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Vault’s Verdict

Brattle Group insiders are typically happy with their lot in life, citing a helpful, collegial culture and the opportunity to work on high profile cases as key drivers of that satisfaction. Additionally, this is a company with an excellent reputation for career development, with a strong focus on mentoring and on-the-job learning.

In the midst of a cost-of-living squeeze, Brattle consultants had varying opinions of how their base compensation compared with competing firms but it still remains generous by most standards—with bonus opportunities making up a lot of the gaps.

All told, this is a firm with a strong reputation in the economic consulting sphere; if that’s your area of expertise, there are few reasons not to check it out further.

Firm Culture

“A job that will challenge you with high intensity moments but will reward you with opportunities for personal, professional, and relational growth.”

“Brattle has an incredibly flat structure for project work, which for me, means that I'm often working directly with principals who respect, value, and trust my input. In turn, I recognize that I am expected to produce a certain quality of work and learn at a particular pace that lets me contribute. These forces, hand-in-hand, lead to some incredibly collaborative work.”

“Everyone is someone you would want to work with! There is no drama or 'out to get someone' culture and everyone wants their coworkers to succeed. Also, we have opportunities to do conventional economic consulting work and work that is more niche (electricity practice). It's the perfect mix of a variety of opportunities but a small enough size for tight knit culture.”

“Many econ consulting companies claim they have ‘collegial’ cultures, but Brattle is closer to achieving this than other firms actually are. That ‘collegiality’ is not always perfect, but I think most of the people at my firm are genuinely friendly and can work hard without the toxicity that often comes along with heavy workloads at other companies. Even senior-level figures are open and approachable, and the hierarchy can feel a lot flatter depending on the work than you would expect even if it is not ‘flat’ on paper. Having likeable coworkers makes asking for help/advice/clarification much easier, which makes it easier to learn on the job and get things done even being inexperienced.”

“We are known for being innovative and ‘entrepreneurial’ in our approach to answering tough questions for our clients. If you need a ‘rinse and repeat’ type of analysis, we can do that, but where we really shine is when something really tough and thorny comes up. Additionally, we really do have much better work-life balance than our competitors.”

Quality of Life

“As with all consulting work, some weeks and months are more demanding than others, but it can be difficult not to fall into a pattern of that not occurring too often so that it becomes the norm as opposed to the exception. I think the firm could put a cap on the total number of forecasted project hours for an individual working on many projects so that the various project managers do not over-assign team members adding to an individual's stress and possible burnout.”

“Brattle cares deeply about supporting families and interests outside of work. As you get more senior, you gain more autonomy over your day-to-day activities, and can prioritize personal needs from time to time. Our utilization guidance gives space for career development, firm building activities, and personal interest.”

“For the industry we are in, Brattle does a great job promoting a good work/life balance. Our billable expectations aren't as onerous as other firms, and I don't feel pressure to hit my weekly target in a given week because I know there will be busy weeks that will bring my average up. My stress level is much lower than when I worked at a different firm in this industry. Like all economic consulting firms, the hours are variable, but that goes with the territory. Brattle does a great job of mitigating the downsides of this volatility.”

“The best aspect is that the firm has many programs aimed at achieving a good work-life balance, including leave time and funds for activities outside work (and many other perks). Also, there is very little travel, and the requirements for working hours are lower than many of our competitors. Having said that, it is still consulting, so hours are longer than in other industries. Taking time off is easy as long as you are not close to a deadline.”

“There is very little separation of work-life and personal life. If there are deadlines to be met, that means working through the night or over the weekend, despite what other plans you had. If there are company holidays and you have a deadline, you are expected to work on those days as well. Taking time off is not too challenging as long as you let those around you know well in advance.”

Compensation

“Annual compensation and signing bonus is great, and I think they are a leader in compensation. I wish there was a 401k match (there isn't), but there is a profit-share plan. Firm [currently] doesn't force or enforce the 2-day RTW policy; they encourage spending as much time WFH as needed to boost productivity. We have a community day, when we have food/activities to encourage us to show up and socialize.”

“Entry-level pay is respectable but may be at-par or lower than at equivalent companies (on the other hand, similar econ consulting companies tend to drive their entry-level analysts to work significantly longer hours). Pay generally increases with responsibility, and your yearly bonus is determined by: 1. how many hours you worked overall and 2. your ‘firm contribution’ to planning social events, participating in recruiting, participating in diversity/sustainability initiatives, etc. The average bonus is about 15%, which is not spectacular but can increase up to 30% if you log especially long hours. Analysts are generally very open about sharing the size of their yearly bonuses with each other.”

“I think I've been made to feel like we are being paid less than our peers by older people in our position, which makes me feel like I should have had a wider search, but also I feel like I am being paid a very sufficient amount of money. I think the only thing I actually dislike is that for us to receive 401k matching we need to stay at the firm for at least 3 years. But I do really like a $625 Beyond Brattle benefit to support passions outside work.”

“The highlight of Brattle's compensation package is the benefits package. Insurance coverage is terrific at Brattle, as are vacation and holiday policies along with leave times for parenting or disability. Entry-level salary at Brattle is good, but could still improve. The bonus structure is fair, with a component for billable hours, a component for firm contribution, and a component for [performance].”

Career Development

“At Brattle we are given ample opportunities to work on projects in numerous industries, from financial services to electricity to international arbitration. We are also allowed to choose projects that will allow us to develop skills that we personally find important.”

“Brattle is deliberate about developing careers, whether it's at the junior level with an expectation to go back to grad school or gain more experience, at the Associate level where we hire to be promoted to Principal, or even in corporate services where development paths are available for everyone. There are fair firm-wide guidelines and policies for promotion that are now equitably instituted.”

“I feel that by working at Brattle, I am setting myself on a trajectory that will bring me lots of diverse experiences and allow me to experiment with areas of interest that I may want to pursue post-Brattle which the firm emphasizes in its Research Analyst development. I wish that Brattle had programs set up to help fund Research Analysts to pursue graduate studies which I think is a major pro to many peer firms that I considered in the recruitment process.”

“The best aspect of my firm's career development opportunities is that there is a transparent career path, and promotion is mostly based on objective measures of development milestones. The worst aspect of career development is not firm-specific but industry-specific. In economic consulting, it is difficult to get your first testifying experience.”

“The firm promotes on a regular schedule and promotions are based on tenure [and] performance. It doesn't seem to incentivize/reward performance beyond expectations. But this also removes some of the subjectivity of the promotion process because we are all working on different projects.”

Community Engagement

“Brattle has internal DEI groups that any employee can join and contribute to. These groups can plan events, share similar experiences, and even help update firm policies. I do feel that all consultants have equal access to promotion opportunities and are treated equally. I believe participation in DEI initiatives can improve if Brattle further incentivizes employees to participate in DEI groups and events.”

“Firm is very open to members of all protected classes and provides ample immigration support. There are women and ethnic minorities in all rungs of the firm, from partner to undergrad recruits. Getting on projects that interest me is a matter of me networking internally with project managers, with a staffing tsar available to match consultants with leftover hours to the appropriate PMs.”

“The company began a massive effort to address diversity around three or four years ago, in response to a push that started among the younger, newer members of the firm. Upon recognizing this as an issue, the firm leadership really stepped up and took action. Changes were slow in the beginning as leadership was cautious and demanded high rigor in the application of expertise in knowledge to accomplish goals in an informed and strategic fashion. This started with a grassroots-led effort to identify, hire, and consult the right DEI consulting firm. That selection resulted in guidance that was effective at providing recommendations that were well-targeted to existing firm values, and led to significant changes that were data-driven (both collected internal data and drawing from academic research) and well-integrated with ongoing grassroots feedback, vocal leadership buy-in, structural leadership contribution, and real results in both physical and cultural representation. 

I'm incredibly proud of what has happened here over the last 3-4 years. My colleagues are now visibly and comfortably diverse, and not siloed at all in that diversity. From my own personal perspective as a gay man, I went from quietly excluding ‘personal’ information from my in-house bio due to a perception of likely backlash, to joining a crowd of nearly all my colleagues at a BProud town hall about gender identity, and feeling comfortable posting about childhood traumas for the benefit of parent-colleagues who may or may not have LGBT children in or adjacent to their household. And best of all, this work is ongoing, there's no sense of ‘mission accomplished’, but a recognition that this transformation must be ongoing, indefinitely.

One area we are still working on: access to interesting work remains very much a networking exercise here. This is a relationship-driven business, but that can create habits that are excluding, so I do think some structural change to staffing processes are needed to provide particularly more junior colleagues better access and choice to projects earlier in the staffing process (instead of being contacted after the known quantities are exhausted).”

“We have had a concerted push in this arena. The only thing I have not seen emphasized is military veteran hiring. I do feel like the consultants at Brattle have equal access to interesting work and promotion opportunities.”

Business Outlook

“Brattle brings in a solid line of business and currently serves several high-profile clients. It's possible to work in a variety of different industries, regardless of what internal practice area you're initially assigned to. Employee morale is generally decent, and econ consulting in general is a line of work that isn't overly sensitive to economic downturns since a good deal of it is litigation-based.”

“Overall I feel very confident that the firm will continue to thrive and take on additional interesting casework. A number of high executives at the firm have left, which is somewhat disquieting, but we've been reassured that the firm still has a positive business outlook.”

“The best aspect is that the firm is busy with a lot of work and the morale of employees is excellent, motivated by a very good firm culture. The worst aspect is that the firm has grown a lot based on lateral hires, which could potentially have the unintended effect of affecting the culture.”

“The firm has strong experts who bring in fascinating work. I'm very confident in our competitive advantage and think we are well equipped. Employee morale is very strong too, there's a lot of collegiality and bonding.”

“We have more work coming in than we can cover with existing staff. I think the one pitfall may be retaining our talented employees since many consultants see compensation in other firms and wish our compensation were higher. That being said, we don't work as many hours as those other firms, so the current level of compensation works for me–I'd rather have more time away from work and less money than the opposite.”

Hiring Process

“Brattle is seeking an intelligent individual who is detail-oriented. In this sector, details as small as formatting and as large as industry-redefining statements need to be addressed. For this reason, Brattle seeks individuals who are prepared to encounter all kinds of problems, and who can work through those problems and produce accurate, quality content.”

“For associate-level candidates, the most successful will either be PhDs who are interested in working on applied problems in a team setting, or MBAs with a quantitative background. For analyst-level candidates, the most successful typically demonstrate a solid quantitative background, and those that appear to be self-motivating and entrepreneurial.”

“In my first round, I had an interview with two research analysts. After that, a few weeks later, I was invited to a second round, full day of interviews with various levels of the firm; there was only one case interview, the rest were behavioral/gauging relevant experience. I was then invited a few weeks after that to an interview with an HR representative that asked typical behavioral questions. The final offer came a few weeks after that. Overall, the interview process took roughly 2 months from start to finish. Brattle prioritizes candidates with some level of quantitative background; most hires are econ majors or double majors with econ and something else. Unlike some other companies, Brattle puts a greater emphasis on screening for people who, besides having the relevant experience and skills, are also "collegial" and would seem friendly to work with, even if not overly extroverted.”

“Quantitative expertise paired with communication and collaboration skills are highly prized here. Coding ability is also extremely useful and always in demand. Initiative and creative problem solving are very important at the entry-level, and the first year or two of an RA career is a balance between learning how to effectively carry out tasks as desired and gaining the confidence to innovate more of the details towards a higher-level goal. At the recruiting stage, another absolutely crucial requirement is ability to work well with others. ‘No sharks’ is the motto – but to unpack that, we don't want people who see criticism as an attack, undermine rather than investing in their colleagues, or are reluctant to take ownership of shortcomings or failures. These are key to our ability to deliver work product to standard, and are just as important as technical knowledge and skills.”

“Typically looking for strong educational background from top schools, as well as those with Masters or higher for higher level candidates.”

Interview Questions

“Basic behavioral questions, details about statistical coursework/projects, and case interviews related to economic and financial topics such as anti-competitive behavior, price fixing, or market manipulation.”

“Most interviews are behavioral. There is one case interview; case is impromptu, and the focus is on the thought process as opposed to outcomes. Interviewees who ask curious questions during case interviews are highly regarded.”

“Please talk about a research project that you've worked on. Why are you interested in economic consulting?”

“Tell me about a time when you worked with a big data set. Why Brattle?”

“Understand financial statements. Understand and apply economic concepts. The most common question used by our firms is to use a simplified and anonymized example of an actual case or project that has been previously undertaken by the firm and ask the interviewee how they would approach solving the case.”

The Brattle Group

One Beacon Street
Suite 2600
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 864-7900

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
President & Principal: Torben Voetmann
Principal & Chairman: Evan Cohen
Vice President of Operations: Beth DiVecchia
2023 Employees (All Locations): 550

Major Office Locations

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Global

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