SDM Innovates Academic Core, Calendar

Pat Hale By Pat Hale, MIT SDM Executive Director

All successful organizations know that it’s not just risky but dangerous to rest on their laurels. Whether it’s IBM or SDM, no matter what the industry, the key to success is innovation.

This is especially true at MIT, where some of the world’s leading thinkers set the pace for leadership, innovation, and systems thinking. For example:

  • Professors Ed Crawley and Tom Magnanti developed and designed SDM in response to industry’s need to educate future leaders in 1996;
  • SDM has since led the Institute in developing a career-and-family-compatible degree-granting graduate program; and
  • SDM is jointly offered by the MIT School of Engineering and MIT Sloan School of Management and offers an interdisciplinary master’s degree in engineering and management.

A testament to SDM’s success is the fact that similar programs have been formed in Japan, Mexico, and other countries around the world.

Over the past 17+ years, SDM has continued to evolve and innovate to provide:

  • full-time, part-time, and distance options; and
  • an ever-widening range of academic offerings.

However, there’s more.

In 2014, SDM will initate significant academic and operational innovations that will better meet the needs of industry and our students. For example:

  • Beginning in August, all of SDM’s cohort-building on-campus “boot camps” will be held immediately before the start of the fall semester. The last traditional boot camp will run this coming January, and another will be offered in August for the 2014 cohort that will matriculate that month. This operational change was made to give SDM students the opportunity to matriculate as a cohort in the fall semester when most other new students arrive at the Institute. This will enable SDMs to foster relationships with a wider number of their peers across MIT.
  • SDM’s core curriculum in system architecture, systems engineering, and system and project management will evolve. Beginning in fall 2014, these three separate courses will be integrated into a single “SDM Core” course offered over the fall and spring semesters and taught by a team of SDM faculty. This effort is being led by Professor Olivier de Weck and a team of key stakeholders, including faculty, alumni, and industry sponsors. The intent is to provide a more integrated approach to systems engineering processes as applied in real-time across multiple industry domains.

All of us here at SDM are excited about these changes because we believe they will help the program continue to serve students and industry by offering education at the cutting edge of engineering and management, combined with leadership, innovation, and systems thinking. We look forward to celebrating these milestones as we continue our work to ensure SDM is the world’s premier program of its kind.

Pat Hale