MITRE

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MITRE Reviews in McLean, VA

Updated Jun 23, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.9 170 reviews

83% Approve of the CEO

MITRE President and CEO Alfred Grasso

Alfred Grasso

(128 ratings)

84% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • people pretty much respect your schedule and are supportive of work life balance (in 122 reviews)

  • Good Benefits; however, not as good as they were 25 years ago (in 29 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-Life balance has deteriorated as well as benefits (in 12 reviews)

  • Some upper management seems to talk out both sides of their mouth -- dishonest and hypocritical (in 16 reviews)

More Highlights
170 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    2 people found this helpful  

    An umbrella corporation supporting several excellent Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)

    Systems Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsCollaborative, supportive environment comprised of many insanely intelligent people. Challenging work.

    ConsMediocre management in some areas. Limited by FFRDC status as to what projects we can take on.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIntroverts do not make good managers. Be careful, too, of perceptions. Misogyny is not a good perception to allow.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Results only work environment

    Lead Information Systems Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsThe focus at MITRE in my experience has been that we are focused on results. Yes, billing time matters, but the culture is very flexible on when and where you do your work. Just get the work done on time. We are very focused on impact to the customer, and look for ways to make sure that our work stays that way. we stay away from work that is not "MITRE work", and do our best to work with our sponsors to understand what that means.
    The infrastructure around the employee at MITRE is solid. I don't have to worry about any of the administrative problems that I've experienced at other companies in terms of getting employment and benefits paperwork in order.
    Very organized workplace.

    ConsSometimes working for the federal government as the client, things can move very slowly, and project requirements are often very "squishy". If you are the type of person who needs things to be clear cut and laid out for you to be effective, this may not be the best environment for you. However, if you are good at making sense of a confusing space, and like to set direction, this is perfect.
    If you're looking for techincal development, make sure you get into the right department at MITRE. Many departments are not heavy duty technical, as we do not do implementation. But there are technical departments where you can exercise that skill. Just make sure you get into the right place if that is what you want to do. and even then, it's more research focused, not day-to-day coding and implementation.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Good place to develop strategic planning and execution capabilities.

    Senior Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsFlexible and independant work environment.

    ConsLimited upward mobility and small raises.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    MITRE is a good company to work for.

    Principal Systems Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsMost employees are smart and self-motivated, and the work hours are flexible.

    ConsSome days the work is overloaded.

    Advice to Senior Managementvalue the technical work, not just talk.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Amazing work and benefits, below average pay

    Information Security Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsThe work that you can do at MITRE is always interesting and they expect it to be. You can easily shift to a different project if you don't like the one you are on. Also there are very flexible schedules and it is not a problem to work from home.

    ConsThe only downside is that you will not make as much as other places. This is balanced by the flexibility.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMaking the pay better would do incredible things to keep people.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    1 person found this helpful  

    A well rounded company with lots of diversity and opportunity

    Network and Distributed Systems Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    Pros- Nearly limitless opportunity to do cool and unique things
    - I don't think it's possible to burn out. Every time I've gotten tired of something, I was able to easily move onto a different project
    - Culture encourages sharing of skills cross-pollination. If you know of someone doing something cool, it's usually not too hard to shift some of your time to that task, even if that task is "owned" by a completely different department. They call it softshelling.
    - Benefits are pretty good. 4 weeks of vacation time, flexible work hours, and the insurance options are all great.

    Cons- Somewhat older company. As a mid-20, it is a bit lonely at times. Everyone is awesome and friendly, and many of my co-workers are young-at-heart, but sometimes it's nice to be with people my own age
    - Benefits seem to be slowly going down-hill as the company gets older
    - The closer you get to the government space, the more red-tape and BS you have to deal with.
    - It is very difficult to get fired at MITRE. Too often I've seen people with little skill get held onto for no good reason. Once one project team gets tired of them and ousts them, they are just moved onto something else.
    - Base salary isn't necessarily the best, but the cool opportunities and benefits mostly make up for it.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFocus more on recruiting and maintaining young talent

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    17 people found this helpful  

    Bloated and Incompetent Management Damages the Company

    Senior Systems Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsWork-life balance is great. The work is not demanding (though, see below). The people in my department are very pleasant to work with, for the most part. In fact, I might venture to say that MITRE is a bit of a gilded cage -- talented people will not be challenged, but neither will they be subject to the vicissitudes of a roiling job market. You will not have to work long hours for fear of your job.

    ConsThere is little genuine "technical" work to go around beyond the usual (and uninteresting) IT and database problems. Much lip service is paid to the provision of something called "technical excellence", but in truth this is just an empty management mantra. The bulk of the available technical work is performed by low-ranking (read: < AC4) engineers, many of whom have advanced degrees, some in the hard sciences like physics or math. Of course, nothing these people say or do is listened to or respected by senior management, most of whom do not possess these degrees, or else acquired them under conspicuously non-rigorous circumstances.

    Further, there is little opportunity for PhD-level scientists and engineers to advance. They are paid significantly less than their non-technical peers despite doing most of the difficult work, and they are accorded pitiful raises even when their reviews are exemplary. This inequity becomes apparent very quickly to new technical hires, many of whom turn right around and leave MITRE for greener pastures within a year or two. This is tragic, really, because MITRE is losing talented people who could do much to enhance its reputation and advance its mission.

    Finally, the middle and upper levels of management are bloated and mostly incompetent. I appreciate that task leadership can be difficult, but the majority of our managers don't even try to do their jobs. There's a reason MITRE has been targeted by its counterparts in the private sector for transgressing the bounds of appropriate FFRDC work -- our task leaders and upper managers are incapable of handling sponsor relationships. They lack the discipline to say NO to work that falls outside the terms of our charter; they lack the courage to tell our sponsors the naked truth about their problems, instead allowing politics to dictate the message. There is therefore little to distinguish us from our non-FFRDC peers, who rightly view us as competitors.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCreate a true technical track, seek out talent, and treat that talent well. Don't just pay lip service to the idea -- show that you mean it. Promote good technical people, not just the bootlickers and sycophants.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Great Company for the independent minded professional

    Lead Multi-Disciplinary Systems Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsGood salaries, good benefits nice people

    ConsNot much leadership nor mentoring skills

    Advice to Senior ManagementImprove personal interactive skills

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    It has been an unbelievable place where intellect and contributions matter.

    Principal Information Systems Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    ProsIt is a place that your mission is being objective for the public benefit, your true shareholders. You are given the tools that you need, plus the freedom to do what is right.

    ConsThe process to teach a new person about the culture of MITRE is still an "on the job training." However, things are improving and we are making a better job in mentoring new employees.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    14 people found this helpful  

    Horrible company that hates technical people

    Senior Engineer (Current Employee) McLean, VA

    Prosthinking, thinking, thinking...fail. Okay, okay, work life balance is real here.

    ConsDespite priding themselves as a "technical" company, MITRE completely disrespects their technical staff. That is, people with soft PhDs in technical *sounding* fields like systems engineering or engineering management are briskly pushed through the ranks. Others who have hard PhDs in fields like physics or math languish---even if they are good communicators and work well with clients. Yet, on projects, guess who does all of the difficult technical lifting? Guess who has to constantly correct superiors on technical points? Guess who has to listen and nod heads to half-baked ideas from project leaders?

    There is, in fact, a disincentive to promote lower ranking technical people: they would take up more resources for the same hours on a fixed budget contract. Meanwhile, there is terrible upper management bloat, especially at the AC5 level. Usually, they are supposed to manage relationships, yet they completely fail at it. They often tell the client incorrect information, or they email a draft copy of a document to them before its been vetted.

    Meanwhile, the raise structure is designed to maintain the status quo. That is, having an “excellent year” and an “outstanding review” only earns you a fraction of a percentage point higher than the average raise. In fact, MITRE even boasts that they *try* to keep everyone very near each other. Where is the incentive to do good work, to excel?

    My take, there are four kinds of people who will flourish and love MITRE: 1) people near the end of their careers who want a stable job with good work life balance but care little about advancement, 2) people of low or mediocre talent who want to avoid competing with real talent, 3) people who think systems engineering is a real discipline (alternatively, people who like ridiculous certifications like Lean Six Sigma and Scrummaster), and 4) people who aren’t very technical but can talk like they are and can fool the weak minded. Those are not meant to be orthogonal categories. There is one kind of person who will absolutely wilt and loathe MITRE: anyone with at least half a brain. They are completely orthogonal to the previous four types of people.

    Advice to Senior ManagementWake up! You are losing your real technical people in droves because the company's advancement policy has reverse incentives. A freshly minted PhD in a difficult field should be an automatic AC3 with a pro forma promotion to AC4 after a year of observation. A hard PhD with a few years of experience (even academic experience) should be an automatic AC4 hire. Clear out some of the bloat at AC5 and higher; make room for the technical people that are crushed under their weight.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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