MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2014 Activities by Category - Leadership Skills

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2-Day Career Exploration Bootcamp

Ann Guo, Ph.D. '99, Career Coach

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/06
Limited to 25 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions
Prereq: None

Have you obsessed over the big career question over the years and find yourself going in circles?  As a career coach and an MIT alum, I can relate to your hopes and frustrations.   In this 2-day bootcamp, we will take a step back and start from first principles.  With an open mind and no prior expectations, we will work our way through a systematic approach to career decision making that breaks the problem down into bite-sized chunks.  At the end of the class, we will form peer coaching groups where you commit to helping one another for the next semester, so you stay on course long after the class is over.  

 By the way, here is my career trajectory: Course 6 --> PhD in Artificial Intelligence --> Startup Founder --> Product Manager --> Quant Finance Recruiter --> Career Coach.   As you can see, I have gone through many career transitions myself.  

 Bring your laptop!

 If the registration is full, please send an email to with "IAP" as the subject line and your career question.  I will add you to the waitlist. 

Register here:

Sponsor(s): Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program -UPOP
Contact: Amy Shea, 33-413, 617 253-3251, AMYSHEA@MIT.EDU

2-Day Career Exploration Bootcamp

Jan/08 Wed 01:00PM-06:00PM 66-144
Jan/22 Wed 01:00PM-06:00PM 66-144

3 Tier Conflict Management Training by Conflict Resolution@MIT

Libby Mahaffy, Assistant Director for Conflict Resolution

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 12/12
Limited to 20 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

Conflict Resolution@MIT is piloting a new three-tiered conflict management training during IAP. With skills modules in negotiation, active listening, dealing with emotions in difficult conversations, and inter-cultural communication – among others – you’ll come away with plenty of tools and practice to help you manage the conflicts in your life and work.

The training is tiered at 16-hour, 32-hour, and 40-hour levels, and will take place over the course of two weeks, from Tuesday, January 21st to Friday, January 31st.

Tier 1: Conflict Management for Self-Reflection (Week one; 16 hours total)

Tier 2: Conflict Management for Leadership (Weeks one and two; 32 hours total)

Tier 3: Conflict Management for Advanced Practice (Weeks one and two, plus both Fridays; 40 hours total)

All tiers are open to MIT affiliates, and MIT affiliates will be given priority (Sloan students, please click here to apply for the Sloan training taking place January 6th to 17th). There is no charge for current students. A graduated fee applies to all other applicants; please inquire for training rates.

Applications are due by Thursday, December 12th, 2013 at midnight; successful applicants will be notified by Monday, December 16th at 5pm. 

The application for the training can be found here:

Thank you for your interest. Please direct questions to

Sponsor(s): Office of Student Outreach and Support
Contact: Libby Mahaffy, W31-310A, 617-253-3276, LAMAHA@MIT.EDU

Tier 1: 16 hours

Jan/21 Tue 08:30AM-05:30PM W20-400
Jan/22 Wed 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-PDRs 1 & 2
Jan/23 Thu 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-PDRs 1 & 2

Tier 1: Conflict Management for Self-Reflection (16 hours total)

Tier 1 consists of 16 hours of conflict management training for those interested in learning more about their own orientation towards and engagement in conflict. The sessions provide tools and practice for engaging in conflict more efficiently and effectively. Topics include negotiation, active listening, cultural frameworks, and personal conflict styles.

Libby Mahaffy - Assistant Director for Conflict Resolution

Tier 3: 40 hours (incl. Tiers 1 & 2)

Jan/24 Fri 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-PDRs 1 & 2, Mediation
Jan/31 Fri 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-400, Mediation

Tier 3: Conflict Management for Advanced Practice (40 hours total)

Tier 3 is the entire 40-hour training, which adds an additional 8 hours of formal mediation instruction and practice to Tiers 1 and 2. Participants will be coached throughout the Advanced Practice sessions by professional mediators and coaches. At the end of the entire training, participants will receive a Mediation certificate.

Libby Mahaffy - Assistant Director for Conflict Resolution

Tier 2: 32 hours (incl. Tier 1)

Jan/27 Mon 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-400
Jan/28 Tue 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-400
Jan/29 Wed 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-PDRs 1 & 2
Jan/30 Thu 08:30AM-12:30PM W20-PDRs 1 & 2

Tier 2: Conflict Management for Leadership (32 hours total)

Training for Leadership, the second tier in the Conflict Management training, requires the successful completion of the entirety of Tier 1, and is an additional 16 hours of in-class time. Topics include conflict coaching, active bystander intervention, facilitation, and boundary-setting when supporting others.

Libby Mahaffy - Assistant Director for Conflict Resolution

A Short Short Short Guide to Public Speaking Skills

Ruth Levitsky, President, Toastmasters@MIT

Jan/06 Mon 12:00PM-01:00PM E51-149

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/06

Come and preview everything you need to know about public speaking and
presentations from POWERtalk, International Training in Communication

This session is based on the short course that covers
speech construction, platform presence, vocal variety and more.

Join us for a one hour public speaking jumpstart.

Contact: Ruth Levitsky, E18-201C, 617 253-3399, LEVITSKY@MIT.EDU

Career Exploration for Juniors with the Strong Interest Inventory

Marilyn Wilson, Associate Director, Career Counseling and Education

Jan/16 Thu 02:00PM-03:30PM 4-253

Enrollment: Registration required through CareerBridge
Sign-up by 01/13
Limited to 15 participants
Fee: $15.00 for the cost of the Strong Interest Inventory

Are you looking for your passion? Do you want to explore other fields of interest, but are unsure what they are? Junior year is a perfect time to clarify your career interests and get a better idea of the kinds of work you want to pursue or what graduate programs match your interests. For this workshop we will ask you to take the Strong Interest Inventory prior to our meeting – it is online and takes about 30 minutes.  The Strong is a well-respected tool to help you identify likely career paths of interest.  It also sheds light on your work style and work personality.  When we meet we will discuss the meaning of your results, AND how to take the next steps to explore your career options. 

Register for the event on CareerBridge to receive further instructions on how to take the assessment. Please note there is a $15 charge for this workshop that will be used to pay for the Strong Interest Inventory.

Sponsor(s): Global Education and Career Development
Contact: Marilyn Wilson, 12-170, (617) 253-4733,

Charm School 2014

Alana Hamlett, Assistant Director, Student Activities and Leadership

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Join us for MIT's 21st Annual Charm School events taking place during the last week of IAP.  Learn more about dinner etiquette, get your questions answered about dating or simply participate in Charm School and get a Charm Degree! 

Sponsor(s): Student Activities Office
Contact: Alana Hamlett, W20-549, 617 253-7605, AHAMLETT@MIT.EDU

Charm School Dating Etiquette Workshop

Jan/27 Mon 02:00PM-03:30PM W20 Room 400, Sign up encouraged

Dating can be difficult.  Come to this session to share your thoughts and questions about flirting, asking somebody out, dating, and building a solid relationship.  Learn how to develop skills that will help you find that special someone.  Sign up for program here:

Charm School Business Etiquette Dinner

Jan/29 Wed 06:00PM-08:30PM R& D Commons, Advanced Sign up required

Charm School presents its annual Etiquette Dinner.  Learn the ins and outs of dining etiquette and table conversation while enjoying a complimentary meal. Dress is semi-formal.  Vegetarian options available upon request.  

Sign up for the program here:

Charm School

Jan/31 Fri 12:00PM-05:00PM W20 Student Center, No sign up required

Participate in mini-classes on a wide variety of "charming" subjects, take in the wisdom of our Charm instructors, and even earn your "Ch.D." (Doctoral degree in Charm).  And by mini, we mean mini - each Charm Class is only 20 minutes long!  That means you can take in 4 different subjects in just an hour and be that much closer to earning your degree.

Designing Your Life

David Mindell, Gabriella Jordan

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

This course (formerly called "Living an Extraordinary Life") provides an exciting, eye-opening, and thoroughly useful inquiry into what it takes to live an extraordinary life, on your own terms. This course addresses what it takes to succeed, and to be proud of your life and happy in it. You will tackle career satisfaction, money, your body, vices, your relationship to yourself. Address your own life and how you live it and learn from it. An inquisitive nature and willingness to face the truth are required.


Sponsor(s): Science, Technology, and Society
Contact: Diane Olsen,

Jan/27 Mon 10:00AM-01:00PM E51-335
Jan/29 Wed 10:00AM-01:00PM E51-335
Jan/31 Fri 10:00AM-01:00PM E51-395

Gabriella Jordan, David Mindell

How to Figure Out What You Want to Do With Your Life

Elliott Hedman

Jan/23 Thu 05:00PM-07:00PM Pratchett, Walker, Pratchett is on 2nd Floor, North Side

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/21
Limited to 100 participants

You have amazing potential. You could change the world. But you don't exactly know how. You still haven't found your passion. 

This two hour workshop will help you start figuring out how to find that passion and drive.  There will be pizza too*

Elliott Hedman has been coaching students for 8 years on figuring out a career path they love as a GRT and student. He approaches finding passion as a prototype: go out there, explore, try new things, and do not commit til your ready. Over the years he has created 10 steps to find your passion and wants to share them with you. Half of the workshop will be presentation, half will be discussion - so come prepared to tell your story and get feedback.

Depending on how things work out, we might have followup sessions to further discuss progress. I want to see you follow your passion!

*There will be pizza if less tha 15 people show up. I don't have a lot of money :)

Contact: Elliott Hedman, (970) 389-3047, HEDMAN@MIT.EDU

Mentor the Class of 2018: Become an Orientation Leader and/or Associate Advisor!

Katie Julian, Staff Associate, Elizabeth Young, Associate Dean, Leslie Bottari, Staff Associate

Jan/21 Tue 12:00PM-01:00PM 4-145
Jan/28 Tue 04:00PM-05:00PM 4-145

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Repeating event, particpants welcome at any session
Prereq: freshmen, sophomores and juniors welcome

The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming offers two fantastic leadership opportunities for undergraduates—orientation leader (OL) and associate advisor (AA). Both positions play a key role in helping first year students make a successful transition to MIT. Hear from students in these positions speak about their roles and responsibilities, the opportunities to work with faculty and staff, and the leadership skills they gained that will help them in the future. UAAP representatives will be available to give an overview of the application process and important dates. Light refreshments will be served. Bring any and all questions! 

Sponsor(s): Office of Undergrad. Advising/Academic Programming
Contact: Katherine Julian, 7-103, 617 253-9764, KJULIAN@MIT.EDU

Startups 3.0: Seeing the System

Fady Saad

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)
Limited to 50 participants
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: none

Majority of startups fail because of managerial issues, and mainly because managers fail to see the large startup "system". This practical and concise course will explore the different lifecycle phases an organization goes through, and the changing needs in each phase. At the end of this course, students will be able to see the complete startup system and the interdependency between its elements

Sponsor(s): Engineering Systems Division
Contact: Fady Saad, 617 386 9861,

Jan/28 Tue 06:00PM-08:00PM 3-333
Jan/29 Wed 06:00PM-08:00PM 3-333
Jan/30 Thu 06:00PM-08:00PM 3-333

Fady Saad

Stoicism 101: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Happiness

David Jimenez-Gomez

Feb/01 Sat 11:00AM-01:00PM 56-167

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Repeating event, particpants welcome at any session
Prereq: None

Stoicism is an Ancient Greek philosophical system, mostly devoted to practical ethics. It has a set of philosophical tenets, as well as a toolbox of techniques, which were immensely popular in Ancient Greece and Rome. Among others, writer and politician Seneca and emperor Marcus Aurelius used Stoicism in their daily life.

Despite their pragmatic attitude, Stoics based their philosophy on a wide theoretical background, encompassing physics and logic. Like "philosophical engineers", they strived to derive practical implications  from scientific principles.

After briefly introducing the basic concepts of the philosophy, we will talk about how to apply it through case studies. This workshop is hands-on: participation in the discussions is highly encouraged.

Sponsor(s): Secular Society of MIT
Contact: David Jimenez-Gomez, JIMENEZD@MIT.EDU

The Lean Laboratory Startup

Dr John F. Carrier, Sloan School of Management

Jan/24 Fri 10:00AM-11:30AM E51-315

Enrollment: see eventbrite link below
Sign-up by 01/24
Limited to 80 participants


The Lean Laboratory Startup


Then The Lean Laboratory Startup is a must attend event for you!


In this session, we will look at how a few simple Continuous Improvement tools (5S and Value Stream Mapping) have been successfully applied in several laboratories at MIT. You'll learn how these simple techniques will have  immediate impact on the work in your lab today.  We will explain the rationale behind these techniques through the systems and psychological studies of several notable MIT faculty, including Jay Forrester, John DC Little, Ed Schein, Douglas McGregor, and Kurt Lewin.  


Finally, we'll present our “90 minute recipe” to assist you in kicking it off in your lab.  Come with your current “headaches” in your laboratories with the expectation that we can take control of where we work!

Pre-requisites: Curiosity 101 and Sense of Humor 202.

Sign up here:

Sponsor(s): Chemical Engineering
Contact: John Carrier, (617) 939-4396, JFCARRIE@MIT.EDU

Volunteer Consulting Group IAP 2014

William Herbert, Consulting Club at MIT - President, Dong Guan, Consulting Club at MIT - VCG Manager

Enrollment: Selection process based on statement of purpose
Sign-up by 12/15
Limited to 20 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions
Prereq: Non-MBA Graduate Students only

Gain experience volunteering with a start-up company on a business project during IAP 2014.

WHAT?: the VOLUNTEER CONSULTING GROUP (VCG) is organized by the Consulting Club at MIT (CCM) to give graduate students valuable experience and introduce them to consulting work. You will do a project in a small team with one of two local companies on a real business problem they have. Details of projects will become available by December 2013.

WHEN?: the IAP program will run for 4 weeks starting January 9th 2014. You will need to commit 10-20 hours per week for this period of time, including one weekly team meeting, one weekly meeting with the host company and a weekly workshop session to learn business consulting skills.

FOR WHO?: any graduate student at MIT who is interested in consulting as a potential career, working with start-up companies or simply looking for a different, interesting experience during IAP.


1. Send an email to to state your interest. We will add you to a preliminary list and send you details of the individual projects as they emerge.

2. Once you decide on a project, we will expect you to send us a short (200 word) statement of purpose about why you think this program will benefit you.


Sponsor(s): Consulting Club of MIT
Contact: CCM VCG,

Kickoff Session

Jan/09 Thu 11:30AM-01:30PM TBA

In the kickoff meeting we will introduce the VCG program and individual projects in more detail. An invited speaker from a top management consulting firm will give an overview of their work and the consulting industry. Finally, we will hold a 40-min session on structuring and frameworking business problems that will be performed in groups. Non-pizza lunch will be served!

William Herbert - Consulting Club at MIT - President, Dong Guan - Consulting Club at MIT - VCG Manager

Weekly group workshops

Jan/17 Fri 02:00PM-03:30PM TBA
Jan/24 Fri 02:00PM-03:30PM TBA
Jan/31 Fri 02:00PM-03:30PM TBA

Weekly group workshops will allow you to gain valuable skills to help you on your projects, based on invited speakers and a mini syllabus developed by the Consulting Club at MIT. We will focus on (1) client interaction and interviewing, (2) business analytical techniques, (3) synthesis and making recommendations. You will work in groups and apply the concepts to your VCG project.

William Herbert - Consulting Club at MIT - President