Gordon–MIT Engineering Leadership Program
Q. Who are Gordon Engineering Leaders (GELs) and how will I benefit by becoming a GEL?
A. GELs come from all departments in the School of Engineering (as well as from a few other related disciplines) and include varsity athletes, leaders in MIT's Greek system and student government, performing artists, leaders of student teams (Design-Build-Fly, Solar Car, Formula SAE, Rocket Team), and others.
The program provides aspiring engineering undergraduate Juniors and Seniors realistic leadership and engineering experience during your time at MIT. The program also offers you exciting opportunities to develop essential engineering leadership skills, impact society, and plan for and strengthen your career options.
In GEL, you'll hone your leadership skills through an intensive combination of classroom activities and through a series of hands-on, real-life authentic engineering leadership challenges. GELs practice what they learn through complex problem-solving exercises and intensive evaluation, both by yourself and your teammates. Equally significant, the leadership skills you develop in the program are in an engineering context.
What's it like to be a GEL? Check out this blog by Stanley Gill (GEL '14)
Here are some of the benefits of becoming a GEL:
- Build Your Network:
- Develop Your Leadership Skills:
- Get More from Your Internships:
- Work with Diverse, Multidisciplinary Teams:
— Develop lasting, meaningful connections with industry leaders
— Meet industry stars to whom you would not normally have access
— Network with industry leaders, faculty and fellow students
— Hear real world challenges of engineering and how to overcome them
Watch this short video in which Ariadne Smith (GEL '10) talks about the networking benefits of the Gordon–MIT Engineering Leadership Program.
— Engaging, hands–on exercises in weekly Engineering Leadership Labs
— Connect with a mentor from industry
— Get candid feedback on your skills and leadership abilities
— Learn how to work with a mentor, and to mentor others
— Unique, high–powered "InternshipPlus" experience (available to students who are in the GEL Year Two program)
— Access to awesome internships at leading companies
— Internships with meaningful leadership experience
Watch this short video in which Nora Micheva (GEL '10, now working at Microsoft) talks about the leadership skills you'll develop in GEL.
— Learn about systems engineering and design outside your major
— Skills to be an "internal entrepreneur" within a existing company or organization
— How to lead a project in industry
— Hone the skills necessary to excel in your design/capstone subjects
Q. What will I learn in GEL?
A. During their time at MIT and after they graduate, GELs find that the leadership experiences, industry exposure, and industry networks they establish are beneficial as they pursue a career in industry. (Watch this short video from a current GEL!) GELs also learn valuable personal and professional skills as they work on their Personal Leadership Development Plan (PLDP). Employers understand the importance of and actively recruit for entry-level engineers with demonstrated leadership and teamwork skills.
Q. Where do GELs work in industry?
A. As a result of the engineering leadership training and development students get in GEL, you'll be prepared to work in almost any company. In addition to the companies shown below, GELs work at General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Airbus, Inc., PowerAdvocate, Levitronix, Pelton & Crane, and serve as officers in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Q. What are the requirements of GEL Year One and GEL Year Two?
A1. The extent to which you participate in GEL guides your requirements. Overall, each GEL year is designed to complement your existing academic obligations. We want to give you opportunities, not more requirements. But as with any real life undertaking, there are certain benchmarks you have to achieve to earn this credential.
Click here to see the requirements for successful completion of GEL Year One status (approximately the equivalent of an MIT concentration).
Click here to see the requirements for successful completion of GEL Year Two status (approximately the equivalent of an MIT minor).
If possible, all entering GEL students should take a short subject during the Fall term.
As a GEL you'll also be expected to fulfill a service responsibility: e.g., leading/mentoring project–based subjects in your major or for freshmen, national outreach for the program, operation of the program, future mentoring of students as alumni/ae, etc.
Read more about GEL requirements in the GEL handbook.
Q. When and where do the GEL short subjects meet in the 2013–14 academic year? What courses do I need to take to fulfill my GEL requirements?
A. GEL Short Subjects, IAP 2013 and Spring 2014
— "Engineering Leadership" short subject (ESD.054): Students may attend either the week of January 6–10, 2014 (taught by Michael Davies in 32-144) or the week of January 27–31, 2014 (taught by Rick Schuhmann in 56-154). (Offered as an intensive weeklong subject during IAP, ESD.054 is required for GEL1s. Plan now for externships, other IAP activities, and holiday travel to avoid conflicts.)
— "Project Engineering" short subject (ESD.052): This intensive, four-day course is conducted offsite in New Hampshire at the end of IAP (January 30–February 2, 2014). A chartered bus will depart campus around 12:00 PM on 1/30 for the Cody Outdoor Center and returns on Sunday afternoon, 2/2. More details on the course and logistics will be provided to those who register. (ESD.052 is required for GEL2s and open to GEL1s, space permitting.)
— "Engineering Innovation & Design" (ESD.051/6.902): In the Spring of 2014, this short subject (a 9–unit course) meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:00–5:00 PM, in 4-231. ESD.051 is a required short subject for GEL 1s.
— "Engineering Leadership Lab" (ESD.05/ESD.050): Meets Fridays in 32-124 from 9:00–11:00 AM, 1:00–3:00 PM, and/or 3:00–5:00 PM. (ESD.05 or ESD.050 are required each term and are open only to students actively enrolled in the GEL program. GEL1s should register for ESD.05 and GEL2s should register for ESD.050. GELs are required to attend ONE ELL per week, with their designated team in their designated section.)
Q. How does the Gordon–MIT Engineering Leadership Program define the "engineering practice project"?
A. While you're in GEL, you're expected to participate:
- As an established leader of a team of more junior members
- With peers with other disciplinary backgrounds and skills (e.g., other engineering, business, law)
- With colleagues from diverse backgrounds (e.g., not from research intensive universities)
- On a real industrial deliverable
- On a deliverable that is delivered on schedule, to specification and to cost [mandatory]
- On a project with international components and perspectives
To attain GY1 status you are required to participate in at least one engineering practice project; to attain GY2 status you are required to participate in at least two engineering practice projects.
Each engineering practice project experience allows more opportunities to practice skills you learn in GEL, and each is followed by reflection in engineering leadership labs and in discussions with your mentor.
Q. How does my service responsibility factor into my Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program requirements?
A. Students who intend to earn GEL Certificates of Completion will have service responsibilities, for example:
- To project-based subjects in their major
- To freshman project-based subjects
- In national outreach for the program
- In MIT outreach for the program, which could include leading or helping to lead Gordon-MIT ELP program modules, etc.
- In future mentoring of students when they are alumni
Q. What is the Engineering Leadership Lab (ELL) and when and where does it meet in the Spring 2014 semester?
A. GELs participate actively in weekly Engineering Leadership Labs. ELLs feature relevant, authentic (sometimes even fun!) leadership activities embedded in phases of engineering product development, to allow you to practice the engineering leader capabilities you'll need to succeed in your engineering career.
During the Spring 2014 semester, the ELL (for admitted GELs only) meets three times on Friday in room 32-124 (GELs are required to attend only one session/Friday): 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM, 1:00 - 3:00 PM, or 3:00 - 5:00 PM.
Q. How do I attain recognition as a Gordon Engineering Leader?
A. As a GEL, you'll:
- Participate in the courses, modules, mentoring, internships and learning experiences in your approved plan to further develop your Capabilities of Effective Engineering Leaders
- Update your student portfolios providing evidence of competence in these Engineering Leadership Capabilities, and submit them for review. View these examples of excellent portfolio presentations. (GY2 only)
- Make a persuasive presentation based on the portfolio to the Gordon-MIT ELP review committee (GY2 only)
Students will be recognized (at least initially) by a formal ceremony and Certificate of Completion (and the ability to cite this accomplishment on your resume).
Q. How do I enter GY1?
In addition to the short application and a brief in-person interview, entering GY1 requires a prerequisite of engineering practice experience, which could be fulfilled through one of the following two methods:
— UPOP full-year program; Fall and Spring sessions, IAP session, Summer industry internship, Fall reflection events
— Experience on an engineering project in an industrial or academic setting. (Note: Students fulfilling the prerequisite this way may additionally be asked to complete one or more UPOP activities or assignments, such as Spring sessions, Summer industry internship, Summer internship journal, Fall reflection events, etc.)
GY2 builds on what you learned in GY1 and augments these elective courses by incorporating a InternshipPlus experience and personalized leadership development activities with a high degree of interaction among industry leaders, faculty, and fellow students.
Program staff are always available to answer any questions or address any issues you may have.
Q. How do I apply to advance to GY2?
Students in good standing in GY1 are invited to apply to advance to GY2. Generally this takes place in early Spring. This is the process through which students apply to advance to GEL Year Two (seniors can apply if they will still be at MIT next year).
Q. What is the Industry Advisory Board and who's on it?
A. The Industry Advisory Board is a select group of engineering industry leaders who advise and mentor Gordon Engineering Leadership candidates, provide critical guidance to program faculty and staff, and define/assist with industry projects. The IAB meets (at least) quarterly to discuss program issues. Currently, the members of the IAB include:
- Bernard M. Gordon, Gordon Charitable Foundation
- Vanu Bose, Vanu, Inc.
- Javier de Luis, Aurora Flight Systems
- Sorin Marcovici, SXN International
- Simon Pitts, Northeastern University
- Dan Riccio, Apple Computer, Inc.
- Bill Warner, Wildfire Networks
- Peter Zeeb, Geosyntec
- Eric Brandt, Broadcom
- Atul Patel, Lockheed-Martin
- Ken Languedoc, Florida Power & Light
Q. What is the Faculty Advisory Board and who's on it?
The Faculty Advisory Board is a select group of MIT faculty who provide critical academic-related guidance to program faculty and staff, define/assist with students' project-based learning experiences, and promote the Program to appropriate MIT faculty. The FAB meets periodically to discuss program issues. Currently, the members of the FAB include:
- Paul Barton, Professor, Chemical Engineering
- Marty Culpepper, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
- Tom Kochan, Professor, Sloan School of Management
- Dennis McLaughlin, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Dava Newman, Professor, Aero/Astro
- Rajeev Ram, Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
- Barry Johnston, Undergraduate Officer, Chemical Engineering
- Jane Connor, Lecturer, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
- Zolti Spakovszky, Professor, Aero/Astro
- Pat Hale, Director, System Design and Management Fellows Program
- Elizabeth C. Young, Associate Dean, New Student Programming and Holistic Initiatives
- Steve Ward, Professor, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
- Steve Banzaert, Instructor, Edgerton Center, Dean of Undergraduate Education
- Natalie H. Kuldell, Instructor, Biological Engineering
- Tracy Purinton, Associate Director, MIT Leadership Center, Sloan School of Management
- Lori Breslow, Director, Teaching & Learning Lab