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Sponsoring Employees

Organizations large and small have reaped the benefits of sponsoring employees as fellows in MIT’s System Design & Management (SDM) programs. Sponsored fellows are encouraged to work on projects that provide immediate benefit to their organizations, maximizing the investment in their education and their value to the organization.

  • The 21-month master’s program is ideal for employees who will continue to work while they are enrolled and attending courses on-campus and/or who have demanding family obligations.
  • The graduate certificate program focuses on systems and product development and is designed for employees working full-time and attending courses remotely. The program culminates in a capstone project that addresses a complex challenge facing their organization. 

Distance Learning 

Both the master’s and certificate programs take advantage of an award-winning synchronous digital delivery experience to allow fellows to attend live classes remotely with their on-campus counterparts. Certificate students spend a total of three weeks on the MIT campus over the course of the year in August, January, and May. Fellows in the master’s program are also required to spend at least one semester on MIT campus.

Sponsoring a Spring Integrated Core Project

Each spring semester as part of the SDM integrated core course, multi-disciplinary teams of first-year fellows work on challenges proposed by industry, governmental, and non-profit partners. Fellows select the challenges they wish to work on in January and present their work and outcomes at the end of the spring semester in May. 

The teams take a systems thinking approach to engineering, design, and strategic decision making, applying the skills they learn in the core course to a variety of problems. Each team works closely with their project sponsor, which provides real-world context for the problem, reviews progress throughout the semester, and advises on the relevance of the team’s approach. 

Past projects have been proposed by companies such as Shell TechWorks, Amazon Robotics, John Deere, IBM, and Honda, as well as by local city governments, health care providers, and early stage start-ups.

Sponsoring Internships and Thesis Research

Developed in response to industry requests, this option enables companies to sponsor internship and thesis research conducted by self-funded System Design & Management (SDM) fellows. Support typically involves identifying an internship project or thesis topic of pressing concern to the organization, naming a sponsor mentor to work with an SDM fellow, and providing access to relevant data as necessary.  SDM can help to facilitate advising support from an MIT faculty member to address the challenge.

This kind of sponsorship enables a company to expand its presence within SDM at a modest cost, work with an SDM fellow and an MIT expert on a relevant project, and favorably position the organization to recruit self-funded SDM fellows.

Become a Sponsor 

For more information about sponsoring a fellow from your organization, a project challenge, an internship, or a thesis, contact:

Ben Linville-Engler
SDM Industry and Certificate Co-Director
benle@mit.edu