LGO Program Blog

Two Degrees.
Two Years.

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How I Got Here Podcast: Steve Cook, LGO ’98

The How I Got Here podcast recently interviewed Steve Cook, LFM/LGO’ 98 and Executive Managing Director at LFM Capital. MIT Sloan graduates and hosts Lara Mitra and Eric Eliasson talk through Steve’s journey from the military into manufacturing and then finally into private equity.

 

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE

 

Preview:

 

 

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September 1, 2020 | More

CEE Student Spotlight: Liza Xu, LGO ’21

The MIT  Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) solves problems like optimizing automobile traffic flow, designing global logistics systems, and conducting environmental impact analysis. LGO students in Civil and Environmental Engineering have the flexibility to build their own curriculum from the ground up or take a pre-defined research area. Meet one of our current LGO students, Liza Xu, LGO ’21, who is pursuing an MBA and an MS in CEE.

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What is your academic/professional background?

I earned an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering during which I did research for three years and considered getting a PhD. Instead, after graduation, I decided to enter industry through a rotational development program at Genentech, one of the founding companies of the biotech industry.  While there, I developed an interest in operations, specifically around continuous improvement, and supported our manufacturing network and roll-out of a Lean Production System.

Why did you decide to pursue an MS in CEE from MIT?

Despite having rotated around different functions at Genentech, I didn’t have a strong background in supply chain and wanted to compliment my manufacturing knowledge with the other parts of operations. I also appreciated that many of the supply chain courses in CEE were cross registered with other departments such as Sloan and the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, which results in a great mix of students with varying backgrounds.

Liza Xu, LGO Class of 2021

What has been your favorite class in the department?

One of my favorite classes so far has been Supply Chain Planning with Professor Sean Willems. This is a continuation of the introductory operations class that all the LGOs take as part of the summer core curriculum. The intent of the class is to provide insight into different modeling skills and ways to think about the design and planning of a supply chain. The course is taught through case method and forces people to think more holistically about the business implications of certain supply chain decisions. A key lesson that students take away is to “Simplify and accelerate” – there’s a lot to learn about a business from even the most basic models, so start there before trying to add on layers of detail.

Why is CEE a good fit for you?

CEE at MIT is very flexible in that students can choose to be quantitatively focused (e.g. complex stochastic modeling) or more business-oriented (e.g. interpreting business implications of an excel model). Although I don’t see myself pursuing an analytics career after LGO, I still wanted to ensure I had the opportunity to take the heavier quant classes to form a basic understanding of how data can be used in future business applications. CEE ultimately has provided a great balance between learning and applying the basic theories around supply chain.

Do you have any tips for CEE applicants?

I’d encourage any LGO applicant to think about why they’re interested in operations and how that aligns with their own career interests. Make sure that story line is clear and communicate how taking classes within CEE and other engineering departments can help.

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By Liza Xu, LGO Class of 2021

August 24, 2020 | More

What I Wish I Knew as an MIT LGO Applicant

Hi Future LGOs!

Thank you for reading this. I hope my post helps reduce some stress and demystifies the LGO program & application process for you! First, before we get into specifics, I will provide some context into who I am.

  • Who am I?

After graduating from West Point in 2012, I served on active duty for eight years as an Apache Helicopter Pilot in the US Army. I had the opportunity to serve my country in Afghanistan and Korea. I love kiteboarding, snow skiing, Cleveland sports, and most importantly, my beautiful wife, Hannah! I am currently a first-year LGO student pursuing my MBA and MS in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering.

dan borchick blog graphics 8_20
Selfie with my wingman (left), Our dog Lucy! (middle), My wife and I on our wedding day (right)

  • Why LGO?

I was drawn to LGO for the opportunity to be at the intersection of technology and business. It is tough to beat the value of getting two degrees from MIT in two years! You learn great foundational skills in data science and computer programming (and do not fear, I had no experience with these before LGO!) to complement your MBA and engineering curriculum. There is no other program that better equips you with practical skills to solve real-world business problems. You even get to put these skills to the test in a 6-month internship with one of LGO’s elite partner companies!

  • What is special about LGO?

First, the experience is fully customizable. You have the opportunity to learn about leadership, operations, and analytics from top faculty at a leading business school, while honing your technical skills at the best engineering school in the world. You can craft your own personalized learning experience with engineering major selection, MBA course selection, internship focus, research scope, action learning labs, treks & travel, clubs, conferences, etc. It is great!

dan borchik app tips blog

Second, the LGO community and experience is unmatched. There are 10+ full-time LGO staff members dedicated to making the experience for the 50 LGOs per class memorable. You bond closely with your 50 LGO classmates (even if you start all virtually!) while also being as immersed as you would like in both the Sloan MBA experience and the MIT School of Engineering. There is even a lounge inside the business school exclusively for LGOs to collaborate and do schoolwork. Lastly, as a longstanding program founded in 1988, the LGO alumni are actively involved in the class. Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon’s Consumer Division (LGO ’93), delivers an annual guest lecture to our Introduction to Operations class, as an example.

borchick blog hybrid lgo class august 2020
A snapshot of hybrid class (I wore a mask at home so I wouldn’t feel left out!)

Third, LGO is all about giving you practical skills – we do not waste time discussing hypothetical situations. Each one of my classes this summer has involved solving real world problems, like examining COVID data and optimizing Netflix watching experiences. Also, the LGO internship enables you to take a deep dive on a real-life business problem for six full months. You have the potential to make a vast impact on a variety of different projects through your research with one-on-one oversight from MIT faculty, who are truly authorities in their respective fields. This program will equip you with the skills you need to thrive in any business situation. Fun Fact: MIT’s motto is Mens et Manus = Mind and Hand: practical learning!

  • Who is LGO for?

LGO is for anyone longing for a transformational experience and for those who like solving hard problems. LGO gives you the toolbox to navigate complexity and understand problems. With all the uncertainty in the world, the LGO program develops your leadership skills, business acumen, and technical expertise, so you can be a change agent. There is no one defined career path for LGOs post-graduation and no job opportunities or industries are off limits. LGOs go into working in operational roles for partner companies, start their own companies, work in private equity and venture capital, work for MBB consulting firms, and many other opportunities. Whatever your goals and aspirations are, LGO can help get you there.

  • Application tips/considerations:

General Thoughts:

YOU CAN DO THIS! Not everyone who goes to MIT is like Good Will Hunting. Furthermore, MIT LGO values cultural diversity across races, nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender expressions, gender identities, sexual orientations, and religions. If you are a thoughtful, grounded individual who wants to make a positive impact on the world through technical leadership, then MIT LGO is perfect for you! And although you do need a technical undergrad background, do not fear if you have no engineering work experience. LGOs come from varied and unique backgrounds. I have a former I-banker, multiple MBB consultants, an individual who worked for an agricultural startup, and many more in my cohort!

School selection recommendations: 1.) Determine what you are interested in 2.) Find schools that are world leaders in those subjects 3.) Find a school with values and culture you believe in/enjoy 4.) Find a school with faculty, staff, and students you want to work with.

-MIT embodies my Operations professor’s mantra “Simplify and Accelerate” in all facets. The written application is intentionally shorter and more pragmatic than most other schools. Be genuine and convey your authentic self – use every square inch of the application to highlight what makes you, you!

-Focus on your impact! Sloan/LGO view that “past performance is the best indicator of future success.” It is okay to not know exactly what you want to do (I surely did not!) after you graduate. The LGO experience will help you hold a mirror to yourself, shape your skillset and ultimately shed light on what your future career will hold. Going through the LGO curriculum, you will have limitless options! If you apply knowing what you are passionate about and how MIT will fit into that vision, you will be successful.

Some specifics:

-When/How to apply. I would recommend applying in the earliest round in which you can fully prepare your application. I applied through Sloan, as do most LGOs. However, some LGOs do apply through the School of Engineering. It just depends on what you want your primary plan to be. Quite simply, if you were only accepted into either Sloan or the School of Engineering, which one would you prefer? Apply using that application. For your awareness, Sloan, the School of Engineering, and the LGO staff all review your application, regardless of which application you utilize. Also, getting waitlisted in R1 is not a bad thing! Many LGOs get in off the waitlist in R2 as the School of Engineering starts their broader application review process.

Engineering Department Selection: Select the engineering major that interests you! You just need to have a coherent and sensible rationale for why you are picking the department you are picking. I did Aero/Astro since it fit my profile (Mech-e undergrad with focus in aeronautics, helicopter pilot, drone experience, interest in working in the future of urban mobility, etc.)

Test Scores: Sloan and LGO have released a flexible plan (see the application for more details) to enable your success on the GRE or GMAT during this COVID-19 era. On the test, do the best that you can. However, please remember that test scores are only one portion of the application, so do not stress if your score isn’t as high as you’d like!

Video Statement: Remain calm! Let your personality shine! I filmed mine while standing in front of a helicopter while in Korea. I made sure to throw in a few corny jokes. Plenty of my classmates filmed theirs with just a white wall background. Do whatever enables the admissions committee to meet the real you.

Org Chart: Don’t overthink this. Use the example provided. Do your best to show where you and/or your recommender(s) fit inside of whatever organization to which you belong. Many of my classmates have had no direct management / supervising experience and that is totally ok.

Resume: LGO is looking for people who have strong potential for technical or operational leadership – this involves successful culture-building and contributions to a community, as much as measurable outcomes. Use this space to highlight your impact, skills, and recognition.

Technical recommendation: Use someone who can explicitly say that you are someone that would add value to “X” graduate engineering department. This part was tough for me, because I did not work in a technical role before LGO. I used a professor from undergrad who I had for thermal-fluids and served as my senior project advisor.

Financial Considerations: You get two degrees for the price of one and every admitted student gets a fellowship (on average, this covers at least 55% of total tuition) to lower your overall cost! The ROI of LGO is incredible!

  • Parting Thoughts:

LGO is an unparalleled experience that will help you to maximize your potential! I am so thankful to be a part of this community, and you can be a part of it too. Lastly, please feel free to reach out to current LGOs with questions…we want to help you succeed. I will see you around campus in the near future!

What is stopping you? Just submit an application!

Borchick Blog August 2020 app tips
This could be you next summer on the first day of 17th grade (Context: all 49 of us coordinated to dress like this on the first day of virtual classes!)

By Dan Borchik, Class of 2022 (with help from my classmate, Pranav Vangala, Class of 2022, and my wife, Hannah)

 

August 12, 2020 | More

EECS Student Spotlight: Erez Kaminski, LGO ’21

The MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) department offers an in-depth education in principles built on mathematics, computation, and the physical sciences. LGO students work with EECS faculty to develop their own curriculum that pairs with their MBA coursework. Meet one of our current LGO students, Erez Kaminski, LGO ’21, who is pursuing an MBA and an MS in EECS.

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What is your academic/professional background?

In college I studied physics and math. After school I went to work for a company developing computational mathematics called Wolfram Research. Following my time there I went to work at a partner company, Amgen, in a role centered on software, AI, and applied mathematics.

Why did you decide to pursue an MS in EECS from MIT?

I thought it would be a great way to improve my skills while meeting a great group of people. I love programming and math, and I couldn’t imagine a better place to go learn more about that field.

What has been your favorite class in the department?

There are many more classes to take than time at MIT, but so far I enjoyed our AI class. It gave both skill building experience and great historical context into the field.

Erez Kaminski LGO '21
Kaminski LGO ’21, participates in the LGO Summer Core

What is your favorite part about being a part of the MIT School of Engineering?

The unbelievable breath of classes, the exposure I get to other students, and the amazing faculty. I wish I had 10 more years to take all the classes I would like.

Do you have any tips for EECS applicants?

Persist, and structure your career around your goals. There are many ways to get where you want to go, just think about what that goal is, and plan some different paths backwards from that goal.

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By Erez Kaminski, LGO Class of 2021

August 6, 2020 | More

Bill Hanson, a founder of MIT LGO, dies at 80

Bill Hanson, a founding figure of MIT LGO and a mentor to hundreds of alumni, died on July 15 at the age of 80. An inspirational figure for a generation of LFM/LGOs, Hanson always prompted students to look within themselves and reflect on their opportunity, impact, and legacy in the world.

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August 4, 2020 | More

Racing into the future of autonomous driving

As part of an MS/MBA dual degree program, LGO students are fully integrated into both MIT Sloan School of Management and the School of Engineering and have a wide range of extracurricular options and avenues. Many take part in conferences and competitions across campus, drawing on both their business and technical skills to build their experience and network.

MIT Driverless’ is a hub of practical autonomy at MIT that works “to be the place where the brightest minds come to learn about the challenges in deploying software on full scale autonomous vehicles, and to connect them with our industry partners as they look for their future engineering leaders.”

Last year’s team made it to third place at the Formula Student Germany, one of the world’s most competitive automobile design competitions for students. This year’s team is aiming for the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a $1.5 million prize competition that will be held at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dan Reilly, LGO ’21 in Mechanical Engineering, is currently spearheading the sponsor search to fund their entry into this new race.

 

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August 1, 2020 | More

Aero/Astro Student Spotlight: Caitlin Auffinger, LGO ’21

Only at MIT can you do an MBA and specialize in aerospace engineering at the same time. Students who complete the LGO program through MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics are uniquely prepared for a leadership career in the aerospace industries. Meet one of our current LGO students, Caitlin Auffinger, LGO ’21, who is pursuing an MBA and an MS in Aero/Astro.

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What is your academic/professional background:

  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering, MIT, 2015
  • Boeing Research & Technology, Chemical Technology, 2015 – 2019

Why did you decide to pursue an MS in AA from MIT?

In the long term, I want to be a technology leader in the aerospace industry. I have seen how important it is for leaders of engineers to establish credibility, so I knew I wanted an MS. I was slightly biased since I completed my undergrad at MIT, but for me, LGO was worth the risk of leaving work for two years to study full time, and I knew it would be a fun challenge.

What has been your favorite class in the department?

1.233J/16.763: Air Transportation Operations Research with Prof. Hamsa Balakrishnan and Prof. Peter Belobaba

After taking Intro to Operations Management, this class made it really clear how airlines are following the same operational playbook as anyone else except that they have bizzarely intricate constraints that are difficult to predict and expensive to adapt to, along with customers who want a set schedule. Couple that with unraveling the mystery of revenue management, and it was an eye opening class!

Why is AA a good fit for you?

I can’t get away from new technology, or aerospace tech in particular. I know technology is often incorrectly touted as the savior, while there are other often better ways of impacting businesses (ex. cost structure), but I’ll always be drawn to the aerospace industry and cutting edge research. Since there are good applications for both strategies, I’ll stick with the side that’s most motivating to me.

What is your favorite part about being a part of the MIT School of Engineering?

Sloan is its own tight-knit bubble at MIT, which is great, but there is also the entire rest of MIT that we are often tempted to forget about since Sloan’s pull is so strong. Being part of an engineering department motivates me to get involved in initiatives outside of Sloan and LGO, of which there are many!

Aero/Astro Student Spotlight: Caitlin Auffinger, LGO '21
Caitlin in the air traffic control tower at Reagan National Airport, D.C.

Do you have any tips for AA applicants?

AA admissions are unique from most other LGO engineering disciplines in that, instead of being admitted as part of a general cohort, you are admitted to a lab to study under a specific PI, so the more you can lean into why you’re a good fit for the department, the better. I get frustrated when I see MBA applicants needlessly focusing on stats. Meanwhile, the thing I spent my application time on was a video featuring me pretending to be a flight attendant (safety belt demo and all!) as I discussed learning about how to leverage team member strengths and weaknesses for an airline start-up class project. Prior to submitting, I got feedback on my application that it was a little too sky-high. I kept it as is because in Aero/Astro, there is no such thing! Tell your story about why you fit into the culture of LGO, and be true to yourself in doing so. I hope it will serve you well.

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By Caitlin Auffinger, LGO Class of 2021

July 23, 2020 | More

MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2020

LGO’s often help organize and lead conference across campus in a variety of industries and fields of study. Matt Kilby, LGO MechE ’21, participated in the 14th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference this past March. Matt and fellow LGO ’21 Nikhil Byanna (ORC) were recently selected as part of the leadership team for next year’s 2021 conference: Content Co-Lead and Research Papers Lead, respectively. We caught up with Matt to learn more about his experience.

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What is the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and what was your role this year?

The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is an event that provides a forum for industry professionals (executives and leading researchers) and students to discuss the increasing role of analytics in the global sports industry as well as other sports and business-related topics. It typically draws around 3,500 attendees and is the largest student-run conference in the world. This past year I was a member of the Content Team, which involved developing new panel ideas and discussions, as well as panelist outreach in order to secure high profile speakers.

SSAC20 Agenda
SSAC 2020 Day One Agenda

Why did you want to participate in this event? How did you first hear about it?

I was fortunate to play college baseball at the United States Naval Academy and I have been a sports fan my entire life, so I’ve always wanted to stay involved and connected to the sports world (I’ve always dreamed of becoming the General Manager of a sports organization). The conference was a great way to connect with other sports enthusiasts at Sloan and around the country and stay plugged in to the sports industry and the current trends. The conference leadership team hosted an information session in the Fall semester and I immediately knew I wanted to apply.

What was your favorite part of the conference?

My favorite part of the conference was seeing the day-of event come to life. I spent hours and hours emailing panelists and brainstorming content for the on-stage discussions, and seeing everything come together was an amazing feeling. Also, as a member of the content team, I was able to talk with some of the biggest names in the industry, and learn how they think about solving problems and what they see as the biggest challenges facing the sports industry today. These conversations were so insightful and provided a different aspect than what you see/read on ESPN, or other media outlets.

What was the most challenging component or obstacle you dealt with?

Being on the content team was very demanding, and I really had to lean on my time management skills. When you’re emailing some of these big names, you want to be very considerate and responsive, so I had to make sure it was always a top priority to either respond to emails, or finish a discussion guide for them to review.

What have your learned about your own leadership style or goals in this process?

I’ve always had a “people first” mentality when it comes to leadership, especially coming from the tight-knit submarine force in the Navy. The process of working within the content team and with other industry professionals proved to me that the sports industry is no different—it is very relationship-based. My goal is to never let anything change this approach; if you take care of your people, they will take care of you.

MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference 2020
Matt Kilby, LGO ’21, stands with A New Arena: Careers After Sports panel featuring Justin Tuck, Shawn Johnson East, Andy Roddick, Michele Steele, and Metta World Peace (left to right)

What have your learned about the MIT and the Sloan community from participating in this event?

The “Sloanies helping Sloanies” mantra really shined throughout this entire process. The conference team was extremely helpful and willing to drop whatever they are doing to help someone else out, whether it was respond to an email if I had a last minute assignment due, or whether I just needed another set of eyes or a new perspective on one of my ideas for a panel topic.

How did LGO impact your approach or your experience of the conference?

The community within LGO was also a great support network, especially those who were in our fantasy football league (which I got last place in and am still upset about). We consistently talk about sports and those informal discussions typically lead to more interesting panel ideas or speaker ideas for the conference.

I’m excited to be a part of the Leadership Team for the 2021 conference and be the Co-Lead for the content team!

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By Matt Kilby, LGO Class of 2021

 

July 17, 2020 | More

LGO 2020 Best Thesis Winners

This year, after the official virtual MIT commencement ceremonies, the LGO program held another virtual celebration for the class of 2020. The LGO programming celebrated each member of the class, shared some special LGO congratulatory remarks and announced the winner of the LGO Best Thesis 2020 prize. This year there were two winners: Audrey Bazerghi and Bidusha Poudyal.

Audrey Bazerghi, Bidusha Poudyal 2020 LGO Best Thesis Award

Audrey Bazerghi developed Inventory Modeling for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Supply Chains at AstraZeneca. One alumni thesis reader described Bazerghi’s project as “a perfect example of the delicate balance of engineering, business, and academia. Copies of this thesis should be handed to potential partner companies for an example of how the LGO toolkit can have immediate positive real benefits.” Bazerghi earned her MBA and SM in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and completed her six-month LGO internship project at AstraZeneca in Manchester, United Kingdom. In her project, Bazerghi demonstrated with a multi-echelon inventory optimization (MEIO) that a fully integrated supply chain would yield significant savings compared to a purely external supply chain. After LGO, Audrey will earn her PhD at Northwestern University.

The other best thesis winner was Bidusha Poudyal who developed a predictive analysis of Installation Quality vs. Process Severity Events. An alumni thesis reader described Poudyal’s project as “a very clearly-written thesis, that outlines a specific challenge, proposed methodology to research, and outlines valuable and actionable insights for the partner company.” Poudyal’s project uncovered fulfillment center installation issues that led to costly problems during the start-up phase after FCs went live, reducing operational efficiency. Her programmatic data-driven method allowed teams to leverage a preset metric for installation quality to compel vendors to improve the pre-handover processes. Poudyal, who earned her MBA and SM in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has accepted a position at Google. Congratulations to both of these outstanding best thesis winners!

 

 

July 2, 2020 | More

The Playbook: An MIT LGO Podcast #9

Hugh Churchill shares with us his career working with General Motors after MIT, and we dive into his experience helping GM produce ventilators as a part of the Defense Production Act. We also talk about the future of electric vehicles and his current role working with EV experience and industrialization. Hugh lives in the greater Detroit area.

 

 

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

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June 30, 2020 | More

The Playbook: An MIT LGO Podcast #8

Alex shares his experience going remote during the COVID-19 outbreak and how he and his team have been working stay on top of the rush in people ordering much more online. He works for Wayfair in Boston, Massachusetts and his team handles delivery logistics.

 

 

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

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May 29, 2020 | More

BioEngineering Student Spotlight: Nicole Oliver LGO ’20

Biological Engineering is one of LGO’s smaller departments, but our few BE students always make a lasting impact on their cohort.  With a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, Nicole Oliver has used her time at MIT to move into the biotech space and, post-LGO, has accepted a position at Amgen.

Nicole Oliver, LGO '20

What were you doing before LGO?

“Before MIT, I was working at Accenture as a Technology Consultant. I primarily worked with large pharmaceutical clients, focusing on implementing technologies across their commercial practices.”

Why did you decide on LGO?

“Post-graduate school, I wanted to pivot into biotech, working on the development and production of drugs that help improve people’s lives. The LGO program was uniquely positioned to helping me achieve my professional aspirations because of its focus on the intersection of business and engineering. Last semester, I had a class on the economics of healthcare in the morning and a class on protein engineering in the afternoon. This combination of courses, which is only possible through the LGO program, will prepare me to solve not only scientific challenges but also consider the broader business implications of day-to-day tasks.”

Nicole Oliver, LGO '20

What are you looking forward to doing while at MIT?

“I am now finishing my final semester at MIT. The experience has far surpassed my expectations – which were high to start! I was looking forward to meeting the diverse student population across LGO, Sloan, and the engineering school. I am continuously amazed by this community – my classmates are incredibly intelligent, curious, and passionate. More importantly, they are encouraging and supportive, which enhances the overall experience at MIT.”

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By Nicole Oliver, Class of 2020

May 11, 2020 | More