Every LGO student conducts a six-month industry-based research project. The projects focus on unique research in operations, data analytics, product development, manufacturing, and other high tech problems across many different industries. LGO internships provide an industrial “laboratory” for research on operations management and engineering. Students use cutting-edge advancements to tackle tangible solutions that benefit the host company. Internship research forms the basis for the master’s thesis, which is a dual-degree academic paper.
All LGO internships take place at an LGO partner company. Companies develop business-critical projects in areas at the frontier of operations research and management.
The LGO program guarantees an internship for every admitted student. LGO students are required to complete their industry-based research internship at one of the LGO partner companies.
Each internship must balance partner companies’ business processes, student interest, and academic expectations from MIT. A subset of the LGO class joins the Internship Committee. This committee works to define projects that balance different expectations.
The LGO Internship Committee helps develop project proposals from the partner companies that fulfill everyone’s needs and are interesting for the class. To do this, the committee gathers data, presents results to partner companies, and helps solicit and approve proposals.
Students and projects are paired using an interview process and matching algorithm. Each LGO student interviews for 15 to 25 internships, then ranks them in order of preference. Partner companies do the same for each available internship. An optimization software, developed by an LGO alum, places students in an internship to maximize everyone’s desires. About 75% of the time, students get one of their top three internship preferences.
In the past, about 20 percent of LGO internships were in the Boston metro area. About 20 percent were based in the Pacific Northwest. Roughly 20 percent of LGO interns work outside of the USA. We’ve made a map of internship locations in the past three years below.
To do an internship abroad, students do not need any language backgrounds or skills. An active desire to learn more about the region adds to the experience, and international internships are one of the many opportunities for global exposure through the program.
International students take Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to do internships in the USA. In rare cases, international students take Optional Practical Training (OPT) during the internship. International students have also interned outside of the USA, and are aided in the required visa process for that country. There is a portion of partner companies who cannot accommodate international LGO students because of required national security clearance.
During your LGO internship, you’ll work on a defined problem that applies your MBA operations and engineering coursework. The internship lasts six months, and happens over the summer and during one of your semesters during the LGO program. Usually, this is your second fall, although some internships happen during your first spring semester.
While you’re on-site with the company, you’ll still have strong support from MIT. One faculty advisor from MIT Sloan and one from the School of Engineering oversee internship research and the resulting thesis. They visit you at the company site and engage with project staff. Internships also offer numerous leadership opportunities. Learning to lead by building trust and influence are critical skills.
Internships at partner companies are the cornerstone of the LGO experience. The internship is unpaid.
- Data Analysis & Analytics: All internships use complex data sets to drive business decisions, but these projects dive deep into analytics and create algorithms and predictive models that move business forward.
- Energy: These projects analyze how to provide energy to millions of people effectively while improving large scale operations for little or no failures.
- Manufacturing: LGO has many projects in the most obvious area of engineering management: making things, and making them more efficiently with higher quality.
- Product Development: Past projects have looked at creating new products that solve a problem, or how to launch a new product into the company’s operations and supply chain system.
- Research & Development: Interns have found new pharmaceutical discoveries, focused on how best to apply silicon to glass, improved medical devices, and other cutting-edge scientific work.
- Robotics & Automation: Many projects look at things like applying unmanned aerial vehicle technology to non-defense sectors or developing robotic manufacturing processes.
- Supply Chain: Students work on optimization processes to efficiently move products from production to distribution points, using the analytical tools necessary to evaluate complex systems.
- Sustainability: Thesis projects look at how to lower emissions in operations processes, or how to integrate renewable energies into large-scale businesses.
- Systems Optimization: Students work on how to best serve patients in one of America’s largest hospitals or how to develop a software solution for a company’s needs.
The LGO thesis, which fulfills thesis requirements for the Masters of Science in an engineering specialty, provides our students with an opportunity to explore a topic in depth, integrating technical and managerial issues encountered during the internship projects. In addition, the thesis provides valuable experience in defining problems, dealing with ambiguity, obtaining and analyzing data, dealing with a firm’s organizational and infrastructural issues, and exploring a technical topic in detail.
The thesis is based on the research project from the internship and can also provide significant contributions to the host partner company. Each student has two faculty advisors throughout the program: one each from their engineering department and the School of Management. The LGO Program office also has dedicated staff to support internship logistics and help guide students before, during, and after the internship and thesis processes.