MITRE Reviews in McLean, VA | Glassdoor

MITRE McLean Reviews

Updated December 5, 2017
11 reviews

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McLean, VA

1.0
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MITRE President & CEO Jason Providakes
Jason Providakes
3 Ratings

11 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • MITRE Has the best work life balance for their employees (in 242 reviews)

  • Great benefits; interesting work programs (in 47 reviews)

Cons
  • The pay is rumored to be lower than other companies, but the environment is less cut-threat and you have a better work-life balance at MITRE (in 18 reviews)

  • It's not clear that the Board or upper management know either (in 22 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (13)

    "Former employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Retirement job in addition to your pension if you have one. No stress. 40 hours per week.

    Cons

    The job is all about politics, back-stabbing and using other people's work as your own. Most of the technically skilled and cleared employees have left or are leaving in droves. Company cannot afford the salary demands of highly competent engineers. Full of retired people, who are technically incompetent. Too many layers of management who cannot manage or lead.

    Advice to Management

    Lead by example and not by fear. Demonstrate that you value your employees otherwise your customers will abandon you. Do not force all employees to drink the same Cool-Aide!


  2. Helpful (9)

    "Poor Management Team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Communications Manager in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Communications Manager in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits, gym (monthly fee), cafeteria, metro. Nice office building. Good colleagues who are supportive in toxic situation. Social responsibility within company is good.

    Cons

    Have been with MITRE more than 4 years. Poor management team, especially in corporate communications. Toxic atmosphere. Morale has been low for years and has gotten progressively worse over the last year. Unfair and uneven promotions and ability to move into other roles. One manager in particular is truly abusive to the staff and is causing talented people to leave the company (2 in the last month). Others are looking. More than half the department has complained to HR. No movement from HR yet or upper management yet.

    Don’t be fooled by on-site facilities like Starbucks and the gym, which is a paid membership. You can buy Starbucks in any corner and there are nearby gyms.

    Advice to Management

    When a more than half a department complains to HR, something is seriously wrong. Move the bad manger into an individual contributor role or fire the person. Do something. Some people want to stay with the company but management poor behavior is making it untenable for many. People are crossing their fingers hoping upper management will do the right thing. That they haven’t yet is discouraging and telling.

  3. Helpful (4)

    "It's okay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Office Administrative Specialist in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Office Administrative Specialist in McLean, VA
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Flexible work hours, however your manager have to approve and agree with it
    Good benefits
    Good work/life balance
    Option to work from home or be a teleworker

    Cons

    Management does a horrible job in communication with their staff
    MITRE has an Yes we can attitude when sometimes they need to say no we can't do the work

    Advice to Management

    Re-train them all


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Worst place I ever worked"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Nice retirement benefits, good office space with gym, cafeteria, and video teleconferencing capabilities. Starbucks and dry cleaning. Plug in for electric cars. Nurse.

    Cons

    Toxic management who are driven by their own compensation goals and not doing the right work for the right customers. The mission is not important. The kissing up is.

    Advice to Management

    You are making your employees ill with constant change of direction, lack of planning, lack of adult leadership, and lack of focus on customer mission. Good reviews are based on whimsy of your luck of the draw on manager.


  5. Helpful (20)

    "Mainly for retirees and "late career" folks"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Cyber Security Engineer in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Cyber Security Engineer in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - The work life balance is pretty nice. Many employees can work whatever hours they want, whenever they want as long as the work gets done and they work 80 hours every pay period (2 weeks)
    - Education benefits in exchange for service commitments
    - A good retirement plan
    - Many available projects to work on across many different organiations

    Cons

    - A very obvious age difference. Younger employees like myself in their 20s to 30s will find themselves surrounded by employees in their 50s to 60s. This is especially true at the McLean offices, though I hear its a bit better in Bedford. There is a pretty significant revolving door of young, technical people leaving, while older people will stay until retirement.
    - A good portion of hires are retirement aged former government employees. If this is your demographic, MITRE is probably a great place for you.
    - Very top-heavy organization, due to the two points above,
    - Management claims that technical talent is extremely valuable to them, yet they do a poor job of obtaining and maintaining them. Management claims that MITRE has a "technical path", where technical employees can still advance and obtain raises without being forced into an unwanted management position. However, any advancement or raises above a certain point are practically impossible without taking on a hard leadership role at some point,
    - While there are a lot of different projects to work on for different people, almost all of MITRE's work deliverables are PowerPoints, spreadsheets, and Word documents. It is very difficult to find actual hands-on work to do here and when you do that work is almost always under appreciated, under valued and inconsistently available.
    - The culture in MITRE is very similar as its majority demographic: old and resistant to change. MITRE rarely produces anything new and sticks extremely hard to documents and standards produced years ago.
    - No bonus structure, profit sharing or additional compensation available.

    Advice to Management

    Try promoting your talented technical staff and maybe they'll stop quitting and going to literally any other company for a lot more money. Listen and actually do something about your employee surveys which overwhelmingly and consistently indicate compensation and advancement limitations as a key factor in employee dissatisfaction.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Disappointed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Lead Engineer in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Lead Engineer in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at MITRE full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Really good work life balance
    Great Matching retirement plan

    Cons

    It is very difficult to describe what MITRE is. In my opinion, MITRE is a weird combination of government contractor, Government agency, and University. Most of the projects that I worked with were just simple engineering work, which you can find it in any other government contractor. MITRE has an internal research program, which MITRE brags a lot. This program is a highly bureaucratic, and proposals are only considered if they come from well-known/well-seasoned employees (employees with 10+ years in the company).

    In MITRE I found 2 well defined groups of people; Young people (early career), and older employees. Young people come to MITRE right after school, and they only last couple of years in the company. Older employees come to MITRE usually from private industry, ready to enjoy the work-life balance, work for ~8-years, and then retire. In this company, life-work balance really means employees come late to the office, leave early, and give 75% every day. It is easy to get comfortable, and become obsolete fast. Some people like it that way, I can not judge them.

    Finally, I would say that there is not perfect company. However, if you don’t belong to the 2 groups of people I mentioned above, think twice before joining MITRE.

    Advice to Management

    Don’t waste people taxes money in meaningless research projects, and career development programs. Leaders need to remove from their minds the non-profit mentality


  7. Helpful (13)

    "Innovation at MITRE"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff in McLean, VA
    Former Employee - Member of Technical Staff in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Work life balance is good; a great place to work if you need to manage a family live

    Cons

    MITRE is unable to develop innovative technologies or processes. Management structures are severely outdated and cronyism prevails throughout both the Washington and Bedford campuses. The company is infected by a highly bureaucratic process and it never will be able to attract top talent. People who succeed at MITRE have mediocre skills and enjoy playing politics; not doing great technical and/or scientific work.

    Advice to Management

    overhaul the organizational structures and the pay scale; reward those who do great work; not those that uphold or carry out some upper managers lame ideas or program

    MITRE Response

    Oct 26, 2016 – Public Affairs

    We're proud of the employees who work at MITRE and know we have great talent here. We recently implemented a new performance and development process that we believe will address concerns and... More

  8. Helpful (21)

    "MITRE losing it way"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Principal Engineer in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    as an FFRDC (actually a holding company for multiple FFRDCs), MITRE _should_ appeal to technologists who are willing to sacrifice top-end wages for a job where they can have an impact (bad taste word when it comes to MITRE's FAA sponsor :-)) on government programs.

    opps, that doesn't sound all that "pro".

    Cons

    Under CEO Al Grasso and his push for "business" in non-DoD "customers", in the opinion of many MITRE employees, MITRE has lost it way. Now it is unlikely that a manager would walk away from "non-MITRE work". Has MITRE become just another Beltway Bandit? Sadly, the answer seems to be yes, unless Grasso chooses founding principles over his "lunch bunch"'s desire to follow in the footsteps of former CEO Barry "The Barry" Horowitz (sp?).

    Advice to Management

    get back to basics of FFRDCs as "honest brokers". be willing to walk away from projects that industry can do as well as MITRE.


  9. Helpful (24)

    "Process oriented, critical, lack of imagination"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great customers and missions. Great work as long as you can go it alone and not have to rely on any management support.

    Cons

    Vice Presidents are critical and dismissive of staff, portfolio directors are arrogant and "own the customers". Individual senior leaders with experience and connections are left to work under the radar to make things happen without any support from and often in direct conflict with management.

    Advice to Management

    Make decisions. No one believes in managing a billion dollar company by consensus. Get rid of process. Let innovation and entrepreneurial spirit reign instead of actively trying to kill it.


  10. Helpful (26)

    "Horrible company that hates technical people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Senior Engineer in McLean, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Despite 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 Management

    Wake 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.


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