Duke University Reviews

Updated 25 August, 2014
Updated 25 August, 2014
282 Reviews

4.0
282 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Duke University President and Trustee Dick Brodhead
Dick Brodhead
135 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great work-life balance and a ton of flexibility in terms of scheduling (in 15 reviews)

  • Great benefits, wonderful co-workers (in most jobs) (in 15 reviews)


Cons
  • If you do want to work hard, opportunities for advancement are not easy to come by (in 8 reviews)

  • long hours, office space, management (in 8 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Very good company, ethical, friendly coworkers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Data Consultant  in  Durham, NC (US)
    Former Employee - Data Consultant in Durham, NC (US)

    I worked at Duke University part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I worked part-time as a data consultant intern at Duke University GIS.
    -Good pay for part-time
    -Able to do work when you aren't consulting
    -Not very busy at times

    Cons

    Lots of hours a week for a full time student (12 hr/week)
    Not Very Good training

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep it up

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Non-PhD research scientist - excellent experience-building and networking; hard for ambitious people to build a career

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Laboratory Research Analyst II  in  Durham, NC (US)
    Former Employee - Laboratory Research Analyst II in Durham, NC (US)

    I worked at Duke University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Duke is a huge employer (largest in NC) so there are literally thousands of vantage points to review from, but I will give the perspective of a non-PhD research lab tech/analyst at the School of Medicine. Individual experiences will vary widely by lab and department, but overall Duke is an excellent place to get your foot in the door in world-class research. Getting into research here is an excellent opportunity for recent college graduates looking for experience before graduate school or medical school, to build experience for industry research positions, and, if you find your niche and are comfortable where you are, Duke could be a great place to spend an entire career.

    The biggest pro for me is the immersion in world class research. You will get to work with some of the brightest and thoughtful people you will ever meet in your career. The medical school and research campus is massive and it is amazing the sheer amount and quality of research that goes on here. Access to conferences and other events will give you invaluable knowledge and experience in your field. If you can get a job here straight from your undergraduate, grab it with both hands, as it is an excellent career first stop for any scientist.

    The typical progression for those with a BS is to start at Research Tech II, which pays a competitive entry-level hourly wage. With a masters, or after two years at the tech level, you are eligible for the salaried Lab Research Analyst I position, which brings a few perks, which I will mention below. The hours are flexible and you get two weeks vacation to start (3 once salary), plus 12 holidays (5 floating), and sick leave. The health insurance options are good, but you have to use Duke doctors if you want one of the cheaper options. Hourly positions are under a pension plan paid by Duke, but once salary, Duke contributes at least 9% to your 403b automatically. Other great benefits include tuition reimbursement for your children (Duke will pay a certain percentage each year for your child's college tuition (Duke or not) above a certain amount), among others you can check out at hr.duke.edu.

    If you get into a growing/well-funded institute or lab and perform well you can jump job levels quickly, which is really the only way to make more money as raises were 2% each year I didn't receive a promotion. The structure is set up so that one can jump up a few positions quickly but after ~7-10 years/3 level increases (to Lab Research Analyst, Senior) there's really only one more step up, so long term growth stagnates.

    As with any major university, the perks of being associated are innumerable: farmer's market, gyms, intramurals, employee appreciation football game, museum discounts, access to all that the university has to offer. You are definitely at the cultural heart of the city.

    Job security is also a plus, as even if funding runs out in your lab, Duke will find a place for you elsewhere. People have worked here for 40+ years, having to jump labs and departments along the way. Additionally, Duke seems open to people changing career paths and moving from lab positions into, for example, clinical or administrative positions within the organization. They definitely seem to want to keep good people and try to do what it will take to keep them.

    Cons

    The only two major cons that I can list from my whole experience, and my reasons for leaving, were pay and room for growth. As an academic institute, the salaries are not comparable to industry money. While not meager by any stretch, one does begin to feel the pinch of paltry 2% yearly raises with a growing family. Glassdoor is an excellent reference to get an idea of what to expect, but as I said, promotions are the only way to get ahead financially. While the entry-level pay is comparable to what you might get from industry, the salary growth with experience is much more modest than what one could expect with a company.

    The other major con is room for growth, at least for my ambitions. As a non-PhD scientist you are always going to be a tier below anyone with a PhD/MD, so upper level positions will be hard to come by. Additionally, those non-PhD/MDs in management positions tend to stay there so there are very few opportunities to get to the top. Switching to a non-laboratory role within Duke is an option, but was not appealing to me. Basically, one hits their pay-band ceiling at around 5-10 years, with maybe one more jump before retirement.

    Minor cons include parking (free=nonexistent) either pay $80 per month to park in a deck (good luck finding one without a waitlist) or pay less to park and ride the bus. Or bike if you can. Also, as with most college campuses in urban environments, you wouldn’t want to be out alone after hours. However, Durham gets a bad rap and around the main campus is not as bad as some might let on.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Build in more options for mid-career growth for non-PhD scientists. All promotions bar the final one (to Research Lab Manager) are typically obtained within 10 years, leaving decades of a career with no motivation to improve.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Program Coordinator

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator  in  Durham, NC (US)
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Durham, NC (US)

    I have been working at Duke University full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Good benefits, nice campus, friendly staff members. My work load is not overwhelming, and I feel as though I have job security.

    Cons

    My department has minimal training and very poor leadership. There are many inconsistencies across departments on campus. Parking is expensive. Salary is not competitive... they assume people want to work at Duke, so they don't have to pay them well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Check up on your leadership and hold them accountable. People shouldn't get their jobs because they know someone or have been here a long time. They should be required to perform.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Nice place with good work/life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Research Assistant  in  Durham, NC (US)
    Current Employee - Graduate Research Assistant in Durham, NC (US)

    I have been working at Duke University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Nice college and campus, living cost is low. A lot of sports events so you have a very good work/life balance.

    Cons

    The area is not that safe. You probably need to live in other cities and commute everyday.

    Recommends
  6.  

    Good

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Research Assistant  in  Durham, NC (US)
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Durham, NC (US)

    I have been working at Duke University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good environment
    Nice people
    Good work-life balance

    Cons

    Too big campus
    Boring country life
    No other cons any more

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Lots of Resources but weird policies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow  in  Durham, NC (US)
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Durham, NC (US)

    I have been working at Duke University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You get that name on your CV or resume. Duke isn't an Ivy but it is right in the tier below so if you are on an academic track it stands out, maybe even more than the quality would warrant. There are a lot of resources on campus to help you find your next position on the academic track. Lots of companies come to campus to recruit.

    Cons

    Weirdly insular culture. They have their way of doing things and aren't interested in more general standards. For example, academic trainees, such as postdocs and grad students, are required to fill out time cards in some departments. I haven't ever heard of that practice in any other institution. There is also much less collaboration and socialization with coworkers here than I am used to in other academic settings. It ends up feeling very corporate.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Rewarding and challenging institution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Duke University

    Pros

    caliber of the faculty and staff, wonderful area to work and live in, incredibly challenging work.

    Cons

    huge, complex organization that takes time to understand.

    Recommends
  9.  

    A nice place overall

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Visiting Teaching Fellow  in  Durham, NC (US)
    Former Employee - Visiting Teaching Fellow in Durham, NC (US)

    I worked at Duke University full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great benefits, competitive pay; relatively diverse environment; location is culturally rich with plenty opportunities for both single and family enjoyment; real estate values are OK but schools have a lot to improve

    Cons

    Not very family oriented, depending on position; mobility and growth opportunity could be better;

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    there is room to improve in terms of work-life balance

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Job security but that's because the department is understaffed and overworked.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Manager
    Current Employee - Senior Manager

    I have been working at Duke University full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    It's practically impossible to get fired once you're hired. And if you're in any real trouble, you could probably find another department to take you. You'll work with people and wonder how it's possible that someone that incompetent could somehow stay in the same position for decades.

    Benefits. Contributions to retired. The much vaunted tuition reimbursement benefit.

    Cons

    You work with some of the craziest and most diva personalities ever. Lots of lip service to being part of the "Duke family," but really, you're just trapped with a bunch of step-siblings that may like you one minute and despise you the next.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Richard Brodhead, I know it's fun to appear on TV shows like "Colbert Report," but there are those of us working like crazy here at Duke, and we don't get your acknowledgement. Can you bring back the annual holiday ornament for the employees? My collection stopped several years ago, and I feel incomplete.

    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Duke Athletics

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Duke University

    Pros

    Training, time-off policies, work life balance. Everything in the Athletic Department has been exactly what I thought it would be.

    Cons

    With most employees having a lot of experience at Duke Athletics, it is hard to move up because these employees have no intention of leaving, and the department is not expanding.

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