I hope you are doing well, as we all wait for spring to arrive soon! When I speak with many of you, I often hear questions and uncertainty about preparing for life after your degree; for example, “How can I make sure to develop the skills that I’ll need? What is it like working in different sectors? What resources on campus are available to me?” Many of you are also interested in starting your own business, and may have already begun to execute a plan. You may know that valuable professional development resources exist through the MIT Global Education & Career Development Office, academic departments, the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, and the Graduate Student Council; entrepreneurs can find assistance via the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, the Technology Licensing Office, and the Venture Mentoring Service. I am also pleased to let you know of three new initiatives that will further support you.
Transferable skills and your career path
MIT has a wealth of professional development events for students, from grant-writing workshops to networking seminars. However, due to scheduling issues and space limitations, not all interested students can attend. I am delighted to let you know that my office recently launched an exciting new initiative: “Professional Development Portal” or "PRO-DEPOT," a video library of MIT-sponsored personal and professional development activities. The PRO-DEPOT is available 24/7 to all students, and covers topics such as communication, leadership, collaboration, balance and resilience, and ethics and integrity. You will also find videos that provide inspiration, and some that may help you choose your career path.
We also know that we have more to do in terms of coordinating available resources and identifying gaps in MIT offerings. The Task Force on Graduate Student Professional Development (TFPRO) has just started its work. The charge of the TFPRO is to review desirable skillsets for MIT masters and doctoral graduates in various disciplines and employment sectors and to identify core competency areas, as well as to map current MIT professional development offerings to those areas. The Task Force will provide recommendations for formulating a comprehensive and coherent set of offerings to all MIT graduate students, options for supporting and collaborating with graduate programs, and potential opportunities to leverage online platforms. Lei Dai (Physics) and Ulric J. Ferner (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) are the graduate student representatives to this Task Force.
Best practices for student entrepreneurship
As student involvement in entrepreneurship is exploding on the MIT campus, opportunities abound to find intellectual partners and develop ideas. The 100k Business Plan Competition, the MIT Global Challenge, i-Teams, the MIT Entrepreneurs Club, MIT TechLink, and the Sloan Global Entrepreneurship Lab are just a few of the student-led initiatives. As a greater variety of new ventures develop, questions arise as to best practices, roles and responsibilities, and intellectual property. To help address these questions, a new Committee on Student Entrepreneurship (CSE) will begin work in April. The committee will review current policies and procedures, best practices, resources such as the online Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training, and current literature relevant to student involvement in entrepreneurship. The CSE will create documentation clarifying these topics for broad distribution. Undergraduate student Turner K. Bohlen and graduate student Aditya S. Bhujle are the student representatives to this committee.
As with all of our initiatives, we actively seek and greatly value student input! I encourage you to channel any thoughts you have to the student representatives on these committees, or to send them directly to me anytime. We will rely on a broad range of research and ideas to advance these important topics.
Dean for Graduate Education
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