LGO Program Blog

Two Degrees.
Two Years.


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

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


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


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



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



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



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


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


Blanca Murga, LGO ’24

MBA/MS in Aeronautics & Astronautics


September 20, 2022 | More

Alumni Spotlight: Maria Emilia Lopez Marino, LGO ’19

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

What are you responsible for in your current role?  

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


Why did you decide to attend MIT LGO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

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

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

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



July 18, 2022 | More

LGO Application Tips from Admissions

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

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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


July 14, 2022 | More

Pride Month 2022: Austin de Maille, LGO ’22

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

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

What is your favorite memory from your time at LGO?

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

Austin with his LGO Core Team.

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

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

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

Sloan Pride Leadership Team.

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

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

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

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

LGOs summiting Mt Washington.

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

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


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


June 14, 2022 | More

Alumni Spotlight: Adam Traina, LGO ’15

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

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

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


Why did you decide to attend MIT LGO?

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

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

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

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

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

Do you have any advice for prospective LGOs?

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


June 9, 2022 | More

MIT LGO Best Thesis Award 2022: Andrew Tindall

This year, MIT Commencement Ceremonies were back in-person for the first time since 2019. After the LGO Class of 2022 Convocation, LGOs celebrated with a special department graduation reception with family, friends and Staff. At the annual graduation event, Executive Director, Thomas Roemer announced the winner for LGO’s Best Thesis award. This year’s winner was Andrew Tindall, who analyzed hybrid work models at Verizon.



Andrew used a variety of data sources including HR scheduler data, hybrid employee schedules, badge data and meeting data from Google to help answer the question, “how is hybrid work is impacting organizations,” a challenge, that many organizations face after the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrew found collaboration data can be used to align work groups to maximize in-person collaboration gains while minimizing the number of days in office per week. Andrew’s data collection was used to model employee networks and cluster employees into communities. In his pilot program, he increased stakeholder alignment from 13% with heuristically set schedules to 45% aligned with optimized schedules.

One of Andrew’s advisors described his theses as using “state of the art data analytic methods, and surfaces insights that challenge recent assumptions about work and management.” An LGO Alumni reviewer cited that Andrew’s research was “very relevant and current…strong background and a demonstrated understanding of both the calculations/mathematical components of the methods as well as the practical applications.”


Andrew graduated from LGO with an MBA and an MS in EECS. Andrew earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in various roles as an Army Officer. After LGO, Andrew plans to join Verizon as a Technical Product Manager for Advanced Analytics.


May 31, 2022 | More

Industry Internship Spotlight: Lampros Tsontzos @ Inditex/Zara

What was your internship project/scope?

My internship project was part of Zara’s Data Science team, which closely supports the Operations organization. The goal of the project was to improve the inventory replenishment process by optimizing the days of coverage metric, which is a core input to the target inventory calculation. To achieve that, I incorporated additional features into the calculation and build an algorithm that finds the optimal way to combine these features into the calculation. Solving this problem is important for any retailer because setting the right inventory level to account for both cycle and safety stock is a difficult tradeoff. Companies need to minimize overall inventory to keep cost low, and also need to avoid stock-outs to keep customers happy and maximize revenue. I worked closely with the data science team to develop the solution and also had periodic meetings with business stakeholders to get feedback on how the solution can be incorporated into their day-to-day operations.

What coursework informed your internship the most?

Lampros at a Zara store location, despite his fully remote internship.

The LGO Summer Core semester established the foundation for me to be successful in my internship. I leveraged learning from nearly all courses in that first semester in various parts of my work. Intro to Operations Management taught by Sean Willems was my first exposure to the best practices in inventory management and supply chain planning. I was surprised to find myself going back to my notes from past courses that quickly, and Intro to Ops was the class I most frequently referenced.

Another foundational element of my work was data engineering and feature creation, which was required in order to transform raw data into meaningful features that capture the knowledge  and expertise of business stakeholders. Our Statistics and Data Science course taught by Amr Farahat covered these topics in depth, and also taught me how to quickly perform exploratory statistical analyses to better understand the data I am handling. At the core of the final solution that I delivered to Zara is an optimization problem that I formulated and solved using a heuristic. Systems Optimization by Daniel Freund gave me the necessary background to be able to understand the requirements of the problem and design a solution that meets all of them.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Leadership & Organizational Change by Leigh Hafrey. “Leighdership” – the affectionate name we have given the class to highlight Leigh’s impact – did not end in the first summer semester. The ongoing components of the class, including those that ran in parallel to the internship, encouraged me to pause and reflect on my approach. This made me more thoughtful about my interactions with my colleagues at Zara and more intentional about the directions in which I took the project.

Lastly, I took Operations Strategy by Karen Zheng in Spring 2021, right before starting at Zara, and this class offered a lot of practical examples about how different businesses think about their operations strategically.

What is your favorite memory or anecdote about your time on internship?

There were a lot of memories I’ll take with me going forward, but some of my favorites are funny anecdotes that capture the challenges of remote work across different time zones, countries, and languages. Throughout my time with Zara, there were multiple times when I got funny/confused looks from people because my video background was a dark window given that I had to join calls at 6am East Coast time before sunrise. Early on we also had many futile attempts to get one of the video conferencing platforms to do live translations from Spanish to English and vice versa but we discovered that the technology was not quite there yet at the time. We resorted to some of my colleagues doing a live translation which inevitably meant we had to plan meetings to run twice as long!

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

NextEra Energy visit on the LGO ’22 Domestic Plant Trek (DPT)

Although there aren’t any LGO alumni currently working at Zara, I was able to talk to a lot of alumni who did their internship at Zara in past years. Their perspective was super helpful and allowed me to ramp up much faster than I would have otherwise. They explained everything I needed to know to be successful during my internship and also offered plenty of career advice as I was balancing working on my internship with full time recruiting. Overall, I was impressed by everyone’s responsiveness to my cold outreach and willingness to support me through this process.

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

I had the amazing opportunity to work on a supply chain project during a time when the pandemic was causing disruptions across most companies. This was an awesome opportunity to understand the various tradeoffs companies need to evaluate and the decisions they need to make under uncertain circumstances. I had a lot of fun working with a team that has been with Zara for a long time and has a lot of expertise coupled with strong technical skills. This experience helped me enhance my understanding of how analytical solutions can be applied in a business environment and I’ve come away with a framework for successfully implementing such solutions in practice.


May 19, 2022 | More

Industry Internship Spotlight: Elizabeth Hau @ Johnson & Johnson

What was your internship project/scope?

My internship project was in J&J’s Ethicon organization, helping with end-to-end supply chain visibility through working on a specific product. More specifically, Ethicon collects data on every phase of their supply chain, but none of it is connected or used yet. The goal of the project is to connect the different data sources through building a digital thread, better understand the current state of the systems, and use insights gained from the digital thread to help inform decision making. To have something tangible for the internship, I focused on implementing a proof-of-concept digital thread for one of the products, but the long-term goals is to have digital threads and digital twins (digital version of the physical processes) for all of Ethicon’s products.

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

The initial transition from working to school was challenging. The academic work is intense and we all get thrown right into a lot of work from the get-go, but thanks to the extremely supportive and helpful LGO community, help is always there when I needed it. It was exciting coming back to school and learning more about operations, business, dive deeper into engineering classes, reflect on past experiences, learn from my classmates, and continue to work on leadership skills. Transitioning from school back to the full-time work schedule was rather smooth. I appreciated having most of my weekends back, but occasionally missed the feeling of drinking from a firehose. Getting to go on DPT (Domestic Plant Trek) in the middle of internship and finally meeting everyone in the class in person was amazing! Since coming back from internship, I have enjoyed attending all my classes in person (including attending my first engineering class at MIT in person!) and spending more time hanging out with friends while balancing the hecticness of writing the thesis, getting it reviewed, and managing the approval process.

LGO ’22 Core Team Seven, the Heptades.

What coursework informed your internship the most?

Intro to ops, stats and data science, interactive data visualizations were the classes I found very useful for me on the internship. Intro to ops helped me understand terms used by my partners and those on the manufacturing floor better. Stats and data science gave me the skills to execute the data science side of the project. Interactive data visualizations taught me ways to design effective visualizations, which were seminal in communicating with stakeholders with a wide range of technical understanding.

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

J&J is a very heavily relationship-based company. One of the challenges I encountered during my internship was building connections with people remotely. My experience meeting with everyone at J&J was great even though we could not meet in person. Everyone was generous with their time and met with me through 1:1s. However, connecting with external partners (suppliers) who had data I needed was a challenge.

Visiting Chicago while on DPT
Visiting Chicago while on DPT

Not having a pre-existing relationship with them before made it hard for my messages to be noticed. The fact that I have not met any of them before seemed to further disincentivize their sense of need to meet with me, especially given the nature of my project being about data and suppliers being more protective of their data. Eventually, I enlisted help from my teammates who have worked with the suppliers before and cherished the time I had to meet with the suppliers to demonstrate the incremental benefits the project can bring and was able to get one of them onboard with sharing their data.

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

My supervisor Kris Schmidt and project partners Chad Lape and Gaby Lamas were extremely supportive during my internship. I have had a wonderful time learning from them and working with them. Kris’ help and organization skills ensured the interactions between the program and the company was as seamless as possible. I really enjoyed working with my partners!

The alumni presence at J&J is very strong. Prior to my internship starting, I received a warm welcome from LGO alums at J&J as soon as the internship matches were announced. During my internship, 1:1s with Christy Dorris ’06, Amy Gobel ’17, Suzie Rawden ’21, Manny Gillio ’02, and Caleb Dailey ’98 were all extremely helpful when it came to navigating J&J. Christy, Amy, and Suzie’s mentorship and guidance throughout my internship and full-time job search were very important reasons I decided to join J&J after graduation.

LGO ’22 Class Photo in Miami

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

I got to explore a completely different industry and get to work with people from a variety of functions during my six months at J&J! When it comes to the opportunity to explore a new industry, I really appreciated the fact that the internship was six-months instead of three because I got more time to learn and sufficient time to apply what I have learned to a more substantial project (I felt like I was still spending most of my time learning at the three-month mark and really started making contributions after that). I got to see how a different company operated and spend time with amazing mentors at J&J who cared about the people they work with, an experience I am tremendously thankful for!


May 12, 2022 | More

Industry Internship Spotlight: Sean O’Donnell @ Nissan

What was your internship project/scope?

My internship was at Nissan’s Smyrna, TN vehicle assembly plant working on the supply chain strategy team. Coming into the internship, I was given the opportunity to explore, talk to the team, and figure out where my experience/skills could make an impact.

The whole class on DPT with the Nissan Ariya – Nissan’s new electric crossover.

Eventually, I settled on a seemingly simple decision point in the supply chain process – where to ship a part from a supplier. The Smyrna assembly plant is massive (capacity to produce more than 600,000 vehicles annually), and it uses a similarly massive warehouse to store inventory until it is needed on the floor. For each incoming part, the supply chain team decides whether to send it to the warehouse or directly to the factory floor. The warehouse is necessary because all parts cannot physically fit in the factory while maintaining inventory levels appropriate for reliability, but it also generates extra costs. For my project, I ended up creating an optimization model to decide whether to send a part to the warehouse or factory. This model showed the potential for impressive savings and is being implemented by Nissan’s supply chain analytics team.

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

Before I started LGO I expected the internship to be intimidating. It is not just an internship, it’s also a research project where you are expected to generate data to write a thesis. I had never written a thesis, so I was worried about how I could balance the needs of a company and my thesis needs. Ultimately, it was not an issue, my thesis goals aligned with the company and they actively made sure I had the space to do what I needed to. Another big question before I started was the whole matching process. It is definitely something that any prospective student should be aware of. While you might want to live in a certain location, some of the more interesting projects to you might be somewhere else. You will have to balance location, company, and project, which will inevitably force difficult decisions.

On DPT (Domestic Plant Trek) after attempting to install weather strips on a door with my LGO core team. It was hard!

I highly recommend LGO candidates to reach out to a current student or alum and ask about their experience with matching. I will say that I got to work on a great project in a great city that I had never visited before, so things worked out for me.

What coursework informed your internship the most?

During the LGO summer we take a couple of data heavy classes on statistics, machine learning, and optimization. I had no experience with these topics before LGO, but these classes gave me a strong baseline to build off. The optimization model I used in the end is a very specialized version of a knapsack optimization problem, something we had covered in optimization class, so I felt comfortable walking through development and implementation. I also did a project with another LGO partner company, Amazon, for MIT’s Operations Lab course where I learned to manage large data sets. This was key as the quantity of data at a vehicle assembly plant is staggering. A lot of learning always ends up happening on the job, but LGO definitely gave me a head start.

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

With LGO alums and significant others on a distillery tour in Nashville.

Early in my internship, one of the LGO alumni at Nissan organized a brewery/distillery crawl across Nashville with the interns and LGO alums. Given that I had never lived in or visited Nashville prior to the internship, it was great to have a day exploring with some locals. All of my subsequent interactions with the LGOs at Nissan were equally welcoming. They actively reached out to me to discuss my project, my overall experience, people I wanted to connect with, and just life in general. Outside of Nissan, my experience has been the same. The LGO network is tight, generous with time for fellow alums, and incredibly wide ranging.

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

When I was interviewing for internships, I was being vetted while simultaneously vetting the companies/projects for three things. I wanted supply chain experience, data science project experience, and to work in a new industry. These were personal goals for where I saw my future career going, and I managed to meet all three at Nissan. I will be leveraging both the hard and soft skills I developed at Nissan for years to come.


May 5, 2022 | More

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