Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Employers hire SDM grads for leadership, systems thinking skills - SDM Pulse Summer 2010

By Helen M. Trimble, director, SDM Career Development


Helen M. Trimble

Graduates of MIT’s System Design and Management Program (SDM) are experienced professionals, representing a wide range of industries, who have received master of science degrees in engineering and management. This, coupled with their academic preparation in leadership, systems thinking, and managing complex systems, makes them ideal employees who can work effectively across organizational boundaries to solve enterprise-wide challenges.
Unlike other academic programs, SDM has a flexible recruitment cycle. Companies can interview and hire self-funded candidates year-round by requesting resumes or visiting the MIT campus. We are happy to arrange interviews!
There are no preconditions for companies to participate in SDM recruitment activities, and it is very economical. Career development professionals estimate that a search at key technical leadership levels—for example, for a manager or director—can easily cost 20 percent to 30 percent of the position’s annual salary. Even with today’s increased transportation costs, airfare from your city plus lodging and food expenses for one to two days in Cambridge (approximately $325/day at a first-rate hotel) can still provide impressive savings.
SDM ’07 Rehan Asad, associate director, AT&T Corporate Strategy, says that his company hired SDM graduates for the depth and breadth of technology and management skills that they bring to the table.
As a member of the company’s corporate strategy team that works closely with the CEO, chairman, and business units leaders on the company’s strategic direction, Asad says his SDM education enables him to understand the holistic view in terms of “what’s happening in operations, technological evolution, and the overall industry dynamics.” He says SDM has also equipped him to work effectively with teammates from other areas of the company in helping evolve AT&T’s strategy for the next 5 to 10 years.
SDM ’01 William Taylor III, principal of Tau Advisors Inc., a technical consultancy specializing in new product development, recruited SDM graduates for Eaton Corporation when he worked for that company. He says, “To execute on new technology programs, an engineer needs the ability to judge difficult situations that he hasn’t seen before. [Engineers] must also be willing to adapt their skill set to the task at hand. You don’t have to know everything, but you’ve got to be willing to learn anything.
“That’s where the SDM degree provides the most value. The students graduating from MIT-SDM have experience in their field, a rich exposure to principles of risk management, product development, system architecture, and systems engineering. It takes this combination of experience and education to develop sound judgment. A systems engineer, with good judgment, who’s willing to learn new disciplines, is worth his/her weight in gold.”
For information on SDM recruitment activities, contact sdmcareers@mit.edu.

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