Managing Director, Post Secondary Education

Job Type

Full Time




District of Columbia
United States


Who We Are

ideas42’s mission is to use our expertise, developed at the forefront of applied behavioral science, to improve millions of lives. We use a deep understanding of human behavior to design scalable solutions to tough problems in economic mobility, health, education, safety and justice, energy, and international development. We work closely with partners in government, NGOs, foundations, and companies, and have more than 80 active projects in the United States and around the world.

What We Do

ideas42 grew out of programs in psychology and behavioral economics at top universities and our work draws on decades of scientific research. We use these research insights to design scalable ways to improve programs, policies, and products in the real world.

We work with a wide range of partners, including public universities and community colleges, high impact nonprofits, leading academics, startups, governments, and top foundations. Our projects include:

  • Designing and testing behavioral strategies to increase student persistence and financial health, such as encouraging positive student mindsets, structuring effective time management, and behaviorally-informed financial aid messaging.
  • Working with service and technical assistance providers to improve the quality of family planning and reproductive health services in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • Conducting executive education classes to teach senior-level executives how to apply research insights from behavioral economics to products and services.

The Role

The Managing Director, Postsecondary Education is in charge of developing and executing a strategy for improving student outcomes in postsecondary education. This person will be a member of the ideas42 senior team and will play an important role helping to manage the organization and its culture, and influencing its strategic direction. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Developing an impact-driven postsecondary education strategy.
  • Building an extensive network of relationships in the postsecondary space to fuel strategy-aligned business development and organizational growth.
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with foundations and other philanthropic funders;
  • Expanding and nurturing partner and client relationships;
  • Overseeing grant proposal submissions and contract negotiations;
  • Constructing and overseeing a portfolio of projects that advance the postsecondary strategy. 
  • Overseeing all projects to ensure high-quality work product and partner satisfaction;
  • Providing topical and/or operational expertise to guide project teams;
  • Growing internal capacity through the management and mentoring of junior and senior staff;
  • Serving as the main point of senior-level contact for funders and partners.                 
  • Disseminating project results to build our brand and further the field of applied behavioral science. This may take many forms including white papers, public speaking, and media engagement.

Who Are We Looking For?

Much of our work hinges on our ability to ask the right questions and arrive at the right answers. As a result, we seek curious, creative, rigorous people with an entrepreneurial spirit. A passion for understanding human behavior, pursuing innovation, and promoting the social good is critical, but prior expertise or training in behavioral economics or psychology is not required. Specific qualifications include:

  • Master’s degree or higher plus 10 or more years of experience, including 5 or more years working in or around postsecondary education.
  • At least 5 years directly managing people, with 2 or more years supervising multiple teams.
  • Substantial experience leading complex projects with multiple workstreams is a must-have. Client-facing experience is a plus, as is a background in consulting, strategy, and/or business development.
  • A broad network of relationships across the postsecondary education field is strongly preferred.
  • A track record of successful business development is preferred, as are strong networks among philanthropic funders and/or potential clients.
  • A record of producing consistently high-quality work product.
  • Excellent written and verbal communicator.
  • Mission-aligned, self-starter, and able to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
  • Available and willing to travel (typically less than 25% time).

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

Master's degree

How To Apply