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Vault’s Verdict

Cornerstone Research employees are quick to praise the “familial” culture of the firm. The highly collaborative and collegial environment plays an invaluable role in the generally strong quality of life, and an abundance of peer and supervisory support empower entry-level analysts to seize control of their career paths and pursue numerous professional development opportunities.

This consultancy firmly operates within the niche of economic consulting. While some express concern that this may limit potential exit opportunities, most argue that if you ARE interested in this sector, there is no better firm to build your career than Cornerstone Research.

Firm Culture

  • “The friendship between colleagues is unparalleled, we really care about each other and we build a strong sense of empathy in every case team. Working at Cornerstone Research feels like working within a family.”
  • “Our unique commitment to our culture upholds dedication to our clients and an attitude of collegiality and camaraderie among employees.”
  • “This firm is an excellent firm from which to gain experience whether you are entry-level or more senior. The training is outstanding, the work is exciting and fast-paced, and there are many opportunities to stretch into new projects outside of your comfort level. From brand-new analysts through senior officers, everyone is committed to working as a team. Egos are checked at the door, and everyone does what is required. I have never worked in a job where there is such a commitment to excellence by every single employee.”
  • “Cornerstone Research is a phenomenal first job coming out of college, for the wealth of opportunities to work on challenging, high-profile problems and the ability to gain invaluable skills along the way. Moreover, the people by whom you'll be surrounded are consistently impressive, brilliant, and will always have your back.”
  • “Cornerstone Research is a very special place to work. Every person's contributions are valued and respected.”
  • “Culture, culture, culture. Cornerstone Research feels more like a family than a work environment. Made some of the most important friendships of my adult life there. Look forward to going to work every day.”

Quality of Life

  • “The firm's genuine efforts to respect personal commitments and the dedication to flexibility—even pre-COVID-19—made the work/life balance better. The worst aspect is the variability of the hours and the possibility of sudden unexpected requests on time.”
  • “Travel requirements are practically nonexistent, which is a big plus. Average hours are a bit high, and tend to fluctuate with relatively little predictability. That said, it's typically possible to keep a healthy work-life balance.”
  • “The best aspect of quality of life at Cornerstone Research is a general shared intent to minimize long nights and extreme working hours. The concept of “face time” is not an issue…The worst aspect is the influence of late night/high-stress situations, which do happen. Though these scenarios are usually rare and almost exclusively client-driven (hence somewhat unavoidable), on some teams these scenarios can become the norm which can be frustrating.”
  • “Travel requirements are very low, which is both unusual and delightful in the consulting industry. Most people are able to keep working hours to ~50 hours per week, and spikes above 60-65 are quite rare. However, the field is prone to periods of highly intense work around deadlines, where 80+ hour weeks, possibly including very late nights or all-nighters, are possible. The firm is outstanding in promoting work flexibility…to minimize the disruption of unexpected spikes in work…”
  • “Lots of [health and wellness] resources, whether it's free counseling, telemedicine, Headspace, etc. We have seminars on wellness presented by a variety of different professionals, e.g., dieticians, personal trainers, counselors.”
  • “The amount of vacation time is fairly standard (15 days/year, plus holidays). You are definitely encouraged to use your time, and most of the time your colleagues will make an effort to work around you and not intrude on your vacation time. Work can sometimes interfere with vacation times, but only on busy cases where it's absolutely necessary.”

Career Development

  • “The best aspects include very clear trajectories for time to promotion as well as hiring individuals with advanced degrees that we expect/hope to make partner (i.e., no up-or-out culture).”
  • “Cornerstone Research invests a lot in preparing its staff for senior positions at the firm. The promotion process is generally fair and transparent, and there are plenty of development opportunities, both formal and informal. You're continually given an increasing amount of responsibility as you progress.”
  • “The firm rewards hard work. It is not a popularity contest or a who-knows-who environment. Everyone has the opportunities for promotion. The firm fosters diversity and different viewpoints, and provides ample training opportunities at all levels of development.”
  • “Cornerstone Research provides great training, both formal and informal. There is a lot of effort spent to ensure development of different skills, and it is easy to work on different types of cases. The promotion process is not very clearly communicated, though.”
  • “Career development can be quite driven by your staffing. While we are generalists, if you get "stuck" on a bad case, you may end up working on the same case for years with little option for movement.”
  • “There is an outstanding pipeline for being promoted at the analyst level; however, while the company is improving at facilitating long-term career pathways, there are limited promotion opportunities from entry-level positions to senior-level positions.”


  • “Salary progression is strong, with a generous signing bonus pro-rated over the first two years at the firm that offers stability while target bonuses ramp up. Target bonuses are both large and relatively reliable, and performance adjustments to annual bonuses can be quite generous for high performance. The firm's total retirement benefit package (401k matching + profit sharing) is substantial.”
  • “Good compensation relative to other opportunities, increasingly the firm is putting a significant amount of compensation at risk to reward truly outstanding performance, which is much appreciated. Downside is somewhat limited visibility into calculation of incentive compensation amounts.”
  • “Compensation could be more meritocratic; at least at lower levels, it is almost exclusively (in percentage terms) determined by seniority. But overall, compensation is very generous and fair.”
  • “Compensation at Cornerstone Research is quite generous. If anything, the current system for reimbursing extremely overutilized employees could potentially be refined, but the fact that this exists is a big plus.”
  • “Compensation is pretty good. Base compensation appears to be generally consistent at the same level, with the only meaningful difference being a performance bonus. The firm isn't very transparent about future compensation if you stay at the firm long enough. No insight into partner compensation makes it a risk to stay long-term (due to uncertainty associated with pay in the long-term).”
  • “We are pay leaders in our consulting sub-segment on the positive front. I can't think of negatives.”


  • “Cornerstone Research has always valued and fostered diversity, and has stepped up its efforts in terms of recruitment and trainings in recent years. Many of the senior staff are female.”
  • “Cornerstone Research is the most inclusive environment I have ever seen. The firm goes above and beyond to promote opportunities for women and minorities. We have anti-bias trainings, women's forum's, and a plethora of other programs designed to promote diversity. More importantly, though, the culture is highly tolerant and inclusive. Cornerstone Research is a true meritocracy that does not favor any gender or race.”
  • “Every firm can do better. We are great on some measures of diversity but have room to improve on others. A number of senior management are female. Less minority representation, especially at the most senior levels.”
  • “I've found Cornerstone Research to be extremely supportive of women. I've consistently received higher compensation than many of my male peers due to my performance. Promotions happen on a pretty strict timetable, so there is less room for ambiguity. That said, maternity leave and revenue targets seem to make the promotion from principal to officer difficult.”
  • “While I think our hiring practices can do a bit more to promote diversity, within Cornerstone Research compensation, promotion, and treatment of all employees regardless of their background is strikingly egalitarian.”
  • “The firm stands out in the industry with its commitment to females in the industry. Over 40% of our officers are female and 2 of our 3 founders are female. From my perspective, the firm engenders a culture where men and women work as equals in an environment of mutual respect and support.”


  • “Cornerstone Research positions itself very well in the market. Leadership is always looking for new opportunities to expand our business and ensure steady workflow. I have the utmost confidence in Yesim and Rahul.”
  • “COVID-19 has had a negative impact in the short-term but we have a very strong outlook in the medium- and long-term as our business is based on demand for economic analysis in litigation, which will remain high long-term. We are well positioned relative to the competition and will continue to be the firm of choice for economic consulting.”
  • “Despite the economic downturn due to COVID-19, we're incredibly optimistic because to some degree this industry is countercyclical. With failure, there is going to be litigation where we will be needed. Even when things get back into the upswing, I imagine there's going more merger work, etc.”
  • “The firm typically thrives in the years after economic disruption as it works on high-profile cases to disentangle crisis.”
  • “The firm's outlook is tied to complex litigation. The COVID-19 related economic slowdown and disruption is likely to lead to substantial business for our firm.”
  • “There was a drop off in work due to COVID-19, but business seems to be recovering. The longer-term outlook seems to be good, as Cornerstone Research has developed strong relationships with experts and clients. These have contributed to the firm's strong and steady growth over the past few years.”

Hiring Process

  • “The process is competitive, and we look for very strong academic achievement paired with good soft skills. Attention to detail is also very important.”
  • “There are two interview rounds and feedback from the interviews were very quick. The ideal candidate would be one that is intellectually curious and analytically minded.”
  • "Two rounds of interviews. First round: case interview + simple behavioral interview. Second round: four case interviews. Ideal candidate: strong intellectual curiosity, detail-oriented, clear communicator, prior experience with data/statistics/economics/finance/accounting.”
  • “Case performance is very important, as is quantitative experience and ability. No experience with litigation process is necessary, but an interest helps.”
  • “We have a very structured process for both analyst (BAs) and associate positions (PhDs and MBAs). Ideal candidates have demonstrated empirical skills and familiarity with economic and financial concepts.”
  • “We are looking for motivated, intellectually curious candidates, with strong attention to detail skills who are interested in economic and financial fields. We vet our candidates via a resume review and two rounds of interviews that expose candidates to consultants at all levels of the firm and hopefully provide them an insight in to the type of work we do. We always try to provide our candidates with access so they can get a good idea of the work we do.”

Interview Questions

  • “Typically we will walk through a simplified, anonymized version of one of the cases we work on and ask the candidate to compute damages, or analyze a relationship between variables, or the like. For example, we may work with a candidate to develop a damages to shareholders model for a major auto retailer recall, which includes an assessment of the recall's scope and effect on car resale values, the market overall, the automobile among its peers, other market events, etc.”
  • “Case studies based on past matters consultants worked on. They include questions to assess quantitative abilities, communication skills as well as theoretical foundations.”
  • “[Our] interviews are half case interviews and half fit interviews. Our cases are not like management consulting cases so they cannot be prepared using casebooks.” “What would cause a structural break in a data series? How can we test for structural breaks?”
  • “How can we calculate the damage done to shareholders caused by a viral tweet by the CEO?”
  • “How would you estimate damages under this scenario? How you would you estimate the effect of this event?”
Cornerstone Research

Two Embarcadero Center
20th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 229-8100

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
President: Yesim Richardson
CEO: Rahul Guha
2024 Employees (All Locations): 900

Major Office Locations

Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Silicon Valley, CA
Washington, DC
London, UK
Brussels, BE

Major Departments & Practices

  • Accounting

  • Audit & Tax Advisory Consulting

  • Economic Consulting

  • Energy & Utilities Consulting

  • Financial Consulting

  • Health Care & Pharmaceuticals Consulting

  • HR Consulting

  • Information Technology Consulting

  • Litigation & Legal Consulting

  • Management & Strategy Consulting

  • Public Sector Consulting