LFM and SDM Form New Partnership

October 19, 1999

MITs Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM) Program and System Design and Management Program (SDM) Program recently formed a partnership to reflect and better serve industry’s growing need for a systemic approach to managing and leading the technology-based enterprise. While LFM’s and SDM’s academic programs will remain separate and distinct under the new partnership, the programs will explore and strengthen synergies by consolidating administrative resources.

Both programs share a "total enterprise" approach that embraces a holistic view of the entire organization. SDM is concerned with the front end of the commercialization process and takes a "Big E" approach to the critical functions of engineering complex systems design and new product development. LFM is concerned with the back end of the commercialization process, focusing on "Big M" manufacturing and new product delivery. The new partnership and administrative consolidation reflects the total enterprise approach being adopted by leading-edge industries while eliminating redundancies, decreasing costs and increasing efficiency.

Both LFM and SDM offer graduate-level academic programs in conjunction with MIT’s School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management. Both were co-founded by the dean of MIT’s School of Engineering, Tom Magnanti; LFM in conjunction with Professor Kent Bowen, and SDM in conjunction with Professor Ed Crawley. In each instance, industry partners have worked closely to create the programs.

LFM, created in 1988, offers students an opportunity to simultaneously acquire engineering depth and management breadth, with an emphasis on manufacturing. LFM’s rigorous, two-year, graduate-level, dual-degree program requires students to participate in plant tours and a six-and-a-half-month internship leading to a thesis. Students receive an SM in engineering and an MBA or an SM in management.

SDM, created in 1997 as MIT’s first distance-learning program, offers students an opportunity to acquire both engineering depth in the area of system design and new product development and management breadth. SDM offers two programs: a 24-month off-campus, video-conference- and Web-based distance-learning curriculum in which students attend six short sessions and one semester on MIT’s campus; and a 13-month on-campus program. Both options lead to an SM in system design granted by MIT’s School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management.

Both LFM and SDM programs work closely with industry partners to develop the academic programs and conduct research.