LGO Program Blog

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Industry Internship Spotlight: Paige Wyler @ Rivian

What was your internship project/scope?

My internship project was based on Rivian’s sustainability team, which was based within their operations organization. The goal of the project was to develop a decision-making framework for carbon that would provide business leaders a framework for incorporating Rivian’s emissions reduction goals into their decision processes. Within this broader strategic framework, I worked closely with the data science team to integrate carbon into operational optimization modeling to understand how this impacted the ultimate business decision.

What were your expectations regarding the internship before you started LGO? What surprised you about the internship process?

LGO ’22s visiting Rivian on their Domestic Plant Trek (DPT)

Before coming to LGO, I was excited about internships that had traditionally offered Operations Research content. For example, both Nike and Zara had hosted projects that I thought would be right up my alley. Rivian was not a partner company when I was applying, and it was not in consideration for me initially. However, I love working in fast-paced environments, and Rivian certainly fit that category – they were on the cusp of launching their first vehicles and going public. Additionally, they had a unique sustainability focus that aligned with my own interests. I ultimately was surprised to find myself gravitating towards automotive despite my expectations coming into LGO.

How was the transition between school and returning to a full time work schedule and back again?

The initial transition to school was challenging in an academic sense – many classes forced me to remember subjects I had not seen in over 8 years. Despite this initial challenge, I love to learn, and school offered the opportunity to spend all my time doing just that. The schedule of the LGO program is busy, and there is a balance between academics, activities, and social life. Going back to a full-time work schedule after this semester almost felt easier – I no longer spent weekends doing problem sets and could instead explore Illinois. Coming back to campus has been a whirlwind, with events and activities picking up in a post-vaccine environment. It has been great to reconnect with classmates and learn from their individual internship experiences.

What coursework informed your internship the most?

Paige and her husband on a roadbiking trip through Illinois, a favorite pastime while on internship

I took several optimization courses through the ORC program, and these foundations were critical to my project. The courses gave me a theoretical foundation for understanding the models and algorithms that allowed me to work effectively with the data science team. It also gave me a new perspective and approach to problem solving. The beginning part of the internship is about defining the problem scope before identifying solutions, and I found myself better able to understand how data could be used in different ways to solve the problems at hand.

What has been your experience with LGO alumni and the industry partner companies during this process?

When I got to Rivian, there were a number of incredibly supportive LGO alumni throughout the process. I sat behind a more recent grad and was able to connect with the COO and other folks on the leadership team who were alums. The internship is a unique process, and having advocates for me was crucial to a successful project.

What do you think was the most valuable part of the internship for you?

I had the chance to explore something I had not done before – working in a data science organization. While I knew many of the concepts they were implementing, the operational aspects of writing and merging code were incredibly helpful, and the team at Rivian was very supportive in helping me learn the ropes.

 

April 21, 2022 | More

Industry Internship Spotlight: Lois Nersesian @ Amgen

What was your internship project/scope?

My internship was at Amgen within their Quality organization focusing on deviation investigations. Whenever something goes wrong in the manufacturing process (aka. a deviation), Amgen conducts a thorough investigation to figure out what caused the problem and prevent it from happening in the future. The results of the investigation are written into a detailed report which is stored in Amgen’s systems and rarely referred to again. The goal of my project was to extract information from these historical deviation investigation reports that could be used to inform future investigations. The challenge was that we were working with mostly free-text data describing the deviations and their causal factors. Therefore, we used natural language processing techniques including deep learning models to group records together based on the textual meanings. Over the course of the project, I explored a variety of techniques to add structure to this unstructured dataset experimenting with different classification schemes and methodologies.

How is your thesis going so far?

A process flow chart of a method Lois utilized on her project.

I’m currently working on revising my thesis draft based on feedback from my faculty advisors and from my Amgen manager. So far, writing the thesis has been much smoother than I expected. Before and during the internship it seemed like such a daunting task. I was scared it would take forever, and I wouldn’t know what to write. But I was completely wrong! After 6 months of internship, I’ve had plenty to write about. It’s actually been a challenge to figure out what not to include because it turned out longer than I expected. The hardest part was getting started, but after that, the writing went pretty quickly.

What coursework informed your internship the most?

My project is very data science focused so I definitely have pulled from the “Statistics and Data Science”, “Probability”, and “Intro to Python” classes that we took during our first LGO summer. But I feel the classes that helped me the most have been the more qualitative classes. I already had a background in analytics, but over the course of LGO, I’ve really grown in my soft skills and learned new ways of looking at problems. For example, our fall core class “Organizational Processes” taught us to think about the culture, politics, and structure of an organization when trying to enact change. In my project, this was really helpful in thinking about how a potential technology might be received by the intended users and reminded me to think critically about the organization as a whole and not just about the technology. Another class I found useful was “Operations Strategy” where we did case studies about companies at operational crossroads. While the concepts weren’t directly applicable to my internship project, I learned how to think about operational problems and it made me much more confident throughout my internship.

What were the difficulties or challenges you experienced before/during/after your internship?

The biggest challenge overall has been figuring out what direction to take the project. I was really lucky that Amgen had already gathered most of the data that I needed so I could focus on developing a methodology. Amgen was very open to me exploring the data and trying interesting ideas which was great, but it meant there were so many things that I could do and it felt overwhelming at first. At one point, we seemed to completely change direction every other week. Eventually, there were so many ideas that I had to decide to pick a few methods and focus on those. After the internship was over, I had to decide what to include in the thesis since there were so many different methodologies explored. It was definitely a challenge to synthesize and organize all the results.

The LGO ’22s who interned with Amgen.

What do you think was the most valuable part of the internship for you?

Working on the project itself was really fun and I thought the problem was fascinating but for me, the most valuable part of the internship was actually the experience of navigating the organizational dynamics. That’s something that you can only get in this kind of industry work. For my project, I collaborated with two MIT PhD students who sometimes had different opinions than me about the direction we should take. It was a great learning experience for me to manage the competing priorities and timelines including Amgen’s goals for the project, my need to have content suitable for a thesis, and my collaborators need to develop novel methods. That kind of complex dynamic is not something that can be experienced in a classroom. Since the end of the internship, I’ve been able to reflect on the experience and think about how I might respond to this kind of situation in the future in the working world.

What were your expectations regarding the internship before you started LGO? What surprised you about the internship process?

Before starting, I was worried about two possible things happening with the internship: 1) I would just be doing miscellaneous work that my manager wanted me to do, and I wouldn’t have much control over the projects I worked on, or 2) the project would be too broad, I would have no idea where to start, and I wouldn’t be able to provide value to the company. Luckily neither of these things happened! I had a lot of say in what I was working on, but Amgen still provided enough guidance to help me get started. Amgen has hosted many interns and from my experience, was very supportive of me focusing on a single project. I was also surprised how open they were to feedback and input from my findings. It can be challenging when the results may not be what they expected but I think as an LGO, you garner much more respect than you may think. Based on conversations towards the end of my internship, it looks like they plan to implement my project which is very exciting!

 

April 14, 2022 | More

Alumni Spotlight: Barret Schlegelmilch, LGO ’18

To highlight Blue Origin joining LGO’s industry partner companies, we caught up with Aero/Astro LGO ’18 alum Barret Schlegelmilch,


What is your current role?

I am one of our four “CrewMember 7’s” – we are responsible for training our astronauts and preparing them for flight on New Shepard, as well as serving as the Capsule Communicator (CapCom) in the New Shepard Operations Control Center. The crew capsule holds six astronauts, and we represent the rest of the Blue Origin team as the seventh crew member.

 

 

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

LGO presented an unmatched opportunity to both translate my leadership skills gained in the nuclear submarine community to private industry, and simultaneously build a stronger technical and operational foundation with an amazing cohort and faculty. The focus on applied learning through Ops labs and the integrated co-op was a huge draw for me and one of the most valuable aspects of the program.

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

The importance of questioning assumptions and regularly analyzing a process at the most basic levels. Going back to a whiteboard and mapping out a process diagram has helped unravel more than a few seemingly complex operational problems.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

Sharing my passion for human spaceflight with others, and directly helping to advance it as part of my job, has been a dream come true. The space industry is at an inflection point of growth, and the LGO skill-set is definitely well-suited for it.

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

Take advantage of all of the resources that MIT has to offer graduate students, from the clubs to excellent Ops Lab offerings – if something you would like to see doesn’t exist, create it! MIT will support you – I got to see this first hand in organizing the Astropreneurship and Space Industry Club as well as the New Space Age Conference. Most importantly though, enjoy your time with your cohort. They are the best part of the program.

 

April 7, 2022 | More

Women’s History Month 2022: Lauren Sakerka, LGO ’22

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

My biggest takeaway is how kind and supportive everyone is, while also having a humble ambition. I think most of us arrived at MIT with imposter syndrome, something that is very common amongst women, but I have also been surprised to learn that it impacts all genders at MIT. However, despite challenges like this, my peers continue to push themselves and deploy a growth mindset to continuously learn and improve. They have been incredibly supportive and community focused. This extends to the LGO and MIT Sloan alumni networks, who have helped all of us through both our school application and full-time recruiting processes. I knew MIT was a great place but could not have anticipated how supportive everyone here is, and I hope to pass this forward in my interactions with the classes that come after me.

 

 

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

While we are seeing a lot of positive changes regarding diversity in the United States, and at LGO specifically, I think we still need a lot of work to get to parity, which is what I hope for. LGO and most of the professional world do not have gender and race representation levels that match the US population. I hope LGO can work to further strengthen its recruitment pool to get more women and minorities applying, as well as providing more aid to these populations to added LGO. In industry, I hope to strengthen the recruitment processes while also being a good mentor, sponsor, and advocate for my peers.

Hiking with fellow LGO ’22s

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

I had an amazing time getting to know the women of LGO and MIT Sloan. In my LGO class we have a women’s-only chat that we use to support eachother. We started having monthly women’s nights within the first month of the program. I now have a group of very close female LGO friends who help me deal with career discussions, vent frustrations, conquer my anxieties, and help celebrate my successes. During our internships, when we lived across the country, we had a virtual wine night and book club where we furthered our community. This group has extended to helping provide each other job recommendations and support each other through recruiting. It has been wonderful to have such a strong, supportive, and ambitious group of friends. In the MBA program, the Sloan Women in Management club, SWIM, provided an additional support network by arranging small group dinners, speaker series, and mentorships.

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

I am impressed and honored by the project opportunities MIT has provided me with. Especially in healthcare, a field I am pivoting to from oil and gas. I have been able to work on an Operations Lab project with Boston Medical Center, a 2.75 Medical Device Design project to design an improved speculum, and a Boston Scientific internship working to develop an operations strategy to replace human visual inspection with machine vision. The latter is the project I found most interesting, because it combined my interests of technology, operations, and healthcare. In this project, I worked to develop a framework to find the best opportunities to replace human visual inspection with machine vision, and my proposal was rolling out to all sites when I ended my internship. It was great to be able to learn so much during such a short time, while improving my understanding of the medical device industry, and working to deploy  a new-er operational technology.

LGO Domestic Plant Trek 2021

What are your plans post-LGO?

Post-LGO I plan to join Deloitte in their healthcare strategy practice at their McLean, VA office. MIT has reinforced my interest in healthcare, but I want to explore the space outside of the product landscape. I feel this opportunity will enable me to continue to develop the toolkit I learned at MIT while getting a diversified experience within healthcare.

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?​

The application process is so stressful, and it can really feel like the school is looking for something specific. I would advise prospective students to be authentic and convey themselves as much as they can in the application. They should also try to look at the application holistically and try to paint a full picture of themselves using the different questions available. Finally, applicants should try to relax and enjoy using this as a time to explore what they want to get from their MBA experience as much as possible.

 

March 22, 2022 | More

Women’s History Month 2022: Sravani Yajamanam Kidambi, LGO ’22

Why LGO?

Before applying to LGO, I wanted to get involved with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and social justice projects. I was inspired by Dr. Joy Buolamwini who spoke at a Women Transforming Technology conference and discussed the social implications of AI. I started to understand the tremendous power of AI in advancing our society, as well as the serious negative consequences if such technologies are not designed properly. I was keen on building safe and reliable AI systems that push our society towards a positive direction. LGO was the perfect intersection of building my technical expertise and understanding the operations of successful businesses.

Almost two years later, I can definitively say that LGO is amazing because of its people. My peers and the LGO staff bring together a community that feels like family. Our class of 2022 went through a lot, especially because we started during the pandemic. Despite the setbacks, we’re still very close and resilient. I’m positive that we’ll stay connected for life, even if some of us move across the world.

 

 

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

Do the right thing and stay true to your values. During MBA orientation week, we participated in a workshop called “Design your Sloan Journey”. Their activities gave me time to reflect on my internal board of directors, my North Star, and my biggest dreams. My internal board of directors consists of individuals who all stand up for what’s right, put service above self, and prioritize relationships, among many others. This easily translated to my core values: faith, family, and service. Once I understood my North Star, I was able to use it as a guide to make decisions. I know that every decision I make may not be perfect, but I’ll be satisfied if I can stay committed to my values.

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

LGO Ladies Dinner

Over the past few decades, women are increasingly making gains in the traditionally male dominated workforce of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was #BreakTheBias, so let’s briefly dive into this: Women only make up 27% of the STEM workforce in the U.S. Women are underrepresented in some of the highest-earning STEM occupations, particularly computer science and engineering (Source). My hope is that programs like LGO and industries across the world continue to give women equal opportunities to thrive in STEM careers. I hope that our society will move faster to narrow the gender pay gap, ensure a sufficiently diverse and representative STEM workforce, and prevent biases in the products and services around us.

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

There are so many communities across MIT that welcome women-identifying members like Sloan Women in Management, Graduate Women in Course 6 (GW6), and Women of LGO. I’m mostly engaged with Women of LGO, which includes SOs. Because of the pandemic, we would coordinate in our WhatsApp group “Fight Club 💪” and meet in smaller groups for cooking nights, book clubs, or other hang outs. We genuinely care about each other’s well-being. Recently, I had a minor safety incident and when I shared my experience with the group, I had an overwhelming amount of love and support. I feel very blessed to be in a community of women that look out for one another and are happy for others’ successes!

LGOs on Domestic Plant Trek (DPT) in Chicago

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?​

First off, always keep in mind that you are worth applying to MIT. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise! It’s better to try and fail than to not try at all.

Once you cross this line, dig deep to understand yourself. If I could go back in time, I would scream to myself, “Don’t spend all your energy on the GRE scores!” I feel that it’s much better to invest time on other aspects of your application – reflect on why MIT, why LGO, and your aspirations in life. The cover letter, essays, video, and interviews are all geared towards understanding your uniqueness and what you bring to the table that others don’t. I would highly recommend carving time out of your schedule, which can even be a minute per day, to journal and reflect on who you are and what you stand for. Here are some questions that I reflected on: What are your values? What values are most important to you? How does your background shape who you are? What are you good at? (Pro tip: ask your close friends and family this question too) Why do you want to attend graduate school? What will you get out of it? Where do you see yourself five years from now?

 

March 16, 2022 | More

Black History Month 2022: Daniel Ayane, LGO ’23

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

After graduating from Harvard University I became a Software Engineer at Capital One working in their Fraud Space. We built data pipelines that would process credit card transaction data and infer whether or not a specific transaction was fraudulent. My favorite parts of my job involved designing the digital applications as well as leading initiatives around those applications to ensure that our credit cards were always available and secure. I felt like LGO was a perfect continuation of that work. I wanted to continue building skills in technical product development and leadership which the LGO program offers a lot of opportunities in.

 

 

How was the LGO Summer and transitioning back into school?

As one of the younger LGOs my transition back to school was very normal. Most of the transition involved getting used to the rigorous nature of an MIT education. The LGO summer exemplifies that very well. The summer is highly intensive. You spend a lot of time learning about operations, statistics, probability, Python and optimization all at the same time which is no easy feat. The LGO summer asks a lot of you academically and without the support of my core team (TEAM 6 ❤️), I would’ve struggled. My core team was absolutely brilliant! I spent many days and nights with them struggling through homework and also bonding over similar interests (we all apparently like Brookline Lunch – a must try brunch spot in Cambridge). In general the LGO summer was a highly rewarding and impactful time of my life that I will definitely never forget.

What is your favorite memory from your time at MIT?

There are so many memories that I have made in less than a year! The fact that our class is so close helps a lot because you end up spending a lot of time with people who share so many similar interests to you. One of the highlights is definitely Domestic Plant Trek (DPT). The Trek lasted most of January and we got the opportunity to explore the operations of so many companies while also spending more time as an LGO class. Also, as a student not born in the U.S., I got to see many states that I have never been to before. My favorite stop on the trek was Caterpillar in Tucson, Arizona. We learned so much about the intersection of artificial intelligence and construction at Caterpillar all while they put on a “monster truck” show just for our LGO class. It demonstrated how much the partner companies care about LGO as well as how much they care about us learning about how technology can be applied in industry.

Group of LGO ’23s who participated in the Winter Cambridge 5K.

What are you still looking forward to exploring at MIT?

There are many opportunities that I can’t wait to explore at MIT. Academically, I want to continue going to talks from academics such as Professor Randall Davis who are spearheading the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning spaces. The fields are growing exponentially every day and so to have the world’s best professors presenting their cutting edge research allows for me to stay up to date with industry trends. Outside of academics I want to take part in an MIT Hack which is a university wide prank that occurs a few times a year. Some of the crazy pranks that have occurred before include putting a police car on the dome and pranking Harvard (which I cannot endorse as an alum). I am not sure how to partake in one yet but I will be asking around to see how to contribute to MIT history.

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

Within LGO I joined the Active Allyship Committee and the New Student Recruiting Committees which has enabled me to bring DE&I to the forefront of the program. In addition to advocating and supporting the recruitment of diverse candidates to the LGO program, I have also been sharing MIT-wide events that highlight diversity with my class to give other LGOs the opportunity to engage with events put on by students of other cultures. I also want to highlight the recently created LGO URM Alumni steering group that was a great support group when I was an adMIT. They helped answer a lot of the questions around DE&I and have been a great way for me to engage with alumni who come from similar backgrounds as me. Within Sloan I am a part of the Black Business Association (BBSA) which has also been a great support group for me. Similar to the LGO URM Alumni steering group, the BBSA reached out to me when I was an adMIT to ensure that I would be welcome and comfortable within the Sloan community. In general LGO, Sloan, and MIT have been great places to engage in DE&I.

Daniel and his LGO Summer Core Team, Team 6.

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

I hope LGO can continue to increase the diversity of their incoming classes for years to come. Increasing the financial, gender, racial, and cultural diversity of the students that the program admits makes for more representative classes of LGOs. Also coming from the tech industry, which tends to have problems with diversity on all fronts, it is important that a program like LGO encourages diversity because it is the program that creates the leaders of these industries.

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

For all applicants I strongly recommend letting your personality come across in your applications. One of the things I have noticed about the LGO class is the unique sense of community that we all share. I think that comes from the fact that many LGOs share similar values. So when you are applying really take the time to introspect and find out who you are. Understand what is important to you and then let that self-reflection come through in your application. Whether you let it come across in your video or in your essays, giving the admissions committee an understanding of who you are, where you come from, and what your values are is the best way for them to understand whether or not you are a good fit for the LGO program. ​

 

February 22, 2022 | More

Black History Month 2022: Andrew Mighty, LGO ’23

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

Prior to joining LGO, I spent my career working in the Department of Defense. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy, I served in the US Marine Corps as an Intelligence Officer for 6 years. Upon leaving the military, I continued my work in the government as a cybersecurity contractor. My passion for technology grew during my time studying and working in cybersecurity, and I ultimately decided I wanted to explore higher education and a career in technology. The LGO program was the perfect next step for me because of the opportunity to study both business and engineering courses as well as gain valuable experience outside of the classroom through programs such as the domestic and international plant treks and the six-month research internship.

 

Black History Month Student Feature 2022, Andrew Mighty LGO '23

 

What are you still looking forward to exploring during LGO?

I am most looking forward to beginning my internship project this month with an LGO partner company. The internship will be a great opportunity for me to apply everything I have learned during my first two semesters at MIT on a current business project. This is a great way to further advance the skills I have learned in the classroom, while also helping me identify gaps and weaknesses in my knowledge of the technology industry. After this experience, I will know how to best craft my remaining academic curriculum at MIT so that I can be a well-rounded professional upon graduation from the program.

Andrew with his family.

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

I have primarily spent my time working on diversity initiatives focused on future classes of LGO and MIT students, offering my assistance to members of the URM community for application preparation and review. I also participate heavily in new student recruiting events, making myself available as a resource for candidates to ask questions and sharing the story of my journey to LGO, hoping to inspire others to apply and join the community. Within the MIT community, being a member of the Black Business Student Association (BBSA) has been an amazing experience, and I could not have asked for a more supportive group of individuals for this journey.

 

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

Andrew with his LGO Summer Core Team.

The biggest piece of advice I would offer any prospective students thinking about applying is to take the risk, believe in yourself, and apply. Nearly every person that I have spoken to in the LGO program thought that getting accepted into this selective program with such a small class size was very unlikely. This combined with the daunting task of simultaneously completing two graduate level degrees from MIT causes many people to second guess applying to the program. I had these same doubts, but the admissions staff, current students, and alumni are all very encouraging and helpful throughout the entire process. If a prospective student feels as if this is the right program for the next step in their personal and professional development, my advice is to reach out to current students and alumni and apply. Believe in yourself and believe in the process.

 

 

February 15, 2022 | More

The Playbook: An MIT LGO Podcast #14

Andrea Jones is an LGO alumna (’06) that founded her own consultancy post-graduation and has developed a unique career growing her own business. In this episode, we chat about Andrea’s journey before, during, and after LGO, starting her own company and being an entrepreneur.

Andrea has focused on efficient and effective Project Management and Change Implementation for over 20 years. She has successfully managed projects of all sizes, from greenfield construction to SaaS cloud-based ERP systems. Andrea also loves process improvements and has a natural instinct to always seek a better way to execute work. In all her consulting projects, Andrea seeks to facilitate adoption among stakeholders in true change management fashion and loves leading collaborative teams.

Andrea began her career at Intel Corporation as a Process Engineer and grew to love the use and analysis of data to make actionable recommendations. She has consulted for Honeywell, Inc, Genentech Inc., McKinstry, Vetsource®, Power Systems West, Precision Analytical, and Acumed, among others. Andrea has an MBA from MIT Sloan, an Engineer Masters from MIT, a Master’s in Chemistry from the University of Oregon, and a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Japanese from the University of Oregon and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Andrea is also a Certified Facilitator in the Working Genius® model by Patrick Lencioni and the Table Group.

 

 

The Playbook Podcast invites leaders of global operations some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies to share their strategies and mantras.

 

December 7, 2021 | More

Veterans Spotlight: Adam Barber, LGO ’23

Introduction

My name is Adam Barber, LGO ’23 (MBA/MechE). Before coming to LGO, I served for 9 years as an Army aviation officer and Apache helicopter pilot. Prior to that, I was a mechanical engineering student at Ohio University. I am joined at MIT by my wife, Brittany, and sons, John (4) and Sam (2). My goal after LGO is to be a leader in innovative, sustainable technology to improve the human condition in the fields of energy, transportation, and/or robotics.

LGO 23 Adam Barber Veterans Feature 2023

Transitioning from the Military to LGO

When I decided to leave the military and started applying for business school, I was an attack/reconnaissance helicopter company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division on the Global Response Force. The operational tempo of my unit was high, I was in a critical position, and we were 6 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, figuring out how to train and stay ready to deploy without compromising the health of our force. I was concerned about leaving a well-paying job with great benefits to attend school in just a few months, and my family and I have unique healthcare needs that were 100% covered through the military. I was conflicted about leaving my teammates to pursue a new calling and I hoped my next step in life would be as impactful as my time in the military. Looking back, I loved my Army career and miss it sometimes, but I definitely made the right choice for myself and my family. LGO is incredible and the future is bright.

Being a Veteran LGO

Once I was admitted to LGO, I discovered a new mission-focused team, an excellent support system of student-veterans, and continued financial stability. The Student Veteran Association is highly active and welcoming to new members, and LGO is comprised of roughly 15% veterans thanks to the proven track record of past veteran LGOs. Due to the high proportion of veterans in LGO, I feel as if I get to continue enjoying the camaraderie of the military. My veteran classmates and I share a common sense of humor and frequently reminisce about our varied military experiences, while being integral and critical to the LGO class as a whole. In terms of finances, the LGO program provides a guaranteed fellowship in addition to other benefits that most veterans are eligible for such as the GI Bill, Yellow Ribbon, disability, and Veteran Readiness & Employment (VR&E). Additionally, LGO provides a cost of living allowance for the required 6-month internship, which is both guaranteed and involves an impressive list of partner companies.

LGO Core (Summer Semester)

LGO 23 Adam Barber Veterans Feature 2023Summer core is tough. But, you soon realize that it’s tough for everyone. My first impression of my classmates was incredible and humbling at the same time. Everyone was self-aware, talented, intelligent, and eager to lead. All 50+ of us were remarkably similar in our goal of leading teams through complex problems to create a positive global impact, despite the fact that we came from diverse cultures and backgrounds. The classes and assignments are carefully chosen to prepare students for advanced engineering classes and to provide a focus on operations management, both of which were also tremendous assets in the MBA core in the following semester. Most importantly, learning with and from my core team was an unbelievably rewarding experience, and I now consider my summer core teammates to be among my best friends. Starting in summer core, you will have the opportunity to volunteer with various LGO student committees to significantly shape your class’s two-year journey, to include the way internships are conducted, what manufacturing plants the class visits in the US and overseas, and more. As a huge bonus, I quickly found that the tight-knit LGO community is excellent for significant others to make friends and for parents to coordinate for multi-family events.

MBA Core (Fall Semester)

My LGO class is currently in the MBA core, with each of us in a new core team where all the other members are MBA-pure students. The MBA program does an excellent job of curating teams of business school students to provide an incredible learning and social environment. As was the case in the summer, learning with and from the impressive members of my core team has been an important part of my experience at MIT. In this semester, in contrast with MBA students, LGOs can pursue an enormous amount of engineering and business subjects in addition to the four core MBA courses, and a required LGO leadership seminar course. The workload is very challenging, but LGOs deliberately take many of the same courses and join the same clubs, which greatly enriches the overall experience and decreases stress. Finally, this semester is when student clubs, including the Student Veteran Association, start to become more active. There is a mind-blowing number of student organizations within Sloan, the engineering departments, and MIT in general, with no shortage of positions where students can make an impact.

Advice to Veteran ApplicantsLGO 23 Adam Barber Veterans Feature 2023

My best advice to veteran applicants is to:

  1. Tell your most impactful stories with confidence – don’t discount what you did when you served.
  2. Find ways to quantify your impact, especially in terms of percent increase/decrease.
  3. Be very specific with your goals while understanding that you can change your mind later.
  4. Don’t self-select yourself out. Many veterans are high performers with tons of practical leadership and operational experience, but we take for granted how impressive some of our accomplishments are. Something like expertly managing a hand receipt full of military equipment can be a vital point in your application if it created a meaningful organizational impact. The best way to calibrate yourself with regards to what to highlight in your application is to get other veterans’ stories and resumes. I can say with full confidence that the MIT LGO veteran community will be more than happy to help you in your application.

Finally, I want to highlight that the LGO and Sloan admissions teams do a phenomenal job figuring out who you are from your application, which is comparatively straight forward and open-ended. Rest assured that they will make the right decision based on your application and interview, so be genuine and enthusiastic throughout the process. If you are suffering from imposter syndrome, know that it is incredibly common at MIT. Just apply. If you get in, you deserve to be here.

 

November 10, 2021 | More

Hispanic Heritage Month 2021: Scott Hungerford, LGO ’23

We celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the diverse cultures, achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans. During this time, I like to reflect not only on the major impacts Hispanics have made in the past, but also on the future made possible because of their contributions made towards education, civil and labor rights, and cultural inclusion. The greatness of the past has influenced the future success of all Hispanic generations, including myself.

Scott Hungerford LGO 23 with parents Hispanic Heritage Month 2021
Scott with his parents

I am proudly Mexican American thanks to both of my parents who have instilled in me the value and beauty of our Mexican identity. My family immigrated to California during the early to mid 1900’s, established roots in Los Angeles, and received military honors for their service during World War II. I have family members who picked produce in the fields of California, and family members who led labor unions and stood in solidarity with Cesar Chavez during the Chicano Movement. As a collective force over multiple generations, my family has made great strides in education and has led organizations that empowered Hispanic advancement across the nation. My family has continued to instill in me the importance of honoring my identity and my community. It’s their legacy and contributions that I reflect on this month.

Scott Hungerford LGO 23 Core Team 1 - Summer
LGO Core Team

Like many underrepresented minorities (URM), I began my pursuit for higher education at community college and funded my education by working at various restaurants. At that time, I never thought that I would ever be accepted into MIT, let alone into a dual-degree graduate program. I applied to the LGO program because it was the perfect opportunity to develop both the technical and leadership skills necessary to foster innovation and drive change. Although MIT is widely recognized for their high accolades in technology and innovation, what really drew me to the LGO program was the sense of community and acceptance. LGO students come from amazingly diverse backgrounds, they are incredibly passionate about their goals, and they are immensely humble about their accomplishments. I plan to utilize the thought leadership, management skills, and global perspective I gain through this program to equitably address climate change.

I’m excited to continue the great efforts of the LGO Active Allyship Committee: a program that seeks to significantly increase the representation of URM students in global business and engineering education. One of the most impactful moments for me during the summer term was my first interaction with the LGO URM Alumni Group. The strength and support from the URM community was amazing and I left that interaction with a strong sense of belonging and an unwavering confidence that I will continue to have the support of generations of alumni.

Scott with fellow LGO '23s on the first day of the LGO Summer Core
Scott with roommates and fellow LGO ’23s on the first day of the LGO Summer Core

If you’re considering graduate school at MIT, please know that you are not alone on this journey. You are supported by the many generations of URMs that endured so that we may have the opportunity to change our trajectory. We’re all here to support you. I hope to see many of you on campus next year.

Regards,

Scott Hungerford

 

October 4, 2021 | More

Meet the LGO ’23s: Onyinyechi Ukaire

Get to know the LGO Class of 2023! We checked in with Onyinyechi “Ukay” Ukaire from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department as the class was settling into their first Fall semester to learn more about what he values about LGO and his advice for those thinking of applying.

 

Ukay Ukaire EECS LGO 2023 New Class Features Blog sized graphic

What were you doing before attending LGO?

Prior to LGO, I wrote code to understand the biology underlying how less than 1% of HIV-infected individuals control, even in the absence of medication, at the Ragon Institute. Knowing how these individuals control is critical to informing HIV vaccine strategies.

Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, where I spent my years prior to LGO, is situated at the edge of MIT’s campus. Fortunately, I wasn’t far from the area. In fact, Terry Ragon who founded the institute and Intersystems—which is the engine behind MGH’s patient electronic healthcare record—was an alumni of MIT. So in many ways, what I was doing before LGO lured me into considering MIT and thus LGO for graduate school.

What factors informed your decision to attend MIT LGO?

There were three reasons why I applied to and ultimately accepted my offer to MIT LGO. First, I imagined deepening my interests in Management and Computer Science in a dual-degree program with a long history and strong record for academic excellence. The network of top faculty and classmates — who can become teachers, mentors and friends — promised both a high standard and strong support network that was virtually impossible to rival. Besides, I knew I would be routinely challenged to learn, grow and contribute to the Sloan, Engineering and larger MIT communities I would join.

Second, having roughly fifty students per cohort, the program seemed to have a close-knit community I could get to know very well, with people who could be more than classmates to become family. Given that these are also exceptional individuals with backgrounds in engineering disciplines that I certainly did not find at other notable schools, I was bound to find value within the school, as a student, and beyond, as an alumni.

Third, relative to other schools, the partnership with LGO companies offered exciting practical internships that also substantially subsidized tuition fees. The internship was six months: long enough to learn something meaningful. The opportunity of a practical experience to augment my academic training, juxtaposed with financial support, had a big sway.

Ukay Ukaire LGO 23 Core Team MIT Dome
Ukay with his LGO Core Team in Killian Court

Why did you choose your specific engineering department?

To advance my interests in computer science, I chose the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, or Course 6. Since 2014 when I first moved to the United States, I have witnessed the immense power of building stuff via writing code. It was a practical skill of immense importance, whether early on in my undergraduate research labs/courses, or more recently, in my past job. For example, I can hardly imagine making sense of the enormous genomic data surrounding HIV vaccine research; it would be onerous to complete such work. Moreover, in my personal life, writing code has enabled me to better handle my finances, since I can easily abstract the math surrounding budgeting. Thirty percent of income can go to rent and housing fees, twenty to commuting and other expenses around work or student life, thirty to having fun, and twenty to my coin wallet or the stock market or whatever I fancy. And I can change it all very easily—computer science made that obvious.

With the plethora of internet devices surrounding us, and the ever-rising use of technology, it is difficult to ignore computer science. In fact, I think everyone needs to take one or two core classes in Course 6 at some point, especially if you surf the web say via Google or care about privacy or want to just learn more — like everyone else — about Artificial Intelligence.

Even the weekly COVID test we do at MIT is powered, at least in part, by computations of various sorts. The EECS department is paramount.

Do you have any advice for future applicants?

JUST APPLY.

If you’re considering LGO, you’re likely the kind of person who will succeed here. By now the grades and testing are all done. It’s time you applied.

Don’t overthink it. Pondering if you’re the right fit, or stressing about a hypothetical rejection, is common. You have a compelling story. While finding your voice and the right way to convey that story is important, it is even more important to communicate an imperfect story than none. With one, you have a chance. Without one, you don’t.

Open the application, pen down your name, phone number and email. Then copy the prompts and write down an answer, just a word or two. Then one or two or even three sentences, splitting your time, until you have a draft. Share your draft with those you love, and seek feedback. Later share with others who can say the truth, even if it hurts; hopefully their feedback also strengthens your voice. See you on the other side, we want you!

Ukay Ukaire LGO 23, Formal Event with other LGOs
Ukay with other LGO ’23s at the Welcome (Back) Sea Function

What is your favorite memory from the LGO Summer Core experience?

Reflection Day. My classmates hosted an optional group-reflection one morning, and nearly everyone showed up. It was a testament to how we valued each other’s candid opinions about the events of the summer that was winding down. We exchanged highlights, the things we liked about the program, what really went well, and what we’d love to continue. We also traded lowlights, the things we loathed, what about them we did not appreciate and the opportunities for growth.

In a fast-paced summer with tight schedules, episodes of deliverables, more deliverables, and many more deliverables, intertwined with bouts of pure joy – coffee chats, dinners or banters at our program’s lounge — I was happy to digest some of my teammates’ experiences in ways I otherwise might not have. That we exchanged real thoughts, appraisals and disavowals alike, felt refreshing. I left that room, among others, feeling “damn, I am so glad I ended up in LGO.”

In truth, selecting a favorite memory among many top options was hard. See the pictures and notice how too many beautiful moments occurred over the summer.

How is the LGO experience so far different from what you expected when applying?

It is more fun than I imagined! Seriously!!

Everyone I talked to before the program stressed how intense it was to complete two degrees in two years. No wonder I couldn’t help but feel anxious about the program. Therefore, when I arrived, I was expecting really tough moments to be the norm. Surprisingly, it wasn’t quite that.

Yes, there’s lots of work to do, because MIT’s management and engineering schools know how to keep one’s brain working. Indeed, it’s this somewhat unyielding environment that brings out the best in us. But that’s not all. Interestingly, I have had some of my fondest moments in life in the past few weeks playing croquet, singing karaoke, or having a BBQ party under Cambridge’s infrequent sunshine. Just yesterday, I played an intramural soccer game with my LGO classmates, and we had a blast just practicing teamwork on the field. Though hard, LGO has allowed room for ample student life!

Ukay Ukaire LGO 23
Ukay with fellow Sloanies at an MBA Prefunction Event

September 30, 2021 | More

Meet the ’23s: Eduardo Maristany

Get to know the LGO Class of 2023! We checked in with Eduardo Maristany from the Aero/Astro department as the class transitioned from the LGO Summer Core into their first Fall semester to learn more about how LGO is helping him fulfill lifelong goals and his advice for current applicants.

 

Eduardo Maristany LGO 23 New Class Feature

What were you doing before attending LGO?

I was working as a Systems Engineer/Technical Program Manager at Amazon’s Project Kuiper. Kuiper is working on building a constellation of 3000+ satellites in Low Earth Orbit to provide high speed internet to unserved and underserved communities around the world. Before that I also worked as a Systems Engineer at Amazon Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program!

Why did you choose your specific engineering department?

Ever since I was 12 years old, I knew I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. My undergrad was in aerospace engineering and I spent my time between undergrad and LGO working in aerospace projects. I love anything that leaves the ground, especially if it goes to space and I want to keep working in the aerospace industry post LGO, so I decided to also do my masters in aerospace engineering.

Eduardo Maristany LGO 23 Core Team
Eduardo Maristany and his LGO Summer Core Team

Do you have any advice for future applicants?

It sounds simple but just be yourself! Make sure your application reflects you, what you have done, and what you aspire to do. If you are considering applying to the program you probably already have an amazing background and LGO would likely be lucky to have you. LGO looks for diverse people and backgrounds so make sure your individuality shows!

What are you most looking forward to in the fall/for the rest of your two years with LGO?

I am really looking forward to all the amazing classes I am going to be able to take both at Sloan and in the Aero/Astro Engineering Department. MIT has so many world-class faculty and such interesting classes that I am actually having a hard time picking which classes I want to take during my limited time on campus. This is a great problem to have!

What is your favorite memory from the LGO Summer Core experience?

For the last day of our Intro Operations Management class, our whole class dressed up like our professor (who always wears the same outfit) and we all showed up to class at the exact same time!

LGO 2023 Sean Willems Dress-Up Day
LGO 2023 Professor Sean Willems Dress-Up Day

September 23, 2021 | More