March 9, 2007
"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." Andrew Carnegie
Although far from being "common", the students in MIT’s System Design and Management Program will experience just that productive teamwork. Like those in the ten preceding classes, members of the class entering in January 2007 come with a diverse range of experience upon which to build their academic experience. It is through shared learning and advanced technical studies that SDM students gain acumen in systems-thinking that will lead them to manage strategically throughout the rest of their careers.
At 61 students, this class matches that of 2005 as the largest group of program participants. As new or current residents of the Boston Area, or participating through distance learning technology, the class is composed of the citizens of 18 different nations including Lebanon, Colombia, Ireland, and Tanzania.
Pat Hale, Director of the SDM Fellows Program, remarks, "The 2007 SDM cohort continues to add to our diversity in cultures and product domains, creating a richer experience base for our program."
The eight women in the class arrive from several areas of professional industry and various academic disciplines. Half of them have already earned advanced degrees. Each of these women enrolled in SDM to advance their careers, develop better products, and operate more efficiently in the industries in which they work. Some areas include aerospace, product manufacture and design, academic administration, web and software development, and involvement in community service initiatives.
Linda Nguyen, a senior product engineer at Procter and Gamble – Gillette GBU, originally from Las Vegas, Nevada; devotes much of her spare time to a company initiative known as Team HYPER: Helping Youth Pursue Engineering and Robotics. In this work she leads and mentors high school students in a series of organized robotics competitions. Nguyen takes part in the initiative because she believes that "leaders of engineering today need to play an active role in filling the pipeline for tomorrow."
Other SDMs intend to apply their program learning to the efforts of U.S. and foreign armed forces and defense agencies. One such student, Kelvin Lim, joins SDM on scholarship granted by the Defence Science and Technology Agency of the Republic of Singapore, a statutory board established under the Ministry of Defence. As a project manager in this agency, he believes that the holistic education that distinguishes the SDM program will equip him with the systems-thinking and managerial skills necessary to take on more complex system managing in his career.
Charles Ufongene is an Avionic Systems Integration Engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft Company of United Technologies Corporation. Ufongene has earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science and two Masters Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics. Recently he completed the one-year Certificate Program offered by SDM. Through the Fellows Program he hopes to expand beyond the technical aspect of his work and apply the wide range of learning towards the field of technology strategy.
Five other SDM Fellows have already earned doctoral degrees: Amarnath Arvind in Electrical Engineering, Albert Assad in Medicine with specialization in Head and Neck Surgery, Ragu Bharadwaj in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Kevin Liu in Computer Science and Parthasarathy Seshadri in Chemical Engineering. A total of 34 students in the class have earned advanced degrees prior to enrollment in SDM.
Many students report that the breadth of learning offered through SDM is the program’s most attractive element. Combining technical studies from the leading technology institute in the U.S. with business studies at a top management school, the SDM program provides a comprehensive educational experience for those who aspire to executive managerial positions in advanced technical fields.
The class has just completed an intensive January session, known to the students as SDM Boot Camp, during which SDMs participate in collaborative technical design projects. Upon completion of this session Pat Hale says, "This group of SDM Fellows is well-prepared to bring enthusiasm, intelligence, and real-world experience into the MIT classrooms and will, I am sure, enhance SDM’s reputation within the MIT community."