Pride Month 2021: Andrew Foster, LGO ’19

Why did you decide on attending MIT LGO?

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

Pride month 2021 Blog graphic, Andrew Foster LGO '19

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

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

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

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


What is your favorite memory from your time at LGO?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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