Thursday, November 14, 2013

SDM Announces New Admissions Deadlines, Core Curriculum for Fall 2014 Matriculation

By Lois Slavin, MIT SDM Communications Director

In 2014, the MIT System Design and Management (SDM) program will initiate significant academic and operational innovations that will better meet the needs of industry and our students, specifically:
  • Beginning in August 2014, all of SDM's cohort-building on-campus "boot camps" will be held immediately before the start of the fall semester. This operational change from running "boot camps" in January was made to give SDM students the opportunity to matriculate as a cohort in the fall semester when most other new students arrive at MIT. This will enable SDMs to foster relationships with a wider number of their peers across the Institute. SDM's new admissions calendar for August 2014 is available here.
  • SDM's core curriculum in system architecture, systems engineering, and system and project management will evolve. Beginning in fall 2014, these three 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.
  • Required courses that were formerly taught in the summer will be moved to other terms to accommodate the growing interest in summer internships.
"Successful organizations know that it's not just short-sighted but dangerous to rest on their laurels. Whether it's IBM or SDM, no matter what the industry, the key to success is innovation," said SDM Executive Director Pat Hale. "All of us here at SDM are excited about these innovations because they will help the program continue to serve students and industry."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SDM Innovates Academic Core, Calendar

By Pat Hale, MIT SDM Executive Director
 
Pat Hale
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.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jillian Wisniewski, SDM '14: Systems Engineering, Operations Research, the US Army, and Two Kids

By Lois Slavin, MIT SDM Communications Director

Jillian Wisniewski,
SDM '14
She's a US Army captain who earned a Bronze Star, a wife, a mother, and now an SDM student. Her name is Jillian Wisniewski.

A 2006 graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, where she earned an undergraduate degree in operations research (OR), Wisniewski chose to apply to MIT's SDM master's program because it offers technical depth, management breadth, and leadership skills through MIT's No. 1 rated School of Engineering and its top business school, MIT Sloan. "I felt that an SDM education would enable me not only to apply systems engineering and OR concepts, but to effectively communicate those concepts to my future students as well," she said.

US Army Capt. Jill Wisniewski and colleagues in Afghanistan
US Army Capt. Jill Wisniewski and colleagues in Afghanistan

Future students? Yes. After Wisniewski earns her MIT MS in engineering and management, adding "SDM graduate" to her list of accomplishments, she will also put "faculty member at West Point" on her resume, following in the footsteps of SDM alumni Nathan Minami, Kristina Richardson, and Joshua Eaton. She is slated to teach systems engineering during a three-year assignment, spending one of those years at the Army's Operations Research Center.

"SDM will help me achieve my longer-term goals as well," she said, noting her plans to help significantly change the Army's education for military intelligence analysts at user, operational, and strategic levels. "Intelligence personnel must sift through hundreds, if not thousands of data points to make sense of adversaries' actions, yet they receive no training in basic data analysis," she explained. "Too often this results in misinterpretation and errors.

"So far I have been able to effect some change on a local level, but I would like to have a larger impact on the branch itself," she continued. "I believe that my SDM education, combined with teaching systems engineering and working at the Army's Operations Research Center, will give me a solid platform to research, develop, and implement real solutions on a larger scale over the long term."

While Wisniewski is studying at SDM, her husband, Isaac Jahn, is attending the MBA program at Harvard Business School. High school sweethearts, they both attended West Point and served together in the United States and Afghanistan. Their oldest child, Anna, now 6, was born during their first assignment together at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. When both were deployed to Afghanistan, which is where Wisniewski received a Bronze Star for exceptional service as a squadron intelligence officer, Anna stayed in the United States with her paternal grandparents. The couple now also has a son, Isaac Edward, who is almost 2.

After managing to handle war-time deployment, Wisniewski said she is looking forward to a different type of adventure at MIT. "This is an experience that I am proud to share with my family. I am confident that the rigors of academics at MIT will provide a new set of challenges that will help us grow even stronger together and will ultimately enhance my contribution to the military."