Alumni News

Check out some recent news updates from our alumni and the program! To submit news updates, please contact Naomi Gutierrez, Career Development and Alumni Assistant, at

SDM Alum’s Company Wins Top Prize in MIT $100K Pitch Contest

A startup cofounded by MIT System Design & Management alumnus Rodrigo Diez has won the grand prize in the pitch portion of this year’s MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

The $100K, MIT’s largest annual entrepreneurship competition, features three main events— Pitch, Accelerate, and Launch. In the Pitch finals, 20 competitors have 90 seconds each to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. This year’s competition took place November 6 in Room 10-250 at MIT.

Diez’s startup, Novo Space, won the $5,000 top prize with a pitch for its high-performance electronics designed for use in space. Jenny Collins, whom Novo Space is bringing onboard as chief operating officer, delivered the winning pitch at the competition.

“The space industry is changing very fast,” Diez said. “In the next few years we’re going to see some amazing new space applications — such as high-resolution video and global Internet provided by low-Earth-orbit satellites — and there are no products for them.”

The company’s goal is to supply backplanes/motherboards, daughterboards (CPUs, signal processors, carriers), and mezzanine cards to new space-focused businesses to help them reduce costs, time to market, and risk, Diez said.

Diez received his master’s degree in engineering and management through the SDM program in September and is now a PhD student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He cofounded Novo Space in January 2017 with Facundo Jorge, a friend and colleague from the time he spent working at Invap S.E., an Argentine supplier of space technologies, prior to his arrival at MIT.

While at SDM, Diez worked as a research assistant at MIT’s Space Telecommunications, Astronomy, and Radiation (STAR) Laboratory. Associate Professor Kerri Cahoy, who heads the STAR Lab, now serves both as Diez’s PhD advisor and as advisor to Novo Space.

Diez said he has put SDM lessons to work in the company, notably working to address a number of “ilities” with its products — such as reliability and usability. “We’re creating a whole ecosystem of high-performance, high-reliability, and modular electronics,” Diez said.

Novo Space has already produced its first prototype, and Diez says the company plans to spend the next year fund-raising and finishing its products with the goal of putting devices into space by 2020.

He said the company has received a wealth of support from MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including assistance from the MIT Venture Mentoring Service and two rounds of funding from MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund.

Ben Levitt and Katy O’Brien ’12: Product Design Project Yields Safer, Faster Security Checks

Ben Levitt and Katy O’Brien, both SDM ’12, have been featured on the Slice of MIT blog for their product OneBin. The bin, created as a class project for 15.783 Product Design and Development, offers travelers an easier way to get their personal items through airline security while also clarifying TSA safety requirements. Check out the article here!

SDM Alumni Newsletter – December 2017

Check out the latest edition of the SDM Alumni Newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. This edition includes recaps of this year’s orientation “boot camp,” our first-ever Systems Night event, and the program’s attendance at the Grace Hopper Celebration, as well as a call for webinar submissions. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

SDM Alumni Newsletter – August 2017

Check out the latest edition of the SDM Alumni Newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. This edition includes a recap of our commencement celebration, invitations to our fall events and webinars, an introduction to the Alumni Advisors Hub, and spotlights on recent SDM news. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

Sorin Grama ’06: Alum Navigates Systems Challenges

Sorin Grama, SDM ’06, has contributed an article to the SDM Pulse on his process in launching a startup for improving supply chain issues in the dairy industry in rural India. The article is available here on the SDM website. To submit your own article to the SDM Pulse, contact Lois Slavin, SDM Communications Director, at

SDM Alumni Newsletter – May 2017

Check out the latest edition of the SDM Alumni Newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. This edition includes a recap of the spring Bay Area Tech Trek, invitations to our commencement celebration and upcoming networking events, and spotlights on recent alumni news. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

Sandro Catanzaro ’04 Named High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year

SDM congratulates alum Sandro Catanzaro ’04 on his reception of the High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year award as bestowed by the Immigrant Learning Center of Malden, Mass. Sandro serves as the Chief Innovation Officer for DataXu, which provides programmatic marketing solutions based on data science that draws on his research performed here at MIT. Please see DataXu’s website and the ILC’s press release for more information.

Ali Almossawi ’11: How algorithms can help

Ali Almossawi ’12 has been featured in the MIT Alumni Association’s “Slice of MIT” series with the release of his new book, Bad Choices: How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter and Live Happier. Check out the article here!

SDM Alumni Newsletter – March 2017

Check out the latest edition of the SDM Alumni Newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. This edition includes some great memories and pictures from the retirement celebration we held for outgoing executive director Pat Hale, as well as a recap of the January Tech Showcase and notes on our upcoming Bay Area Tech Trek. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

SDM Alumni Newsletter – December 2016

Check out the latest edition of the SDM Alumni Newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. This edition includes recaps of the August Boot Camp and Conference on Systems Thinking, as well as a letter from the Student Leadership Committee’s new co-chairs on alumni relations. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

Mona M. Vernon ’09: Her company’s data helps deals get done

Mona M. Vernon, SDM ’09, was profiled in the Boston Globe for her work with Thomson Reuters Labs. To read about her past as a DJ, the importance of her SDM education, and her work at Thomson Reuters, read the full article today!

John Sullivan ’97: Degrees of Innovation

John Sullivan ’97 of UTC Aerospace Systems was profiled on the United Technologies news blog! To see a clip of his interview and read about the importance of his SDM education, visit the post on the UTC website today.

SDM Alumni Newsletter – September 2016

Check out the latest version of the SDM Alumni Newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. This edition includes a recap of this spring’s commencement and celebration, an update on the upcoming SDM Conference on Systems Thinking, and a letter from the SDM Director of Career Development and Recruitment, Jonathan Pratt. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

Sorin Grama ’06: Entrepreneur in Residence

Check out the full article about Grama’s new post as Entrepreneur in Residence in partnership with the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship on the MIT Sloan Newsroom blog!

SDM Alumni Newsletter – Summer 2016

Check out the latest edition of the alumni newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

Alumni Newsletter – Spring 2016

Check out the latest SDM alumni newsletter! The newsletter is archived online here. To ensure you receive the newsletter as well as all our other alumni news, make sure you’re on the SDM alumni email list by emailing

“A Whole-Systems Approach to Product Design and Development”

Join the 2015 MIT SDM Conference on Systems Thinking for Contemporary Challenges: “A Whole-Systems Approach to Product Design and Development” on Wednesday, October 7, at the MIT Wong Auditorium. Alumni are also invited to join pre-conference activities on the 6th, including Back-to-the-Classroom Sessions and the annual SDM Alumni-Student Mixer. We hope to see you there.

Check out MIT’s Interactive Timeline and be sure to look at 1995.

Chris Berardi SDM ’11 at the SDM annual conference.

SDM alumna Andrea Ippolito presenting at the 2014 MIT SDM Conference on Systems Thinking for Emerging, Evolving, and Established Leaders.

Pat Hale participating in Qi Van Eikema Hommes’ back-to-the-classroom session on “What Is Systems Thinking and Why Is It Important?” He is surrounded by alums.

SDM Alumni Present in Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Already in 2014, MIT System Design and Management (SDM) students and alumni have been featured 10 times in the popular SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series. Conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners, the series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.

Click below to read the titles, abstracts, and bios from your impressive colleagues.

Andrea Ippolito (‘11), Ph.D. Student, Engineering Systems

Ioannis Kyratzoglou (’11), Principal Software Systems Engineer, The MITRE Corporation

Asif Iqbal (’11), Power and Performance Program Manager, Apple Inc.

Ali Kamil (’12), MIT SDM and Harvard Kennedy School of Government Graduate Student & Dmitriy Lyan (’11), Senior Product Manager, Amazon Web Services

Jorge Moreno (’11), Cofounder, inodú & Donny Holaschutz (’10), Cofounder, inodú

Daniel J. Sturtevant (’07), Ph.D. & Jeanne Contardo, Ph.D., Independent Education Consultant, Senior Advisor, Business-Higher Education Forum

Daniel Mark Adsit (’13), Principal, Mergence Systems

Andrea Ippolito (’11), Ph.D. Student, Engineering Systems & Allison Yost, Ph.D. Candidate, Mechanical Engineering

Mona M. Vernon (’09), Vice President of Data Innovation Lab, Thomson Reuters

Andres Kutt (’11), Head Software Architect, Republic of Estonia

The series generally occurs twice monthly. View a complete listing of upcoming webinars and on-demand recordings.

If you are interested in delivering a presentation in 2014 or 2015, please contact Lois Slavin, MIT SDM communications director.


Share Your News with Us!

I hope you enjoy reading posts about the careers and lives of fellow SDM alumni as much as I love receiving them. We are interested in all of your latest milestones, so please share your news with SDM. Just send an email to me so the community can share in your excitement.

Alumnus Esteban Montero, advanced analytics team lead at Chevron, returned to campus for the MIT Career Fair. Afterwards, he wrote, “I talked to several SDMs during the day. It was impressive to see how great they are. It really makes me feel proud of being a part of this group.”

Alumni Moise Solomon (‘00), Ioannis Kyratzoglou (’11), and Steve Ajemian (’12) enlightening SDM fellows about their exciting work at MITRE.

Attention SDM Class of ’11: Alumna Andrea Ippolito to Present at 2014 SDM Conference


Andrea Ippolito (’11), Ph.D. student in the MIT Engineering Systems Division, cofounder or Smart Scheduling, and coleader of MIT Hacking Medicine, will present “Hacking Leadership.” Visit to read Andrea’s bio and the talk abstract or to register.

We hope you will join us and personally congratulate Andrea on her Presidential Innovation Fellowship working with the Department of Veterans Affairs! 

Attention SDM Class of ’11: Alumnus Christopher Berardi to Present at 2014 SDM Conference

Christopher Berardi (’11), Ph.D. student in the MIT Engineering Systems Division and a captain in the US Air Force will present “The Importance of Failure and the Incomplete Leader.” Visit to read Chris’ bio and the talk abstract or to register.  

Attention SDM Class of ’00: Alumnus Freddie Douglas III to Present at 2014 SDM Conference

Freddie Douglas III (’00), director of the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, will present “A Systems Thinking Framework for Emerging, Evolving, and Established Leaders.” Visit to read Freddie’s bio and the talk abstract or to register.  

SDM Fellow Darshini Thiagarajan Victorious in 6th Annual MIT vs Harvard Consulting Case Competition

SDM ‘14 Darshini Thiagarajan helped an MIT team win this year’s case competition against Harvard. the first place winner, MIT Team 6 included: Chieze Ibeneche-Nnewihe, Shiou-chi Chang, Adam Weiner, and Darshini.

According to the competition website:

The Harvard vs. MIT Case Competition is a 10-day event co-organized by the Harvard Graduate Consulting Club (HGCC) and the Consulting Club at MIT (CCM), offering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to work in teams on a business case under the mentorship of consultants and industrialists. The case is a real-life business challenged posed by the senior management of a selected firm.

You’ll have to catch Darshini (to the right below) at the 2014 SDM Conference on Systems Thinking to chat about the winning strategy.


We Heard Your Feedback About Last Year’s MIT SDM Systems Thinking Conference

Thank you to those of you who attended last year’s MIT SDM Conference on Systems Thinking for Contemporary Challenges—and especially to those who completed the post-conference survey. Comments indicated that you wanted more presentations from faculty, with deeper technical information to help you continue your education at MIT. In response, this year SDM has developed preconference sessions for SDM alumni and company partners

These “back-to-the-classroom” sessions will be offered during the afternoon of October 7 (2 to 5 p.m.) in Wong Auditorium for SDM alums and others who want to learn about the latest MIT research in systems thinking. SDM faculty members Bryan Moser and Qi Van Eikema Hommes will deliver the presentations and there will be ample time for Q&A. Preregistration is required.

 The annual alumni-student mixer will follow these session, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Catalyst in Kendall Square. Whether or not you can join us for the preconference activities, we hope you will join us for the mixer. Please preregister

Major Josh Eaton Commands Elite US Army Special Forces Underwater Operations School


Josh Eaton (‘11), pictured above with his wife Ali and their two sons–Samuel, 5, and Jacob, 18 months, was recently promoted to Commander of the Special Forces Underwater Operations School in Key West, FLA. Two articles were written by Adam Linhardt of The Key West Citizen and the photo is by Mike Hentz/The Citizen.

Please join SDM in congratulating Josh!

Many thanks to Josh for sharing your news with your SDM family.For more information read:

“His return is a homecoming for commander,” Adam Linhardt, The Key West Citizen, 7/7/14, v138, no. 188, p.1, 8A


“West Point, MIT grad joins Special Forces Family,” Adam Linhardt, The Key West Citizen, 8/2/14, v.138, no 214, p 1, 8A

MEM Programs Consortium’s LinkedIn Group Surpasses 1,000 Members

The Master of Engineering Management Programs Consortium (MEMPC) is a small group of highly selective, forward-thinking, professional graduate engineering management programs dedicated to facilitating career progress and placement for a national network of students, alumni, and faculty in engineering management. The MEMPC LinkedIn group already has more than 1,000 members, and SDM alumni are eligible to join this rich professional network. If you haven’t already done so, join the MEMPC LinkedIn group today.

Also, be sure to check out the MEMPC alumni website at and sign up for that community as well.

First day of school for the MIT SDM Class of ‘15 masters and certificate students.

They are getting to know each other. Please join us in welcoming them to MIT.

Move Over, Big Data!

“Move Over, Big Data! How Small, Simple Models Can Yield Big Insights,” is the next MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar.

Richard C. Larson, Ph.D., Mitsui Professor of Engineering Systems and Director of the Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals, MIT, will present on Monday, September 8, noon-1 p.m. EDT.

Visit for more details and to register.

Adeyemi Adeptu (’13) Is Turning Waste into Energy

Adeyemi Adeptu (’13) Is Turning Waste into Energy

Back pack prep for the SDM Class of 2015! And this is just the beginning.

SDM Fellows Featured in New Scientist

New Scientist featured an article on SDM ’13s Alex Pina and Sean Gilliland’s start-up, Avalanche Energy. Read it online at the magazine’s website. You can also learn about the systems thinking behind the company’s patent-pending double reflector solar thermal collector in an article published by SDM.

This object process methodology diagram shows a residential solar thermal water heating system, demonstrating the function of each system component.

Sabin Thomas (’13) and Machine Learning for Customer Interaction Data

NodeSpan, a startup that offers “machine learning with a beautiful [user interface] for customer interaction data,” did quite well in the MIT $100K. The team reached the semifinals and ultimately walked away with the $10,000 Thomson Reuters Data Prize. The startup is also one of 128 finalists out of 1,600 competing in the MassChallenge. Learn more at:

Many Firsts for this Year’s Incoming Class SDM 15:

First Fall start
First combined SDM/Certificate ‘boot camp’
Most women in the starting cohort (40%)
New curriculum, including integrated core
New specialization track (Product Design and Management or PDM)- starting Fall of 2015
New logo and web site (coming soon)

SDM Alum Andres Kütt Returning to Campus

Andres Kütt (‘11), will present “System Architecture, the Evolution of E-Governance in Estonia, and Lessons for Industries Around the World” on Monday, 7/21, 12-1pm as part of the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series.

Andres is currently the Head Software Architect for the Republic of Estonia and much of his in the e-governance/digital business space. Prior to matriculating at SDM, Andres was Chief Evangelist at Skype.

Andres will be on campus on Friday, 7/25 addressing SDM fellows from 11:30 – 12:30 and is planning to join in evening festivities and networking. Please let me know if you are interested in and available to attend, so I can provide additional details (

Commanding Officer, Captain Dennis Evans

On June 27th Captain Dennis Evans took command of the United States Coast Guard Research and Development Center in a formal ceremony. According to the news release:

The Change of Command Ceremony is a time-honored tradition that formally restates to the officers and personnel the continuity of the authority of the command. It is a total transfer of responsibility, authority, and accountability from one individual to another.

The Research & Development Center supports the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. government agencies, and the world’s maritime community with the latest technologies available for Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, maritime safety, environmental protection, and ports, waterways, and coastal security. The Research & Development Center’s everyday mission ensures each Coast Guard unit has the equipment, training, and policies necessary to fulfill the service’s ever-expanding set of missions.

Please join SDM in congratulating Dennis. Many thanks to Dennis for sharing your news with us.

Khalid Al-Ahmed Moves into New Role in the World Economic Forum


After graduating Khalid Al-Ahmed returned to Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco. He joined the Corporate Planning department as an economy and energy analyst. While with the company Khalid was chosen as a Young Leaders Advisory Board member, an elite group of employees who engage top management on a range of topics and help connect young employees to the top decision makers and the CEO. 

This June, Khalid moved, with his family, to Geneva, Switzerland. There he started a “secondment assignment” with the World Economic Forum as manager of Knowledge Management and Integration with Energy Industries.

Please join SDM in wishing Khalid and his family continued success and all the best in their new home. Thank you for sharing your news with us, Khalid!

SDM Summer Social–Alumni Invited

SDM Summer Social will be held on Wednesday, July 23, 6-9pm, at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and Park in Brookline (SDM will provide buses from campus). Members of the SDM community, along with their families, are invited to attend. Please view the formal invitation and RSVP today.


SDM Pulse Spring 2014 Edition Is Now Available on the SDM website.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Innovation Hub hosts a successful “Shark Tank” Pitch-Off

Brigham and Women’s Hospital Innovation Hub hosts a successful “Shark Tank” Pitch-Off

2 SDMs & 1 LGO = Leaders of BigDataExplorers@MIT

Rohan Kulkarni (’13), president of BigDataExplorers@MIT recently announced the new leadership for the group he founded. Rohan graduated this June and left the group in good hands. The leaders of BigDataExplorers@MIT for the upcoming academic year will be Jim Barkley (’14) and Daniel Burseth (LGO) as the co-presidents; Ilias Hamdouch (’14) will be the treasurer of the club.

Jim Barkley is currently an SDM fellow and a principal software systems engineer at The MITRE Corporation. His areas of interests are diverse and include open-source software, open hardware, big data, cyber-physical systems, complexity, agile software development, and wearables, to name a few.

Ilias Hamdouch, another SDM fellow, previously consulted with governments and enterprise customers on development strategies in renewable energy and in the information communications technology markets in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. Ilias’ interests include open-source software, network science, predictive analytics, and collective intelligence to support public-private partnerships locally and globally that can overcome society’s most stubborn problems in fields including energy, environment, healthcare, education, employment, and poverty.

INCOSE Symposium 2014—Join Us If You Can!

The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) 2014 International Symposium will be held June 30–July 3, in Las Vegas. Pat Hale and I are planning to be there, with Pat attending sessions and socials while I promote SDM in the exhibit area. I bet we’ll both enjoy the trip.

If you plan to attend, please let us know so that we can look out for you and perhaps organize an SDM dinner.

Commencement 2014

Please join the SDM program staff in congratulating those who graduated this year and celebrated on June 6, 2014.

Below is a slideshow of the day. All quotes are from MIT President L. Rafael Reif’s charge to the graduates. Please visit  to view the prepared text in its entirety [cited as (RR, 6/6/14)].

All photos are courtesy of Alex Sanchez, ‘13.

The MIT community gathers to celebrate the 148th Commencement.

 *Note: The below excerpt is from a section of Reif’s speech in which he gives “the world some instructions for [graduates’] care and feeding.”

“MIT Graduates are fairly exotic: Only around 130,000 of them exist in the wild. They vary widely in appearance, although over time, they do tend to acquire bright red jackets. But they all share certain powerful instincts.” (RR, 6/6/14)

Celebrants gather outside of E62, the “new” Sloan building.


*“QUESTION: I want my New MIT Graduates to perform at the peak of their abilities. What can I use to motivate them?

ANSWER: You can try money. That works, up to a point. But if you really want to see how high your New MIT Graduates can jump — give them an opportunity to change the world.” (RR, 6/6/14)

*Note: The above excerpt is from a section of Reif’s speech in which he gives “the world some instructions for [graduates’] care and feeding.”

The SDM party is hosted at the Liberty Hotel, formerly a prison, where grads celebrate freedom from the pressure of the Thesis.


“We need your vision to steer around obstacles, your passion to accelerate our progress toward important goals, and your wisdom to put the brakes on humanity’s most destructive forces.” (RR, 6/6/14)


Pat Hale addresses attendees with some heartfelt remarks.


“Whatever road you choose to travel, I want you to reject the idea that what you see in front of you is the best that we human beings can do. I want you to see the status quo as nothing more than the beta release…I want you to hack the world, until you make the world a little more like MIT. More daring and more passionate. More rigorous, playful, and ambitious. More humble, more respectful, more generous, and more kind.” (RR, 6/6/14)


SDM Significant Others—some are both SOs and alumni


“To everyone who has come here this morning to celebrate our graduates — welcome to MIT! And to the parents and families of today’s graduates — congratulations to you as well! For you, this day is the joyful result of years of serious effort, loving support, and sacrifice. Please accept our gratitude and admiration.” (RR, 6/6/14)

Current and graduating fellows gather for a group shot.


“So now go out there. Join the world. Find your calling. Solve the unsolvable. Shape the future. Drive society onto the high road. And you will continue to make your family, including your MIT family, proud.” (RR, 6/6/14)

Save the Dates!
 October 7 & 8 for SDM Conference Activities

Back-to-the-classroom sessions will be offered during the afternoon of October 7 for SDM alums who want to learn about the latest MIT research in systems thinking. These will be delivered by SDM faculty members Bryan Moser and Qi Van Eikema Hommes. Please register.

The annual SDM Alumni-Student Mixer will take place Tuesday, October 7, from 6-10 p.m. at Catalyst in Technology Square. Please register.

The 2014 MIT SDM Conference on Systems Thinking for Contemporary Challenges
 is scheduled for Wednesday, October 8, 2014. This year’s topic is
Systems Thinking for Emerging, Evolving, and Established Leaders.
 Details and registration.

An SDM Information Evening will be held Wednesday, October 8, from 6-9 p.m. Please check for details.

Doug Hague, Chief Analytics Officer at Bank of America Merchant Services, Featured in Sloan Management Review

In an interview for MIT Sloan Management Review, Doug Hague (’99), chief analytics officer for Bank of America Merchant Services, discusses his role in making strategic business decisions. Hague has “one of the first analytics roles to report directly to the CEO at Bank of America Merchant Services,” according to the article by Renee Boucher Ferguson.

SDM Alumni & Business Cofounders Discuss Energy and Sustainability

Jorge Moreno (’11) and Donny Holaschutz (’10) cofounded inodú and have been collaborating on “a general plan of action for energy and sustainability solutions that can be customized and applied across industries.” In their April 7 webinar, the two also spoke about specific examples in Chile. The presentation and slides are available on demand.

SDM Information Evening Success

On Wednesday, April 2, SDM hosted an Information Evening at the Boston Marriott Cambridge hotel to introduce prospective students to the program. Thirteen out of 20 registrants attended. If you know someone who would make a good candidate for MIT’s System Design and Management (SDM) program, please keep an eye out for future Information Evening sessions and feel free to direct your colleagues to the Virtual Information Session—available on demand.

San Francisco Bay Area Tech Trek 2014

During the week of March 23-28, 21 SDM students, three other staff members, and I visited California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley for a Tech Trek. We visited App Dynamics, Google Ventures, Intuit, Palantir, Salesforce, SanDisk, Tesla, and Yelp—eight companies in four days. We also carved out time to mingle with SDM alumni at a private event held at Picchetti Winery in Cupertino. We were fortunate that Wassim Bassalee (’09), Deep Bhattacharjee (’07), Harish Doddala (’12), Cheri Markt (’09), Cynthia Munoz (’08), Abhijith Neerkaje (’12), Varun Parmar (’04), and Leena (’11) & Aravind (’10) Ratnam were all able to join us at the mixer. We also saw Karthik Malli Mohan (’08) at SanDisk. We would like to extend special thanks to those who helped us along the way, especially Abhijith, who ensured that we were able to meet with top leaders at SanDisk and Sam Chow (‘05), who came to the info session.

If you didn’t receive email invitations to the mixer and live in the area, please review your profile, especially your preferred address, in the Virtual Community. If you encounter any difficulties, send me an email.


Alumni-Student Mixer at Picchetti Winery. Thank you to everyone who joined us!

Thank you, Abhijith, for a wonderful visit. 

Brainstorming innovations at Intuit. We’ll have to see if they implement any of our ideas. 

A taste of the San Francisco city life…

Taking in the West Coast work culture…

MIT Senior Lecturer Steven Spear Delivers Webinar

MIT Senior Lecturer Steven Spear of the Engineering Systems Division and the Sloan School of Management delivered a webinar on “‘Gap-Filling Organizations’: Competing at Speed in a Moving World.” The presentation and slides are available on demand.

Annual Summer Shack Social

Although I wasn’t able to attend this year’s event, I heard it was a good one. Apparently, the Summer Shack has been remodeled and the flow was much better for our group. With almost 150 anticipated guests, the SDM community took over the entire main space. Many of the staff attended with their families, as did a number of alumni. Some who indicated they were planning to attend included: Chris Berardi, (’11), Andy Campanella (’11), Karl Critz (’10), Stephen Friedenthal (’04), Leigh Gautreau (’08), Dev Goyal (’10), Sunish Gupta (’09), Mike Khusid (’08), Ioannis Kyratzoglou (’11), Brian London (’10), Alvaro Madero (’12), Ofri Marcus (’08), Jean-Baptiste Nivoit (’11), Maya Olsha-Yehiav (’08), Andrew “Ozz” Oswald (’11), Victor Piper (’11), Charbel Rizk (’08), Fady Saad (’11), and Emad Zand (’08). It looks as if a few SDM ’08s made the event a mini reunion. I really wish I had been there.

Alumni Come Back to Campus to Share Wisdom

Alumni Victor Piper (’11), Karl Critz (’10), Fady Saad (’11), and Mike Khusid (’08) participated in a panel discussion organized by current fellow Jim Barkely . Moderated by Matt Kressy, senior lecturer in the MIT Engineering Systems Division, the panel shared life experiences and career advice with an eager audience of current students.

SDMers Deliver Webinar on Patient Wait Times

SDM alumnus Dmitriy Lyan (’11) and current student Ali Kamil delivered a webinar on “Addressing Patient Wait Times with Systems Thinking.” The presentation and slides are available on demand.

SDM Alumnus Troy Hamilton Elected New Alumni Co-chair of the MEM PAC

In accordance with the Master of Engineering Management Programs Alumni Council (MEM PAC) constitution, annual voting has occurred for the alumni co-chair position. Troy Hamilton, SDM ’97, will assume responsibilities immediately with the assistance of MEMPAC Founding Alumni Chair Adam Detwiler.

Hamilton has been an active member of the MEM program’s alumni council for approximately a year. He initially attended a networking event in New York City and later became a regional planner. Hamilton joined the national council for biweekly conference calls and quickly identified areas in which he would have positive impact. He created a communications subcommittee and developed a strategy in which the national council supports regional groups through a centralized communications database, invitation templates, and other tools. Hamilton’s greatest contribution, to date, is the design and development of, a hub for the MEMPC alumni network, where regional information, a calendar of events, ways to get involved, and more are posted. Hamilton and Detwiler have been collaborating closely over the past few months, and Hamilton even presented the council’s 2014 strategy and budget proposal to the MEMPC leadership in November.

For more information, contact Troy Hamilton at

SDM Alumnus Interviewed for Capital News Service

Charles Iheagwara, Ph.D., SDM ’10, was interviewed on a recent cyber-security breach at the University of Maryland. Watch the video today.  

SDM is the pinnacle of my education.

Christine Meier

Alumni Connect

I’m very excited to announce that we’ve completed phase II of the Alumni Connect initiative.  We scoured LinkedIn to update alumni profiles. It was a manual process completed one alumnus at a time for over 725 alumni.

Many thanks to everyone who helped, especially the original Alumni Connect committee, Chris Bates, and Steven Derocher (who assisted with the data upload).

Please be sure to update your profile in the Virtual Community.