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Charles River Associates Europe
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Vault’s Verdict

A very well-respected firm with a boutique feel, Charles River Associates represents a fantastic opportunity for anyone with the chops in economic, energy, RI&A, and life sciences consulting to gain access to a high-profile roster of clients. As a launchpad for a top-flight business career, then, CRA is a strong choice.

As an employer, the firm’s boutique feel is something to be weighed carefully. Insiders note that different practice areas tend to operate according to their own distinct cultures, while training and development opportunities are readily available—although they require the initiative and drive of the consultant to make the most of them. If all of that sounds appealing, there’s very little reason not to consider a career with CRA.

Firm Culture

  • “A fantastic workplace, attracting talented and intelligent people with an understanding and compassionate skillset.”
  • “Challenging & interesting work for a range of high-profile clients and great career development opportunities for junior employees.”
  • “Each practice within CRA has a different work culture to some degree, so it's worth asking questions to assess whether you think you'd be a good fit for that particular practice (working relationships, typical working hours, sorts of work etc.)”
  • “People that do well here are the ones that are resourceful and curious. This means they spot opportunities to contribute, ask smart and challenging questions, and are motivated to do well. If that describes you then apply, apply, apply!”
  • “Steep learning curve with extremely competitive work settings.”
  • “They need much better gender equality and balance within their offices.”

Quality of Life

  • “Although a busy and unpredictable work schedule is inherent to the nature of consulting, CRA Life Sciences does encourage a work/life balance and time off. The culture is friendly and relaxed, and whilst expecting a high standard of work, seniors are very encouraging of juniors maintaining a work/life balance and they do recognise and reward good work.”
  • “At a corporate level, there is a wellness team that promote tips and tools for maintaining wellbeing….As a benefit, we do get a heavily discounted gym membership and access to health insurance,which covers alternative treatments such as physiotherapy and osteopathy. There is also free counselling and free online GP access.”
  • “During Covid-19, the firm and my practice have been really supportive and we have had regular conversations about making sure we have the right balance of work and personal life. Given the challenges of keeping work and personal separate, I've appreciated these check ins. I've also appreciated the ability to work flexibly; it feels like as long as I am getting my work done and communicating my availability I haven't had many issues with trying to take some ‘me time’ during the traditional working day - such as lunchtime virtual yoga classes, morning walks, etc.” 
  • “Frequent wellness seminars on topics like nutrition, stress, financial health, sleep, etc. We also had an ergonomics seminar when we moved to the work from home environment so we could have a tutorial in how to set up our home offices…There's also an external employee counselling service which has been great during the pandemic, even our families can use it.” 
  • “Hours are fine outside of crunch time, which thankfully isn't every week. No travel required, which is a big plus. Easy to take time off and fairly generous vacation time (5 weeks).”
  • “Taking vacation is encouraged and just needs to be planned around project commitments where possible. I have never had request for vacation denied and have had completely work-free vacations (although I would say that most people choose to check emails).”


  • “Bonus structure for juniors different and conflicting to bonus structure for seniors which can create friction. Very good opportunities for progression with decent increases in salary as levels rise.
    Not very much transparency on senior position remuneration.”
  • “Happy with compensation.”
  • “Opaque salaries and bonus structure.”
  • “Salary progression has been good so far. Perks otherwise are nothing out of the ordinary.”
  • “The salaries at CRA are average compared to the market but the bonuses are excellent for those that work hard and perform highly. It's nice to be able to set yourself apart if you are someone that likes to apply themselves and are self-motivated to do well.”
  • “Very good bonus and salary progression.”

Career Development

  • “Best - Great people, some interesting projects, very healthy company culture and career development focus. Worst - Long hours, some less interesting projects.”
  • “By nature what we do is a bit specialized, so the exit opportunities are a bit indirect outside of moving into the public sector. Otherwise the training is good and you develop good client skills and data skills.”
  • “Career development is in the hands of each employee, meaning it's up to us to drive the pace of our progression and take responsibility for getting the experience we need to move forward. This environment is perfect for those who are motivated, self-starting and driven to work hard - the ‘over achiever’ if you like. There's plenty of support in terms of physical resources and career support if you just ask for it. I've found it easy to get quality feedback by taking charge of asking for it.”
  • “CRA provides ample training materials and support. Management is very supportive of continuing training (workload permitting).”
  • “Promotion is a very clear and linear process, with fair and equal opportunities for all. Training is extensive and when not organised, all resources needed are provided to us.”
  • “There are ample opportunities to learn from the senior staff around you. Aside from the project team structure, where a senior colleague will be part of the team and be guiding you, the senior staff seem genuinely invested in the professional growth of the juniors. This can be seen in the open feedback culture, supportive environment, care for personal needs and focus on development. A great place to start and grow your career.”


  • “A lot of senior leadership are women. I get the impression that it is very much a meritocracy and there aren't barriers for any individuals to succeed.”
  • “As a woman of colour I have been impressed with the respectful culture at CRA. Not once have I been made to feel different or uncomfortable. The visible diversity at the firm is low but from my experience this seems to be happenstance rather than anything specific they are doing. Friends of mine at other firms have not been as lucky as I have with respect to the open and inclusive culture.”
  • “Base salaries consistent amongst all employees as far as I am aware. Bonuses vary by individual.”
  • “The number of women and men in higher positions are almost equal and this is very promising to see.”


  • “Business outlook for different practices varies. Some practices much busier than others during COVID but generally positive outlook all round.”
  • “Company is doing very well, however we play it very safe, so not much innovation.”
  • “Extremely strong leadership.”
  • “On the one hand, companies are going to keep merging, and anticompetitive practices will continue for as long as there's capitalism and a market economy. So the long-term prospects are good. Short-term there has definitely been a Covid-related slowdown.”
  • “We have never been busier!”

Hiring Process

  • “First round group interview, second round individual. Looking for someone who is switched on, personable, and has interest in the industry they are interviewing to consult on.”
  • “For Life Sciences in Europe, the interview process typically starts with a group interview day which will involve group case studies, exercises, and competency interview questions and opportunities to learn about the firm. Successful candidates progress to a final series of 1:1 interviews with members of the team, which again will involve case studies and competency-based interview questions.”

Interview Questions

  • “A series of cases with a brainteaser.”
  • “Assess the competitive aspects of a potential merger (issues, market definition, etc.).”
  • “Case interview, market sizing, brain teasers.”
  • “Simple case study interviews: business opportunity in X sector.”
Charles River Associates Europe

8 Finsbury Circus

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Public
Stock Symbol: CRAI
Stock Exchange: NASDAQ
President & CEO: Paul Maleh
2020 Employees (All Locations): 826

Major Office Locations

Boston, MA (World HQ)
London, UK (Europe HQ)

Major Departments & Practices

Antitrust & Competition Economics

Auctions & Competitive Bidding



Financial Economics

Forensic Services

Intellectual Property

Labor & Employment

Life Sciences


Risk, Investigations & Analytics

Transfer Pricing




Antitrust & Competition

Auctions & Competitive Bidding

CEO Advisory

Class Actions

Damages & Quantam

Employment & Compensation

ESG and Sustainability

Financial Litigation & Regulation

Forensic Accounting

Information Security & Privacy

Intellectual Property

International Arbitration

Investigation & Compliance


Management Consulting

Mergers& Acquisitions

Transfer Pricing