MIT’s Innovation, Product and System Design Graduates in High Demand

September 26, 2005

Graduates from MIT’s System Design and Management (SDM) program left commencement in June, 2005 for positions with some of the world’s leading-edge companies. SDM 2005 grads are now joining the workforces of corporations such as Adobe Systems, Apple Computer, Bank of America, Ernst & Young, United Technologies Research Center and more. They were hired at an impressive rate, with excellent compensation as well.

This year, 90% of SDM students accepted a job offer prior to graduation, and 100% secured positions within three months of graduation. SDM grads, most of whom have at least 10 years of work experience, received a Master of Science degree in Engineering and Management granted jointly by MIT’s School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management.

"Businesses are eager to hire seasoned professionals with expertise in innovation and product design," said Pat Hale, director of the System Design and Management Fellows Program. "They’ve found that SDM grads have unsurpassed grounding in the technical and managerial aspects of the latest developments in system design, system architecture, innovation, and product development, so they are willing to invest in SDM grads and hire them directly into strategic leadership positions."

The companies’ willingness to invest has resulted in across-the-board salary increases for the 33 SDM grads. The median salary for the class of 2005 jumped by more than 25 percent from the time the students entered the SDM program to graduation. The group’s median salary is now $110,000, with some receiving up to $135,000 plus additional compensation in the form of bonuses and stock options.

Why are companies from consulting firms to financial services to high tech avidly hiring SDM students? It could be the rapidly growing need for professionals skilled in the technical and managerial aspects of innovation and product development who can successfully see a new product from conception to market in any industry. It could also be the caliber of business professionals the program attracts. This year’s SDM class brought with it an average of 10 years work experience in industries ranging from aerospace to telecommunications and finance.

Or it could be the SDM program itself.

During this intensive program, which can be taken full-time on the MIT campus, part-time on campus, or at a distance, SDM students are taught by industry and academic leaders, conduct cutting-edge research into real-world innovation and product development, and write an interdisciplinary thesis on their findings. According to Hale, this combination arms the SDM grads with unsurpassed skills in system design and architecture, as well as strong capabilities in change management and leadership.

The recent SDM grads will now utilize those skills in a variety of industries from high tech to consulting to defense. They’ll take on product development, innovation, and consulting challenges on many different levels with position titles that include Vice President, Director of Business Strategy, Strategic Planning Manager, Market Development Manager, Staff Research Engineer/Product Manager, Senior Manager/Systems Engineer, Senior Technical Staff, and Operations Manager.

Other companies who hired SDM 2005 graduates are Computer Associates, Motorola, Raytheon, Sandia National Laboratories, Top Quadrant, and the World Bank.

To learn more about the SDM program, visit