LGO Program Blog

Two Degrees.
Two Years.


Student Spotlight: Priya Chacko, MechE LGO ’24

Why LGO?

I had been working as an engineer in the medical device industry for years before I decided that I wanted to make a significant change in my life. At that time, I wasn’t exactly sure what that change would look like – Did I need a new challenge or a new role? Should I move to a different city/state/country? Should I go back to school? Graduate school had always been something that I wanted to experience, but I wasn’t sure when I would fit that into my career. I had a ton of questions that I needed to work through, and the COVID-19 pandemic gave me plenty of time to do just that.

In my role at the time, my projects started to move away from engineering and take on more of a strategic lens, and I quickly realized that I really enjoyed working on these higher level business questions.

I hoped to learn more about business and operations in the context of engineering and manufacturing, and while I was receiving some of that education at work, I wanted to dedicate more concentrated time to it. It felt like an appropriate time in my career to pursue graduate education, so I started looking into both graduate engineering school and business school options.

I really liked the idea of a dual-degree graduate engineering + business school, and when I found the LGO program, I did a ton of research to figure out whether it would be a good fit. I knew that if I was planning to leave my job and go back to school, I wanted to really dive into it and attend a top program. For engineering, MIT definitely fits that description, and I was excited about the opportunities at Sloan to complement this education. In talking to current LGO students, I was really encouraged by the community of the class as well as the involvement of the alumni network, and I found myself wanting to be a part of it. I thought that LGO would be a great place to continue my development, make new lifelong friends, and pursue my professional and academic interests… and after one year here, I can gladly confirm this to be true.


What has been your biggest takeaway from your time at MIT so far?

MIT has been an amazing experience so far! There are so many resources for so many topics that it’s really up to you to figure out what you want to pursue. Professors and classmates alike are working on such interesting projects that it creates this energy around here that is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s so exciting! There are a ton of really unique and enriching experiences out there, so I have been trying my best to take advantage of every opportunity. There’s definitely a balance to be had between trying to attend every workshop or speaker series and honing in on what you’re interested in, and while I’m still sorting out what that looks like for me, I’m certainly enjoying the process.


What are your hopes for diversity in LGO and in industry?

Our class is 31% women and 69% men. While the Ladies of LGO have created a strong community, I would love for this number to reach parity in the near future! I think our collective LGO experience, both within and outside the classroom, would really benefit from having a stronger presence of women. In general, I hope that LGO as well as industry continues to recognize the importance of diversity and takes intentional steps to move towards a future of better representation.


What is the coolest project you’ve been able to work on since coming to MIT and LGO?

In the fall, I took Professor Traverso’s Translational Engineering class with a small group of LGO and IDM students. The seven of us spent the semester working on creating a waist circumference measurement device to be used in obesity management. We were not only responsible for designing and prototyping this device and bringing that design to life, but we also had to develop the legal strategy, business plan, and clinical testing design. The class sessions featured speakers from a variety of industries that led lectures on interesting topics and helped guide us in our project. Working with my classmates on this project made for such a fun semester, and the many hours we spent together was great bonding time. Our group chat for that class is still active to this day, and I’m sure it will remain active for years to come. I feel as though I got a taste of what it takes to successfully translate a new biomedical technology, and I’d highly recommend this class for anyone who is interested in translational engineering and up for an exciting challenge.


Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?​

Do your research, and follow your passions! The application process may seem intimidating, but it’s worth it!

Remember that you are more than your application and you are certainly more than just one aspect of it, so try not to get stuck on one thing or another. Your application should be a holistic reflection of who you are, and it should highlight both why the LGO program is right for you as well as why you are a good fit for the program. In your application, try to think about how you will enhance the overall class experience, rather than just about what LGO can do for you.

When I was in the process of applying to graduate and business schools, I tried to attend as many events (webinars, student chats, etc.) as possible to learn all that I could about the programs. At the time, I was interested in a few other programs as well, so it really helped to hear the perspective of current students. I learned about their experiences and asked questions about why they decided to choose LGO. I found the LGO team (admissions staff and current students) to be really open and welcoming, and the conversations I had with them helped me better understand how I could both contribute to and benefit from a program like LGO.


May 4, 2023 | More

Student Spotlight: Santiago Andrade Aparicio, NSE LGO ’23

As one of the first LGO students pursuing a dual MBA and MS in Nuclear Science & Engineering, Santiago Andrade Aparicio shares on his experience in LGO as part of the pilot class of LGO’s newest engineering department partner!

I was born and raised in Mexico City where I attended Universidad Iberoamericana for my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. My career started as an engineer with General Electric Oil and Gas but quickly shifted towards business strategy when I joined Bain & Company in 2018. I had the opportunity to work on multiple strategy definition and performance improvement projects in the energy, consumer products and retail industries. After 3 years of consulting, including 12 months of travel to Colombia, I felt that it was time for the next step in my career and I knew I wanted to work in the energy world again. Right before LGO, I joined a startup called Sistema.bio that focuses on providing financially attractive biogas solutions to smallholder farmers in developing countries (Mexico, Colombia, India, Kenya) in hopes of empowering small farms to divest from burning wood and coal. This experience confirmed that the energy world was my calling, and going back to school would help me get there.

How did you determine NSE was the right department for you?

Santiago with Team 6 (Daniel, Mariam, Adam, Jake and Taylor) in Seattle during DPT 2022

When choosing departments I was tempted to apply to MechE, ChemE, Aero/Astro, as an fan of science in general, I could see a multiple engineering paths that could provide me with the tools and experience needed to work on the world’s energy transition challenge. This is where the LGO admissions department reached out to me during the application process with a question: “Would you be interested in being part of the first class of Nuclear LGO?” My background in thermodynamics and energy and my business experience were a great fit for the NSE department. At the recommendation of NSE faculty, I signed up for a couple online courses on Nuclear Energy. Taking these courses helped me realize nuclear energy – whether fission or fusion– would be my path. I would be able to pursue a career on clean energy and have the opportunity to lay down the path (together with Lindsey Kennington) for future NSE LGOs.

Santiago at a Caterpillar facility in Lafayette, Indiana as part of his internship experience

How has the experience been so far?

My time at LGO and broader MIT has been an incredible, exciting and humbling experience. I have enjoyed sitting in the classroom listening to the smartest people I have ever met engage in technical and strategic discussions led by highly experienced faculty. On the MBA side, I have greatly appreciated classes regarding leadership and communication skills. On the NSE side, I have been focused on the topic of Nuclear Microreactors under the supervision of Prof. Jacopo Buongiorno and Prof. John Parsons. I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant for them on developing a business model that can successfully support the deployment of this technology. This work was a natural precursor for my LGO internship at Caterpillar where I am working on the technical and commercial feasibility of using nuclear energy to power mining sites and data centers.

While all of these accomplishments and experiences have been extremely rewarding, they only represent half of my MIT experience. The other half lies with the deep and meaningful friendships I have built with my classmates. From my LGO crew, to my MBA friends and beyond, I have felt incredibly supported and encouraged by my peers. The time spent with them feels as valuable as the time spent in the classroom, especially when this time is spent having dinner after an afternoon of sailing in the Charles and finishing the day with a class-wide get together. As I enter this second year, I am excited to welcome my wife, Maira, as she moves to the Boston area and exploring together all the fun activities that take place in this city with the company of my MIT family.

Maira and Santiago in Homer, AK travelling on an MBA Pre-Fx trip on during summer 2021

Advice to candidates considering NSE?

First of all, be honest, both with yourself and with the application. I think the most important thing is to know why you are applying to this graduate program and to show nothing less than your whole self. More specifically, I would highly recommend using different elements of the application to highlight a variety of past successes. NSE LGO is still new, so I would advise to you reaching out to current LGO or MBA students to listen to their experience and understand how you can continue to support the NSE-LGO partnership as it continues to grow. Additionally, talking to the NSE faculty was incredibly useful for me. Since the NSE department offers opportunities ranging from energy to healthcare and from quantum engineering to regulatory policy, the possibilities of career tracks after graduation are countless.


February 28, 2023 | More

Black History Month 2023: Branden Francis, LGO ’24

What were you doing before LGO and why did you decide that LGO was the next step for you?

Before LGO, I worked at Northrop Grumman Corporation in their early career rotational program. I spent 2 rotations on product design teams for avionics at Northrop’s Huntsville, AL and Rolling Meadows, IL sites. Designing hardware was an incredible way of seeing concepts learned at school come to life, but long product life-cycles often meant you wouldn’t see the product you helped to design for years.

Taking advantage of my unique position as a rotational employee, I sought a short term role in a more hands-on function and was fortunate enough to land a job as a process engineer on a production line for one of the F35’s avionics systems. My intention was to spend a year in manufacturing, while simultaneously beginning the pursuit of a part-time graduate degree, and ultimately returning to the design group. These ideas began forming around late 2019/early 2020. (Un)fortunately, 2 things happened that altered my trajectory: the global health crisis and the blossoming of my passion for operations. I found being on the production floor invigorating, solving unique production issues challenging, and seeing my ideas come to life in timescales measured in days, rather than months, rewarding. Even though my trajectory was altered, there was really no need to course correct. I wanted to continue in operations but also wanted to establish an academic foundation upon which I could build the rest of my career. I researched different graduate operations programs and found that they were often tied to business schools. This was an interesting link that I wanted to explore, as I had never really considered an MBA.

Further research led to my discovery of Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), which is a fantastic MBA prep program (you should look into it).  MLT creates an environment that leads its fellows to outstanding acceptances; I was one of many who ended up at top programs. MLT catalyzed my pursuit of LGO – I don’t think I would’ve applied to LGO had I not been in MLT, partly because I found out about the program through my MLT coach. LGO turned out to be a fantastic match for engineers interested in sharpening their business acumen and expanding their technical foundation in order to become leaders in their field. MIT is one of the best places in the world to do so. After the summer you’ll realize, if you haven’t already, that manufacturing, operations, and supply chain are a quintessential aspect of technological development. LGO allows you to learn the skills to be a part of that progress.

How was the LGO Summer and transitioning back into school?

Target Site Visit, Domestic Plant Trek (DPT), January 2023.

“Intense”, is what I would say If I had to describe the LGO summer in one word. Transitioning back to school by itself can be a difficult adjustment for many, but the accelerated pace of the summer certainly notches the intensity up a couple levels. However, the summer is not only intense in its academics, it’s also a deeply intense social experience. Picture being with 50 or so driven, intelligent, and new people in a few classes together 5 days a week from June to August, not even counting the time spent working on assignments with your summer core team, mingling with partner companies every week, or visiting nearby factories on a Friday afternoon. LGO is unique in that it can temper the intense academic schedule with meaningful social and professional growth. You and the people you meet here will carry for life a set of shared experiences that can only be found at LGO.

What is your favorite memory from your time at MIT?

Domestic Plant Trek (DPT) is hands down my favorite memory from MIT. DPT is an LGO exclusive 3-week long trip over MIT’s winter Independent Activity Period (IAP) across the US to visit the manufacturing facilities of our partner companies. It was seriously the best field trip I have ever been on; the 8,474-mile trip comprised 11 hotel stays, 8 flights, many a bus trip, and 12 partner company visits. We saw manufacturing and operations across different scales: from the micro in drug development at Amgen to the macro in rocket-ship manufacturing at Blue Origin, from the new at Rivian to the established at Nissan, and from mining raw metals at Caterpillar and to refining them at Commonwealth Rolled Products. Witnessing the breadth and depth of opportunities in all of the partner companies has widened the net I want to cast when searching for my post-LGO career. DPT gave us an opportunity to see theory in practice, exposing us to different industries, companies, and manufacturing methods and allowed us to reconnect with our fellow LGOs who we may not connected with over the fall.

Rivian Site Visit, Domestic Plant Trek (DPT), January 2023.

How have you engaged with affinity groups or diversity initiatives while at MIT?

The Sloan Career Development Office describes the concept of a career search as taking the highway, a dirt road, or jungle. Using the ease of navigation of each environment as proxy to describe the clarity of a career path’s recruiting cycle. For example, consulting would be taking the highway, whereas recruiting for a startup could be considered the jungle. I would describe my engagement with DEI at MIT as dirt road-ish. Earlier in this post, I mentioned MLT. MLT had a cohort for ~500 prospective MBA applicants across the country, and, as far I know, I was the only MLT fellow who applied to LGO in my cohort. It certainly felt lonely at times, given that LGO runs on a unique application cycle. As an “alum” of MLT and a current candidate at LGO, I was determined to encourage and support the fellows in the MLT cohort that came after me. Over the course of the summer, fall, and IAP, I was able to connect with several prospective LGO applicants from MLT, all of whom applied and got interviews! That was really exciting news to hear and I hope it is indicative of future class profiles that LGO will cultivate.

Do you have any advice for prospective students thinking about applying?

If you feel like the program fits you but you’re having second thoughts on whether to apply because of the MIT brand, which can be intimidating, just do it! Talk to alumni and a current student(s), attend a coffee chat, hone your story, just don’t leave yourself thinking, “What if?”



February 21, 2023 | More

Alumni Spotlight: Kara Pydynkowski, LGO ’15

What are you responsible for in your current role?  

In my current role I lead a team focused on improving existing and building new capabilities for last mile transportation at Nike. We consider last mile transportation the final leg of the supply chain that delivers an order placed on Nike.com or through our apps. So at the end of the day, our goal is to make that final delivery experience better for everyone.

Kara Pydynkowski

Why did you decide to attend MIT LGO?

I wanted to shift the focus of my career and I wanted more than just an MBA. I was particularly drawn to the idea that a program was focused on “Operations” and combined both business and engineering (for those of us with an engineering mind, we know that never really leaves us). So I was sold on the idea of a cohort of engineers also going through business school and a “leadership journey” together!

What was the most valuable takeaway from MIT that has helped in your career post-LGO?

Get to know your people and then leverage your team and the people around you! Working on teams and meeting people with such diverse backgrounds and opinions at MIT was eye-opening. I loved hearing the perspectives of others and how they contribute to what we were learning, thinking about, or trying to accomplish. My team and my network has been the most important thing in my career so far – both personally and professionally!

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

I knew nothing about transportation before I started on the team but I absolutely love learning from my teammates and understanding all of the nuances and pieces of the puzzle that we need to put together. There are so many opportunities to problem solve and be creative and it’s really rewarding to see how a decision plays out (both good and bad ones!).

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

Dive in and be present, the two years go by so fast, yet they are still are some of my most memorable times, especially the people I met and the experiences we had together.


January 31, 2023 | More


When evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of grad school, first c​onsider how you define ROI. It’s important to understand what an advanced degree means to you, what you hope to gain from your dual-degree MBA/MS experience, which can be different for each person.

Some helpful things to think about are the differences between tangible and intangible benefits. Or even more so, quantifiable benefits versus more qualitative. Of course, tangible can mean job offers, increases in your salaries and signing bonuses and/or starting a new venture.

In considering more qualitative benefits to the LGO Program, this could be greater confidence to explore new industries or functions, gain new ways to solve problems and lead, and possibly a new perspective on your future goals or professional calling.

We recently spoke with some LGO alumni who shared their perspectives on the ROI of the LGO program. Some considerations they had when deciding which graduate program to apply to included: impact on family, making a career pivot, full-time versus part-time program and opportunity cost of working two years, locations of programs (especially when also factoring in family), dual-degree versus non, networking opportunities and depth of classes/extracurricular activities.

Megan McCleneghan, LGO ‘19 shared her grad school considerations. “I knew that I wanted to get into a position where I felt like there was growth for me. I think frequently in engineering disciplines, you’re a junior engineer, then you’re a senior engineer, and then you’re a manager, and there isn’t necessarily a lot of skills overlap there. So I think it can be hard for people to grow further in their careers beyond that, just because you’re kind of tossed in, and so for me, I wanted to make sure that I was setting myself up for future success and not future frustration.”

Other considerations from Chen Arámbula, LGO ‘18: “I guess for me, coming from a different country, English is not my first language, so I was feeling like I was boxed in as just an engineer by myself designing stuff at my desk. So what I wanted to get out of the program was to work a little bit more with [my] people skills, to work a little bit more in my business acumen. And also, public speaking, being able to articulate clearly what I want, the idea that I was trying to transmit. That was a big part of it for me, and I think I was really pleased with what Sloan did, there are all of these clubs and opportunities that you have, events that you can be part of and organize.”

What seems consistent across the different LGO student experiences is the active and supportive community of LGO alumni, who look out for and help each LGO graduate grow and succeed.

With our extensive LGO network of over 1400 alumni in addition to classmates, a connection is close-by, and our graduates have shown a commitment to hiring other LGO grads, or opening up their networks for job searchers – even if you’re not looking. It’s a testament to over 70% of our recent graduates finding their job after LGO either through the LGO network or Sloan’s Career Development Office.

Recent LGO grad, Elizabeth Hau ‘22 describes the value of the LGO network and partner companies while as a student during her internship at Johnson & Johnson, which is where she accepted a position after graduating. “What ended up putting J & J over the top for me was because one of the alumni there, in talking to her she is a really good mentor, a good advocator, even though I wasn’t working for her, she met with me every month, and everyone I met with who knew of her had great things to say for her, so I wanted to work under her, and that’s mostly why I ended up taking that job.”

Megan shared a similar experience of the LGO supportive network. “I was hired by an LGO [grad], and our manager above that was an LGO, and that helped me build up a lot of camaraderie with someone who I normally wouldn’t have a lot of access to, so he has supported me in going up for promotions and things like that, and that’s a huge benefit to have.”

One of the immediate benefits or ROI, of joining LGO is that your time as a student will include a diverse array of experiences. The variety of perspectives you’re exposed to is what makes your growth as an LGO student so enriching, and immediately expands your network in countless directions. The connections with your LGO peers grows to include connecting with your MBA and engineering classmates, getting involved in club/extracurriculars, case competitions, and more. Whether you intended to or not, while a student here you will grow your MIT network and create lifelong connections.


November 8, 2022 | More

Veterans Spotlight: Alex Davis, LGO ’24


Hi, my name is Alex Davis and I’m an LGO ’24 (MBA/ M.S. MechE) and am currently living in East Cambridge with my dog Koko. I’m studying robotics and machine learning along with the MBA Core here at MIT. After spending five years working as an Armor officer in the U.S. Army, one of the things people told me when they found out I was leaving the force was that it would be difficult to find a group of people as committed to supporting each other as fellow soldiers are.

Alex at Ranger School with his mother

I don’t think they told me this to make me hesitant to get out, it was just something important to consider when choosing the next step of my path. One of the things I loved about the military was that I knew many of the people I served with would bend over backwards to help me out just like I would do for them. As I explored different options when transitioning out of the military, I found that MIT’s LGO program seemed to foster a similar sense of camaraderie. Combining that bond with the cohort with a top-class business and engineering education was all I could hope for. I found that within the first month of the program I felt that I could count on fellow LGOs, whether they were students or alumni, to have my back in whatever I’m trying to do.

Transition from the Military to LGO

As I investigated what options there were for me outside of the military, I decided that an MBA would give me time to explore various interests in a low-stakes environment while equipping me with the skills I would need to lock down meaningful leadership roles in future jobs. While exploring MBA programs, I knew that I wanted to get back in touch with my engineering side which naturally led me to the LGO program at MIT. I was immediately impressed when I reached out to Dan Borchik, LGO ’22 and Army veteran, for advice. He answered several of my questions about the program and gave me quick and helpful feedback on my resume and info on the community at LGO. The way he described the values of the people and the mission of the program made me feel much less hesitant about leaving the military to try and join LGO.

Winter Gunnery

After being admitted and starting the program this June, I still felt nervous. I had just moved to a new city, felt some uncertainty about how to work with people who had never spent any time in the military, and was still trying to figure out exactly how to financially support myself while in school. After a few days I found that there was no need for apprehension. Every LGO I’ve met has been an amazing person. We were all going through a transition, not just the veterans, and the Summer Core was a near perfect experience to bond everyone together despite (or perhaps because of) its academic intensity. We still found time to socialize, go sailing, and more together. My favorite experience was singing karaoke in Boston’s Chinatown with a bunch of talented LGO pop stars. Going into the MBA Fall, I knew that I had a tight-knit group of friends supporting me whenever I needed it.

Fall Semester

The Fall semester was an easy transition after the summer since I was already settled in and was used to being in school again. This gave me the opportunity to spend more time exploring the resources at MIT and really evaluate all the clubs and groups available to the students here. Getting to know all the other students at MIT has been great. There’s no shortage of social events once the other Sloanies arrive which can be overwhelming but is great for getting to know everyone in your class. I’ve especially loved the C-functions where affinity groups put on an event celebrating aspects of their culture. I’ve gone to the Japan and Black Business Students Association functions and had a great time.

The veteran’s club has been very active and has lots of events both for veterans and also mixers between the vets and other clubs. I also have enjoyed exploring some of the professional clubs around campus like the Entrepreneurship through Acquisition Club which has opened my eyes up to an exciting career possibility that I didn’t even know about before I came here. Some of my friends who are interested in project management and consulted have told me that both of those clubs are great for preparing you for successful recruiting in those jobs. Between interesting classes, social events, and professional clubs, the hardest part of being here is prioritizing all the cool things you could be doing.

A Bit of Advice

If you are a veteran and interested in LGO or any MBA program, here are just a few things that may help from my perspective:

  • The first thing is to not just get one person’s perspective. If you have time, get some info from several people involved with both Sloan and LGO. I reached out to current LGOs and staff members but it would have helped to talk to alumni and Sloanies as well.
  • Believe in yourself! This may sound a bit generic but don’t let doubts about yourself get in your way. Once you’ve sat down and thought about what program fits you and what you want to be a part of, don’t discount the skills and experiences you’ve had because they don’t match up exactly with the rest of the class. Veterans bring more experience in leadership than most applicants and much of what you’ve learned about getting the most out of the people you work with will translate better than you think.

    Suited up with fellow LGO ’24s
  • Think of the application as a puzzle. The application process gives you a limited space and set of materials to convey what makes you unique and what you can do to add value to the MBA experience. Don’t cover the types of skills or experiences in the video introduction as you did in the cover letter. Think of each part of the materials as an opportunity to put something forward that the admissions committee didn’t know about you before so they are (hopefully) constantly pleasantly surprised while reading through everything.
  • Slow down and reflect. Finally, really take some time and reflect on what you are interested in, what you bring to the table, and how you want to make an impact on others. The specifics might change, but if you really figure out what your core values are and how you can leverage them to make a better world, both your application and your experience outside of the Army will be significantly better. You will choose a program or a job that fits your values which will always be a good thing, regardless of your exact path.

Final Word

I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on the LGO experience from a veteran’s point of view. I have no doubt that this has been the best choice I could have made, and I think that would be true of many veterans. The program and the people within the program actually share many of the values that are important to us in the military which has made it feel like home to me. I’m available to talk to anyone interested in the program or Sloan and I hope to see many of you next Fall!



November 1, 2022 | More

MIT LGO Summer Core Reflections

Heidi Hatteberg, LGO ’24 reflects on the first MIT LGO summer semester in Cambridge. Heidi is a first year student earning her MBA/MS in Mechanical Engineering.

Heidi JHatteberg, LGO '24Background:

Prior to LGO, I graduated from Georgia Tech with a BS and MS in Aerospace Engineering. After graduation, I worked for Boeing at various sites including Charleston, SC, Cape Canaveral, FL, Saint Louis, MO, and Seattle, WA. I mostly working in Test and Evaluation which allowed me to travel and work on various Boeing products.

Regarding classmates:

LGO 2024 is an awesome cohort filled with folks from all over the world with various backgrounds and experiences. While we spent the whole summer together in classes and other activities, we’re also divided into summer teams to complete group projects and assignments. With all of the time spent together for the 10 week session, it’s almost hard to believe that we started this journey as complete strangers! What’s more impressive is how LGO has not only chosen such a great class, but created teams that encourage diversity and inclusion.

Regarding classes:

We originally intended to “prank” one of our professors, Sean Willems, by dressing up like him for our last class session. When other professors noticed what we were doing, we decided to also “prank” other professors for their teaching quirks or known habits. It was a ton of fun and brought smiles and laughter to everyone!

Regarding expectations:

I didn’t expect to connect with all of my classmates so quickly. LGO has a unique way of bringing us all together and providing experiences that fosters an inclusive environment. The summer was very short but it seems like everyone connected in ways we didn’t expect.

Regarding Everything else:

We’re all here to get through this together and I can lean on my peers for help. The people here are truly amazing and always willing to help others.

Oh yeah, and Summer Team 5 is WAYYYY better than Summer Team 6 😊

October 28, 2022 | More

Hispanic Heritage Month 2022: Featuring Blanca Murga, LGO ’24

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. Generally, the month is a time to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. For me, a Mexican immigrant woman, my heritage is not always all about celebration.


I was born and raised in Mexico in a US border town to a traditional Mexican family. By traditional, I mean a mother who sacrificed her career to stay at home and care for her children and a father that worked long hours to provide for his family. As such, some in my family did not have high expectations for my professional achievements. On the contrary, I was expected to have at most a part-time job that would allow me to fulfill my most important roles: being a wife, to a hardworking man of course, and a mother. Imagine then my father’s surprise when I proclaimed I wanted to be an engineer and have a career. My path from that moment to attending college in the US across from my border town was not easy and not without tears. Thankfully, my mother was my ally. She fought hard for me to have that opportunity and changed the course of my life.


Prior to coming to MIT, I spent 10 years working at an aerospace company where I had opportunities I would have never dreamed of. Those 10 years have not been without similar challenges to the ones I faced as a young Mexican girl wanting to be an engineer. This, compounded with the lack of representation in the spaces I try to occupy, often have made me question my abilities and goals. Nonetheless, I have stayed my course and have found incredible people who have encouraged me.



Early in my career, I worked for a director who became my biggest champion. While I doubted myself and struggled to define my career goals, he encouraged me to dream, and most importantly he showed me by example to have faith in my abilities and potential. His mentorship changed my life and how I think about the future of my career. He was the first person I discussed the possibility of applying to MIT’s LGO program, and he made me feel LGO was within my reach. 7 years later from that conversation and with the support of countless mentors I have had since, I made my way to LGO.



Now being part of the LGO Active Allyship Committee is one way for me to pay respect to my mentors, champions and allies. My hope is that my classmates, the leaders of tomorrow, see the value in diversity such as mine and use their positions to do for other underrepresented minorities (URMs) what my mentors have done for me. When I look back at my heritage, I would like to be able to say that after making it into MIT all I see are the good, amazing things Hispanic culture has to offer, but I am not there yet. So far, being at MIT pursuing dual degrees in engineering and business has not been enough to get rid of the self-doubt or the feeling that I do not belong in places like this.



Nevertheless, from the moment I arrived at MIT I felt I have finally arrived home, and my LGO classmates have made me feel welcome. Through our short time together, they have made me realize that while our struggles and paths to MIT might look completely different, we all have so much to learn from each other. They have shown me kindness, community and have given me so much hope for the next two years. I arrived excited to study aerospace, business, and operations, and while I am still very excited about my studies, my goals for the next two years have changed. MIT is not just a place to get some of the best education available, it is also a place to change, grow and to find your true, free self. My hope is that by the end of my time at MIT, I will gain the confidence to pursue big dreams unapologetically, to lead authentically, and to embrace all the messy parts within myself.


If you see some of yourself in my story, please know MIT and the LGO program are for you, and you belong here. MIT and your future classmates need you to be here to share your story. You will be welcomed and appreciated for who you are. I hope to see you around next year.


Blanca Murga, LGO ’24

MBA/MS in Aeronautics & Astronautics


September 20, 2022 | More

Alumni Spotlight: Maria Emilia Lopez Marino, LGO ’19

Manager of Manufacturing at Amgen, Maria Emilia Lopez Marino, LGO ’19 reflects on her LGO experience and her biggest career takeaways from the program.

What are you responsible for in your current role?  

In my current role, I am responsible for leading a group of 20+ associates in the Upstream Drug Substance Operations in Amgen, Puerto Rico. At a personal level, it is very inspiring to serve patients by providing therapies that have the power to restore health or save lives. I can proudly say that my team’s hands have the potential to save lives on a daily basis.


Why did you decide to attend MIT LGO?

Attending MIT Leaders for Global Operations is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I decided to join program to get the academic skills and credentials that would enable me to make the next step in my career. However, I came out of the Program with much more than I ever expected. On top of an invaluable toolbox to continue developing my career in operations, I am now part of a highly prestigious network of MIT alumni.

Without a doubt, those two years have been the greatest and most captivating intellectual experience of my life. Be ready to learn cutting-edge topics from world renowned professors. I came to the program expecting the innovative and inspiring MIT ecosystem, the fascinating classes, the incredible trips. However, I did not expect to be part of such a close-knit community that I am pleased to call family. I met a cohort of impressive, highly-accomplished while humble and collaborative individuals that became friends after three months. I am truly grateful to have made the decision to come to LGO. I will be forever thankful for the special bond I built with my classmates, and the strong LGO Alumni Network I am now a part of.

What was the most valuable takeaway from MIT that has helped in your career post-LGO?

The Leadership Principles covered in the MIT LGO Leadership curriculum and in Sloan were the most valuable tool I got from the program. Getting testimonies and real-world lessons from highly talented and successful business leaders, combined with the Sloan leadership framework was the most useful skill I learnt.

Have you used the LGO network in your career? If so, what has been the impact of the LGO Network on your career?

Being an LGO means being part of a distinguished circle within the broader and prestigious community of MIT alumni. The relatively small size of the LGO class enable a close-knit community feel that transcends classes, and leads to a very strong alumni network. One of the many reasons I decided to join Amgen after MIT LGO was the large alumni network within the company. Within Amgen, alumni share internal job opportunities, general lessons, learning topics, career advice and mentor-ship.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

What I enjoy the most about my work is working with and developing my team. I am passionate about developing people and systems, guiding the use of cutting-edge technology, to solve highly complex problems which reduce waste and our environmental footprint, and improve patients lives.

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

Former MIT president Jerome Wiesner (1971-1980) coined this colorful description of the MIT educational experience: “Getting an education at MIT is like taking a drink from a fire hose”. He couldn’t have depicted the experience better. At MIT you should expect to have your plate full 24/7. Conferences, hack-a-thons, seminars and talks by renowned industry leaders and scientists, impressive thesis defenses, and much more happens on daily basis at the MIT campus. It is an environment that truly inspires you to get involved and take an active role in what you are passionate about. And LGO is special in the sense that it gives you a place in two departments (engineering and management), becoming part of the linkage between different systems and enabling you to operate at the intersection of them. I recommend that you come with an objective, but you need to be flexible enough to potentially change it on the way, because I can assure that you are going to get inspired.



July 18, 2022 | More

LGO Application Tips from Admissions

With the application now live, you may have questions about how to submit your strongest application to the LGO program. The admissions team is here to help! We are always looking for candidates who are creative, passionate about their interests, and bring diverse experiences and perspectives to the community, and want to help you be successful in your application process.

Take a look at this list of tips for things to keep in mind when you’re putting your LGO application together:


  • Do your research: Applying to grad school is a huge decision and applying to dual-degree grad program is an even bigger decision! LGO is very unique so it’s important to take time to dig into the structure of the program to understand some of its nuances, like the 6-month industry-based research internship and thesis requirement, our collaboration with partner companies, and the research areas you’re drawn to within an engineering department. The more specific you can be about why LGO makes sense for you in your application, the easier it will be to see your alignment with the program.


  • Reflect on your professional and personal journey: This ties into the above advice, putting together an application takes some time to organize your reasons for why this is the right time to pursue your MS/MBA, and why it makes sense at this point in your journey. While researching the program, think about how it can help you open doors to what you want to get out of new research, career, and network opportunities.



  • Talk to us: Reach out to us about your interests and if you have questions – we’re here to help you navigate how to put your application together, how to pick the best engineering department for you, and connect you with members of the LGO community.


  • Don’t stress about the application rounds: Regardless of whether you apply in Round 1 or Round 2, your application will undergo the same review process. It’s best to focus on when you feel you can submit your strongest application to the program and go with that timeline.*


  • Leadership experience – formal or informal – is great: If your job title isn’t a formal leadership position, that’s ok! Perhaps you have mentored junior employees, or are involved in an affinity group, or active in other volunteer work – these are all worth highlighting to showcase your leadership involvement so far. If these types of roles don’t all fit on the 1-page resume, you can add more context in the work experience section of your application, or reach out to us if you need further advice.


  • Recommenders: Choose people who know you well and can give specific examples: We are not looking for recommenders who have a dazzling job title if they haven’t worked with you closely. For both the professional and technical recommendations, try to find folx who can speak to your day-to-day projects and problem-solving abilities, teamwork, and future potential. People like current or former direct supervisors or other senior managers you’ve worked with are often used for both types of letters. Other ideas could be a client with whom you’ve worked with significantly, a former professor, a chief engineer, or data scientist.


  • Be yourself: Candidates from a mix of distances traveled and industry backgrounds join LGO each year, and when they graduate go in many different directions. We want to admit a group of students who can learn from one another and share new ideas from their experiences with their classmates. One of the special qualities of LGO is how every student will complete their MBA and MS in Engineering in 2 years a little differently, so we encourage you to be authentic about yourself and your story when sharing why LGO is the best next step for you.


*Speaking of timelinewith the nuances of the review process across each of the 7 engineering departments and Sloan, most LGO applicants receive their final admission decision in Round 2 (March 1, 2023). So while we do indeed admit applicants in Round 1, if you’re waitlisted after Round 1 don’t be discouraged, as this is common for many candidates who are then admitted in Round 2.


July 14, 2022 | More

Pride Month 2022: Austin de Maille, LGO ’22

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

My main goal for attending graduate school was to deepen my mechanical design skills in an engineering master’s program. However, I also recognized that as my career progressed, I would likely head into engineering management to cultivate the talent of younger engineers. When I learned about LGO (which I somehow wasn’t aware of as an undergrad), I knew it would be the perfect fit. I could deepen my mechanical design skills and develop my leadership acumen at a top university. The program would propel my career path toward what I hoped to see long term.

What is your favorite memory from your time at LGO?

There were so many wonderful memories it’s hard to pick just one! However, two memories, in particular, stand out.

Austin with his LGO Core Team.

The first memory happened immediately after the last day of classes. Chris Cubra, a member of our cohort, organized an event where three of us shared intimate stories of defining moments in our lives. I was fortunate enough to discuss how I found harmony between my faith (roman catholic) and sexuality (gay). It was an intimate, coming-of-age story that touched on mental health, toxic masculinity, and the power of gratefulness. I only shared such a personal story because of the supportive, open environment that our cohort created.

The second memory, which may be a cop-out, is our class’s time on DPT. Because of the pandemic, it was the first time our entire cohort was together in one place. More specifically, during the rare downtime between company visits, we all got together for karaoke nights, sight-seeing tours, and personal storytelling. It was a great way to grow closer as a class.

How were you able to engage with LGBTQ+ communities at MIT?

Sloan Pride Leadership Team.

During my second year, I was one of the outreach officers of Sloan Pride, Sloan’s LGBTQ+ affinity group. Being part of the Sloan Pride leadership team was a great way to meet LGBTQ+ peers across programs and years at Sloan. As an outreach officer, my role was to connect with the wider Sloan population by organizing community events such as Pride’s annual LGBTQ+ C-function (Cfx), a large party that educates attendees on LGBTQ history and celebrates queer authenticity.

What are your hopes for the future of diversity in LGO and in industry?

I hope that future LGO cohorts represent the diversity of the people and communities they serve – in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, and other underrepresented groups. I also hope that LGO mandates that their industry partners enact similar commitments to diversity by instituting actionable DE&I goals with quantifiable results. Many companies, especially during pride month, boast a commitment to promoting diversity. However, too often their words are empty, unfulfilled promises. I want the influence that LGO students, faculty, and staff have on industry partners and future employers to be used to promote DE&I.

Do you have any advice for prospective students thinking about applying?

LGOs summiting Mt Washington.

If you’re on the fence about applying, reach out to a current or former LGO student about their experience. Yes, it is more than acceptable to cold message someone on LinkedIn. Talking with students will give you the best gauge into whether LGO is a good fit.

When applying, unapologetically show your authentic self in the application. Talk about your passions, quirks, career goals, etc. You’ll need to prep for interviews and likely draft several versions of your application essays, but through all that, explain what uniquely makes you, well, you!


Shortly after a multi-week pack-rafting trek in the Arctic Circle, I will be joining Cooper Perkins as a Mechanical Design Engineer. I will work on various electromechanical R&D and product development projects for a variety of industries while remaining very client-facing. I am exceptionally excited about the opportunity as it nicely combines the hands-on technical and business expertise gained during my time at LGO.


June 14, 2022 | More

Alumni Spotlight: Adam Traina, LGO ’15

LGO recently welcomed Symbotic as an industry partner company. Mechanical Engineering LGO ’15 alum, Adam Traina, reflected on his experience at LGO and his current role as the director of Operations Research at Symbotic.

What are you responsible for in your current role at Symbotic?  

I’m the Director of Operations Research at Symbotic. I use optimization algorithms to design robotic systems to meet a client’s cost, throughput, and warehouse inventory needs. My work for Fortune 100 clients includes understanding the value chain for existing systems and the operational challenges of the business, then designing alternative solutions with a strong ROI. This often results in identifying gaps between existing technologies, which drives new designs, patents, and products.


Why did you decide to attend MIT LGO?

I joined the LGO program because I saw how effective teamwork was in navigating coursework at MIT. I watched a small team of six LGO students divide, conquer, and teach each other advanced skills with more enjoyment and less time than individual learners. Additionally, the diverse backgrounds and working experience of LGO teams enrich the opportunities to learn and grow. The program and students provide exposure to different industries and career paths, as well as the chance to practice multidisciplinary leadership skills, accelerating personal and professional development. My previous work experience helped me understand that technical, financial, and cultural literacy was essential for making good leadership decisions. The LGO curriculum brings all three of those competencies together.

What was the most valuable takeaway from MIT that has helped in your career post-LGO?

I use concepts and connections from LGO in my work every day — from data-driven business cases to behavioral leadership insights — to anticipate organizational gaps and compose effective teams. I use the powerful mathematical frameworks that I learned at MIT to design and optimize new systems. Perhaps most enduring, I’ve gained career-long connections with former classmates, and we have continued to learn from each other, collaborate on business partnerships and expand our networking groups.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Symbotic is in a fast-paced growth phase and its rewarding to be part of a team developing a first-of-a-kind fully autonomous, end-to-end supply chain solution. I enjoy using data to make decisions, managing projects with large impacts, and working in a culture that values operational excellence. I also value collaborating directly with senior leaders at Symbotic and know that the work I produce is making a profitable impact for our customers. The culture of Symbotic is focused on empowering all team members, encouraging creative thinking and developing people with diverse backgrounds who share a passion for excellence and problem-solving.

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

The best part about LGO was that everyone had different interests from different industries and cultural geographies. LGO gave us a common set of skills to achieve our goals by building a collaborative foundation with the ability for each of us to branch out to meet our own unique career objectives. The best way to get the most out of LGO is to engage deeply with your peers, match your individuality to your course electives and help each other achieve your aspirations.


June 9, 2022 | More