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Lisa Crofoot
SDM ‘18
B.A.Sc. Mechanical Engineering
M.A.Sc. Solar Energy

Prior to joining the SDM program, Lisa was a systems engineer for a manufacturing company in Canada that designed large structural mechanical systems. With a number of pretty complex projects on her plate, SDM originally piqued her interest as a way to get the formal training in systems engineering that she needed to manage the types of challenges she faced on the job. 

By the time she applied, Lisa was hoping to transition to a role where she would have a bit more strategic influence. 

How do you plan to use systems thinking in your future career? 

For me, systems thinking is the ability to see the big picture but also seeing the connections and dependencies at a detailed level. Being able to connect the high and low-level details is a useful skill in any role. 

Have your plans/goals for your career changed while you’ve been in the program? 

I didn’t come to MIT with a super clear path in mind. Part of my reason for applying was to figure out what my options were. While at MIT, and through my internship, I have developed an interest in product management. After I graduate I am going to be a Technical Product Manager in the tech industry, which isn’t unrelated to what I wanted to do when I came, but I did not come with that end goal in mind.

What are some of the things you feel have been unique to MIT and the SDM program? 

SDM is a tight-knit cohort, only 100 people, where some of the MBA programs are pretty large. I was able to get to know everyone in my cohort and learn from their professional experiences. 

I have also had the advantage of being a TA for the SDM core, something I knew before coming that I wanted to do. I like teaching; it is not something I want to do for my career, but it is nice to have the opportunity to flex that muscle. 

It is super rewarding to help the students, who are now in the shoes I was in last year, succeed in the program and in the course. I have learned a ton going through the course a second time and hearing a whole bunch of new perspectives. 

Describe your internship experience. 

I interned as a Technical Product Manager at Amazon Alexa.  It was a really great and challenging experience. I intentionally chose to intern somewhere that would be super different than my past experience. I thought, it is a 12-week experience, I might as well stretch my comfort zone. I was learning a new product, a new industry, a new role and a new company, which was extremely rewarding. I got to explore Washington, and around Seattle which was an added bonus.  It is an experience I wouldn’t have had without SDM.