"In the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program, you'll develop your integrity, discipline and a stronger character and an understanding of other human beings. These essential leadership qualities — along with your technical ability — will help you prepare for the real-life situations you'll confront in the competitive technical world."
GELs who earned Certificates of Engineering Leadership in 2013
Front row, L to R: Emily Yang (GY1), Yinfu Chen (GY1), Missy Showers (GY2), Marie Burkland (GY2), Yuliya Preger (GY2), Ray Tilden (GY2), Hailey Kopp (GY2), Ruby Maa (GY1).
Second row, L to R: Engineering Leadership Specialist Kaz Karwowski, Franco Montalvo (GY1), Julian Gonzalez (GY1), Andrew Sommer (GY2), Lila Fridley (GY2), Xenia Antipova (GY1), Marie Schmidt (GY2), Clare Frigo (GY2), Morrisa Brenner (GY2), Laura Matloff (GY1), Kirsten Olson (GY1), Katia Paramonova (GY2), Michelle Chen (GY2), Harshini Jayaram (GY1), Sergio Fernandez (GY1), Louis Lamia (GY1), Anurag Kashyap (GY2), Program Co-Director Joel Schindall.
Third row, L to R: Instructional Developer Liz Huttner, Marcel Polanco (GY1), Veronica Hume (GY1), Kossy Uzokwe (GY1), Ovie Orieka (GY1), Thomas Davison (GY1), Dennis Prieto (GY1), Louis DeScioli (GY1), James "Mic" Byrne (GY1), Cody Coleman (GY1), Cameron McCord (GY2), Nate Robert (GY2), John Reynolds (GY2), Brian Sennett (GY2), Brian Djaja (GY2), Jiwon Yune (GY1), Isaac Evans (GY2), AJ Perez (GY1), Drew Dennison (GY2), Program Executive Director Leo McGonagle.
Not pictured: Marisa Jasso (GY2), Cameron McAlpine (GY2), Kojo Acquah (GY1), Lauren Allen (GY1), Deborah Chen (GY1), Divya Chhabra (GY1), Adrian Clarke (GY1), Tara Krishnan (GY1), Julian Lemus (GY1), Jennifer Li (GY1), Lauren Lo (GY1), Abhi Mitra (GY1), Evan Moore (GY1), Prosper Nyovanie (GY1), Paul Uche (GY1), Anne Warren (GY1), Grace Young (GY1), Director of Communications & Outreach Bruce Mendelsohn, Administrative Assistant Amy Shea.
If you want to help shape the future and solve real problems for real people, the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program is for you.
"The Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program has helped me immensely and might have been the most useful set of classes in my professional career."
— Justin Breucop, GEL '12 (Course 3)
How (and why) does the GEL program work?
Some students just seem predisposed to be leaders. Others are fortunate enough to grow up in an environment in which they develop their leadership skills. We understand that many technically-oriented people do not have this advantage: So driven are they by their technical interest, and so well-rewarded for it academically, that they do not have the impetus to pursue the complementary (and vital) interpersonal aspects of leadership.
When our program places selected MIT undergraduate students in situations that demand communication and leadership, they inevitably rise to the occasion.
In the process, GELs realize "I can do this" and also that "leadership works." This self-confidence and experience serves as the engine for the leadership skills that students develop in GEL and carry forward throughout their professional careers.
Watch this short video in which GEL alumnae Ariadne Smith (GEL' 10) and Nora Micheva (GEL '10) share how being a GEL helped advance their academic and professional goals.
How Being a GEL Helps You Fill the Demand for Engineering Leaders
Prominent industry professionals tell us repeatedly that tomorrow's MIT engineering graduates better be engineering leaders: As skilled in the capabilities of an engineering leader as they are technically proficient.
In our program, here's how we define engineering leadership:
- Invention of new technical components
- Innovative design of new products, processes, projects, materials, molecules, software, and/or systems
- Leading the implementation of these developments, goods, and services so as to meet the needs of customers and society
And here's why it's critical you learn these skills:
"MIT without a doubt produces engineers whose technical skills are unmatched. But in the working world you need more than superlative technical skills: In fact, as President and CEO of Vanu, Inc. I more often use the leadership skills I've informally picked up during my career than the technical skills I was taught.
"I'm involved in the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program because I want to make sure MIT engineering undergraduates get these skills before they enter the workforce — so they're ready from Day One to be key members of engineering product development teams."
— Vanu Bose '99, President and CEO, Vanu, Inc.
Your professors also know that you need to be prepared to contribute and compete in a global, interconnected economy, and that you'll need advanced leadership skills to tackle the increasingly complex problems facing our nation and the world: In Spring 2006, the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons stated "A MIT education should be designed to encourage students to assume leadership roles in a global society."
"There are many paths to success and virtually all of them require the kinds of skills you are providing in the Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program."
— Edmund Bertschinger, MIT Professor of Physics
It's Easy to Become a GEL
Entering the first year of GEL 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; — OR —
— 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.)
To join the GEL Year One program, you'll be asked to complete a short application and participate in a brief in-person interview.
Once you're in GEL Year One, you'll build on your engineering project experience through a set of courses and fun, hands-on learning experiences like the weekly, interactive Engineering Leadership Labs (ELLs). You'll have a mentor with industry experience, and build a close network with your fellow students and faculty in the program.
The ELLs are "safe havens" in which you'll participate in guided reflection on your success—and discover opportunities to improve. Guided learning activities in the ELLs include role-plays, simulations, design-implement activities, and analyses of cases studies, films, and books related to engineering leadership.
Watch the "Rocket ELL" video below for an example of what GELs do in an ELL and how the exercise fits into the program's goals of developing your Capabilities of Effective Engineering Leaders.
If you apply for admission to the GEL Year Two Program, you have the opportunity to participate in a highly focused program that connects you with an Internship Plus in the summer before your senior year.
In GEL Year Two, you'll continue to complement your academic learning with personalized leadership development activities that feature a high degree of interaction with industry leaders and MIT faculty. You'll learn how to lead your fellow students in engineering endeavors, and you'll be mentored by awesome industry leaders. You'll practice engineering leadership and technical entrepreneurship.
In both GEL years, you'll:
- Participate in specially designed short subjects in innovation, design, leadership, and project engineering.
- Receive guidance in developing and fulfilling your unique Personal Leadership Development Plan. See examples of the PLDP presentations by graduating GELs.
- Take part in fun, hands-on learning experiences.
- Get personalized advice and feedback in a supportive, nurturing environment.
As a GEL you'll get exclusive unfiltered leadership expertise from industry professionals in successful companies and MIT faculty who know what it takes to succeed as engineering leaders.
How You'll Hone Your Leadership Edge in GEL
As you advance through GEL Year One and GEL Year Two, you'll sharpen your leadership skills, complementing the technical skills you get in your required subjects. You'll find it easier to guide and lead your student teams at MIT and more employable when you graduate... Plus you'll be more confident to lead when you get to your first job.
By the time you earn a Certificate of Engineering Leadership for the GEL Year One Program (approximately the equivalent of an MIT concentration) or the Advanced Certificate of Engineering Leadership for compleing GEL Year Two (approximately the equivalent of an MIT minor), you'll be ready to lead from any chair: Tapping experiences accumulated through project-based learning, ELLs, and hands-on product development exercises, you'll grasp the Capabilities of Effective Engineering Leaders and be positioned to fuel the nation's technology engine. Plus, you'll have a strong network to help you along your way.
"Every skill that makes me successful at my job I honed, refined, and developed with the GEL program. I was one of four program managers for the iPhone 5c, responsible for making sure millions of units were ready to reach customers. I ran and organized meetings with cross-functional teams from engineering, marketing, management both Chinese and American. I had to give articulate presentations to VP's, consolidate the needs of different stakeholders, prioritize and execute on them. I had to help drive a project to meet strict timelines, set up night shifts, and ask for help when needed. It's been fantastic, and I can honestly and proudly say that the GEL program was one of the pillars in the skill set that I rely heavily on now." — John Reynolds, GEL '13
Discover more about how GEL can help you become a effective engineering leader: Check out our FAQ.