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MITRE Reviews

Updated January 19, 2019
874 reviews

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3.2
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MITRE President & CEO Jason Providakes
Jason Providakes
127 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great work life balance for workers" (in 290 reviews)

  • "The company really does provide a good work life balance as well as a good benefits package" (in 53 reviews)

Cons
  • "Work life balance is rapidly becoming a thing of the past" (in 21 reviews)

  • "Harder for early-career, less strictly technical work, upper management" (in 25 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (4)

    "Work is meaningful"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time

    Pros

    The work is meaningful. Significant potential to make a positive impact at the higher levels of government. Great facilities. Management is starting to focus more on employee experience. Fantastic benefits, especially retirement (although you have to stay with the company over a year to receive much benefit). Great educational benefits. Wondering if some of the other negative reviews here on Glassdoor are from other companies that don't want MITRE to succeed in attracting great people to join the company. Really, Mitre is a good place to work.

    Cons

    It takes significant effort to get plugged in with co-workers and projects. Expectations for success for individual employees and projects are not usually clear. I was expecting more flexibility in my schedule and commute (now at customer site nearly 100%) of the time. Seems like it takes a very long time to move up in the company or receive a promotion.

    Advice to Management

    Consider offering more telework options! Telework 2 or 3 days a week would be extremely beneficial to employee experience. Keep presenting the compelling story of how MITRE is making a difference.


  2. "Great Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Systems Engineer/Program Manager in Mc Lean, VA
    Current Employee - Principal Systems Engineer/Program Manager in Mc Lean, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good Environment to work in

    Cons

    Most jobs require government clearance

    Advice to Management

    Get sponsor

  3. Helpful (21)

    "Great place to work. MITRE is much different than other government consulting firms. I hope it stays that way."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist in McLean, VA
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist in McLean, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I spent many years at two very large, well-respected government consulting firms before coming to MITRE. Several of MITRE’s positive attributes below are noted in stark contrast to my experiences at other firms.

    (1) Work-Life Balance – I’ve never felt pressure to work more than 40 hours per week at MITRE. People are unplugged during nights and weekends. It’s a great place to work if you have a family. At other firms, limiting your hours like this would hurt your career. I receive 21 days of paid time off plus all of the standard holidays and can actually use all of my vacation if I choose. MITRE also allows employees to cash out up to 40 hours of paid time off each year. At other firms, I wasn’t able to use all of my vacation due to work demands and lost a lot of it due to accrual limits.

    (2) 401k Matching – After your first year, MITRE will match your 401k contributions amounting to an additional 10% (or slightly more) to your pay if you contribute enough.

    (3) Culture – Overall, MITRE has a laid-back atmosphere, where people have a lot of autonomy and are usually engrossed in their research and project work. My coworkers are smart and polite. I’ve found almost everyone at MITRE to be collaborative and supportive, sharing their knowledge freely as they love to educate others and openly discuss new ideas. Other firms were cutthroat and people were much more protective because ideas and credit were frequently stolen. Our culture is more like that of academia where intellectual theft is a very serious offense. The pace is a bit slower here than at other firms, with fewer demands to pull you in multiple directions simultaneously. Given the types of sponsor work that many of us do this is a great thing, as this environment allows time to think and be creative.

    (4) Project Work – MITRE rarely performs “butts in seats” work. We’re usually helping the government at the beginning of a long journey, positioning ourselves to shape the government’s direction and implement prototype solutions. The work I’m doing at MITRE has been more interesting than what was typically available at other firms. There are also many interesting research projects underway. MITRE holds back 5% of its revenue in a research fund that is allocated yearly based on a competitive proposal process.

    (5) Benefits – The Aetna PPO health plan is great. Unfortunately, my family had the need to use it multiple times this year for expensive care across several specialties, so I would know. The educational benefit is much higher than at other firms, as MITRE will cover a significant portion of your graduate-level education.

    (6) Office Space – I have an assigned office to myself. Worst case, MITRE staff share an assigned office with one other coworker. Other firms had facilities that were less pleasant after having moved to open-office spaces or office hoteling while reserving assigned offices for upper-level management.

    (7) Stable Environment – Not that many people I know have left MITRE in the past few years. I believe attrition is in the low single-digits. The last firm I worked at was losing staff at 15-20% per year and although that rate was higher than desired it was well-known that high attrition was part of their business model.

    Cons

    There is lots of talk of change within MITRE, although I feel that staff performing sponsor work would be hard-pressed to notice anything different day-to-day. However, the talk of change from MITRE’s leadership continues nonetheless and it’s stirring the pot as you can see from many recent Glassdoor reviews. Leadership has not articulated many specifics on what these changes might mean to the staff, so the rumor mill is running at full speed. I don’t believe that the new strategies being described by MITRE leadership are going to have a significant impact on MITRE’s technical staff (which includes almost all of MITRE). Although, leadership did push down an ill-advised hiring push in 2018 that created a mess, leaving many people including existing employees “on the bench” scrapping for work over many months. Hopefully that won’t be repeated.

    Advice to Management

    (1) As MITRE is making changes, please do a better job of explaining your thinking in detail to the staff. Otherwise, the vacuum you leave will be filled with our own theories and possibly our insecurities (as witnessed by many recent Glassdoor reviews). We’re smart enough and will understand even if your motivations are complex. We’ve heard the same phrases, such as “good growth,” repeatedly over the past year but have yet to see specific examples of what that means and how it’s different from what we normally do. Assume that every time you say something ambiguous MITRE will receive another bad Glassdoor review. Please understand that candidates come here to read these reviews, so it will have an impact on us.

    (2) Make an effort to understand what other government contractors look like to their employees and to government sponsors and then avoid becoming just like them. I feel that most of MITRE's senior leadership have been here so long they may not truly appreciate what makes MITRE different from other contractors. Preserve our culture and work-life balance. Make sure that the changes to the rewards program for staff and management are designed to incentivize those that act in alignment with our culture and brand. Don’t move to open offices spaces. Don’t hire lots of junior staff that need to learn on the job, as that’s not in alignment with MITRE’s brand. If we’re doing true FFRDC work, our sponsors will want advice from experts.

    (3) Figure out what truly makes MITRE stand out and continually reinforce those points with our sponsors and as part of our path forward. Here are my suggestions: deep expertise, experienced researchers, divergent thinking, risk taking, and independent advice. Understand that while being a “trusted advisor” and “working across the whole of government” are good attributes, both are frequently claimed by other firms as well and are not differentiators for MITRE. Our sponsors hear those same phrases from everyone. MITRE leadership can find better talking points.

    (4) Don’t attempt to satiate the government’s demand for MITRE services. The things you’ll need to do to meet that demand will kill our brand in the process. For example, it’s not possible to hire as many of “the best” as we would need to staff all of the work. If you lower our standards to hire in more people, as some have suggested that MITRE is doing, we move one step closer to other government consulting firms. There needs to be more than just a convenient FFRDC contract vehicle that separates us from other companies. We shouldn’t want sponsors coming to us solely out of convenience. We should want sponsors to come to MITRE with interesting problems that challenge us or risky projects that others don’t want to touch. We need to make sure that the bar is set very high so we can meet those challenges on behalf of the nation. Let other firms handle the rest. Also, the larger we grow the more incentive we have to take on less appropriate, less interesting project work in order to keep our staff employed. This will also damage MITRE’s brand. There’s only so much cutting-edge work out there.

    MITRE Response

    Jan 7, 2019 – Employee Experience Team

    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful review of your experience at MITRE. Your feedback reflects many of the sentiments, including an appreciation of our mission-focused work and work-life... More


  4. Helpful (19)

    "Concerning culture shift"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time

    Pros

    Bright colleagues who take pride in doing the right thing for our sponsors

    Good retirement benefits

    Facilities are excellent

    Internal MITRE training programs are world class

    Cons

    Work life balance is rapidly becoming a thing of the past

    Pay is lower than comparable companies in the area, and annual raises barely cover cost of living adjustments

    Corporate culture quickly shifting from one of collaboration and support to one in which people and groups are more concerned about tooting their own horn, being “first”, getting credit, etc.

    Advice to Management

    It’s very disheartening to see what once was a culture of collaboration and support devolve into one in which those with “kiss up/kick down” styles of management are regularly rewarded with promotions and plum assignments. The general trust employees had with management has deteriorated to the point where employees hesitate to respond honestly to engagement surveys, lest their responses be used against them. People are turning to forums such a this to express concerns and frustrations, as well as hopes for improvement—and they are noticing less than favorable surveys seem to be removed quickly. MITRE used to be an amazing and inspiring place to work—here’s hoping that will happen again.

    MITRE Response

    Jan 18, 2019 – Employee Experience Team

    Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. We are proud of our employees’ integrity and commitment to serving the public interest, and we, too, appreciate MITRE’s investment in training... More


  5. Helpful (69)

    "Change in the Wrong Direction"

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

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

    Pros

    In some areas, FFRDCs are trusted to do some very interesting work, particularly on the defense and intelligence sides. The work is hands down the biggest pro, but you have to be on the right projects in the right parts of the company. General employee benefits are average, retirement is good, about double the average matching at most companies, but nowhere near accounts for the less-than-average salaries, particularly in certain high-demand technical areas. Some may consider the lack of hard-driving goals, low expectations, and easy-going culture a pro. Those with more drive and/or ambition will consider it a con. Great place if you are retired and/or on a second career and want to take it easy. Golfing every other Friday is pretty common. Job security is higher than average, despite the current layoffs, but that also means there's lots of dead weight.

    Cons

    The company is in the middle of significant change driven by Jason directly (relatively new CEO). While Jason sometimes has the right vision, he’s unable and the wrong person to execute. Al (previous CEO), agree or disagree with him, took the company to new levels and was the kind of leader the people would follow. A simple review (or 360 evaluation) of Jason’s poor decision making history by the board should have precluded him for the position.

    Many have asked for board action on this site, what they need to realize is Al and Jason are buddies and Al got him the job. Al is still in the board. The board of trustees isn't a powerful board like that of a public company, the board only sees what the CEO what's them to see.

    Leadership typically has little vision or strategy. The few good executive leaders were frustrated by all the dead weight. The effort to reduce management levels has been of course focused on the lowest possible category of “management” (associate department heads) rather than the director and above (VPs and Officers) levels. At the same time, the number of VPs and officers has increased significantly. The only thing worse than a team of executives with no vision or strategy, is a larger team of executives with no vision and strategy.

    The 2018 creation of co-department heads is just the most recent hilarious example of bad management. The job of managing was already shared with the creation of “The MITRE Way” (reorg years ago), so now half of that shared leadership is further divided by equal co leadership?? I guess it's now a co-shared-matrixed leadership model (?), which will definitely ensure no one's responsible for success.

    Many of the good people are bailing from the company, leaving only those that can’t/won’t leave. My advice to those looking to join the company would be give it several years, my hope is this is just a temporary blemish in what is otherwise a long impressive history and a great company.

    Advice to Management

    My advice to the officer core: Rethink your mission and goals as an FFRDC operator. The country needs this role and MITRE is doing a disservice by mismanaging it. Have a clear vision, with tangible outcomes, not just visionary-sounding-corporate-MITRE-terms. The staff literally plays “MITRE bingo” during management speeches using these terms. LL, Battelle, SEI and others similar organizations are out performing you in the actual technical work the nation needs. Be cautious of losing your technical core, MITRE is in danger of just becoming a consulting company, as evidence by the high number of frameworks, papers, etc. Change is definitely needed, change is good, but your changing in the wrong direction. This change has the possibility to errode and undermine the company's core value and mission.


  6. Helpful (39)

    "No longer inspiring"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time

    Pros

    Opportunities to directly contribute to customers' missions

    Cons

    Increasing evidence that officers no longer care to engage and understand the substance of staff work. In fact, it appears that the officers, particularly the CEO are spending most of their (his) time to turn the company into a for-profit so that they (he) can cash out.

    MITRE Response

    Dec 11, 2018 – Employee Experience Team

    Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective. MITRE is a special place where people are driven by our work and our mission. We’re pleased that you feel that connection to our sponsors... More


  7. Helpful (19)

    "Stability at the cost of advancement"

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

    I worked at MITRE full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Excellent work-life balance & job security
    Working in the public interest

    Cons

    Advancement opportunities are few and far between.
    Limited raise pools make it challenging to catch up if underpaid.
    No real technical career path

    Advice to Management

    Start paying current employees what they're worth
    Expand job levels to allow for advancement opportunities
    Develop an actual technical career path rather than just paying lip service to doing so

  8. Helpful (7)

    "After 25 years - was good choice"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Quality company - there 25 years

    Cons

    not many unless you want stock options and bonuses - its a not for profit

    Advice to Management

    During recent force reduction there were quality emplyees pushed out mainly due to age in my opinion.

    MITRE Response

    Jan 14, 2019 – Employee Experience Team

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on MITRE, and for your 25 years of service! To solve the nation’s most complex challenges, we welcome and rely upon staff at all stages of their careers—including... More


  9. Helpful (29)

    "System Administrator"

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

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

    Pros

    People are very smart and very nice for the most part. Often interesting work. There are definitely centers of excellence where smart and dedicated people work hard.

    Cons

    From what I observed, management at all levels consistently ducks and avoids difficult personnel decisions, allowing incompetent people and even people who drive others away to stay in place for far too long. In my department, for example, favoritism was blatant, and management was unapologetic about it. Also, the department head hired a number of developers when systems administrators were needed. The developers had nothing to do and had no clearances, so they couldn't even be deployed at customer sites to gain experience. In several instances, to my direct knowledge, managers told long-term employees that they (the employees) had to find something for these people to do. Management was often adept at abdicating their responsibilities. and this was a clear example of such abdication.

    Advice to Management

    Step up and take responsibility for the hard decisions regarding personnel who should not be employed at Mitre. Reward and promote on merit rather than personal connections. Also, recognize that along with the higher salaries that older workers command, they also bring great experience and institutional knowledge.

    MITRE Response

    Dec 17, 2018 – Employee Experience Team

    Thank you for sharing your perspective. It’s clear that MITRE has an immensely talented workforce that is dedicated to serving our sponsors and our nation. Each of us has a role to play to deliver on... More


  10. Helpful (33)

    "Drifting in a sea of chaos........"

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

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

    Pros

    Focus on government sponsor and mission, ability to craft your own efforts without much direction or involvement of management. Decent benefits.

    Cons

    MITRE has been drifting downhill for many years. As the organization has grown it has drifted farther away from the basic mission of an FFRDC. The FFRDC motto of "we tell the government what it needs to hear, not what it wants to hear" has been morphed into "keep the money coming in". People who are self-promoting and say what their management wants to hear are promoted. The management doesn't know how to lead - continued surveys and processes to "incentivize" senior staff are misguided at best. Many senior staff want to coast to retirement out of a sense of futility with MITRE or on the other side of the spectrum - laziness. There is NO ONE to go to in management. My experience has been that Level 7 management is out to protect their turf and their jobs and in many cases to do as little as possible while the Officers are all trying to jockey for position and advancement. Senior staff who have approached them with true concern about the work program, ways MITRE can address significant Government program challenges, or incompetent and lazy superiors have gotten the standard response: fake concern, promises to address the issues, maybe a personal meeting with an Officer, and back to business as usual. The latest attempts at salary manipulation miss the point - the best people are motivated to do the job, yet they are told that they must "prove themselves" to fight for scraps from the table. This further alienates them from the organization. If only we could determine what the "goals" are beyond silly phrases like "the next moonshot". Add to this the notion of “co-Department Heads” which was an attempt to streamline management without reducing the number of managers? That one can’t even pass the laugh test. The Officers, particularly The CEO, should note that when you don't hear from senior people who have been vocal in the past about the good of the organization and the work we do it could be an indication that they have given up and see no purpose in risking the wrath of their superiors for the same old response of inaction.

    Advice to Management

    Hard to offer advice to those who don't appear to want any. However, here it is. Realize that FFRDCs attract great people who are dedicated to the mission - you don't need to motivate the good ones with incentives. Respect the great staff - push out the mediocre. We don't need a lot of management - Portfolio Directors and Division Heads are redundant. Great MITRE work is easily identified. The MITRE Way is a result of good management, not a way to generate it. Recognize there is a fear in the organization - fear to say anything negative. That combined with the lack of results when you do say something results in lack of input to the management to push us where we should be going. Sadly, that atmosphere of fear will be persistent.....for good reason. People who might have spoken up in the past probably won't anymore and the current or the next CEO will be surrounded by people hoping to impress him rather than offer the input he needs. Of course there is evidence that even at that level the Officers are all like cows waiting to be herded. Have some courage. Of course if you really do want to be "just like a for-profit body shop" then you are already doing a great job and will push out the ones who care for the ones who are attracted to trivial bonuses. No one is listening........

    MITRE Response

    Jan 7, 2019 – Employee Experience Team

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Your passion for MITRE’s work is evident in your comments. Our commitment to our mission and our FFRDC sponsors is the driving force behind our... More