LGO Alumni Newsletter February 2016

The monthly LGO Alumni Newsletter goes out by email to all alumni; archived issues are posted on this page. If you would like to change your contact information, please email Josh Jacobs.

Message from Thomas Roemer


Thomas A. Roemer

Dear friends,

January is a rather quiet time at MIT, but the month at LGO was bristling with activities. For many of us, the year started out at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, where the LGO '17s met to start Domestic Plant Trek. Fourteen days, seven hotels, five time zones, eight states and territories, 11,578 miles, nine company visits plus an impromptu brewery factory tour, late-night shuffleboard, swimming competitions, and occasional drinks opened our minds, challenged our imaginations, deepened friendships and created lifelong memories.

Back here at MIT, the formation of the LGO Class of 2018 is in full swing, the LGO '16s just finished Knowledge Review, and many of our partner companies visited us to attend the Operating Committee meeting and interview LGO '17s. In short, LGO is as energetic as always, and I hope that all of you are blessed with an equally energetic and promising start to 2016.

Thomas A. Roemer
Executive Director, MIT Leaders for Global Operations Program

LGO News

Alumni Conference in May to focus on geographic strategy

Save the date for this year's LGO Alumni Conference in historic Charleston, S.C., on May 12-13, under the theme of "From local to global: Geographic Strategy."

As always, the conference will afford plenty of opportunities to catch up with old friends and to make new alumni connections in charming historic downtown Charleston, voted the #1 city to visit in the U.S. and Canada by Travel and Leisure magazine. We'll kick off the event on May 11th with an evening happy hour.

Pencil in a long weekend with LGO and stay tuned for more details! To reach the organizers with suggestions or questions, write lgoalumconf@mit.edu.


Demand uncertainty is a key factor in subsidies for clean technology

Governments can easily make subsidies for clean-technology products too low when they ignore a basic problem: consumer demand for these products is usually highly uncertain, according to a new paper co-authored by MIT LGO Professor of Management Georgia Perakis. Read more...

Social Media Highlights

Check LGO's social media platforms for the latest happenings:


  • Browse photos, videos and writings about the recently concluded Domestic Plant Trek.


  • Weng-Hong Teh '15 was recently featured by SanDisk for his MIT LGO thesis project, which could save millions of dollars in production costs. (Feb. 1)
  • While the LGO '17s were on DPT, many of the '16s took advantage of MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP) to participate in action learning labs. One team spent their January in Taiwan working with Auto21 on electric vehicles. (Jan. 25)
  • Denise Johnson '97 has been elected as the new Group President of Resources Industries at LGO partner company Caterpillar Inc. (Jan. 19)


  • A team of students including Aaron Small LGO '17 competed in SpaceX's prestigious Hyperloop challenge and were declared the first place winners. Elon Musk, co-founder of SpaceX, instructed the groups to create a high speed pod that could transport passengers as fast as 700 miles per hour. (Feb. 3)

Alumni Scholar Profile

The Alumni Newsletter includes periodic first-person accounts by students who have benefited from an LGO Alumni Scholarship.

Carrie Beyer

Carrie Beyer

Carrie Beyer is a first-year LGO student in ESD with a focus on manufacturing and supply chains. She holds a bachelor's and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Kansas State University. Before coming to LGO, Carrie worked as a strategy and operations consultant for Deloitte. She focused on projects in aerospace and heavy equipment manufacturing in such functions as process improvement, cost reduction, and supply chain analytics.

While studying engineering as an undergrad, I always assumed that one day I would go and get an MBA. But the opportunity that I have with LGO is so much more than I ever dreamed. I originally saw myself completing a part-time program while working full time—taking the required courses, potentially online, and then getting my diploma to get the promotion. Instead, I have the opportunity to build on my engineering background and balance the hard engineering skills with the management skills from an MBA through the MIT Leaders for Global Operations Program.

I discovered LGO one day through Google. I had just learned that MIT had the Sloan MBA program and while searching, one of the results Google returned was Leaders for Global Operations. I then fell down the rabbit hole researching, reading student blogs, and searching for people who knew more about the program. I now had a much bigger dream.

As it turned out, I started a new project at Deloitte and the manager sitting three seats away from me was an LGO alumnus, formerly from Raytheon. He was an excellent resource to explore all my questions and concerns. Through talking to him, my interest in LGO kept growing. The final selling point was discovering that LGO is a program that had all the opportunities a dual degree offers but with a community and support system rather than just sitting alone in the gap between two existing departments.

Thankfully, my enthusiasm showed through in my application and interview. But I couldn’t believe that it was a real possibility until I got that wonderful call. I can’t remember much of anything Thomas Roemer said when he called on that spring afternoon. After “Congratulations,” I was just smiling and agreeing with anything he said. He mentioned something about a scholarship, but at that point but I did not appreciate it until I calmed down and read the admitted-student materials a few days later. If possible, my enthusiasm grew even more.

Receiving the Alumni Scholarship on top of the LGO fellowship felt like the LGO program and the alumni believed in me, even when I didn’t have the same faith that I would even get an interview. Because of the LGO timeline, I had already accepted another full-time MBA offer with a hearty scholarship. While the LGO program on its own was a better fit for me and my career, I appreciated the scholarship on top of the fellowship. After the admitted-students weekend and meeting my future classmates, I quickly accepted the offer.

As an LGO student, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with many alumni while planning the Domestic Plant Trek and then participating in the many internship and recruiting functions throughout the year. In all these cases, the alumni have been very supportive of the program and looking to make the best experience for the current students. While I'll be sad to finish with the program, I know there is excellent company on the other side with LGO alumni.

— Carrie Beyer '17

Alumni Snapshot

More profiles can be seen on the Alumni Careers and Senior Leaders from LGO web pages.


Dhanya Rangaraj

Dhanya Rangaraj '13
Undergrad: Johns Hopkins University, biomedical engineering
While at LGO: MBA and SM in bioengineering
Current: Operations Program Manager, Apple

A family illness when she was younger first got Dhanya thinking about to enhance patient care and improve outcomes. After college, she designed minimally invasive surgical tools at Stryker Endoscopy. After her LGO education, which included an internship at Amgen, Dhanya used her previous experience in her biotech career to move into an operations role at Apple. She now works on high-tech products within the organization.

"I'd like to shape strategy and make an impact on people's lives, and the tools I gained at LGO will equip me for the cross-functional role I want in the future," Dhanya says.

Alumni Job Postings

American Industrial Partners

American Industrial Partners is a $6B operationally orientated middle-market private equity firm that aggressively invests in North American based industrial and manufacturing businesses to build and grow them. AIP owns 98 U.S. manufacturing sites and seeks leaders with world-class integrated operating company experience who want to transform and run U.S. manufacturing businesses. AIP Portfolio Companies typically offer three points of leadership entry for individuals with appropriate manufacturing leadership experience:

COO (company is confidential)

Must have low-volume, complex, large capital equipment manufacturing and sales experience. Prefer machinery. Location is NE. Responsibilities and requirements include:

  • Implement, improve and sustain engineering processes and best practices to build an aftermarket business and realize value engineering and cycle-time reduction projects for current equipment portfolio.
  • Determine capacity needs and develop long-term needs for domestic and global operations.
  • Strategic partner to support restructure, grow revenue and purchase value add acquisitions to grow business.
  • Change agent and forward-thinking business leader who can improve complacent status quo culture.
  • Lower packaging product link price to capitalize on fastest speed to build, and best quality to increase sales.
  • Multi-site global leadership experience in North America, Europe and Asia.
  • Disciplined business process leadership focus with clear and definitive metrics tracking.

VP Operations

Core Business is manufacturing digital offset printing plates. Continuous process manufacturing—coating and metal finishings; printing plates; plate manufacturing (converting and cutting of plates); aftermarket equipment refurbishment; and distribution of equipment, plates, and parts. Selected candidate must install lean visual factory and instill workforce discipline. Build a continuous improvement culture and realize value engineering and cycle-time reduction projects for current equipment portfolio and improve systems and processes. Location is in NH. Requirements:

  • MUST have metal coatings or metal finishings experience and advanced leadership experience in a related high variation process industry vs. discrete component assembly experience.
  • Extensive product engineering background with operations leadership impacts in manufacturing, supply chain, quality, finance, and supplier relations.
  • Experience and impacts for developing structured manufacturing process improvements in a technical/complex processes.
  • Hands-on problem solving, disciplined, motivated, planner, and excellent ability to track and measure metrics.
  • Demonstrated product, process, and cultural transformation leadership.

Email your resume to careers@americanindustrial.com and follow the AIP Careers page on LinkedIn and Twitter @AIPCareers to keep up with current job postings.

Knowledge Transfer

This month will feature two projects at Amgen, one on process development optimization and the other on the drug design cycle. Kerry Weinberg focused on streamlining and standardizing the analysis of transcriptomic data initially and then used this streamlined workflow to more efficiently mine Amgen historical datasets. Ryan Bucher's work resulted in 24 improvements leading to a 70-day (64%) reduction in cycle time per compound, which is the time it takes to design a compound, make it, and test the compound through primary assay testing.

If you have companies or areas of research you are interested in having highlighted in the monthly news, please contact Ted Equi.

Streamlining and Standardizing Transcriptomic Analysis in Amgen Process Development (Amgen)

Intern: Kerry Weinberg
Kerry Weinberg

Kerry Weinberg

Company Supervisor: Brian Follstad
Academic Advisors: Douglas Lauffenburger and Roy Welsch

Building biological understanding of the Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) system used to manufacture therapeutic proteins is paramount to efficient CHO bioprocess optimization. This understanding can be built by analyzing and synthesizing biological data; such as transcriptomic (gene expression), proteomic (protein levels), or metabolomic (metabolite levels). This internship focused on streamlining and standardizing the analysis of transcriptomic data initially and then used this streamlined workflow to subsequently mine Amgen historical datasets. The streamlined workflow not only reduced the barrier to entry and cycle time to conduct this data mining but the developed tool can also be used by scientists and engineers in Amgen to efficiently analyze gene expression data.

The data mining of historical Amgen datasets, using the streamlined workflow, resulted in the identification of gene expression signatures indicative of hyper productivity. Specifically this data mining identified key biological pathways specific to a highly productive Amgen cell line. Interestingly, these pathways had not previously been identified as hyper productivity traits. This work suggests that these pathways are critical to heightened levels of protein production. Using this information to engineer future cell lines could enable Amgen to improve cellular protein production by over 30%, dramatically impacting costs associated with drug substance manufacturing. More broadly, this example of streamlining and standardizing transcriptomic data provides a framework for how Amgen Process Development can leverage biological data to improve CHO systems understanding and achieve operational impacts.

Application of Continuous Improvement Methodologies and Techniques in the Drug Design Cycle (Amgen)

Intern: Ryan Bucher
Ryan Bucher

Ryan Bucher

Company Supervisor: Eric Dolak
Academic Advisors: Steven Spear and Anthony Sinskey

One area that Amgen is currently investing in to serve its patients by providing new drugs sooner, and to ensure its competitiveness for years to come, is to increase the efficiency within Research & Development (R&D), specifically within the Drug Design Cycle (DDC). This is driven by the fact that the average development time for a drug is 10-15 years and drug discovery comprises 3-6 years of this. The DDC process is the main drug discovery process for designing a compound, synthesizing it, and testing it with the intent on identifying the optimal drug candidate for clinical trials, used predominately in the hit-to-lead and lead optimization phases of drug development. The scope of this effort was to apply continuous improvement methodologies and techniques to Amgen’s DDC with goals to reduce overall cycle time by 30%, improve quality, and further develop a sustainable process for applying continuous improvement across Amgen labs.

The approach to this effort was structured in four phases: (1) Data and Standards, (2) Learning Organization and Best Practices, (3) Management Systems, (4) Process Analytics and Bottleneck Improvements. To effectively manage this effort, core partners from each of the four main functional areas, who have ownership into the process, were identified to support this effort. Additionally, the scope of this project was limited to one small molecule program within Amgen and only focused on the process from compound design up through primary assay testing, known as the primary DDC.

Implementing these four phases over six months resulted in over 24 total improvements that were implemented across the primary DDC prior to project completion. These 24 improvements led to a total reduction in 70 days in cycle time per compound, which is the time it takes to design a compound, make it, and test the compound through primary assay testing. This 70 day reduction in cycle time (64% improvement) exceeded initial expectations. Additional improvements include: developed a novel approach to measuring quality of the drug design cycle to ensure molecule quality does not degrade with increased process speed; installed a management system to ensure improvements are sustained and roadblocks are quickly identified and addressed; created system simulation tools to inform management of optimal assignments per chemist and where bottlenecks are likely to present themselves; optimized equipment and service priorities based on criticality to the drug design cycle. In total, these benefits have shown to have significant benefits in reducing cycle time and improving the speed of learning, which could result in an overall reduction in time to patients and reduction in overall cost for development.

This project has concluded that using a methodical approach at implementing continuous improvement can have substantial benefits within a pharmaceutical R&D environment. As a result, an Amgen continuous improvement manager was hired to continue this work and implement these improvements across the other small molecule programs. Additionally, this approach is being considered in other areas of Amgen R&D and Amgen Operations.

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Alumni Reference Information

  • See the Alumni Newsletter archive page on the LGO website to read past issues.
  • Log in to the Virtual Community to see LGO alumni information, find other alumni, update your information, or find theses. If you have trouble getting in, contact lgosdmvc@mit.edu or use the "forgot password" button. If the email address you submit is in our system, your username and password will be sent to you.
Josh Jacobs, LGO Director of Operations and Partner Integration (jsjacobs@mit.edu, 617-253-2959).