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MITRE Reviews

Updated November 18, 2018
844 reviews

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3.2
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MITRE President & CEO Jason Providakes
Jason Providakes
107 Ratings

844 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great work life balance for workers" (in 281 reviews)

  • "Great benefits; interesting work programs" (in 51 reviews)

Cons
  • "If you want work life balance come trained and leave before your skills get too stale" (in 19 reviews)

  • "Upper management is a bit bloated and out of touch; technical company that hasn't figured out how to establish a clear technical track" (in 24 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Current"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Chief Engineer in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Chief Engineer in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Dedicated to national safety and security

    Cons

    Low level of promotion opportunities


  2. Helpful (29)

    "Tough company to work for if you're not a systems engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Public Health Advisor in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Public Health Advisor in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great benefits and excellent work life balance. Work with very smart and educated colleagues. Incredible flexibility with your schedule (though it depends on your manager, it is part of the culture)

    Cons

    I've been at MITRE for over 7 years, and things have changed dramatically since the Board appointed our current CEO, who most people I know do not respect nor like, which is unfortunate. It's very difficult at MITRE if you're not a systems engineer - you have to constantly prove your value and it's tough to speak their language. Additionally, it's a very horizontal organization that has a nepotistic streak in the culture, so it's quite hard to get promoted unless you have an 'in' with leadership.

    Advice to Management

    Put more non-engineers in upper leadership (VP and SVP roles) who can help with culture change and the big issue of internal communications

  3. Helpful (44)

    "No Longer the Elite Company It Once Was"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are extraordinary people who work at MITRE, and I have been privileged to have worked with many. These are smart, dedicated people in math, science, and technology. It is a place where you can truly make a difference.

    Cons

    In the last year and a half, a significant change has taken place. When former CEO Al Grasso left, he was replaced by Jason Providakes. Much of senior management has departed and has been replaced. Organizational structure has changed, stripping what were solid internal entities of their identity. We're hiring at a phenomenal rate of late, for what reason is beyond my comprehension. We seem to have lost the ability to say no to a sponsor who would have us do work outside our contractual work program, as well as the ability to question whether a type of work is appropriate to be done through an FFRDC. While developing answers to problems could take forever if we did a 100% solution for everything, the "60 to 80%" solution we're now to take could be very costly. This isn't who we are.

    Advice to Management

    While I'm sure Jason Providakes is a good person and a capable manager, his current reign reminds me of Ron Johnson, formerly an Apple VP. Johnson was the person behind the brick, mortar, and glass Apple Stores, their design et al. The stores were extremely successful and remain so. He was brilliant! Johnson left Apple in 2011 to be the CEO of JCPenney, and he was a disaster. He changed their culture so much that he was removed after a year or so. JCPenney still hasn't quite recovered from all of those changes, and isn't far behind Sears in where they are headed.

    Significant changes have been made at MITRE in the last year and a half, in terms of company organization and the people running it. The proverbial clock cannot be turned back; even if the organizational structure were to revert, so many of the people who were there have departed. Financially we have grown in the last year; the "bottom line" matters, of course.

    However, there's a significant decline that can be felt in many areas of the company, whether on the civil or military side. There's a malaise that is so omnipresent I've not heard anyone in recent months say they like working for MITRE and that they look forward to coming to work each day. "Engagement" isn't going to happen in this environment.

    What should management do? Recognize you have a company of people who are not behind you. Learn why we're not behind you. Solve it.


  4. Helpful (62)

    "Pointless disruption from executives"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer
    Current Employee - Lead Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Paid time off and retirement matching remain competitive. MITRE was a pioneer in teleworking and other accommodations to make work-life balance better, and it is largely still a good place for that.

    Cons

    When longtime CEO Al Grasso retired, a new executive team swept in eager to make a lot of changes. Change isn't necessarily a bad thing, but so far what we've seen hasn't inspired a lot of confidence. We just went through a disgracefully poorly managed round of layoffs in corporate operations. Layoffs are never exactly fun to go through, but when done well, they can be healthy and leave the organization more efficient. Not just from a cost standpoint either: a healthy layoff gets rid of people who are slowing the organization down. But that's not clearly the case here. We really miss a lot of the people who either retired early or were shown the door, and it's harder for the organization to be effective without them. But worst of all was the feckless, drawn-out way this was all handled. A department head and even a director with 30 years' experience were laid off right along with individual contributors. Even if there's good reason to get rid of people in those positions, it's cowardly to use a RIF as a vehicle for that. Maybe that seemed neat and efficient from a labor lawyer's perspective, but consider what that does for morale: there's a Game of Thrones-like sense of dread among the staff because not only could any of us be next, but we don't even believe that we can get reliable information from middle management because they're all evidently standing on trap doors too. It effectively cuts off any way to quell rumors and move on. In a relatively strong job market like we currently have, I worry we'll lose even more of our best people who'd rather not work under the current COO. We're watching a lot of the things that made MITRE such an excellent place to work 10 years ago get eroded away.

    Advice to Management

    To the board of directors: in a situation like this, it's always a tough call whether it's less disruptive to stick with the CEO and see if things will settle down, or replace him and his cronies with an executive team that has more respect for the company's traditions as a public-service nonprofit and more respect for its staff. Based on the actions taken so far, does this CEO seem to share your values about what this company should be?


  5. Helpful (48)

    "Manager"

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

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

    Pros

    Great people and great middle management. Great retirement package

    Cons

    Executive team has their head in the sand, doesn’t seem to value the long term employee who has dedicated years to towards making MITRE great. A recent RIF in Corp Ops validated just that with over the majority impacted being over the age of 45. Why hang around in today’s hot job market?

    Advice to Management

    Stop sugar coating and srart managing. How was your Summer? We waited for the other shoe to drop for almost four months, what is the real plan? Honest communication would go a long way and might help retain quality staff, that is if you value them.


  6. Helpful (58)

    "going downhill fast"

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

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

    Pros

    benefits, interesting work, good people, good mission, non-profit

    Cons

    retirement match falling behind national labs and competitors (e.g., Booz Allen). Major strategic mistake to downgrade DoD/IC work (~60% of work program, 90% of demand) in favor of groveling for VA, IRS, HHS work (so 2010s!).
    Staff uniformly hates corporate management; management thinks everyone loves them.

    Advice to Management

    Stop hiring the cheapest people you can find. Get back to basics: speak truth to power, be the smartest guy in the room, be willing to walk.
    If you want to cut costs, offer early retirement bonuses.


  7. Helpful (42)

    "Stop turning a blind eye"

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

    I have been working at MITRE full-time

    Pros

    Some really smart, motivated, dedicated staff.

    Ability to support various sponsors (customers) and their missions.

    Great benefits, and facilities.

    Cons

    I was hoping my experience was unique to my Division but I can tell from other posts and my colleagues that my Division’s experience may be the norm rather than the exception.

    A year and a half ago a power grab was started by the Portfolio (business development) side of our division. MITRE’s “Shared Leadership” model (Portfolio and Program (execution) working together) has devolved to Portfolio dictating and Program forced to jump. With the “yes” people brought in to the Portfolio this has created a toxic environment where collaboration and sharing have been replaced by whispering and looking over our shoulders. The work has deteriorated as the Portfolio is ill equipped to explain the MITRE value or understand our Sponsor’s needs but refuse to work with the Program side. Portfolio schedule Sponsor meetings without engaging with the Program side and rarely share the outcomes unless it serves their narrative to take more control. On multiple occasions my Sponsor has asked me what MITRE leadership was thinking in these meetings. A very hard question to answer.

    Myself and many of my colleagues stay because we believe in our sponsor’s mission, having an impact, and remember what MITRE could be like. But every month it becomes tougher and tougher.

    Advice to Management

    This toxic environment is NOT the MITRE Way but has become the new MITRE way as it appears to be sanctioned by your silence and inaction. Stop turning a blind eye and address the issue before our staff and sponsors reach the breaking point.

  8. Helpful (20)

    "Do I jump ship now or wait it out?"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Retirement program. I have a mgr who cares, but most don't.

    Cons

    reduction in leave, reduction in medical benefits, reduction, reduction....


  9. Helpful (47)

    "Inside a maelstrom..."

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

    I have been working at MITRE full-time

    Pros

    Employees remain motivated to address national problems in spite of rough turbulence within the company
    The company maintains potential to deliver great achievements for public interests.

    Cons

    There is an increasing workforce segment that doesn't understand the FFRDC role on contrast with the role of the for-profit sector (industry and/or SETA contractor).
    Pursuit of "new platforms" beyond the operation of FFRDCs to increase revenues and generate profits threatens the company's credibility, uniqueness and value...and possibly its not-for-profit tax designation.
    A large segment of the workforce is troubled by executive decrees and rifts, the absence of viable strategy, poor communication, depreciating benefits, and a culture of fear that is setting-in at mid/senior management levels.
    MITRE's executives have historically been loathe to layoff staff unless absolutely necessary, but the philosophy has changed.
    Management and technical staff are being told to get-on-board with 'good growth' or to get-out. Some good people are opting to leave.
    Former executives and board members are concerned about the implications of "good growth" and the demoralized state of the workforce.
    For an increasing number, it is now an open question as to whether MITRE can still be regarded "one of the best places to work"
    Statistics and comments on this site seem valid.
    MITRE has internal problems that are perhaps more serious than most outsiders (and some of its current leaders) realize.
    Timely intervention is needed, but probably won't happen.
    Key trustees seem ignorant to the significance of the internal problems...and any calls from the government for MITRE's executives to explain what is going on...just are not likely to come any time soon.
    Current trends will likely continue.

    Advice to Management

    Carefully reconsider radical changes to a model that is working successfully...the means by which those changes are being pursued, and why the efforts are failing/disenfranchising the workforce.


  10. Helpful (30)

    "Workplace is too chill. Little accountability. Audit-scandal waiting to happen."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Bedford, MA
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Bedford, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    At Mitre it is very easy to do very little. Most of my coworkers work around 4 or 5 hours per day. many times engineers on my team won't produce *anything* over a two week sprint and no one bats an eye. If you are a competent software engineer you can work 4 hours per day and be middle of the pack. If you a 10x dev you can work even less.

    Mitre hires people based on whether they are nice people, not whether they are competent. This leads to a culture where most people know they can put in 4 hours (but mark 8 of course!) and still meet expectations.

    There is a standard career advancement path and no matter how good or bad you are you are locked into it for at least 2 years. If you don't put in any effort you won't rise beyond a certain point but it won't begin to affect you until you've been there for 4+ years. If you only plan to be at your first company for a year or two then your performance won't affect you at all.

    If you are very bad at CS, if you don't want to put in a lot of effort, if 5 hour days sound like a dream, then this job is for you.

    Cons

    Working in a chill environment is not for everyone. Many of my coworkers who left did so for this exact reason. When 50% of your coworkers are trying to climb into management because they are not strong technically and the other 50% are slacking off because they know they can it can be a very boring place to work.

    I would recommend this company to my friends who may not be good at, nor enjoy, software engineering and just want to chill and do nothing.

    Advice to Management

    If the government ever decides to audit Mitre then you are in for a rude awakening. You need to raise your hiring bar. It doesn't have to be a super difficult tech-company-esque interview but you need to hire people who can do their job. Seeing coworkers literally not do anything and still be promoted makes for a discouraging work environment.


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