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Operations Associate - J-PAL North America

J-PAL North America at MIT
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Closing date
Oct 14, 2022
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Job Details

About J-PAL North America

J-PAL North America, a policy lab within the Economics department at MIT seeks an Operations Associate to join its team and contribute to its mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-PAL North America conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs. As a regional office of the global Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, J-PAL North America leverages research by affiliated professors from universities across the world to generate and disseminate rigorous evidence about which anti-poverty social policies work and why.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

At J-PAL North America we understand that inequity is often institutionalized into policies and systems, and that these inequities contribute to cycles of poverty and a lack of opportunity for a great portion of the population, particularly women, people of color and other marginalized populations. We approach our work with the following staff values and are actively engaged in creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture where everyone can feel a sense of belonging and effectively contribute to the work. We seek applicants with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences that can help to broaden our perspective and approach to economics research and policy. 

To learn more about our work and team culture, see our Join Our Team brochure or visit

Opportunity Overview

As a member of the J-PAL North America team, you’ll be part of a Nobel-prize winning scientific movement that can transform US policy making. Our Operations Associate plays an important role in this work, working as part of the finance & operations team to provide complex and diverse administrative and operational support services, including support for subaward grant administration, human resources administration, and facilities management support, among other responsibilities. A key function of this role will be to assist with the administration of policy funding initiatives to support randomized evaluations, coordinating subaward agreements, tracking key metrics and reporting. Recruitment and other human resources activities will also make up a significant portion of this role.

For our Operations Associate position, we are looking for candidates with significant administrative, office, or related experience, excellent attention to detail, strong organizational, time-management, and communication skills. Experience in Salesforce, Asana or other project management systems, is also strongly preferred.

This position is based on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and offers a hybrid work schedule, with some days in the office and some days remote. Please visit the MIT Now website for more information on how MIT is ensuring employee health and safety in response to Covid.


Initiative & Grant Administration (35%)

Provides support for the administration of subawards for funded research projects including:

  • Maintains Salesforce records for Request for Proposal (RFP) cycles and proposal submissions including: creating new campaign pages; creating proposal pages for all submissions; tracking peer reviewer requests and acceptances; working with the policy team to enter program specific data; recording funding outcomes; creating grant and project records for newly funded projects; and setting up deliverable schedules for approved projects.
  • Maintains accurate records for funded project deliverables. Requests upcoming reports from researchers and administrative staff and follows up as necessary. Ensures program and funded projects staff review all reports and maintains a log of any upcoming milestones or problems.
  • Conducts regular searches for new data and code for funded projects that have ended. Tracks which projects are in/out of compliance with J-PAL policies. Sends annual reminders to any researchers out of compliance and maintains records for the policy team.
  • Sets up Asana projects for each RFP cycle and monitors progress to ensure teams stay on track.
  • Assists in report preparation for review boards and scientific directors. 
  • Manages project pages in Salesforce and regularly reviews and cleans data. 

Human Resources (35%)

  • Supports recruitment and hiring activities, including creating project plans, building out Asana projects, applicant tracking, scheduling interviews, pre-screening resumes, and checking references.
  • Processes HR transactions.
  • Supports planning and implementation of onboarding and offboarding interns and new employees.
  • Creates guides and documentation.
  • Responds to staff inquiries about MIT HR policies and J-PAL practices.
  • Contributes to knowledge management and maintenance of HR documentation and files.
  • Supports planning and implementation of meetings, events and/or staff training.
  • Supports development of staff surveys and mentis.

Administrative Support (30%):

  • Supports the Finance & Operations team as needed across all aspects of managing grants and finances, human resources, technology, facilities and administrative support as well as in collaborating with J-PAL Global and other J-PAL regional offices
  • Schedules diverse and complex appointments and meetings, attends meetings and takes notes/assigns follow up tasks when required.  
  • Anticipates and initiates actions regarding daily office operations and attends to or triages requests before escalating to the Director of Finance & Operations. Manages day-to-day office operations including purchase of special office supplies and equipment, oversight of office and building access, mail, office space assignments, meeting space, office av and printer support, and facilities maintenance requests. 
  • Composes and edits correspondence and other documents. 
  • Writes content for and designs presentation materials. Produces reports as necessary.
  • Creates and maintains databases using programs such as Excel.
  • Researches and gathers information from multiple sources for highly complex projects.
  • Processes and submits reimbursements for travel and other expenses. 
  • Manages contact records, tracks meetings and calls, and enters relationship histories into Salesforce.
  • Identifies the need for and creates filing systems. Organizes documents in google drive and assists with knowledge management.
  • Initiates changes and updates to policy and procedure documents.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Compensation & Benefits

This full-time, non-exempt position is classified by MIT as a grade 6 salary level. Current MIT salary levels are publicly available at This is a fixed market-based salary range that is based on experience. J-PAL North America staff are MIT employees, which means they are eligible for a wide array of institutional benefits. Some of these MIT benefits include comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match up to 5% of salary plus a pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance up to $5,250 per calendar year, commuter benefits, access to MyLifeServices, a generous vacation policy (3 weeks of paid vacation in your first year, and 4 weeks every year after that, plus an additional 12+ paid Institute-wide holidays per year), paid leave for sick time, maternity and parental leave, back-up child care benefits and much more.

Professional Development Opportunities

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


Commitment to Mission & Values:  Cares personally and deeply about policy that has the potential to reduce poverty and the rigorous research that informs it. Demonstrates interest in poverty alleviation in the North American (primarily the United States) context in particular. Demonstrates a commitment to J-PAL North America’s values.

Education: This position requires a high school diploma.

Experience: This position requires 5 years of administrative experience or equivalent, which may include experience gained through part-time work, college level coursework, internships or volunteer positions. A bachelor's degree with 3 years experience or an associate’s degree with 4 years of experience also meets this experience requirement. Prior demonstrated experience working with communities of color and/or those experiencing poverty in North America is a plus.

Technical Skills: Actively demonstrates the administrative and computer skills necessary to successfully execute tasks to which they are assigned, such as scheduling meetings, arranging travel, processing financial reimbursements or note taking. Ability to use Microsoft office and/or Google applications and comfort learning new applications is required. Knowledge of Asana and Salesforce is helpful.

Ownership of Work: Takes responsibility/is accountable for effectively completing assigned discrete tasks or projects with high attention to detail under direct supervision. Produces high quality work in the time expected; identifies and follows up with managers and other stakeholders as needed to ensure assignments are completed on time. Takes initiative and offers ideas for new ways to approach work; shares knowledge and/or talents with others as needed to complete assigned tasks or projects.

Written Communication: Accurately and succinctly communicates in writing with J-PAL staff and external stakeholders with minimal supervision from senior-level staff, including the ability to draft grammatically correct, cohesive emails, memos and reports, prepare content for slides, proposals and publications, copy-edit and take detailed meeting notes. 

Oral Communication: Demonstrates strong active listening skills and accurately and succinctly communicates information orally to staff and external partners with minimal supervision from senior-level staff. 

External Stakeholder Relations: Supports development and maintenance of ongoing strategic relationships with donors, researchers and other existing stakeholders under supervision from managers. 

Task & Project Management: Takes on a process-oriented task, plans and organizes work, delegates appropriately, coordinates with others, establishes appropriate priorities and timelines, exercises follow through, and adds overall value to the process. 

Problem Solving/Decision Making: Demonstrates adeptness at analyzing facts, judgment, and strong decision-making ability. Responds to problems, issues, and opportunities that are identified by supervisors. Collaborates to identify a solution or response. 

How to Apply

Ready to join a team of collaborative, inclusive, and inquisitive colleagues? Apply now. 

This position will be based at J-PAL North America’s offices on MIT’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and will have a hybrid schedule, with some days in the office and some remote. This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.

Submit an application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit, search for job ID 21806 (Operations Associate - J-PAL North America), and complete an application. 

In a single PDF uploaded to the resume field, please include:

Cover letter addressing: 

  1. What experiences you have had that have influenced and/or demonstrate your interest in poverty alleviation in the North America region, especially in the US 
  2. Your qualifications, and how they have prepared you to be effective in the Operations Associate role


We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis as we receive them. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a technical exercise and phone interview. Finalists will be called for a final interview. 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.…


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. Anchored by a network of 224 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.

J-PAL North America, based at MIT, leads J-PAL’s work in the North America region. J-PAL North America conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs.

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.

Find Us
1 617 253 7109
400 Main Street E19-201
United States
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