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LGO Class of 2021 Graduation Feature: Julia Chen

Recently graduated CEE LGO ’21 Julia Chen reflects on her two years at MIT LGO. Making the most of her many projects and experiences in a difficult time, Julia showcases the true variety of opportunity around MIT. Congratulations to Julia and all the LGO ’21s!

 

What LGO and/or Sloan extracurriculars and leadership activities did you participate in? How accessible were Sloan activities and communities as an LGO student?

In LGO, I was a co-chair of the Action Learning Operations Lab Committee, member of the LGO Program Director’s Advisory Committee and Partner Relations Committee. Within Sloan, I was a Sloan Core Fellow and a Spring Fellow. I co-organized the Asia Business Conference as the Marketing Director and the ClimateTech and Energy Prize @ MIT as the Mentorship Director. I served as a Mentor for the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program for MIT undergraduate students from the School of Engineering. I also participated in several hackathons including MIT COVID-19 Challenge and Energy Hack with our fellow LGOs.

Despite LGOs being away from campus for one semester for the six month research internship, there is an abundance of opportunities for LGOs to take leadership positions and get involved with Sloan activities. The MBA program office and our fellow Sloanies are generally willing to accommodate our schedule as long as we proactively communicate and make arrangements beforehand.

LGO 2021 Graduation Julia Chen Feature

What was the most valuable leadership learning and how do you think your leadership experience will influence your future career?

I truly enjoyed my time in LGO and the wider Sloan community. Through the core semester and the core fellow program, I worked closely with many Sloanies and met friends who have been a constant source of inspiration to me. Among my closest friends from Sloan were Olga Timirgalieva, who co-founded the First Generation / Low Income Club to support underprivileged students and build an inclusive community in Sloan, and Jessica Leon, who co-founded Latinx MBA Association to empower aspiring Latinx students with educational and professional development opportunities across the US.

I am very fortunate to be close friends with many LGOs and Sloanies like Olga and Jessica. They made me realized the three things that are essential in becoming a principled, innovative leader: gratitude, empathy, and the ability to listen. Maintaining a grateful heart allows us to appreciate what we have, stay positive and make the most out of the less-than-ideal environments. Empathy enables us to see the needs of not just our immediate surroundings but those from the wider society. It helps us identify the opportunities to maximize our potentials. The ability to listen, not just through communication tools but truly attending to the stories of the many brilliant minds around us, motivates me to keep learning and growing. Going through 2020 with a global pandemic and many awakening moments on social issues across the world, I appreciate that my Sloan experience has offered valuable formal leadership training and, more importantly, helped me realize these important qualities as a future leader and a global citizen.

What entrepreneurial resources did you take advantage of while an MIT student? What surprised you most when learning more about entrepreneurship? How do you plan to apply these lessons in your career and broader approach to business? What advice do you have for those interested in learning more about entrepreneurship at MIT?

Over the past year, I worked on a start-up that develops droned enabled robots to address the labor shortage and workplace safety. With co-founders from MIT and Harvard, we were able to take advantage of resources from both schools and outside organizations. We received funding, awards, and mentorship support from MIT SandBox, MIT 100K, Sloan Collaborative Intelligence Competition, Mass Robotics, as well as incubator and accelerator programs such as MIT DesignX, Harvard Innovation Lab, and Launch Lab. We recently won the top prize from RaboBank-MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize.

The key takeaways from my start-up entrepreneurship experience were to stay agile and disciplined. Agility helps startups re-orient from failures and move on to the next iteration. Discipline allows us to stay focused under resource constraints while exploring different opportunities. Besides start-up entrepreneurship, I am also a believer of corporate entrepreneurship where innovators and ventures are able to leverage the technical and business resources from established organizations to create impact opportunities. In the corporate environment, our organizational processes learnings from Sloan through the three lenses framework offers practical guidance in navigating structural, culture and political dynamics for the success of corporate entrepreneurs.

LGO 21, DPT 2019, Julia Chen Graduation
2019 Domestic Plant Trek

How has DEI engagement in LGO changed since you became a student? What were your ideals and goals motivating your participation in DEI in LGO? What was your experience as an international student in LGO? How have you had an impact on the program?

It has been extremely encouraging to see the transformation of LGO as result of joint efforts from the program staff and the LGO students on DEI-related issues. In 2020 we started the Active Allyship Committee aiming to create an inclusive environment that empowers talents from all ethnicities, genders, and nationalities. As an international student and a minority in my previous professional experience, I see firsthand the value of a diverse workplace. It has been an extraordinary experience learning about the granularity of DEI issues in different organizations and societies while exploring implementable solutions. In the past year, I led a group of LGO students and started an outreach exercise examining DEI practices from LGO Partner Companies. While we celebrate a more diverse incoming Class of 2023, I truly hope we continue the effort to make LGO an all-rounded program with global perspectives.

LGO 21 Lavender Graduation, Julia Chen Graduation
2021 Graduation

What did you do before LGO? Why did you decide to attend LGO? How have your expectations about your career post-LGO changed as you went through the program? What was the pivotal moment that you decided to switch industries (pre or during LGO)?

I worked as a project manager on large-scale building and infrastructure projects in Hong Kong prior to LGO. I have been an advocate for new technologies to improve productivity in my past projects. The experience made me realize the need for additional engineering and business training to develop innovative solutions for traditional industries transitioning into the future of works. The interdisciplinary nature of our LGO cohort and the flexibility offered by the curriculum has helped prepare me to achieve these career goals.

LGO '21 Group in front of MIT Dome, Julia Chen Graduation Graphic
LGO ’21s in Killian Court

How was the recruiting experience? What resources were most helpful during recruitment? What are you looking forward to in the next step of your career?

The Class of 2021 has gone through an unusual recruitment season through the pandemic and it was particularly challenging as an international student to find opportunities in the US. I am grateful for the LGO and Sloan alumni network during job search, interview preparation, full-time position matching or role creation process. I am excited to share that I will be joining Amgen’s Global Operations Leadership Program and becoming part of the team delivering Amgen’s sustainability target.

 

June 22, 2021 | More

MIT LGO Best Thesis Award 2021: AJ Tan

After MIT’s virtual Commencement Ceremonies, the LGO program held another virtual celebration for the Class of 2021. As a yearly tradition, the LGO program celebrated each member of the class with friends and family in attendance, and the winner of the LGO Best Thesis award was announced.

This year’s best thesis winner was AJ Tan, who developed deep learning image augmentation to improve performance of automated visual inspection (AVI) systems at Amgen. AJ developed deep learning tools to generate synthetic images for training AVI systems. Synthetic images significantly increased the overall accuracy of visual inspection systems, leading to smaller false eject and accept rates and less manual reinspection. AJ’s tools also reduced characterization and setup time for new products as images are artificially generated. AJ was advised by Duane Boning, the Clarence J. LeBel Professor in Electrical Engineering, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the EECS department, and Roy Welsch, the Eastman Kodak Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management and Professor of Statistics and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan.

Of the project and its impact, AJ said: “This is probably one of the most exciting projects I have worked on. At its core, the project is about figuring out how to use deep learning for machine vision in a small data environment. It is exciting because many companies do actually operate in this environment but most research publications often overlook this fact. If we can provide some solutions to the small data problem, then the range of companies that can actually benefit from the deep learning revolution will be increased significantly.”

Best Thesis 2021, AJ Tan

One of AJ’s advisors described his research as “a comprehensive analysis of how the engineering solutions would reduce the need for detailed defect characterization, reduce training and inspection time and, therefore save enough to more than justify their cost while providing a basis for further development of savings in the future.” An LGO Alumni reviewer cited that AJ’s research was “well designed and implemented, clearly an extraordinary amount of work for the LGO internship period.”

Earlier this month, AJ received his MBA and MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from LGO program. He joined the program after finishing his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and holds a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Post-LGO, AJ has accepted a position with Amgen.

 

June 14, 2021 | More

New Industry Partner: NextEra Energy

Earlier this year, NextEra Energy joined the lineup of LGO industry partner companies. A leading clean energy company, NextEra is the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy and operates the largest regulated utility company in the United States. NextEra has been recognized as a Top 20 Innovative Company by Fortune and received the S&P Global Platts Energy Transition Award in 2020.

NextEra is offering internships and recruiting in how energy is delivered to thousands of homes and businesses. NextEra offers challenges that are compelling in their content and their scale. Already the largest operator of renewable generation in the world, NextEra is investing in technologies such as green hydrogen, fleet electrification solutions, and distributed water hubs that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of how Americans meet their basic needs. NextEra Energy launched its first LGO internship this month with Gustavo Castillo, MechE LGO ’22, who will analyze and build models for EV adoption and infrastructure build out.

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June 11, 2021 | More

Pride Month 2021: Andrew Foster, LGO ’19

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

As soon as I learned about LGO, I felt as if it were a no-brainer. “Two MIT degrees in two years” is hard to ignore. And I think the value proposition just grew stronger and stronger as I learned more. In particular, I loved how the program so closely integrated business, operations, and technology. That was exactly where my interests laid, and I think the way LGO weaves them together is unparalleled. When I met the people (students, professors, and administration) I was just so thrilled – it was just such an inspiring, engaging, smart, and genuinely friendly group.

Pride month 2021 Blog graphic, Andrew Foster LGO '19

Where do you currently work and what do you enjoy most about the work you do?

I’m currently a consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where I’ve focused on a broad range of digital topics, including optimizing IT functions, doing studies on digital marketing, and helping enterprise tech companies go to market more effectively.

This is not necessarily a typical path for LGOs, but I have still found my time at LGO to be immensely valuable in this role. All the lean manufacturing principles I learned in LGO applied directly to the agile development work I’ve done with IT organizations, and all the experience I got around IoT has been really helpful in my work with my current tech client.

I have really enjoyed continuing to operate at the intersection of technology and business, but I have to say that my favorite part of the job continues to be the people. BCG was the biggest employer of MIT Sloan grads in my year, so the culture and people are aligned in all the right ways.

 

What is your favorite memory from your time at LGO?

It’s so hard to pick just one! You just pack so many moments into those 2 years.

The one that comes to mind was at the end of LGO Summer Core (for context – LGOs start about 3 months before Sloan starts at the beginning of June every year) when we did class superlatives at our last group lunch of the summer. I helped draft and present the superlatives, so I’m admittedly biased, but I just loved the event. We had so many funny and heartwarming anecdotes to share about our classmates and professors – it made me realize how much we had come together as a group in less than 3 months.

Honorable mention also goes to serving as COO of MIT Driverless, which is North America’s first student-run driverless racing team. LGO sponsored the team and helped us win 3rd place at a large international competition.

Pride month 2021 Blog graphic, Andrew Foster LGO '19
Andrew riding in a BMW electric racing vehicle on a Formula-E track, which one of the MIT Driverless sponsors, Magna International, invited the team to attend.

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

I know this is a cop out, but I have to say two things. They’re both equally good in my book.

First, limit work-in-process (WIP)! It’s life changing. I even go so far as to fold my laundry and place it directly into my drawers. And even as a consultant it helps me and my team be so much more efficient

Second is the growth mindset. Of course, the hard skills I mentioned above have been super valuable, but LGO also taught me how to get comfortable being uncomfortable and gave me the confidence and toolkit I needed to quickly grow and learn in different situations.

 

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

I was one of the co-presidents of Sloan Pride, which is Sloan’s LGBTQ+ affinity group. This was a great way to meet queer peers across programs and years. We had various social events, including a weekend in Provincetown that I helped organize in my 2nd year. I’m still close with a lot of the people in that group – I actually just saw two of them last weekend!

MIT also has broader campus-wide resources that I engaged with. At one point I was pulled into a lunch with MIT Chancellor (Cynthia Barnhart) to help offer perspective on how MIT might respond to a ballot proposition for banning gender neutral bathrooms in Massachusetts. The proposition thankfully did not pass, but I deeply appreciated that MIT leadership had the foresight and care to consider the potential impact on transgender and genderqueer members of the community.

 

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

I, of course, hope that LGO and industry will eventually reflect the diversity of the communities they serve – in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, and other underrepresented groups/identities. Like many organizations, LGO is still on a journey for the first two groups, although I’d argue LGO has been good on the third (albeit with a small N, as my LGO stats professor would be quick to point out!)

For me, diversity is just a first step. What I really hope for is inclusion and I do think LGO and, more broadly, MIT are ahead of the curve there. For example, every year MIT hosts the Hack for Inclusion, which is an incredibly empowering, inspiring, and action-oriented event. In the year I attended, my team designed a concept for an open job platform where candidates could take double-blind talent assessments to help connect them with qualified opportunities in an unbiased way. Other teams came up with dozens of innovative concepts, such as a smart cane for visually impaired people. That particular idea was sponsored by Microsoft, which made its first investment in a smart cane startup two years later.

Pride month 2021 Blog graphic, Andrew Foster LGO '19
Andrew attending the 2019 Hack for Inclusion, sporting a Sloan Pride t-shirt!

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

LGO and MIT offer incredible opportunities. I would do it again in a heartbeat, so if you’re at all on the fence, I’d strongly encourage you to apply. I think the more you learn about it, the more you’ll like it.

And if you do decide to apply – let your personality show! So many people get caught up trying to come across a certain way, and that ultimately makes their application or interview performance less memorable. I’d still recommend practicing for the interview and getting input on your essay from others, but I hope you never let that dampen or alter who you are.

 

June 7, 2021 | More

The Playbook: An MIT LGO Podcast #13

Gene Kim is a multiple award winning CTO, DevOps researcher, and co-author of The Phoenix Project and The Unicorn Project. In this episode, we chat about Gene’s experiences at Tripwire and what high-performance looks like, as defined by the State of DevOps report. We also touch on the importance of culture, the criticality of psychological safety, and the imperative for developers and leaders to have the courage to say what they’re really thinking.

The LGO Playbook is a unique set of skills and strategies that have helped generations of LGOs provide leadership in operations. This year we are inviting students, alumni, and industry leaders to share pages from their unique Playbooks through stories of impactful experiences. Join us to learn more about our diverse community while gaining tangible skills for the future.

 

May 6, 2021 | More

LGO Class of 2022 Harrison Smith Award

On Monday, May 3rd, current LGO students, LGO staff, and alumni across thirteen different class years virtually gathered to honor and celebrate the late LFM ’99 Charles “Harrison” Smith III with members of his family. Harrison’s legacy as a major LFM/LGO community builder was reflected in the efforts of the eight nominees for the annual award, with LGO ’22 Dan Borchik receiving the prize.

 

The nominees were Jen Amlani (MechE), Mariko Ogawa (CEE), Andrew Tresansky (MechE), Lauren Sakerka (CEE), Dan Borchik (AA), Paige Wyler (ORC), Luke Higgins (MechE), and Alex Hardin (CEE).

 

LGO ’21 recipient of the award, Liza Xu, shared the words: “May Harrison’s spirit inspire us all to be more active and involved, kind and devoted, open and friendly in our own lives.” It is abundantly clear that spirit rings true at LGO today, as students and alumni continue to spread these values in their lives and communities.

 

Harrison Smith Award 2021 - Dan Borchik

 

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Dan was an Apache helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army prior to joining LGO. Nominated for his tremendous efforts in supporting the LGO community throughout a difficult year, Dan worked across classes and committees to improve the LGO experience for everyone. His classmates described him as “intensely focused on building community among our LGO class” and that he “sees the best in others and is not shy about complimenting and building others up… [Dan] has been and continues to be a light in our class.”

 

LGO Harrison Smith Award Recipients
MIT LGO Harrison Smith Award Recipients

May 5, 2021 | More

Women’s History Month 2021: Alumni Highlight – 20 Years Out

Wrapping up our 2021 celebration of Women’s History Month, we are featuring two alumnae 20 years out from LGO! Christine Wong, LGO ’02, and Meghan Scanlon, LGO ’00, share the LGO lessons they have carried into their careers as well as their hopes for a more diverse and impactful industry.20 years out alumni profile for women's history month 2021 blog

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

Meghan: I was eager to expand my skills and perspectives beyond the engineering/technical field that I was working in. I started searching for part-time MBA programs, as I expected I would need to keep working in order to be able to pay for graduate school.   During my search, I “stumbled“ online across the MIT LGO program (called LFM at the time), and it seemed too good to be true!  MIT is simply the best there is… AND the additional fellowship funding made going to school full-time a possibility for me. I was terrified to apply as it was such a prestigious program, but I went for it anyways. I still vividly remember getting the personal phone call from Don Rosenfield… I remember where I was standing. I remember the moment of panic that maybe he made a mistake and I wasn’t actually accepted. Then I recall the pride and anticipation that I would be able to be a student at MIT. It was the best decision I could have made personally and professionally.

Christine: I did the Management and Technology at the University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad and really valued the dual degree and discipline approach to the program. It was such a formative experience to be able to apply engineering principles as well as a business mindset to every problem. The LGO program was really a natural extension of that experience.

 

How were you able to engage with communities of women at MIT and LGO?

Christine: With the LGO community being tight knit, it was easy to befriend and engage all our classmates.  It was especially great to meet women who all had different paths prior to LGO and then to continue to keep in touch to see all the great things they are accomplishing after the program.

 

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

Meghan: Three things:

  1. Teamwork – it’s how businesses thrive and deliver their best results. Teamwork was essential to survive and get all the work done in LGO. You simply couldn’t do it all alone.
  2. The 80/20 rule – knowing when your work is good enough to call it done… and how pursuing perfection can eat up way too much of your time without delivering commensurate benefit.
  3. VOC training and diving deep into the customer needs hierarchy – asking “why” until you get the REAL answer of the problem you’re needing to solve.

Christine: The most valuable takeaway from the program would be the strong alumni network. I’m at Verizon today because of the network and I’m trying to pay it forward by hiring more and more LGO graduates each year to come join Verizon. We have an LGO-focused recruiting team that participates in plant treks, company day events, executive proseminar, and full-time and internship recruiting to continue the partnership engagement with the hopes of finding incredible talent.

 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Christine: I manage reverse logistics at Verizon and work at the intersection of business and engineering every day. I love that I get to manage a team of technical engineers who develop and design product testing while also managing an operational team to implement the technical solution. The LGO program provides not only the skillset required but also the confidence to show up and deliver results.

Meghan: As president of the Urology & Pelvic health division at Boston Scientific, my job is incredibly rewarding. We improve the quality of lives for millions of patients around the world. It’s very meaningful work.

Additionally, I love serving my team and our organization that makes this company so great. Setting clear strategy and direction and then resourcing people to deliver and achieve their professional goals is one of my favorite parts of the job. Watching people and teams flourish and win is incredibly rewarding!

 

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

Christine: I’m still often the only woman in the room in most meetings at work. There is still so much opportunity for diversity and inclusion. Women carry much of the responsibility at home and feel strong pressure to do it all. Luckily Verizon realizes this gap and I was invited to participate in the Women of the World (WOW) program to tackle these very issues with squads of women across the organization doing different work but facing similar challenges. My hope is for us to have the conversations, create opportunities, and to support one another.

Meghan: I am fortunate to lead a management board that is incredibly diverse. During the many challenges of 2020, I benefited first hand from the power of this diversity. We had richer debates, we made better decisions, we served our teams more meaningfully as a result of this diversity. Diverse and inclusive teams are higher performing teams. Period. We need more business leaders who know and believe this.

 

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

Meghan: You’ll learn the most and grow the most because of your classmates. It’s the most intense two years of your life… it will feel intense and long while you’re in the thick of it all, and in a heartbeat it will be over. Don’t strive for perfection, strive to learn and grow.

Christine: Look at the LGO program as a start of your journey. The program will open doors but with it comes responsibility. Responsibility to create change in your organizations and to continuously bring multi-faceted solutions to problems.

 

March 23, 2021 | More

Women’s History Month 2021: Alumni Highlight – 10 Years Out

Continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month 2021, this week we are spotlighting two alumni who are 10 years out of LGO: Kacey Fetcho-Phillips, LGO ’11, and Annie Kang, LGO ’12 and head of the WLGO (Women of LGO) alumni steering committee.

womens history month 2021 ten years out blog graphic

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

Kacey: Early in my career as chemical engineer, I loved creatively solving problems and making a difference in manufacturing plants.  While I enjoyed my work, I knew there was much more in the broader business and I wanted to learn more.  After researching options, I decided to explore full-time business schools.  The combination of building on my existing technical mindset within the School of Engineering, growing as a business leader through Sloan School of Management, and the opportunity to do both within the established operations leadership framework of LGO was amazing.

Annie: I was debating between pursuing a Masters in Electrical Engineering or an MBA and was encouraged to consider both. I had heard about LGO from a previous colleague at an internship and again from a colleague at the job I had prior to joining LGO. I visited Boston to attend an Ambassador Day and as I learned more about the program, I was drawn to everything it had to offer. Accepting an invitation to join a program that was exceptionally strong in both business and engineering and that had also rewarded me with the Robert Noyce fellowship was a no brainer!

 

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

Kacey: Developing a strategic leadership mindset in the LGO program has been transformational; attending LGO changed the way I think.  This was driven by the experiences unique to MIT and LGO – listening to challenging real-life stories from executives in the Leadership and Ethics Seminar, building technical leadership mindset in System Dynamics, and by developing strategic thinking in the capstone Operations Strategy course.  Additionally, these skills are refined with Action Learning experiences, where we have impact applying these principles during school with courses like Ops Lab, where I was part of a team that helped increase ICU room capacity at Boston Children’s Hospital.

 

How were you able to engage with communities of women at MIT and LGO?

Annie: Since March 2017, I have been the chair of the WLGO (Women of LGO) steering committee. This has allowed me to stay connected with a large number of the LGO women alumni. Whether getting together at the Women’s Breakfast at the Alumni Conference in Chicago in 2017, or visiting Boston and the Bay area later that year to celebrate the WLGO 10 year anniversary, or holding a coffee meetup with WLGO alums on the west coast during COVID, every gathering reminds me how lucky I am to know such a strong and admirable group of women. WLGOs seem to always stay curious and motivated, and I always feel so inspired and energized every time I meet or speak with a group of WLGOs.

 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Annie: Product Management pushes me to be both strategic and detail-oriented. I am able to stay involved in every part of the product lifecycle while working across a cross-functional group of stakeholders. The diversity of the role, from collaborating with UX designers and developers to helping solve a problem for a particular user group, always brings a different set of challenges to tackle every day, which I find to be very exciting and rewarding.

Kacey: I lead a manufacturing facility for Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, where we are building a new facility for a cancer product in North Carolina.  As a leader, I am passionate about helping people, including patients through the medicines we make and as a leader for our teams.

There is currently unmet medical need in oncology, and we’re building a team to serve more of these patients with our products.  I am enjoying the opportunity to be part of this impact from the beginning, including designing the facility, hiring the new team, developing operational structures, and establishing the foundational team culture to enable our collective success.

 

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

Kacey: Attending MIT is an amazing, inspiring, challenging, and transformational experience.  The foundation and reputation of MIT and LGO, and the boundless innovative mindset from the student and alumni network is a strategic advantage of the program.  If you are energized by the opportunities and innovations that are possible in operations leadership then you have found the right place!

 

March 17, 2021 | More

Women’s History Month 2021: Alumni Highlight – 5 Years Out

In celebration of Women’s History Month 2021, we are highlighting alumni 5 years out from LGO! Jackee Mohl, LGO ’16, and Amy Gobel, LGO ’17, reflect on their time at MIT as well as the skills and networks they built while pursuing their dual degrees.

double feature women's history month 5 years out 2021

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

Amy: For as long as I have had a career goal, I have wanted to make a positive impact on the environment. My pre-LGO work experience in hazardous waste remediation led me to focus on how I can find win-win opportunities within industry that can help manufacturing companies create more sustainable products, develop more efficient processes, and effectively manage risks. I knew as I was thinking about my next steps that I would need a strong business toolkit as well as a deep understanding of operations to make an impact. The LGO program offered exactly the toolkit I was looking for. But it also offered more than that – as I got to know the community of current students during the application process, I was continuously surprised and delighted to encounter people with similar interests but with an extraordinary range of backgrounds. The program offerings got me to apply; and the feeling of community got me to accept.

 

How were you able to engage with communities of women at MIT and LGO?

Amy: The women in my class were an important support system during my time in LGO. We organized frequent events – book club meetings, wine & cheese nights, holiday cookie exchanges – that helped us create a sense of community outside the classroom. I also valued the connections I made in the broader Sloan community, particularly with the women I met over the course of my Sustainability Certificate. I chose all-women teams for my S-Lab project and a sustainability case competition, and I valued the chance to work with and learn from these thoughtful, values-driven female leaders.

Jackee: During my time at LGO,  I was able to be a part of Sloan Women in Management (SWIM) and represent LGO on the Dean’s Task Force for Gender Diversity, where we worked with students and administrative teams to increase gender diversity in recruiting applicants for Sloan and LGO.  In addition, the group of LGO women in my class were and continue to be some of the closest relationships I formed during my time in graduate school.  I genuinely appreciate being inspired, supported and motivated by my female classmates during school and continuing in the 5 years since graduation.  There is so much value in this support network sharing our experiences as leaders and the challenges that come with those roles across multiple industries.  Being able to connect with LGO alumna specifically at Boeing has been a tremendous benefit as I navigate my career through the company.

 

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

Amy: I came into the LGO program with substantial Imposter Syndrome. Even knowing how common that feeling is didn’t alleviate the symptoms. But through the program, I gained both a framework to evaluate complex operations challenges and also plenty of experience applying this framework in the real world. The time with LGO gave me both the practical skills to be able to address important problems and the confidence to know that I can add value.

 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Jackee: What I enjoy most about my work is being able to develop and mentor talent at Boeing.  I have been fortunate to work with great team members across multiple functions, as I’ve moved through many roles at Boeing by leveraging the LGO playbook.  I now enjoy using the network of people and experiences I have built to connect talent with potential opportunities for growth.  I am particularly passionate about mentoring women in engineering, operations and program management to ensure greater diversity of leadership.  My hope for the future is that we can provide more opportunities for diverse talent in operational leadership and I am encouraged by the macro steps that I see Boeing and other companies taking to ensure that.

Amy: I enjoy the chance to operate at many different levels of zoom. I get to dive into the details of a problem, and I can pull back to understand the strategic context for this problem. And I can repeat this process both for the technical dimension and the people/culture dimensions.

 

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

Amy: Prejudice in our community creates unnecessary friction for good people and good ideas. It slows people down and turns their forward momentum into so much waste heat. In the spirit of Lean manufacturing, we should all want to eliminate that waste. I hope that we as an LGO community continue to make good on the title and lead industry to a place where people can fulfill their full potential as their full selves.

 

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

Jackee: I’d advise prospective LGOs to take advantage of everything that the full school has to offer.  It’s super easy to get involved with clubs and programs on campus, across both MIT and Sloan.  LGO is uniquely positioned to be able to make the most of relationships at both the engineering and business schools.  Because of this, there is a wealth of experiences available to the students.  By rounding out your education with varied extracurricular activities, you are able to grow the diversity of your connections and set yourself up for greater success when taking on leadership roles as you graduate.

 

March 9, 2021 | More

New Industry Partner: Rivian

MIT LGO was very excited to recently announce our new industry partnership with Rivian! An independent U.S. automotive company, Rivian manufactures electric adventure and delivery vehicles and aims to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels. The company plans to host MIT LGO internships and recruit graduates into product development and scaling up manufacturing and operations.

 

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March 5, 2021 | More

Black History Month 2021: Bi Zan Valery Lorou, LGO ’19

I was blessed to be part of the LGO Class of 2019. I had a great time with an amazing group of talented and supportive classmates, and received the best education I could have ever imagined getting. The program provided me with the tools to be successful in life. In every class I took at LGO, I looked around and I saw very few students of color. I realized that I was very fortunate, and I always wondered how I could help other minority students have the same opportunity. Growing up in Cote d’Ivoire, I learned that my success could lead others to do the same. As a student, I would often volunteer for admission events, where I hoped to meet minority students so that I could explain why LGO could be the right place for them. After graduation, alongside other LGO alumni, I wanted to continue this initiative and with the support of LGO leadership, we founded the LGO URMAG (Underrepresented Minority Alumni Group).

black history month 2021 bi zan and URMAG feature

Our mission is to bring more underrepresented minority students to the LGO program and to help strengthen a more diverse community of students and alumni through networking and mentoring. We are very excited with this initiative as we see a need to grow the URM community at LGO.

The advice that I have for you, prospective minority applicants, would be that if you are wondering whether you have a place in the room full of talented LGO students, I will assure you that you not only deserve to have a seat in that room, but most importantly the room needs you, your future classmates need you. They need you to share with them your talent, your awesome achievements, your opinions, your innovative ideas so that you can create a better LGO community. So when you are putting your application together, don’t think about what you can’t do, instead think about what you will be bringing to the LGO community, think about the difference you made in the life of people around you, think about how you will change for the better. There is a seat for you at LGO. You just need to go get it. Trust yourself, stay confident in what you can achieve, and you will do great. LGO wants you!

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By Bi Zan Valery Lorou, LGO Class of 2019

February 22, 2021 | More

Black History Month 2021: Taylor Facen, LGO ’22

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

“After graduating from Howard University, I started my career in finance as a technical business analyst. Throughout this time, I got involved in the New York City tech scene by learning how to code on the side and by attending and soon leading tech conferences in the city. Later on, I was able to merge my technical and leadership skills as CTO of a FinTech startup. Each of these experiences really helped me understand my strengths, areas of growth, and the direction I wanted my career to go in. I decided to apply to and join the LGO program because I wanted to cultivate these skills as well as learn about new, emerging technologies and industries.”

What is your favorite memory from your time at MIT?

“Summer core started the same week as protests about the wrongful murder of George Floyd were materializing across the globe. Some of my fellow LGO classmates decided to watch Ava DuVernay’s 13th documentary on Netflix as a group followed by a discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement and historical events that got us to this point. I originally thought that only a handful of people would be interested in this type of event. However, I was surprised to see over half of my class attend and actively engage in this voluntary event. This experience definitely helped me to feel more welcomed and supported by my peers.”

Blog sized graphic, taylor facen black history month 2021

What were your goals for the new Active Allyship committee and what have you accomplished so far?

“I wanted the Active Allyship committee to drive tangible improvements to the LGO program to make it more inclusive and supportive of all current and potential students. So far, we’ve worked with faculty to increase the diversity in the protagonists of cases and other class materials. We also drove a new initiative to provide guidance and support to marginalized groups throughout the application process. I’m especially looking forward to the diversity, equity, and inclusion best practice session that we’re having with our partner companies this upcoming spring semester.”

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

“For many, the graduate school application process is the first time one can reflect on their educational and professional career. My biggest piece of advice is to do some deep introspective thought on who you are as a person and as a leader. Not only will this help you clearly articulate who you are and why you’re interested in the graduate program on the application, it will also help you choose the right program, classes, professors, student clubs, etc. after you get in. Trust the process.”

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By Taylor Facen, LGO Class of 2022

February 11, 2021 | More