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MITRE Reviews

Updated 18 March 2019
893 reviews

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MITRE President & CEO Jason Providakes
Jason Providakes
143 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Great work life balance for workers" (in 294 reviews)

  • "Great benefits not really much more you could ask for in a company" (in 56 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 27 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    Helpful (30)

    "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 (US)
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist in McLean, VA (US)
    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

    7 Jan 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


  2. Helpful (72)

    "Most of the negative reviews here are correct"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist in Bedford, MA (US)
    Current Employee - Principal Scientist in Bedford, MA (US)
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    MITRE's mission is exceptional, and most of the people I know at MITRE really believe in it. My colleagues in my local department are smart, dedicated and imaginative. The work in my organization is varied and mostly very interesting. The opportunities for part-time and flex schedules are exceptional, and the benefits remain pretty good, including the retirement plan. Work-life balance is also solid. I've stayed at MITRE for more than 30 years for all these reasons.

    Cons

    I was skeptical about the value of Glassdoor until I read the recent reviews, which are spot-on as far as I'm concerned. Where to start? Many reviews here suggest that the company started going downhill when Al Grasso left and Jason Providakes took over; but the problem actually started with Al. On the one hand, he did good things to make the company more unified; on the other hand, he instituted a culture of glad-handing nonsense that has infected everything the company says to its own employees (witness the content-free responses by MITRE's Employee Experience Team on Glassdoor; believe it or not, this is how MITRE speaks internally to us, its employees, on a daily basis). The hiring disaster of a year ago was a consequence, I believe, of inexperienced portfolio managers doing a crappy job of estimating demand, and I don't know whether the company learned anything from it (certainly, they've shut up about it this year, that's for sure). The expensive moonshot and platform efforts are both bleeding money from the work that we're actually supposed to be doing; they're vanity efforts which are poorly overseen and almost certainly doomed to failure. And don't get me started about MITRE's self-congratulatory non-repair of the compensation mess.

    Of the 24 people listed on MITRE's executive team page, I have a reasonable familiarity with 8 of them; 5 of them I trust, one I wouldn't give you a dime for, and two of them are actively disastrous - and unfortunately, those two are effectively running the company.

    Advice to Management

    Fire Jason Providakes and Rich Byrne. Make Pete Sherlock or Kerry Buckley the CEO. Forget the vanity projects. Shut down the portfolio effort - it's caused more problems, and introduced more management hassles, than it's solved. Stop communicating with your employees using glad-handing nonsense. And please - please - don't embarrass yourselves by having the Employee Experience Team respond to this review.

    MITRE Response

    18 Feb 2019 – Employee Experience Team

    We agree that MITRE has an extremely talented workforce, with a shared purpose of serving the public interest, and we appreciate hearing the perspectives of all our employees—both those who are early... More

  3. Helpful (44)

    "Lots of projects to learn from, too many layers of management, lack of impactful work"

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

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

    Pros

    Lot of nice people. Flexibility to work on multiple projects allows employees to pick up skill sets. You can have a lot of fun and learn a lot depending on the project you're working on. Also depends on the people you're working with on your project. Lots of training opportunities. Management seems to be okay with spending money to getting people certified or furthering their education. Good work-life balance. If you're young, your salary increases will be nice but your industry value will most likely diminish outside of the government space. I encourage people to try interviewing at other places just to get a feel for expectations outside of the MITRE world.

    Cons

    Most of the work you do amounts to a powerpoint presentation and/or a demo and no actual operational impact even if its considered impactful work by upper management. It's unfortunate that for a large number of projects out there, its more important for you to charge your hours than it is to actual contribute meaningful work. Instead of getting fired for not doing your work, you get kicked off the project once they find someone that can fill in your hours, and the cycle continues. Sometimes you're left charging hours on the project until the end of the year. Every few years, MITRE completely changes their "specialty" and then expects everyone to become an expert in that field. This includes spending the effort and energy just to change department names and project names. Security/cyber seems to be the current theme. Some of the people at MITRE are true masters of verbal facade to make things sound really good to the customer. Some people unfortunately just copy and paste materials from vendors and pre-existing documents to claim the work as their own. Management is not very in sync with employees. Your department head probably has very little insight into what you do. If you're lucky your group leader is in sync with your work but has little control over your salary increases.

    Advice to Management

    Promote people based on actual skills, not because it is time to do so. Hire people with real industry experience and put them on projects where they can truly make an impact. Get rid of group leaders. Most barely have insight into what you do or lack the skills to understand what you're working on. Managers should only manage, not also work on projects. Often times, employees are "forgotten" since managers only have the time to work on their own projects. Some people only take Group Leader positions or DH positions to move up the ladder and then rotate out. There are very few truly technical level 5s. Get rid of the MIP program. Very few of these projects actually transition somewhere, except for being a science project. Seems like a large waste of tax money. The whole Roles-Results-Behavior performance evaluation process is poorly executed. Most employees take the same content from last year and reword it.

    MITRE Response

    18 Feb 2019 – Employee Experience Team

    Thank you for taking the time to share your perspective on multiple topics. We, too, appreciate MITRE’s investment in the career development of our employees, and the emphasis on work/life... More


  4. Helpful (32)

    "Unknown Future"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time

    Pros

    Retirement package is good but used to be better

    Cons

    Company is going through a huge business transformation that is impacting every part of business operations. Outside consultants and Directors from across the company are making decisions that impact departments and processes they know nothing about.

    CEO keeps referring to good growth and I haven’t met someone that can explain what that means


  5. Helpful (32)

    "Not as good as it can be"

    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 (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Benefits, Facilities, Peers, Sponsors. Great opportunities for Millennials.

    Cons

    Commute is terrible, Management does not appear to care about the employees well-being; they care more about getting everything done in a speedy fashion and worry about the content later. Some projects take time and thought to produce a quality product.

    Advice to Management

    Start caring about the employees who work for MITRE and less about self-promoting yourselves. We need stability and not another organizational change. The recent organizational announcement is another example to prove that Senior management doesn't know what it is doing. We should not be guessing at how to run a $2B organization.


  6. Helpful (18)

    "Interesting work; few opportunities for advancement (or pay increases)"

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

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

    Pros

    Excellent benefits. MITRE puts in an almost-unheard-of 7.5% automatically, and with matching will go up to 10% (they take one year to start matching, but you're fully vested from the get-go). Net result is that you're putting in 12%, and they're putting in 10%, for a total of 22% per year. They also have student-loan repayment up to another $1800 per year (although only for 3 years).

    They also have subject-matter experts in almost every topic you can think of. So you can save a lot of time by finding an expert to look over something, or bring you up to speed.

    They have continuing education opportunities through the internal "MITRE Institute". Depending on the group, they can be extremely flexible about working hours. Work-life balance is solid; you won't be criticized for putting in your 40 hours and then going home.

    Cons

    Promotions beyond Level 3 are rare (as in, one person per department per year from 3 to 4, one from 4 to 5, etc). So functionally they're awarded largely by seniority, as opposed to merit. Pay is tied very closely to salary band: Level 3 (Senior) is centered at $110k (+/- 25k), Level 4 (Lead) is centered at $140k.

    Management convinces themselves that they're "paying above market", but that's not really correct. While nominally you're paid a bit more than in another company with a title of "senior" engineer, the truth is that in those other companies, you already would have been promoted. So relative to your actual job performance, you can be severely underpaid.

    This sets up a perverse incentive within the company: the most capable/ambitious employees are likely to find another job, while the least capable are likely to stick around in hopes that they'll at least get promoted based on seniority. The company certainly has high-quality people... but less than if they used a different promotion scheme.

    Advice to Management

    More leadership, less management. Drop the corporate jargon. Stop trying to fix things that aren't broken.


  7. Helpful (24)

    "Moribund Introverted Technology Researching Engineers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lead Software Systems Engineer in McLean, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Lead Software Systems Engineer in McLean, VA (US)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule, freedom to learn and research new technology

    Cons

    Stagnant org structure, dubious promotion track

    Advice to Management

    Fix bonuses and incentives for software engineers and developers; increase salaries

  8. Helpful (21)

    "On a Steady Decline"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Systems Engineer in McLean, VA (US)
    Former Employee - Systems Engineer in McLean, VA (US)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Exceptional work-life balance if you happen to work on a relaxed task and have flexible project leaders that allow it
    Endless cool project opportunities IF you are ambitious and able network enough to seek them out

    McLean campus is undergoing renovations that can make MITRE a fun environment to work in

    Cafeteria is incredibly convenient

    Cons

    Incredibly poor management at every level - executives couldn't be more out of touch. An extreme lack of transparency exists across the management hierarchy and as a result, the company is run very inconsistently.

    For every ambitious individual you meet, there are about ten more who are content delivering the bare minimum or less. This is not to say that MITRE lacks talent, just expect to go well out of your way to find those pockets of exceptional staff to work with.

    Unfortunately, it seems that this company is losing sight of its core values. MITRE used to be about doing challenging work and serving the public interest; however, the company culture has now shifted to take on a more commercial feel ie. over-hiring, "butts in seats", taking on staff augmentation work. The difference between MITRE as an FFRDC and any other government contractor is rapidly dissolving, which is a shame.

    MITRE recently hired many "early career professionals" with no real plans on how to manage them - there is no assurance of their growth or even their added value to sponsors. I am confident that the new Team-based learning and Development program (TBLD) will not change this.

    The amount of nepotism I've witnessed in my short tenure at MITRE is very disappointing. MITRE also just lifted a policy that limited the referral of family members so now it's even easier for nepotism to proliferate.

    Promotions are difficult to come by at MITRE and it doesn't help that they are given based on luck, not merit. Certain program divisions will promote you for simply existing. However, bust your butt for years in a tech center and you might get considered for a promotion IF you threaten to leave the company first.

    MITRE is no place for mid-career professionals, which is why the company is experiencing retention issues.

    This company used to be known for employing "experts" and "academics". This reputation doesn't exactly hold true anymore.

    Advice to Management

    Mass hiring initiative was a mistake. Manage the company consistently - no more lip service.


  9. Helpful (35)

    "Unable to Keep Promises"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Principal
    Current Employee - Principal
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at MITRE full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The work at MITRE is generally quite meaningful. We solve hard problems that the government needs help with. It's easy to head home at the end of the day knowing you've made a real contribution. Moreover, the pay and benefits are decent.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, MITRE is not able to keep the promises it makes to its employees. Management will say what it takes to get you to agree to something. But those promises are hollow. If you put faith in these promises, you can end up making decisions detrimental to your career.

    Advice to Management

    Don't make promises you can't honor.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great Place to Work-if Comfortable with a Highly Bureaucratized Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Electronic Records Management Applications Architect in Bedford, MA (US)
    Former Employee - Electronic Records Management Applications Architect in Bedford, MA (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Fair employment practices; Low Stress for the most part; Great Benefits. Embrace of Work/Life balance by most management. Stable employer. Important work for national benefit.

    Cons

    Highly stratified, with many layers of management. Frequently little chance for advancement, with poor guidance on promotion requirements. Not the place for fast trackers nor risk-takers.