Exponent Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback

From Everything.Sucks

Exponent (formerly Failure Analysis Associates) is an American engineering and scientific consulting firm. Exponent has a multidisciplinary team of scientists, physicians, engineers, and business consultants which performs research and analysis in more than 90 technical disciplines. The company operates 20 offices in the United States and five offices overseas.


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Former Employee - Managing Engineer says

"This company is modeled after law firms / management consulting in the use of billable hours, promotion criteria, and even the job titles. For example, Exponent hires exclusively engineering PhDs and yet they call people "associates" and promote people to "principal". This general model isn't inherently wrong, as consulting firms and law firms have generally proven to be successful and lucrative. But Exponent has the crucial flaw of being a PUBLIC company. Thus, unlike all other successful law firms or top consulting firms (MBB, etc.), they live and die by the quarterly return. This results in extremely short term thinking about pure profit and $$$, which stifles any growth of the company and ultimately individual employees. There is not a single innovative thing that has come out of this consulting firm in decades. While other consulting firms (which also live by the billable hour) have deftly pivoted to digitalization and data science initiatives a DECADE ago, Exponent is still doing litigation investigations and investing no money in the future. Exponent thrives on the allure of quick big money for fresh PhD grads, and thus receives a steady stream of top-end MIT/Stanford/Caltech/etc. PhDs. But this is generally a HUGE mistake for this people, because there is absolutely no skill growth in your time in Exponent. Most people (90%+) have to take a step down in a role when transitioning out of Exponent, because the skills are not transferrable at all. The remaining 10% of people are either Exponent lifers (stuck because they have nowhere else to go), or those who have played the "game" enough to make it to the top and play the Ponzi scheme some more. If you are a fresh PhD grad looking at Exponent, I recommend staying away."

Current Employee - Senior Associate says

"- Work life balance is awful. The higher ups are obsessed with billing at all costs, even at the expense of family life. Work on nights and weekends is very common, if not expected. Most people in the company have terrible work life balance. - The best people seem to leave after a few years. Unfortunately, that means the ones remaining who make it to the top are not the best people you want leading the company. - Senior management acts like everyone can make it to the top and nobody leaves. Instead, there's an obvious high attrition rate and very very few people make it to the top level. But unlike other consulting companies that embrace the "up or out" theory, Exponent seems to pretend that attrition doesn't exist. - Senior management tends to be good at one thing: billing. They have very little actual management skills and are terrible at growing the "lower level" employees' careers. - The company seems to be obsessed with short term returns. They don't care about long term growth of people or the company, only quarter by quarter. This is a really bad long term strategy. - Lots of market credit stealing and taking advantage of young, fresh PhD grads. Unfair system for reward. - The obsession with billing means you will do anything to bill more, even if the tasks are really simple and low level. This means all the technical skills people have developed in their PhDs just erode over time. This is REALLY bad for your long term career."

Former Employee - Anonymous Employee says

"The majority of what is rhetorically taught at Exponent regarding company and professional growth is actually polar opposite to how it began, and also to how everyone else exceeds as consults in other companies in the same exact field. When Exponent was founded, it was founded based on people who were exceptionally well in a focal dedicated field. They were very good in their focal area, were well known in that focal area, and cast a specific, purposeful net into the large endless ocean for which consulting work exists. The exponent today casts the largest net possible to catch as much work as possible regardless of whether who is pulling in the net can actually do the work, whether that work aligns with the focal goals of the practice, or whether the work aligns with the professional goals of the consultant. This strategy is magic for the financial goals of the practice and share holder earnings, but detrimental to the vast majority of employees. In Exponent, every manager will tell their associates that key to becoming a Principal is many things, but the first of which is becoming known and respected in a singular area. I invite you to review the professional profiles of those in each practice and evaluate what many of these professionals are focal experts in (Note: everyone there is very very smart, this is not a knock on the quality of people, only observing the general result of the Exponent Business Model). You will likely find that the majority of people are general technical consultants which again is great for the company, but absolutely detrimental to professional growth. If a person after several years is known for becoming more general, then what will people actually come to them in the future for?The result of the Exponent business model is it actually prohibits the the upward mobility of its own people. The cascade is easy to follow. Bill more hours, Become more general to bill more hours, Do good work, Get awarded more billable hours, Get rewarded for billing more hours, Become more general, Bill enough general hours consistently to become a Manager,become unable to sustainably or consistently secure your own clients due to lack of focal expertise, career stagnation, Continue working for the Principal as their right or left hand, bill more general hours, continue until you become lucky, understand the cascade, or turn down work to focus on your core expertise at the risk of peer pressure, potential for getting fired, or otherwise. In this cascade, the Principal who hands out the work continues to thrive while everyone below them flounders more. Exponent will not train people in how to become good consultants, Exponent will not train people in carving out their expertise, Exponent will not help people manage. The only thing that Exponent will help you do, is to encourage you to bill as many hours as possible. This is the story for the vast majority of Exponent employees. This is evidenced by reviewing how long the principles have been with exponent and comparing it to those at the mid levels which have been there sometimes quite long, and the lower levels which cycle continuously. People don't leave exponent because of the work. People leave exponent because the business model does not support the sustained growth of positions below the Principal level."

Former Employee - Associate says

"Exponent does provide a high intensity work environment. We are solving complex engineering, science, regulatory and business issues for a wide variety of clients which means we get to work at a fast pace to identify creative solutions. We do hire a lot of our employees directly out of their PhD programs and most of these employees thrive on the excitement of the work and their ability to contribute immediately. We do not have high turnover, especially for a professional services firm. The majority of consultants who leave the firm do so because they choose not to do consulting. Many become clients. We have tremendous focus on the professional development of our staff since most of our senior consultants progressed through their careers within Exponent. We provide internal and external training, employ a robust mentoring program, promote the importance of certifications, enable opportunities for research and publication, and perhaps most importantly, provide on-the-job project management and business development training. We are proud of our culture of scientific excellence and professional development. Sally Shepard Chief Human Resources Officer"

Former Employee - Anonymous Employee says

"I hardly had any work the first seven months I worked here. Apparently they had hired me without really having any work prepared for me to do. This is a problem because of billing so I tried to cover myself by asking for billable and non-billable work all the time so they were amply aware of this. After seven months upper management caught on and I was somehow blamed for this insisting whatever small amounts of work I had been given I wasn't recording enough hours for. They encourage you to ask questions but then act irritated when you do. There was one very unprofessional colleague though the rest were fine, but in such a small office and group (10 people) that really affects morale."

Current Employee - Manufacturing Engineer says

"Very large ego management. Make sure you negotiate a pay you can be satisfied with for at least 5 years. Performance reviews possess extreme bias, with little to no consideration for skills and personal contribution to company success. If you are not a Stanford PHD stay away !! Menlo Park will not fully recognize any degree that is not from Stanford. The strongest example of cronyism I have experienced in my 35 year profession.. Women professionals beware of male management. Very, very expensive Health Insurance. Rude and inconsiderate upper Engineering staff, is standard operating procedure."

Former Employee - Anonymous Employee says

"I was hired at a low position at a below market salary, with the understanding that I would be formally trained in project management, promoted quickly, and transferred. None of those things happened. Billable time is everything and everybody is fighting over billable work. People are rewarded for doing a lot of overtime and there is no incentive to delegate work to colleagues. If you are junior and do not have your own clients, you are screwed. There is no incentive for training new employees. There is no formal mechanism for training new employees. Professional development is not rewarded in any meaningful way, and some people aren't even allowed to go to professional meetings. See focus on billable time. There is no clear path for advancement. Promotions are rare. I am not the only one. Turnover in the one year I was there was ridiculous."

Counselor says

"Hierarchy stands in the way of getting job done"


"- Work life and personal life balance - Never enough work to maintain an adequate UT *Therefore the work environment was very competitive *There were too many big and unjustifiable egos (e.g. just because you are a "Managing Scientist/Engineer" and have a high UT for managing a Principal's case load (e.g. glorified administrative work) does not mean you are a stellar scientist or engineer) - Work that was available to maintain a UT was not interesting (e.g. deposition summaries) - Penalized for trying to find work because marketing for work was not billable - Salary - NEVER received a raise - Expensive and very poor health insurance - Did not value scientists or engineers who valued the scientific process or scientific principles *This was a factory for recruiting individuals with graduate degrees to then just churn out hours to make money for the firm *The company meetings always focused on revenue and outstanding AR"

Senior Managing Engineer says

"Compensation is not competitive Lack of recognition of accomplishments and performance"


"there was no management on site ever, the job from day to day was not secure. It ended up shutting down in 4 months instead of the year it was told to its workers it would last.This review is inaccurate. Exponent, Inc. has been in business for over 50 years. We have had an office in the Deer Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona for many of those years.Exponent Human Resources"

Administrative Assistant (Former Employee) says

"Exponent's crash testing and engineering facility in Phoenix is a very small part of a large company. Sometimes it seemed like the home office in CA forgot about the Phoenix office."

Manager (Former Employee) says

"The honeymoon lasts about 2 weeks. Afterwards extreme pressure is placed on new employees to create billable hours, and management is not happy with 100% billable but pushes for over 150%. If you join exponent, suggest you bring clients with you - otherwise select a cardiologist for your future heart attack.pay, benefits, stock optionsextreme pressure, poor management"

Engineering Consultant and Project Manager (Current Employee) says

"Highly motivated group of consultants with unique projects but little upper management involvement. Little areas to move up in the company without a PhD. Work live balance doesn't exist."


"If you are not an engineer there is absolutely no room for advancement. Management is good people. People are very nice. Pay is not too great compared to market standard."

Graphic Artist (Former Employee) says

"You are not valued unless you are one of the scientists. People that do so much of the physical work are undervalued and under-payed. Graphic artists, reception, copy center people are expendableGreat co-workersLocated in Bellevue"

Assembly Supervisor (Former Employee) says

"Start times 7am, assembling assigned projects (ground penatrating radar integartion onto various vehicles) also set-up network servalance cameras for military.Learned to build multiple project using mechanical components, hydralics, and robotics."

Campus Reporter (Current Employee) says

"what do i even say about this there is just so much im looking to get out of being like this place is good and it was it really really was so theres that"

Engineering Technician II (Former Employee) says

"The people in the office are great. Most very friendly, and almost a family environment. Can't really state what we did, because most work there was confidential. But being a public stock offered company, billable hours are the bottom line. And you had to have enough billable hours to be able to keep your job. Or at least that was always hanging heavy on everyone's shoulders. I enjoyed the people and the work. Especially when I was sent out to their Phoenix location several times. They had a great group of employee's that I really enjoyed working with, and the work out there was really interesting and fun. Miss those times, but grateful that I experienced them.Interesting work, great peoplepressure to have billable work"

Human Factors Scientist (Current Employee) says

"Exponent, Inc. has among its many engineering practices a team of largely cognitive psychologists and industrial engineers comprising a human factors unit. As a consulting division, human factors attracts companies seeking guidance on pre-market product design and accompanying literature. Even more typically, human factors is hired to defend corporations and individuals on both product liability and personal injury cases. Consultants at Exponent are expected to rapidly digest and analyze case materials provided by the client, as well as add persuasive analyses to create a work product or prepare an expert witness for court. As human factors cases rely on educated opinions characterizing human behavior, it offers a potentially fulfilling and certainly distinct career choice for a college degree that tends to serve mostly academia."

Senior Scientist (Current Employee) says

"Researching and writing scientific reports for litigation."

Corporate Planning Manager (Former Employee) says

"The functional areas of an organization are properly provided for and covered except that most of the managers, because of their experience as salesmen, were not prepared to handle managerial positions. Had good managers been assigned to the functional positions better growth could have been achieved by the company. The company initially was achieving good sales growth. But when the managers reached tgeir level of incompetencies, no more sales growth was achieved.There were plenty of free lunches and company outings as incentivesTop managment was linient on sales managers"