Senior Finance & Operations Manager - J-PAL Global

J-PAL Global
  • United States of America
Start Date (Earliest):

Position Overview:

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is an anti-poverty center that fights poverty and climate change around the world through evidence informed policy. Headquartered in the Economics Department at MIT, it has seven regional offices worldwide and staff who are based in almost a dozen countries. In 2019, the co-founders of the lab were awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for this path breaking work. Our host university MIT, itself is world-renowned for both its education and cutting-edge research. MIT welcomes people from all walks of life to bring their talent, ideas, and experience to our community. What is less well known is that MIT is also ranked among the best places to work (see

The Senior Finance and Operations Manager is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.

The Finance and Operations team at J-PAL supports J-PAL’s mission to efficiently translate research by J-PAL affiliates into actionable poverty alleviation policies around the world. We are looking to hire staff who combine a strong passion for working with organizations around the world to inform development policy with solid administrative abilities to further our mission.  

Under the supervision of the Director of Finance and Operations, the Senior Finance and Operations Manager serves as financial and operational lead for a portfolio of up to three major initiatives at J-PAL and works with senior F&O staff to ensure efficient operational management at J-PAL. Tasks include a mix of financial operations, grants management, and leading organizational projects in the F&O area, all within a university environment. 


Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

●       Finance and Grants (95%):

  • Grants      
    • Along with other Finance senior staff, lead activities within J-PAL at MIT to respond to requests for proposals and other grant opportunities;
    • Manage the submission of grant proposals into MIT’s internal systems, coordinating technical inputs, working with technical staff to prepare budgets and explanatory notes, and managing subordinate grant managers as appropriate; 
    • Participate in senior management strategic planning on funding priorities and annual plans for J-PAL;
    • Participate in presentations of proposals to funders, focusing on budget administrative questions and their fit with project needs;
    • Lead J-PAL’s input with donors and MIT on grant negotiations, facilitating finalization of successful grant awards among all parties;
    • Supervise J-PAL staff work post-award to ensure efficient financial and grants management practices for J-PAL projects following award;
  • Reporting
    • Supervise donor reporting;
    • With the Director of Finance and Operations and other senior staff, prepare annual financial reporting on Global and worldwide finances for J-PAL Faculty Directors.
    • Advises and educates faculty, Principal Investigators, researchers and staff on all aspects of research administration including MIT policies, systems, and federal regulations. Handles and advises other staff on handling complex matters.  
    • Responsible for responding to audit inquiries, providing appropriate documentation and explanations, as needed.  
    • Develops and presents complex financial reports and forecasts for Principal Investigators and/or Vertical Directors/Initiative Senior Managers. Plans and conducts financial meetings with Principal Investigators and/or Vertical Directors/Initiative Senior Managers, as appropriate. Guides others in the preparation of complex reports and forecasts.
  • Subawards
    • Working with MIT’s Subawards Office and J-PAL’s initiative management, establish subawards for recipients of research grants from J-PAL Initiatives and other funding;
    • Supervise subaward management, including receipt of award deliverables, tracking of finances
    • Serve on task forces at J-PAL and in collaboration with MIT offices to improve subaward processing
    • Manage subaward closeout processes with MIT and award recipients
  • Initiatives
    • Serve as financial and operational lead for up to three major initiatives at J-PAL;
    • Provide training for staff around the world on Initiative management.

Operations (5%)

  • Office operations
    • Work with senior F&O staff to ensure efficient operational management at J-PAL;
    • Assist senior F&O staff as needed to support an efficient, welcoming office environment for staff and visitors.
    • Help lead bi-annual strategic goal setting for F&O team.

 Supervision Received:

The Senior Finance & Operations Manager will work under the supervision of the Director of Finance and Operations.


Supervision Exercised:

The Senior Finance & Operations Manager will exercise supervision over up to 3 employees in the areas of initiative and grants management.

Qualifications & Skills:

  • Education: A Bachelor's degree in finance, accounting, economics, or a related field is required. 
  • Experience: At least five years pertinent experience, preferably within higher education and non-profit sectors. A strong background in research and grant administration, finance, budgeting, or related fields, coupled with demonstrated proficiency in administrative roles, is highly desirable. Ideal candidate will possess professional experience either working for international organizations or collaborating with them.
  • Software proficiency: Previous professional experience working with Salesforce, SAP, Quickbooks, and Google Workspace is a plus.
  • Work style: Attention to detail, ability to work on projects independently and make decisions, along with a willingness to pitch in to get tasks done are all important
  • Travel: Willingness and ability to travel internationally required. Position may require travel to J-PAL’s regional offices in France, Chile, India, Indonesia, Egypt and South Africa.
  • Leadership and Management: Demonstrated leadership abilities with experience in managing and mentoring a team. Candidates with experience working with and managing teams in person and remotely are particularly desirable. Effective communication, delegation, and conflict-resolution skills
  • Time Management: Proven ability to handle several different projects/tasks at one time and meet deadlines. A willingness to work hard, be self-motivated and learn will be essential for doing well in this position. Punctuality and consistency in work hours is required.
  • Communication Skills: Ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and confidently orally and in writing is required. Experience with presentations.
  • Cultural competencies: You are comfortable and adept at working in a diverse and multicultural work environment, with colleagues, partners, and principal investigators from around the world. You display sensitivity, adaptability, and inclusivity in your engagement with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Location: This position is based in Cambridge, MA and will require coming to the office, in-person at least two days every week (currently those days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays for all staff). The other 3 days staff can opt to work from home. This position is NOT eligible for fully remote work.


How to Apply

Note: This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship via MIT. Applicants must have permanent work authorization in the United States. 

  1. In the MIT Careers application portal, upload the following:
    1. Cover Letter articulating how your knowledge and experience would be an asset to J-PAL and this position.
    2. Resume

Given the volume of applications received, only short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Employment is contingent upon the completion of a satisfactory background check.

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.