LGO Program Blog

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Women’s History Month 2020: Audrey Bazerghi, LGO ’20

Why LGO?
I have always loved multidisciplinary work, but hadn’t found a way to marry my interest in theory with an appetite for real-world problems until I stumbled upon the world of operations as a consultant. Curious to learn more, I applied to LGO. It was the perfect program (and at MIT of all places!) to learn about the broader business context of supply chain challenges, while geeking out about the technical tools required to tackle them. It also offered a unique opportunity to grow by learning from incredible, down-to-earth classmates.

LGO Women's History Month 2020, Audrey Bazerghi '21

What is the coolest project you’ve been able to work on since coming to MIT and LGO?
Last spring, I represented MIT at the Patagonia Case Competition 2019 at Berkeley Haas with a fellow LGO, two MBA Sloanies, and two PhD students. We pitched our solution for sustainable packaging for Patagonia’s food and apparel products and won first place! It was an incredible experience to work with friends across MIT to come up with a creative solution, and to meet students from nine other universities with the same passion for the environment.

What are your hopes for diversity in LGO and in industry?
A friend and I have been working on a 3-hour leadership session for LGOs focusing on diversity and inclusion with the help from a supportive faculty member. We hope to facilitate an open (virtual!) discussion that will bring us and our classmates to set the right intention for fostering D&I in our respective workplaces after MIT. I would love to see more women in operations! As managers, we’ll have the opportunity to lean into the hard conversations, practice empathy, and even proactively combat systemic issues. I think the LGO community is uniquely positioned to take these opportunities and catalyze change.

March 30, 2020 | More

Women’s History Month 2020: Ana Garcia, LGO ’16

Why LGO?

After 5 years in consulting I had learned a lot about how to work in teams, communicate, and deliver; I didn’t feel like my work had much impact. I wanted to double down on my Industrial Engineering undergrad degree and transition to a career in operations in a way that would accelerate my career and allow me to see that my work was meaningful. LGO was distinctly appealing to me because in addition to the dual degree element, it had a strong focus on leadership development. The tight knit community and continued opportunities to work learn and practice leadership were a big part of the reason I chose to go to LGO, and I’m so glad I did!Women’s History Month 2020: Ana Garcia, LGO '16

What are you doing post-LGO?

I’m currently Vice President of Operations at HelloFresh, and am responsible for our Culinary, Product and Procurement teams. I joined HelloFresh’s Special Operations team in 2016 and have had the opportunity to work up and down the supply chain: leading a fulfillment Center (twice!), scaling our Procurement Operations team, setting up our Supply Chain Analytics team, leading our first ever acquisition and integration of Green Chef, and more. I’ve enjoyed being part of the ops leadership team that took this company public, through several years of massive growth, and delivered a profitable year in 2019!

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

I truly appreciate MIT’s motto “mens et manus” – Mind and Hands. Knowledge is nothing if you don’t have practical experience in applying it. At MIT I experienced how practice cements knowledge, and taking the time to reflect after big decisions or events has helped me learn how to be more effective. LGO provided practice not only in its curriculum, but also through the experiences of my other 49 peers – it would take several lifetimes to gather that practice, yet this tight knit community gives me access to them in a matter of minutes (even 4 years after graduating!)

March 16, 2020 | More

Women’s History Month 2020: Monica Gabriela, LGO ’21

Why LGO?

“In my previous job, I had been observing a ‘gap’ between technical and business teams that created obstacles and elongated the process of reaching a goal. When I decided to pursue my passion in environmental sustainability, I realized that I need to master both sides to ‘close the gap’ and expedite real-life implementation for innovative solutions. I believe that the combination of leadership, business management, and technical knowledge that LGO offers will enable me to amplify my impact on the world. Besides, the tightly-knit LGO family is just the best!”

LGO Women's History Month 2020, Monica

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

“Last semester, my team worked with a startup which is growing and supplying pink algae for cattle feed that can reduce cattle’s methane emission by 80%! This semester, I am doing a project on building a product to help Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) patients with their thermoregulation, and a simulation of global carbon cycle – understanding how the Earth’s temperature changes will affect our planet’s carbon inventory and atmospheric carbon dioxide level.”

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

“I like to seek out more-experienced female colleagues as “life mentors”. They help me figure things out when I have big life decisions, no matter if it involves academics, personal, or much more. At MIT, we have SWIM (Sloan Woman In Management) and I helped conduct an Ask Me Anything session about “Women In Workplace”, where people create open dialogue. More importantly, in LGO we have Ladies’ Wine and Cheese events! What’s better than aging a friendship over an aging wine ;)”

March 9, 2020 | More

The Playbook: An MIT LGO Podcast #7

JS Bolton shares her experiences in the manufacturing world, moments that have made a difference for her, and how she has grown as a leader. She currently works for Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee where her team manufactures and assembles multiple vehicle models.

 

 

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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February 24, 2020 | More

Black History Month 2020: Taylor Robinson, LGO ’20

Why LGO?

“I chose LGO because the program offers an attractive balance between technical, business, and leadership experiences while surrounded by a great community of people. I want to leverage my engineering background in leading diverse teams to build and deliver transformative technology products. LGO not only provides me with the extensive toolkit needed to be successful in this space, but also welcomes me into the broader LGO family.”Bi Zan Valery Lorou, Black History Month MIT LGO 2020

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

“Since starting at MIT, I have come to realize that the journey is more important than the destination. We all are capable of accomplishing monumental goals in our lifetime. However, the paths we take will vary and differ. I am now more intentional about being mentally present each day, and subsequently taking the time to reflect on my experiences.”

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

“I feel strongly about maintaining diversity in LGO so that others who look like me can have this opportunity as well. Diversity brings different perspectives and backgrounds together, which has the power for great discussion and learning. Moving forward, I have three goals for diversity in LGO and industry:

  1. Sustained partnerships between LGO and diversity-oriented professional organizations such as MLT, NSBE, SHPE, and SWE.
  2. LGO continues to increase the number of diverse protagonists for case-based discussions in the classroom.
  3. Companies will prioritize and dedicate resources towards creating inclusive workplace environments”

February 21, 2020 | More

Black History Month 2020: Bi Zan Valery Lorou, LGO ’19

Why LGO?

“I love operations, and I always wanted to become the leader who makes the difference in people’s lives. I saw LGO as the best place where I could equip myself with the tools to become a better leader. MIT LGO was not only the place where I expanded my knowledge in operations, but it was also a place where I felt super blessed for being able to share times with a group of amazing, talented and supportive classmates. Trust me, I was not taking anything for granted.”

Bi Zan Valery Lorou, Black History Month MIT LGO 2020

What advice or resources would you recommend for interested LGO prospectives and applicants?

“So, the advice that I have for you, prospective applicant, would be that if you are ready to let your light shine so that others can see you as a model of excellence, if you want to fulfill your dream so that others can see it as an opportunity to do the same, I strongly recommend that you apply to the MIT LGO program. Don’t let the world around you tell you that it will be impossible for you to get into the school because you are not a perfect candidate. Instead, remind them that a tiny light always overcome darkness, that you will not give up, and that you will find a way to shine. I believe you can do this. I believe in you.”

February 14, 2020 | More

The Playbook: An MIT LGO Podcast #6

Sean Willems shares his story on what led him to teaching, some memorable experiences he’s had with operations consulting, and why optimizing his wardrobe has made all the difference. Sean is currently a visiting professor at MIT where he teaches operations management.

 

 

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.

~

December 22, 2019 | More

Meet the MIT LGO Class of 2021: Erez Kaminski

What were you doing before LGO?

“I was working at Amgen as a Strategic Planning and Operations Manager. My main focus was on data science and information technology but I was lucky to be involved in a broad spectrum of projects. Before Amgen I worked for a scientific computing company called Wolfram Research as a technology specialist.”

Why did you decide on LGO?

“I felt like it was the right time in my career to take a step back and refocus on improving my technical and managerial skill set. I thought LGO was exactly what I was looking for: a program offering broad technical knowledge with real-world experience.”

What are you looking forward to doing while at MIT?

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, learning new things, and gaining a better understanding of the role technology will continue to play in industry.”

 

 

 

 

December 6, 2019 | More

Meet the MIT LGO Class of 2021: Shane Vigil

What were you doing before LGO?

“I spent the last decade in the United States Marine Corps serving as an attack helicopter pilot. When I wasn’t flying, I took on many leadership roles in operations and aircraft maintenance across the globe. At my last duty station, I also got involved in standardizing some of the procedures and cockpit systems to help transition the service to a new aircraft series. By far, my favorite part of the job was the people that I’ve met and learned from along the way.”

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Why did you decide on LGO?

“I’ve always been at the crossroads of engineering and business. I had a really great engineering experience as an undergraduate that I wanted to continue, and I also wanted to translate the leadership and management skills that I learned in the military to business. The world-class education that MIT offers speaks for itself, but what really drew me to LGO was all the inspiring people that I’ve met from across many different industries. Some are my classmates, some are from partner companies, and many are just visitors. The one thing that they have in common is the goal of making a positive impact on operations, and being part of such a team was the right decision for me.”

What are you looking forward to doing while at MIT?

“I am completely aligned with MIT’s motto of Mens et Manus, and there is no other program comparable to LGO when it comes to that. Naturally, I am looking forward to applying what I have learned in class during my internship with one of the partner companies. I am thankful for this opportunity and for my classmates, and I can’t wait for the future!”

 

 

November 19, 2019 | More

Meet the MIT LGO Class of 2021: Deborah Go

What were you doing before LGO?

“Before LGO, I was working in international relief and development, advising on the technical design of water and sanitation projects, supporting disaster relief efforts, facilitating knowledge sharing among country offices, and building field staff capacity.”

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Why did you decide on LGO?

“Over the course of 7+ years in the field, I had carried both managerial and technical responsibilities, and I wanted to grow in both areas. I loved the intentionality with which LGO integrated these two competencies, and I was drawn to the practical, hands-on, collaborative nature of the program.”

What are you looking forward to doing while at MIT?

“While at MIT, I’m excited to connect with like-minded leaders and innovators via the Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab, D-Lab, or Water Club. I’m also looking forward to taking unique classes offered by some pretty impressive faculty.”

October 30, 2019 | More

Meet the MIT LGO Class of 2021: Nikhil Byanna

What were you doing before LGO?

“Prior to LGO, I worked in consulting for ~4 years at Boston Consulting Group in both the Chicago and Berlin offices. I worked in a variety of industries including Retail and Industrial Goods, focusing primarily on projects related to supply chain and advanced analytics.”

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Why did you decide on LGO?

“I was originally drawn to LGO based on my interest in solving complex operational problems that companies were facing and translating the results into actionable business recommendations. LGO offered a unique opportunity to develop my knowledge base and skill set in both engineering and business at an institution that was world-renowned in both disciplines. However, the non-academic aspect of LGO was equally as appealing to me. Once I visited campus and saw the tight-knit community that the class of ~50 students had developed, I was convinced that LGO was the right place for me.”

What are you looking forward to doing while at MIT?

“I’m most looking forward to getting to know my other classmates and becoming friends with all of the talented and interesting people that are part of LGO, Sloan, and the broader MIT community. In addition, I’m looking forward to learning from professors who are leaders in their respective fields and are at the forefront of cutting edge research. MIT has so many exciting opportunities, and I can’t wait to take advantage of them over these next two years.”

October 2, 2019 | More

LGO: Year 1

2019 Harrison Smith awardee, LGO ’20 Nalaka Kahawatte, reflects on his time at LGO before starting his second year!

Hi Everyone! Nalaka here from LGO Class of 2020.

Brief Background

Growing up in Sri Lanka, I always dreamed about designing and building flying machines: airplanes, rockets, etc. I wanted to someday work for an aerospace company and I feel very fortunate that California State University, Chico gave me a scholarship that made it possible for me to come to the United States and study Mechatronics. Afterwards, I got the opportunity to learn more about factory automation at RobbJack Corporation and while working there, I completed a Masters in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University of California, Davis.

Before LGO, I contributed to the NMA and 787 programs as a Lead Engineer and 737MAX as a Controls Engineer, and served as an Acting Engineering Manager at The Boeing Company. It was really exciting and rewarding to work with a team of computational fluid dynamics, thermal analysis and ice protection experts who supported multiple development programs: 777X, KC-46 Pegasus Multirole tanker, VC-25B presidential aircraft, etc.

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LGO Experience

LGO has been an incredible experience so far! During the first summer, even though it was academically intense, I got the chance to bond with my fellow LGO classmates. It is awesome to be surrounded by such an accomplished, passionate, brilliant, and yet down-to-earth, group of people. They have constantly challenged my perspective and inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and grow as a leader. During the MBA Core, I also had the chance to bond with all my Sloan classmates as the Chant Leader for my Ocean (CARIIIIBBEANS!!), which was a lot of fun.

My main engineering focus area is Supply Chain (within Civil Engineering) and, from the business-side, I love diving deep into the areas of Competitive Strategy, Economics, and Lean Operations. I am wrapping up my internship with the partner company Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen (MR) in Regensburg, Germany, where I focused primarily on business models for electrical power transformer monitoring tools.

Living and working in Germany as part of my internship has been a transformative experience. I loved working with the brilliant Venture Architects team at MR and learning the German language (which is not as easy as I thought, by the way), culture, and history. Every weekend, my family and I explored different beautiful areas in Bavaria and neighboring countries like Austria, Switzerland and Czech Republic.

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Balancing LGO with Family Life

My lovely wife is Taniya and we have an amazing two-year old, Ayla. We love spending time with Ayla and she brings us so much joy into our lives. She’s full of energy and she loves exploring. She also loves numbers, the alphabet, jigsaw puzzles and…elevators!  Everywhere we go (malls, museums, etc.), we end up spending at least 15 minutes going up and down the elevator while she keeps yelling out the numbers of each floor.

Coming to LGO with a 10-month old baby, I was nervous at first. But the incredible support from my amazing wife makes it all possible. During the semester, I start my day early and get to school around 6AM. That gives me plenty of time to focus on the preparation for classes that day. Between and after class, I spend time on homework and call it a day around 6pm. I try to maintain the same schedule on Fridays even though we don’t have classes. My LGO and MBA teammates have been very accommodating, and we do not schedule any meetings outside of these hours.

This structure has helped me not worry about schoolwork and be fully present when I am at home during the evenings and weekends. You will also learn a lot of Lean tools that can be used to increase productivity not only in Business Operations but also in your personal life.

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Housing

We lived on-campus for the first semester and it was a very pleasant experience. Westgate complex has a large play area that my daughter and I loved spending almost every evening in. It is also nice that the main recreational facilities (Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center, soccer fields, track, etc.) are nearby and we are excited to take Ayla to swim lessons offered by MIT Recreation during the weekends. There is also an added benefit of on-campus housing when it comes to internship logistics: no penalty for moving out if you choose to do a February-start internship outside of Boston. We will be moving back to Westgate after the internship.

Best Advice I Received

The Boeing Company has an incredible network of LGO alumni and many of them provided valuable advice and insights throughout the process of applying. (Shout out to Laura Bogusch, Adam Marshall, Tom Sanderson, Brandon Gorang and Guillermo Pamanes!). One common piece of advice from all of them was: “It will be the best and most transformative two years of your life, so soak it all in and make the most of every minute, hour, and day!”

It can be nerve-wracking to go back to school full time for two degrees plus an internship in two years, especially if you have to uproot your family and move to Boston. At times, it may seem overwhelming logistically. It was for me.

But know that it will be the best investment you can make in yourself and your family. Take one step at a time and also know that you have an incredible support system here at MIT who will be there for you each step of the way.

Post-LGO

I am super excited to go back to The Boeing Company after graduation to help design and build innovative products that Connect, Protect, Explore, and Inspire the world!

If you have any questions about the LGO program, please feel free to reach out anytime: naka@mit.edu.

Onwards,
Nalaka

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By Nalaka Kahawatte, LGO Class of 2020

August 26, 2019 | More