    Pros

    The culture is great. People are quirky and intelligent. The cases are some of the most complex and challenging.

    Cons

    Expectations vary between teams, and the New York office especially has bad work life balance expectations. It also has more finance cases which are on the boring side.

    Advice to Management

    Set clear expectations of when a work product should be delivered, and don't blame analysts for leaving early when there's nothing to do.


  9. "Good career for Econ PhDs"

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

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -Most projects are interesting and involve cool data
    -Colleagues are all very intelligent people who are fun to hang out with
    -Get to work on multiple types of cases across different industries and practices
    -Faster paced (in a good way) compared to academics

    Cons

    The firm has had a lot of work in the last year, so many managers were quite busy. The firm is working on hiring more PhDs to keep up with the demand for our services, which will hopefully lead to fewer busy periods.


  10. "Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL (US)
    Current Employee - Associate in Chicago, IL (US)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good pay, flexible re schedule, you learn a lot at the beginning.

    Cons

    Variability in hours, the learning curve is steep, but it flattens out fairly quickly, not a lot of role models at teh management level.