Cornerstone Research

ihavenomoneynow's picture
Rank: Baboon | 126

I was wondering if anybody had information on Cornerstone Research. I know they do litigation-related consulting.

  • Are they a good place to work?
  • Would someone choose them over other firms like katzenbach/Oliver Wyman...etc.
  • How is their placement to b-school? Thanks!

What's It Like Working at Cornerstone?

There's more to consulting than MBB. Cornerstone falls under the part of the industry that is dedicated to economics consulting. Other well-known firms in this area include:

There are several posts in WSO comparing the different firms (see Related Reading below).

Certified Consulting Professional @Hayek shared additional insights on Cornerstone

Cornerstone is one of the 5-6 major economic consulting firms, along with NERA, CRA, Analysis Group, and Brattle Group. Out of those five, CRA and NERA are the largest. In terms of prestige and work environment, they're all about equal.

If you enjoy doing research and you really like economics, you'll get a great experience at Cornerstone or the other aforementioned places.

All of these places have good bschool placement though many people go to law school, get PhD's, do masters degrees in something, etc. I have heard of people getting into bschools such as MIT-Sloan, NYU-Stern, and Northwestern. Also a few people have done economics PhDs, some at very top schools.

Cornerstone is a bit unique among these firms because most of their experts are external academics rather than internal. They're also the smallest of the above firms, and I think they stick to a tighter recruiting schedule.

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Comments (22)

Oct 5, 2008

Cornerstone is one of the 5-6 major economic consulting firms, along with NERA, LECG, CRA, Analysis Group, and Brattle Group. Out of those five, CRA, NERA, and LECG are the largest. In terms of prestige and work environment, they're all about equal. At least that's the impression I got after interviewing at a few of those places (including Cornerstone), doing research on the industry, and speaking to people I know at different firms.

I'm not that familiar Katzenbach/Oliver Wyman.

If you enjoy doing research and you really like economics, you'll get a great experience at Cornerstone or the other aformentioned places. All of these places have good bschool placement though many people go to law school, get PhD's, do masters degrees in something, etc. In addition I have heard of people staffed on energy cases going on to work at energy trading firms.

I recently started working at one of the firms mentioned above and have heard of people getting into bschools such as MIT-Sloan, NYU-Stern, and Northwestern. Also a few people have done economics PhDs, some at very top schools.

Cornerstone is a bit unique among these firms because most of their experts are external academics rather than internal. They're also the smallest of the above firms, and I think they stick to a tighter recruiting schedule (doing all their initial interviews in Sept/Oct; the others may be a bit more lax with their hiring schedule). The people I know at Cornerstone are all very smart.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Sep 17, 2008

I also previously interviewed with Cornerstone/NERA/etc. In retrospect, I really wish that I went the Cornerstone --> Econ PhD route instead of the banking --> MBA route... after working in banking for a bit, you realize how mind-dullingly boring finance really is, and how intellectually stimulating economics can turn out to be. It actually requires half an ounce of intellect to understand economics.

And, yes, these places do place fairly well into top econ PhD programs and top law schools (not as strong to MBA programs) but that's partially becuase of self-selection... people who join these firms are intellectuals who are innately very smart and genuinely interested in the subject - unlike every clown that hops into banking.

...but, alas, the grass is always greener...

Sep 17, 2008

B2, you're wrong. The vast majority of analysts (maybe close to 70%) at litigation consulting firms pursue MBAs. Cornerstone in particular has an extremely b-school strong placement rate, especially at Stanford.

Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions. I work in the industry.

Sep 18, 2008

I think that the % going to bschool, law, etc. probably depends on the individual firm and the firm office. One place I interviewed said that around 90% went to bschool, another said that it was 1/3 each to law, biz, PhD, etc. I haven't been in my place long enough to see where most people end up, though supposedly law school tends to be disproportionately popular (though that may be because I work in DC, which would probably attract more law-oriented people than, say, NYC).

The nice thing about working here is the diversity. Some people are very intellectual and can probably barely function in a non-academic environment, others want to go to a top bschool, some want to do public policy, some want to make lots of money while others could not care less about it, etc.

Apr 18, 2011
princeofdenmark:

B2, you're wrong. The vast majority of analysts (maybe close to 70%) at litigation consulting firms pursue MBAs. Cornerstone in particular has an extremely b-school strong placement rate, especially at Stanford.

Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions. I work in the industry.

I just got an offer for a independent contractor job at one of the economic consulting firms mentioned above, I was wondering what was fair compensation with someone in the industry with 1-2 years experience at an hourly rate. I'm going to be working on an antitrust case for about a month or so.

Apr 18, 2011
dr_mario:
princeofdenmark:

B2, you're wrong. The vast majority of analysts (maybe close to 70%) at litigation consulting firms pursue MBAs. Cornerstone in particular has an extremely b-school strong placement rate, especially at Stanford.

Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions. I work in the industry.

I just got an offer for a independent contractor job at one of the economic consulting firms mentioned above, I was wondering what was fair compensation with someone in the industry with 1-2 years experience at an hourly rate. I'm going to be working on an antitrust case for about a month or so.

~70K prorated.

Sep 18, 2008

Yes, I realize that a lot pursue bschool, but I was saying that bschool placement is not as strong as grad school/law school placement. The guy that interviewed me mentioned PhD acceptances to schools such as Princeton, law schools such as Yale, but then he mentioned where kids were going to bschool, and he dropped names such as Georgetown, Duke, etc.

The guy was also a major douche and talked about joining a think-tank down in Washington... perhaps you know him?

Apr 18, 2011

bump

Sep 18, 2008

Wrong again. Econ PhD programs don't care about anything besides math grades, and law schools don't care about anything besides LSAT. Neither of them care about work experience.

Not a single analyst at the two offices I work out of went to a b-school worse than Columbia. (Last year's analysts went to Stanford, Harvard, MIT, and Chicago.) Not saying that folks don't go to middle of the road b schools, but please don't speak so authoritatively from your experience interviewing in an industry.

Apr 18, 2011

yes, offers for the firm candidates were out in late oct. i think they will make second wave of offers to wait listed candidates after nov 22 (deadline to accept offer)

Sep 18, 2008

Thanks for the information guys. I attended an info session two weeks ago and they seemed like a pretty cool place to work. I hadn't heard of them previously but the work they do sounds more exciting than some of the generalist strategy cases at M/B/B.

Regarding grad placement, I know that because many of their experts are in academia, often times a professor will know the quality of work and write a rec (at least that's what they said at the info session). they seem to be a more quantitative firm, but with that said i would be surprised if many people took the cornerstone -> econ phd route, since i'm now convinced that all econ phds are geniuses who have aced real analysis and dozens of grad level classes while in undergrad.

Anyway, this has been very helpful, thanks!

Sep 18, 2008

I know what it takes to get into grad school (and no, Econ PhDs are not dependent on math grades - about 50% is dependent on grades in core classes, such as econometrics, and the other 50% is dependent on the strength of your thesis; working at a place such as cornerstone can help develop a stronger thesis). I was stating the information I was relayed in an interview, and I didn't speak authoritatively about it - in fact, I completely disclaimed that it was information obtained from an interview.

You remind me, however, of the douchetard that interviewed me... if all of Cornerstone is this insecure, perhaps it was a right choice after all to go into banking.

...and I'm sure the kid would lie to downplay the quality of bschools to which the firm's alumni were admitted.

Sep 18, 2008
  1. Insecure? No. I'll be the first to say that working in litigation consulting is a terrible, terrible idea if you're hoping to avoid graduate school, or if you dislike research. If you're trying to jump to a corporate / finance job, strategy consulting and obviously banking are far superior options. I read these forums from time to time, and you annoy me a lot, so I have probably responded more sharply than I would have otherwise, but it doesn't change the fact that you are wrong about more than one thing in this thread.
  2. lol @ PhD programs caring about your thesis or amateur econometrics courses. I'm guessing that in a few years (if it isn't the case already) that the top programs will be heavier on math / stat majors than econ majors. Very little you do as an undergraduate economics major is relevant to graduate studies in economics.
  3. As far as the serious question - yes, if you manage to impress the right expert, you can basically write your own ticket just about any graduate program in the nation. I've heard of experts going to bat for applicants even in terms of getting them teaching gigs out of PhD programs. However, I will say that it's very difficult - many of the experts we work with are not easily impressed, and many of them are not particularly genial people. IMO, it's not worth a year or two of work (that you wouldn't otherwise want to do) to get a rec from these people.
Sep 18, 2008

Not to thread hijack... But I've been reading about these consulting firms on Vault, but I can't really find out how selective they are on hiring. Do they mostly look at top Ivy league graduates the way M/B/B do? Thanks.

Sep 19, 2008

Different kind of "top candidate." More students that won prizes for outstanding theses, but also probably less well rounded candidates. They don't care about past leadership positions at all, and that seems to be a kind of important qualifier for McKinsey at least.

Sep 19, 2008

I think that the application process is far less opaque than banking. If you have a good economics background with good grades, an internship or two that deals with research, and evidence of quantitative ability, you'll stand a good shot at getting an interview (of course your chances are a lot higher if they recruit on campus; the bar is probably higher if you just send your resume online). If you're personable, sell yourself well, and do well on the case studies/quantitative questions in the interview, you'll probably be hired.

Being a varsity athlete or president of a student organization will certainly helpful, but I don't think it's a huge deal. First and foremost they want to see that you're interested in econ, like doing research, have decent grades, and are good with math.

Jun 4, 2009

what are some of the exit ops from econ consulting? i hear that people go to grad school/law school/b-school, but then what? what if one doesn't want to go back to school?

Jul 10, 2009
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Jul 11, 2009