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Associate Director, Research Discovery & Design

Location: Washington, D.C.
Number: 578622
Job Category: Professional Services
Job Department: Research
Job Family: Research Development & Advisory Services
Job Type: Full Time
Level: Manager

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About EAB

At EAB, our mission is to make education smarter and our communities stronger. We work with more than 2,500 institutions to drive transformative change through data-driven insights and best-in-class capabilities. From kindergarten to college to career, EAB partners with leaders and practitioners to accelerate progress and drive results across five major areas: enrollment, student success, institutional strategy, data & analytics, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). We work with each partner differently, tailoring our portfolio of research, technology, and marketing and enrollment solutions to meet the unique needs of every leadership team, as well as the students and employees they serve.

At EAB, we serve not only our partner institutions but each other—that's why we are always working to make sure our employees love their jobs and are invested in their communities. See how we've been recognized for this dedication to our employees by checking out our recent awards.

For more information, visit our  Careers page.

The Role in Brief:

Associate Director, EAB Research Discovery & Design

Associate Directors help develop research agendas and design research projects and services that address the major strategic, management, and operational issues facing education today. Our researchers conduct in-depth interviews with campus executives at diverse institutions and perform data and root-cause analyses to identify market-leading strategies and best practices in our pursuit to make education smarter.

As a member of our team, you will play an important role in innovating and producing syndicated research and high-value services for partner organizations, including on-site workshops, web-conferences and publications. You will also be a valued expert to EAB partner organizations, advising them on strategy and best practice implementation.

This role is based in Washington D.C. We currently have an opportunity on the following teams: Information Technology (IT) & Enrollment Strategy. Team placement is determined by business need at point of hire.

Primary Responsibilities:

Associate Directors in Research Discovery & Design lead our strategic research projects from conception to completion, ranging from two to four months for smaller projects to approximately nine months for the largest, most complex projects.  Associate Directors provide intellectual leadership and analytical direction throughout all stages of the research process, working through extensive primary and secondary research, hypothesis generation and testing, rigorous analysis of findings, design and execution of implementation resources, and the final presentation of ideas. The position may require occasional travel (up to approximately 10%) for presenting research findings to our members as well as facilitating strategy sessions. Indirect staff management is also a key component of the position: in conjunction with their direct People Managers, Associate Directors are responsible for the professional development and coaching of junior-level team members.

Key Responsibilities of the Associate Director role include:

  • Lead start-to-finish research projects, including strategic and root cause analysis, inductive and deductive reasoning, hypothesis generation
  • Ability to formulate and defend original points of view
  • Synthesis of complex ideas into actionable insights for our members
  • Effective use of persuasive writing and graphics to communicate ideas and information
  • Relationship management, both internal and external
  • Project leadership and effectively managing towards deadlines
  • Market-sizing, testing calls and product design analysis for new research investigation
  • Collaborate with individual project leads, SMEs, and project teams to ensure that new deliverables are built in a way that is easy to execute and deliver to partners in interactive formats.
  • Coach junior-level researcher staff by developing critical skills, providing actionable feedback, and managing workloads
  • Initial delivery of services and presentations to executive-level clients and leadership teams

Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree, with an excellent academic record and 5+ years of post-graduate, professional experience; or 4+ years of post-graduate, professional experience and an advanced degree
  • Experience with at least two of the following:
    • Management or strategy consulting
    • University strategic planning
    • Conducting long-term research (at least 3 months in duration)
    • Conducting primary and secondary research
    • Higher education experience 

Ideal Qualifications:                       

  • Advanced degree in the liberal arts, sciences, or professions (MA, PhD, JD)
  • Majors and/or advanced degrees in economics, political science, data analytics, statistics or other quantitative fields preferred
  • Experience working in a team environment, as well as independently and autonomously
  • Proven ability to communicate effectively with senior executives in both oral and written formats
  • Experience with solution-focused problem solving and thinking through problems creatively
  • Experience working with clients in a consultative role
  • Demonstrated experience in managing projects and meeting deadlines
  • Commitment to valuing diversity, practicing inclusive behaviors, and contributing to an equitable working and continual learning environment in support of EAB’s DE&I Promise

If you’ve reached this section of the job description and are unsure of whether to apply, please do! At EAB, we welcome diversity of background and experience. We would encourage you to submit an application if this is a role you would be passionate about doing every day.


Consistent with our belief that our employees are our most valuable resource, EAB offers a competitive and inclusive benefits package.

·       Medical, dental, and vision insurance; dependents and domestic partners eligible

·       401(k) retirement plan with company match

·       20+ days of PTO annually, in addition to paid firm holidays

·       Daytime leave policy for community service or fitness activities (up to 10 hours a month each)

·       Paid parental leave for birthing and non-birthing parents

·       Phase Back to Work program for employees returning from parental leave

·       Infertility treatment coverage and adoption or surrogacy assistance

·       Wellness programs including gym discounts and incentives to promote healthy living

·       Dynamic growth opportunities with merit-based promotion philosophy

·       Benefits kick in day one, see the full details here.

At EAB, we believe that to fulfill our mission to “make education smarter and our communities stronger” we need team members who bring a diversity of perspectives to the table and are committed to fostering a workplace where each team member is valued, respected and heard.

To that end, EAB is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we make employment decisions on the basis of qualifications, merit and business need. We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law.