What do you like best?
Autodesk Maya is an extremely powerful 3D software and is considered an industry standard in the film and video game industries. Maya includes modeling, texturing, animating, simulating, and rendering capabilities.
Maya is impressive simply because is extremely powerful and offers many aspects of 3D as listed above. Maya also has a long list of big name productions backing it. Having used Maya after learning 3D on Cinema 4D I see that it is a very different software. Maya has higher capabilities than Cinema, including advanced parameters in modes such as simulation or compositing, just to name a few, that Cinema doesn't have.
Modeling in Maya is very intuitive. It is easy to switch between line, point, and face modes. There are also many tools that make it easy to manipulate the mesh, add even cuts, and extrude symmetrically, while still maintaining quality topography.
Rigging is another feature in Maya that I found to be easier than other programs I have used. It is easy to add a skeleton and then set up IK chains. Maya offers soft bind which is more fluid but requires weight painting, as well as rigid bind, which is lighting fast to set up, but will give more robotic movement. It is also easy to add "look at" constraints, such as to create a controller for eye movement.
What do you dislike?
Overall, Maya's interface does not impress me. It takes a while to learn where everything is placed, and to me it seems that certain options are hidden away where you wouldn't think to look. In addition, it is easy to mess up the interface and struggle to be able to fix it.
I also find that some modes of Maya are particularly difficult to work in, especially Texturing and Camera Work.
It is very hard to create procedural textures in Maya. Compared to Cinema 4D, where there is a much heavier focus on procedural textures, Maya makes it difficult to create complex and realistic textures without loading bitmaps. It also it hard to edit materials once they are created. There doesn't seem to be a global materials panel where you can see every texture created. If I am incorrect about this, it also speaks to the obscurity of the interface.
Camera work in Maya is fairly difficult in my experience, mostly because there is no quick way to select a camera to view. You can cycle through cameras, but there is no keyboard shortcut, so it can take a while once you start creating many scene cameras. It also takes a while to get a hang of how to select which camera you would like to render from.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Spend a lot of time researching the different aspects of Maya and how to use them.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
One clear benefit to using Maya is that it is a very prevalent industry standard. It is a must to learn Maya to work in Hollywood-level studios, and many smaller studios may use Maya as well. It also may be helpful in collaboration with other artists who may be using Maya.