Monday, June 13, 2011

Looking back on LGO

I can’t believe two years have passed so quickly. 

I gained a tremendous amount personally, academically, and professionally from my time in the LGO program.  I don’t think I can summarize everything in a single blog post, although my classmate Leo did a great job with his.

As I sat at graduation I had a lot of time to think while they called what seemed like 10,000 names.  I looked at the people around me and read through the program and I realized an important lesson that holds true for LGO:

Surround yourself with role models. 

The classmates, faculty, and alumni brought together by this program all became life coaches for me in one way or another.  I am amazed at the intelligence of some, the personal sacrifice of others, the commitment to family, integrity, humility, service, drive, and many other countless examples.  There is no substitute to surrounding yourself with role models.  I am incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend two years with this group, and it is that environment that I will miss the most. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

System Problems

First things first, to all of you potential 2013s who got the call from Don recently I hope to see you during admit weekend.  Coming to LGO is a very complex decision and I urge you to reach out to current students, alumni, faculty, or anyone else to get all of your questions answered.  I speak for everyone when I say we are all happy to help.

Now I want to talk about how organizations respond to problems. 

My wife Kerin, son Sean and I took a trip to Dallas recently and, as would be expected anytime you leave the house, we encountered some trouble.  It started with the subway trip from our place in Davis Square to the airport.  MIT provides subsidized unlimited transit passes for students making it very cost effective to get around.  The morning we left for the airport I tried the pass that I had been using for the past few months only to find out it had stopped working.  We were in a rush to get to the airport so I just paid the fare and planned to deal with it when we got back.  When we landed in Dallas we collected our checked bag from the conveyor and found it had been damaged and no longer stood up by itself.  Most if not all airlines have a policy that they aren’t responsible for any damage to bags so we carried it to the rental car and headed to the hotel.  On our flight home the same airline sent Sean’s car seat to Pittsburgh instead of Boston.  And finally my subway pass still wasn’t working when I tried it on the way home. 

None of these problems were major and we were able to resolve them in some fashion without much monetary damage or frustration (Kerin might disagree about my level of frustration) but every time I talked to a customer service type person I got a similar story.  “We’re sorry, these things happen.”  I’m sure this is true but it left me thinking about a response I would have been happier with.  I know that all systems have problems and I understand statistics.  Sometimes it’s my turn to be the unlucky one that gets to deal with a defect.  What would make it better from my perspective is some sort of information about how the company is responding to the type of problem.  I’d like to know if they are working on it.  How many bags have been damaged this year?  How does that compare to last year?  How common is it for subway passes to stop working?  Is anyone actively trying to fix it?  I think if I knew what kind of response a company was taking to reduce the likelihood of me or anyone else experiencing a similar problem in the future I would be happier.  I also think if I was a customer service agent who had to deal with a dissatisfied customer having that kind of information could be helpful.  Maybe the information takes the form of a pamphlet or newsletter or something available at the time of the problem.  Everyone hates that helpless feeling of being the unlucky guy or gal who has to deal with a process that didn’t work.  Maybe it would be a little easier to swallow if you knew someone was doing something to keep it from happening next time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The home stretch

With precious few months left for me in LGO I still have a few things left on the to do list:

  • Decide where to work after the program (easier said than done)
  • Write a thesis
  • Take my spring classes
  • Live it up for one more semester with everyone back on campus

At this point in the LGO program there are a few things on my mind that prospective students may find helpful. 

Balancing the program – The first semester schedule is set in stone and can be quite busy.  After getting through the summer you get to decide how many credits you want to take and the difficulty of your courses for the other three semesters.  This gives you plenty of options for balancing the other things in your life.  Knowing that Kerin and I were planning on a baby I kept my second and third semester heavy so this spring I only need three classes to graduate.  (I’m taking more but it’s nice to know I don’t have to)

Life events during LGO – I’ve mentioned it before in the blog but having a baby during this program has worked out very well for us.  I was fortunate enough to land a local internship with a flexible schedule that allowed for me to spend time at home after Sean was born.  The medical insurance through MIT was great and covered almost all of our expenses.  The Boston area hospitals are also some of the best in the world and we were very well taken care of. 

Finding a job after graduation – Being a part of MIT, Sloan, and LGO opens some incredible doors.  A great benefit specific to LGO students is the partner company relationships.  Most of them offer excellent opportunities for LGO graduates with high potential career paths.  The job situation is obviously affected by the economy, but our class seems to be doing quite well and recent classes didn’t have any trouble either.

The decision to come to LGO – Leaving my job, moving across the country, disrupting Kerin’s career, and living like a grad student for two years was a big decision that Kerin and I made.  Now that I’m 75% done with the program and have a pretty good idea of what I’ll be doing after graduation I can honestly say I’ve been happy with the decision from day 1.  

LGO Delivers

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Internship, recruiting, new baby, …’s going to be a busy fall

It’s September which means my internship is half over, recruiting season is starting, and Sean is already almost three months old. 


I’m really enjoying my time working at Genzyme.  My project is improving a critical step in the manufacturing process of enzyme replacement products.  I’m learning a great deal and experimenting with some of the new concepts I learned in the LGO program.  It’s also great to have the network of my classmates to discuss ideas and review my thinking.  Working at Genzyme these past few months has also been interesting due to the shear number of reasons they’re in the news.


Some of you prospective students may be wondering about the process of actually finding a job at the end of the LGO experience.  While students are free to pursue any avenue they want to find employment after the program, most people utilize the recruiting process through MIT, Sloan, and LGO (all three are slightly different but complimentary).  The career development office begins posting job opportunities on an internal website in September (there are already nearly 200 posted this year) with interviews taking place starting in October and continuing through the school year.  The busiest period of on-campus recruiting is the end of October through November.  LGO has a week of dedicated recruiting for the partner companies during the first week of November.  Employment statistics for the LGO class of 2010 are posted here and Sloan statistics for the class of 2009 are here.   


He’s growing incredibly fast and keeping us busy.  It’s been great having my nights and weekends free to spend time with him.  One of the major benefits of internship is the slower pace compared to classes.  We’re headed to the cape this weekend to give him a chance to put his toes in the ocean for the first time (but only for a second because the water will be cold).  

Monday, July 19, 2010

A new addition

I’ve been slacking on the blog posts, and for that I apologize.  I do however,  have a decent excuse.  His name is Sean and he was born on June 21st. 


He and Kerin are both doing great.  He has impacted our sleep schedules a little bit (Kerin’s more than mine), but he found time to visit campus and apply for early admission. 

He’s four weeks old today.  So far, so good.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My internship

A significant part of the LGO experience is a six month long internship at one of the partner companies.  My internship started two weeks ago at the Allston Landing Facility working for Genzyme.  I am working for an LGO alum in the Lean Transformation department at a biotechnology plant. 

The facility I’m working in produces two critical drugs for Genzyme that account for a large portion of the company’s revenue.  In the past few years the plant has struggled with FDA compliance issues, contamination problems, and missed orders.  In addition to those challenges there is a billionaire investor looking to shake up the board of directors and oust the sitting CEO who has been at the helm since 1985. 

With that much going on I’m sure it will be an interesting six months.  I’ve been spending my first days at Allston meeting people and learning the process.  I hope to have a thesis project scoped out by the end of my first month. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life really does go on

One of the biggest concerns that Kerin and I had before deciding to join the LGO program was that we would put our “life” on hold for two years.  When thinking about a significantly reduced income (Kerin is working while I’m in school), selling more than half of our furniture, moving 3,000 miles, the uncertainty of where we’d be after graduation and a number of other unknowns it felt like coming to LGO would be hitting a big pause button on all of our plans.  After a lot of discussion we decided (and hoped) that it would be worth it and took the plunge.

More than a year has passed since we made that decision and in less than a year we’ll be back in the real world.  The interesting thing we have learned is that our life really didn’t pause as much as we thought it would.  We made the decision to have our first child while we’re in Boston close to Kerin’s family.  Our son is due June 19th just after I start my internship.  We still take vacations, go to the movies, hang out with friends, and eat a fancy dinner once in awhile.  Life is different, but our vision of eating ramen every night, and commuting from Maine so we could afford housing didn’t come to pass.  And I feel secure about our future because of the things I’m learning, the people I’m meeting, and the experiences I’ve had. 

If you’re considering LGO and are worried about putting your life on hold I encourage you to reach out to current and past students to get an idea of what the transition is like.  “2010 me” would have told “2009 me” not to worry and he would have been right.