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Job Details

Associate Director of Administration and Finance - J-PAL North America

Company name
j-pal north america

10 yrs required

Cambridge, MA

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J-PAL North America, based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), seeks to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. We do this by conducting randomized evaluations, sharing policy lessons, and building evaluation capacity. Our work spans a wide range of sectors including health care, housing, criminal justice, education, and economic mobility. We leverage research by affiliated professors from universities across the continent and a full-time staff of researchers, policy experts, and administrative professionals to generate and disseminate rigorous evidence about which anti-poverty social policies work and why.

The Associate Director of Administration and Finance will lead the overall operational functions of J-PAL North America. This is a senior-level position and focuses on creating effective operations, internal documentation and communication systems, and financial planning to help our team maximize the effectiveness of our work. This person will have direct and indirect reports in our finance and administration team and will work closely with the vertical heads of our research, policy, and training teams.


Organizational Management:

  • Develop and strengthen the human resources systems for J-PAL North America overall, with an aim of providing the structures and supports needed to help our team work effectively with a positive, dynamic team culture.
  • Recruitment and hiring: Provide strategic guidance on how we can attract top talent. We strongly prefer candidates who have deep experience building diverse teams and tapping into networks and affinity groups focused on recruiting candidates from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Onboarding and professional development: Strengthen our team’s practices in bringing new team members on board. Develop budgets, strategies and resources for creating customized professional development opportunities that strengthen the management and technical skills of our team. Lead high-level management of human capital development for J-PAL North America by providing skill development recommendations, working directly with managers in the organization on individual career path development for their direct reports, and developing the career opportunities for more than 30 staff. 
  • HR policies: Work closely with MIT’s HR professionals to ensure our team understands MIT policies and taps into the many resources available to the campus community.
  • Provide guidance on the annual performance review process by designing and executing on new methods and systems.
  • Directly manage and create professional development opportunities for the financial and administrative staff at J-PAL North America who focus on finance, grants, human resources, events management, office logistics, and executive support.

Information and systems management:

  • Provide strategic direction to the office on how to best document and organize information across the organization. This includes contact managements in SalesForce, document organization in Dropbox and other file-sharing systems, hiring in PeopleFluent, and project management in Asana.
  • Implement best practices to avoid duplication of effort, consistent file storage across staff turnover, and curation of key guides and documentation.

Fundraising and Financial Sustainability:

  • Lead the organization’s efforts to strengthen current relationships with foundations. 
  • Chief administrator and J-PAL North America’s main thought-leader for creating opportunities for new relationships with philanthropic organizations.
  • Manage new and current donor relationships and handle requests for extensions and modifications. 
  • Take ownership of driving and implementing strategies for new funding streams. 

Financial and Grants Management:

Provide oversight to the finance team, whose responsibilities include the following:

  • The development of strategic budget and financial planning processes, establishing assumptions, projections, and goals for J-PAL North America, including managing staff allocations and financial planning across intersecting multi-million dollar grants.
  • Supervise, develop, and lead J-PAL North America’s grant funds, including multi-million dollar initiatives in accordance with MIT and donor requirements.
  • Oversee all financial reporting to ensure accuracy as well as implement processes that will increase accessibility of information to J-PAL North America’s senior leadership and initiative managers on grant financials.
  • Enhance current procedures and overall management of multi-year budgets and financial projections for J-PAL North America programs and initiatives, including exercising judgment on how to allocate funding across priorities.
  • Collaborate with key-stakeholders and provide guidance to program staff on how to most effectively develop proposals and budgets, anticipating potential logistical or administrative challenges.
  • Work directly with the Department of Economics, the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and MIT’s Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), among others, on the management, timely assembly, and submission of proposals as well as ensure they meet MIT’s standards and requirements for submission.
  • Oversee the process of complex subaward administration arrangements to different universities.
  • Supervise the completion of all delegated responsibilities around maintaining and tracking budgets, personnel allocations, expenses, and deliverables for organizational grants.

 Professional Development:

J-PAL invests in your professional development.

Learn: J-PAL supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly seminars, engage in small-group discussions with other J-PAL staff, and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program.

Engage:  The Associate Director of Administration and Finance will have the opportunity to work with J-PAL affiliates and directors and to collaborate with senior leadership at J-PAL’s Global headquarters and other regional offices.

Travel:  The Associate Director of Administration and Finance may also have the opportunity to travel internationally to collaborate with J-PAL’s regional offices or attend conferences and external meetings relevant to J-PAL’s work.

Grow: J-PAL actively focuses on the professional development of its employees and constantly looks to improve the skills and knowledge of staff at all levels.


As a member of the MIT community, you benefit from more than just your salary.

J-PAL hires highly qualified staff and rewards them, accordingly. Total compensation packages are competitive for the non-profit and government fields with excellent MIT benefits, including comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match and pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance, commuter benefits, MIT community discounts, a generous vacation policy, and more.


  • Experience: Minimum of ten years of financial and organizational management of complex operations and finances; demonstrated leadership skills in supervising teams with direct and indirect reports is required. Experience in an academic research setting, non-profit financial management, and high-level fundraising activities is strongly preferred. Candidates with significantly more years of experience are welcome.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree required, and preferably a Master’s degree in a relevant field such as public administration, business administration, or non-profit management.
  • Communication: Outstanding interpersonal skills and analytical abilities.  Advanced written and verbal communication skills required.
  • Technical Skills: Strong computer experience using SalesForce, Excel, SAP and other financial and project management platforms.  Solid knowledge of MIT's financial/accounting structures would be preferable. Ability to teach others how to best use systems and inspire consistent use across systems.

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin


How to Apply

Ready to join a team of supportive, engaging, and fun colleagues? Apply now.

This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.

  1. Submit a short application via MIT’s human resources system. Click "Apply Now" to be directed to our online application and search for job ID 15641  (Associate Director of Administration and Finance - J-PAL North America), and complete an application. Please include both your cover letter (outlining why you are interested in J-PAL North America and why you are qualified for this role) and resume in this portal.

We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis as we receive them. Short-listed applicants may be asked to complete a writing exercise. Finalists will be called for an in-person interview.

Company info

j-pal north america

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