McMaster University

132 reviews

McMaster University Employee Reviews

  • Job Work/Life Balance
  • Salary/Benefits
  • Job Security/Advancement
  • Management
  • Job Culture
Job Work/Life Balance
Salary/Benefits
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Management
Job Culture
Research Assistant/Technician (Immunology lab)
RESEARCH ASSISTANT/LABORATORY TECHNICIAN (Current Employee), Hamilton, ONApril 7, 2013
- I have enjoyed my experience at McMaster University working in an immunological lab. A typical day involves assisting M.Sc. candidates with various protocols and other technical aspects involved in their specific projects, in addition to conducting and planning experiments that relate to my interests.
- I have learned many technical skills relating to PCR, qPCR, ELISAs, flow cytometry, and mammalian cell culture. Many of these techniques require troubleshooting which I find is the most important aspect in fully understanding a technique. Although occasionaly I find experimental outcomes are unsuccessful, the process of optimizing a technique for its success is extremely beneficial and so experimental failure can be regarded as a positive rather than a negative.
- Management is conducted by my PI who is extremely helpful and patient.
- The co-workers change from time to time, with the influx of new students, which presents a fresh start for teaching techniques. I find this useful in furthering my understanding of a technique as well as promoting my teaching skills.
- The hardest part of the job is probably knowing how to efficiently manage your time and understanding how to conduct an experiment that will work correctly the first time.
- The most enjoyable part of the job for me is figuring out ways to ask specific questions experimentally.
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Senior Student Consultant
Senior Student Consultant (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONJune 14, 2012
Pros: flexible work hours and project
Cons: constant change of management
The Senior Student Consultant (SSC) is an hybrid position of both summer full time position and part-time position during the regular school term.
Summer
During the summer, the SSC team (5-7) develops projects which might help the students labs, University Technology Services (UTS), and managing the team of Student Consultants (SC) during the school year. The summer projects include lab machine monitoring system which monitors login activity and software usage of each user, digital display system which displays lab usage and status via Java/SQL/HTML. During the summer, the SSC team is responsible of representing UTS in various outreach events for new students. At the end of the summer, a training day will be held bt the SSC team and training will be provided to the SCs of group size up to 50.

School Term
During the school term, the team's main responsibility is to manage all of the SCs (up to 80) and keep student labs running smoothly. We provide on going assistance and training to any SCs that need help as well as customer service to professors. We work with the maintenance crew to keep the lab machines up to date and repair any hardware/software issues that arises during the term. The SSC team is also responsible to micromanage the SCs and host social events for team building. The SSC team is also involved in interviewing and picking out the SC team for the next year.
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Great atmosphere with enthusiastic energy.
Leadership Program Assistant (Current Employee), Hamilton, ONFebruary 22, 2013
Pros: flexible hours
Cons: limited hours
As a casual employee, a typical day would be working in between breaks from classes. Work to be done included coordinating with externals, attending meetings with other staff, and providing support to the program direct where needed.
Through this ongoing work experience, I have developed stronger communication skills both in oral and written.
Management here is great. They are very flexible and understanding to the needs of a student.
Working along side other students is a bit challenging, however it allowed me to further develop my skills as a team player.
The hardest part of the job is the fact that there is no specific outcome, rather a mission to be followed to achieve the goal of the organization. Having no clear cut expectations is a challenge, but the open-ended opportunities allow me to be innovative and creative.
The most enjoyable part of the job is when I get to work with others. Having the opportunity to interact with students or faculty in a team setting provides a challenging yet energetic atmosphere.
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Educational and enjoyable workplace
Social Psychology Teaching Assistant (Current Employee), Hamilton, ONFebruary 25, 2014
I lead seminars of approximately 30 students to review and discuss materials from lecture. After that I hold an office hour for students with more complex questions that do not relate directly to the seminars. I've learned and improved on many skills doing so. These involve public speaking, presentation preparation, and keeping lines of steady communication with my students. All of the teaching assistants are managed by professor Glavin. He does an excellent job of outlining what must be accomplished and gives us a great deal of flexibility in how we meet these goals. My co-workers are both knowledgeable and helpful. We are a team in helping each other to succeed. The most difficult part of the job is marking. It can be long and sometimes tedious. However, it is a small price to pay for the experience. The most enjoyable part by far is leading seminars. Interacting with students to solve problems is very rewarding.
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Graduate student
M.A.Sc Mechincial Engineering (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONNovember 6, 2015
Pros: flexible hours, good benifits, excellent relationship oppritunities
Cons: poor wages, inappropriate student work envirorments, poor support strucuture benifits going to get cut
While grad studies is always a difficult endeavour McMaster university chooses to make it harder by having incredibly poor wages (bairly livable in Hamilton). This is countered by the reasonable benefits, which are far in excess of most other universities. However these benefits are being compromised by poor management and stagnant wages. As of right now all the medical benefits were on the cutting block due to stagnant student wages.

Furthermore if you are not industrially funded you will be unlikely to get a position. And even still the university is taking the lion's share of the money and the students are living below their means.

This system is not sustainable and labour action is inevitable. Now the conservative government no longer forcing favourable arbitration decisions on the union, it is unlike the university can continue.

Good luck.
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A fun job to supplement my student work.
Teaching Assistant/Research Assistant (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONOctober 1, 2013
Pros: convenient hours, convenient location, great pay, stimulating work
Cons: a lot of work especially during exam time. it was hard to balance everyones expectations
Working as a Teaching Assistant was a part-time position where I led two tutorial groups of first year students twice a week each. The tutorials including helping students understand the material from lectures, supplementary readings, group work, marking presentations, tests and exams. I also held office hours where I provided students with feedback on their marks and rough drafts of papers. The professors I worked for were generally too busy with their own work to offer much over sight so the job was very independent. They usually answered any questions we had through E-mail and occasional meetings. The hardest part of the job was meeting expectations with little over sight. The most enjoyable part of the job was getting students to think outside the box and see things from new perspectives.
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Gained practical knowledge of exercising and progression
Strength and Conditioning Coach Volunteer (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONDecember 13, 2012
Pros: learned new exercise techniques every week
Cons: staff meetings where at 6 am, hard to balance with school
- A typical day at work was either on the field or in the weight room. In the field we would run sprinting, long distance running, and games to help improve cardiovascular fitness. In the weight room we would assist in athletes with their training program making sure technique is correct and also spotting athletes.
-I learned a bunch of exercises and techniques and stretches for certain conditions, taping of ankles and apply them to athletes
-management was very energetic, they would host staff meetings everyweek to learn new exercises and techniques
-co-workers where all kinesiology student volunteer and part time.
- hardest part of the job was the early staff meetings that where at 6am on wednesdays.
-The most enjoyable part of the job was the learning experience. It was the fact that they would teach us many different things and we would train like athletes in order to help teach and coach the athletes their strength and conditioning program.
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Fun, productive, enjoyable workplace
Laboratory Assistant (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONNovember 5, 2012
Pros: great working environment, feeling productive
Cons: machines would break down
- A typical day would start off by me opening the lab, checking the pumps oil level, and turning on the machines. Once the machines were on I would calibrate then begin running samples, keeping an organized record of the samples ran (hard copy logbook, as well as a digital copy). Throughout the day I would receive a bunch of internal as well as external samples that I would then log into the "Sample Log Book". If we needed chemicals or supplies, I would then go to the McMaster Chemical or Supply store to purchase the required items. At the end of the day I would clean my work space and properly shut down my machine.

- The hardest part of the job was, when a sample didnt show the proper peak, knowing what to add to make the peak appear, while also not adding anything that would damage the sample.

- The most enjoyable part of the day was being able to work in a fun environment, while still being productive.
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A great experience
Assembler (temporary position) (Former Employee), David Braley Institute, Hamilton, ONOctober 8, 2012
Pros: intelligent staff, beautiful facility, opportunity to learn new things
Cons: long hours spent at the computer, repetitive
This was a temporary position. The position evolved from a assembling Lab kits for on ongoing international study, to a data entry clerk, This was a wonderful opportunity to learn something very different from my field of study in education and psychology. I learned how to do invoicing with the shipping and receiving department and to follow strict protocols when assembling medical supplies. I also spent a vast amount of time learning new data entry tables, and entering in a large amount of data efficiently. I am always eager to learn about new things, and this job provided that window. The most difficult part of this particular job was the extended time sitting in front of a computer. Also, knowing that it was a temporary position, it did not provide any job security in the long run. All the personnel were friendly and helpful to the new data entry staff and I would welcome an opportunity to work there again
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Busy, productive working environment
Casual Cleaner (Current Employee), Hamilton, ONJune 1, 2015
Pros: Excellent manager to work for. Will acknowledge a job well done and reward with free lunch
Cons: Short staffed. Contract has restricted part time staff from working extra hours, even if we are available.
Typical day will consist of arriving for 6am to meet up with the lead-hand, who then delegates out the scheduled cleaning tasks to part time employees. Full time staff have set schedules.
Usually work alone. But if needed, lead-hand or manager will contact us via cell phone or pager.
Can be called off of schedule to tend to something that takes priority.
We do set up for exams in the gymnasiums.

I enjoy doing the set ups. I like the physicality of this job. Keeping myself moving, and learning new skills. Working alone and with coworkers. All around, a decent working environment.
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Great way to gain valuable skills and leaves time for one's own education
Teaching Assistant (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONSeptember 14, 2012
Pros: great hours, fun setting, informative sessions, very rewarding experience
Cons: some students do not get involved in discussion (tough to motivate some students)
The best part of running tutorials was interacting with the students. This was a great way of not only learning in a class setting but also connecting with fellow students. I learned that I was able to communicate effectively and teach them something; most of the students had positive results. My co-workers, also students, were always helpful if I had questions about something, and the professor who oversaw the class was very informative and helpful with the material we ourselves had to teach the students. The hours were excellent; there was always time to do my own work as well as to attend to my tutorial responsibilities. This is definitely a position which I'll miss.
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Current HR is a farce
Employment Administrator, Human Resources Services (Former Employee), Human ResourcesMay 19, 2012
Long service employees rarely get to see retirement if they are in the Management group. Current culture if the HR department isn't getting ride of older employees the big guy is not happy. I know of so may people that have been screwed over by the current management that it scares me. Only the lucky few that were already at their rule of 80 are able to retire. My suggestion is if you wish to work at McMaster University get into a Union job, that was the first thing my lawyer asked me was if my job was union an because it wasn't he told me that an employer can say any reason for release as long as they pay you enough
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Productive and Fun to work at with flexible hours
Research Assistant, Photonic & Plasmonic Devices (Current Employee), Hamiton, ONNovember 28, 2012
Pros: flexible hours, flexible management, and ability to explore
Cons: low pay, little experimental work, little interaction with industry or customers
A typical day would involve research innovative ideas in the field of work, modelling and documenting the findings and results.

I continuously learn about new ideas in modelling and design techniques, theoretical aspects, presentations, and the ability to convey your idea clearly.

The supervisor is helpful with various ideas that, as a research assistant, you can build on. Co-workers are fun to be around and do not mind having a few chats to ease the stress.

The hardest part is also the most enjoyable part and that is developing an idea and seeing it grow and flourish
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Do not work for this Institution
I can't say (Former Employee), I can't sayNovember 27, 2014
Pros: great benefits
Cons: toxic and discriminatory work environment.
Not a nice place to work
wide spread discrimination
many employees wrongfully terminate and escorted off the property
employees terminated while on sick leave
if your are an employee reporting to someone involved in an office romance watch out
Old culture
Faculty members are treated like gods, staff are treated disrespectfully
Women I know of have been harassed my tenured professors

Do not work there unless you are a student or wanting to start off your career. Trust me, few people make it to retirement at McMaster
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Excellent people environment with co-workers and patients, above average compensation, exellent benefits and family-worklife balance
Business Manager (Former Employee), Hamilton, OntarioOctober 9, 2014
Pros: staff awards and events, education for life
Cons: large staff population so there is not the chance to meet others out of your faculty
McMaster University is one of the best employers in Ontario and the reason is obvious. A strong work-life balance, above average compensation and benefits, staff awards, lifetime learning in any area of choice.

Mangers are well trained to deal with any situation and everyone works as part of a strong team.

Dealing with patients in a professional manner is always critical but training is readily available.
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very productive
Support Staff (Current Employee), Hamilton, ONApril 9, 2014
Pros: free snacks and lunch
Cons: walking distances
I am the Lead Floater for McMaster during the MCC medical exams. I delegate duties to other floaters during the day where we run documents from clinic to clinic throughout McMaster and other various duties.

This position is a very demanding role since it's important for the clinics to run as smoothly as possible from start to finish.

During these exams I work close to 24 hours in 2 days.

The hardest part of this job is how many different areas there are to look after. Usually there are 8-10 different clinics happening at once.
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Allows for creativity
Lecturer (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONJuly 2, 2014
Pros: great food on campus
Cons: parking services
I loved working with talented 3rd and 4th year students.
I fully appreciated the complexities of the task with
respect to the student culture, the faculty needs
and the supervisor's dual role.
I wasn't a fan of the parking authority. I also felt
the online part of the job posed too big a risk to
both my students and myself.
Also, they need a job center for music students--also
debt counselling.
And finally, the commute was ugly on so many days--hardest
winter ever.

Otherwise, music students, faculty and admin at McMaster U.
kick some ****!
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Great, fun, educational and all out fun
Gardener (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONJune 6, 2015
Pros: great pay, helpful supervisors, great lunch times and bbq ocationally
Cons: The cuts from the thissles and rose gardens
Working at McMaster University as a gardener was a great and unforgettable experience. I would recommend this job to anyone who is hardworking, willing to learn new things and loves to work in the dirt. I had plenty of fun in the summer not only because of my own love for nature but because of the supervisors love and dedication to McMaster's Garden as well. The supervisors were so kind, helpful and patient. I enjoyed my time working at McMaster University a lot.
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Productive and Challenging experience of scientific discovery
Postdoctoral Fellow (Current Employee), Hamilton, ONApril 30, 2015
Pros: Flexible hours
Cons: Salary/Benefits
Excellent place to work for someone with who loves challenges and innovation. I have learnt project management and leading a project with industrial partners. Management and co-workers are great. We share each other's expertise and we grow as a team. The hardest part comes when we face a burning challenge where no one to seek a help for- very common in a research environment. And the joy comes soon after when we manage to solve the problem and get the recognition.
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Intense but Successful Program in Financial Mathematics
Graduate Student (Former Employee), Hamilton, ONJanuary 12, 2014
Pros: wide coverage of quantitative finance topics, knowledgeable faculty
Cons: short period, too intense
worked on the theory and practice of financial mathematics, including statistical properties of financial time series, derivative pricing models in complete and incomplete markets, fixed interest rate models, and portfolio risk management.

More generally, problems from all areas of industrial mathematics were discussed. With top talented students and knowledgeable, devoted faculty prepares students who have strong quantitative background to reach their dream jobs.