Pros: pretty campus, free soda, free cookies, good benefits, some good managers
Cons: lots of bad managers, cult like mentality, overworked, underpaid
In a nutshell, SAS Institute is just another IT company with benefits that were once amazing back in the late 80s, but are now more in line with most other IT companies. The medical/vision/dental/whatever is pretty comparable to most software companies in the area.
They provide you with this pretty campus that contains such amenities as free soda and – more... cookies (which will result in you weighing more than you ever thought possible). There is a gym on campus, but with the work load, you'll find it tough to utilize. There are cafeterias that serve subsidized food, but it's only marginally better than a school cafeteria in my opinion.
Also, SAS's business model has some weaknesses. For instance, your hiring manager can truly make or break your experience. If you have a bad manager, you will hate every day of your job and there is nothing you can do about it. Bad managers are able to use and abuse their staff with no recourse as long as they don't discriminate for race, gender, religion, etc. Upper level people there are only concerned about getting sued. They don't care about the well being of their workers. I had a bad manager who abused her staff and I complained about it to HR and they were only interested in making sure I couldn't sue them for it. The PR staff love to openly brag about no layoffs at SAS. But there are plenty of managers who can and will terminate you within the first 6 months for the dumbest of reasons. I guess that's the side of SAS that the public doesn't get to see.
And the work/life balance that they love to talk about means they want you to utilize their "wonderful campus". If you want to have a life at your house with your family away from work and enjoy a true work life balance, they act like you are not a team player. You may have heard about the "35 hour work week". That just means they will pay you for 35 hours of work instead of 40, but they will make you work between 40 and 60 hours a week on average with no overtime compensation. In case you didn't catch it from that comment, you'll be making less $$ than other companies in the area. They have technology to allow you to remote in from home. That means you better remote in often to do work from home or else you will get reprimanded.
All of the staff at SAS describes their workplace as the "#1 company to work for" in a Stepford like drone. However, to be quite honest, I just don't see it. I'm very happy to be away from there. – less