Monday, December 19, 2011


It's rather hard to believe, but I just finished my second semester here in graduate school at MIT.  Half of the semesters where we will be taking classes (as opposed to traveling and working on our internships) are done.  My last final, Accounting, was on Friday and now all that's left to do before the new year is bid for next semester's classes.

Sloan, unlike the rest of MIT, has a bidding system for course registration.  You're given 1000 points and then told to allocate them among the classes you want to take based on how popular the class is, the professor who's teaching it is, when it meets, etc.  Our bidding round closes Tuesday the 20th at 5PM, so I need to make up my mind soon about which classes are getting what points.  What's hard is that you can have an ideal schedule in mind, but there's no guarantee you'll get those sections or even that class.  It's a strange system and I hope to perfect my technique as time goes on.  Other than that, the past few days have been filled with sleeping in, cleaning up, going to parties and Christmas shopping.  Not a bad deal.

Next semester, my classmates doing off-cycle projects will not be with us in classes at MIT and that will be strange.  A few of them will remain in Boston working on projects with the local hospitals - Mass General and Beth Israel, but others will be scattered throughout the country and others still will be overseas.  10, maybe 11 of the 50 LGOs in the class of 2013 will be doing off-cycle projects.  I say maybe 11 because we had a last minute off-cycle project offering and they're working on assigning it as I write this.

Friday afternoon after my last final felt AMAZING.  Having never taken this many classes at once (six classes, plus I took a seminar as a listener), and having had fewer finals in undergrad, finishing three exams in the four days !right after my birthday! was a big accomplishment.  To celebrate, the LGOs (whom a guy on my Sloan Core team now refers to as LeGOs) had a well-attended house party Friday night and now probably don't know what to do with ourselves.

Well, now that finals are done for us and applications are in from prospective 2014s, let's all take a nice, deserved break and enjoy the rest of 2011.  I might put up another post before 2012 comes around, but if not, look forward to updates about Plant Trek coming in January!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Countdowns of all kinds

Countdown for applications - LGO '14 applications are due in five days!

Countdown to the end of term - my last final of the three I'm taking is December 16th and then I'm done for the holiday break.

Next big thing for LGO - Plant Trek!

We had an informational meeting this morning where the all but final schedule was handed out to everyone and we met the two Sloan Ops Club members (regular MBAs) who will be joining us on the trip.  Each year Ops club gets to add a few people onto the contingent of LGOs who go.

This year's trip will take us to see CAT in Peoria, IL; GM and Ford in greater Detroit, MI (multiple sites); Boeing in Seattle, WA; Amazon in Phoenix, AZ; Dell in Austin, TX and Amgen in Juncos, Puerto Rico.  I'm part of a group that has decided to stay longer in Puerto Rico as a mini vacation.  This should be a great trip and one that is incredibly packed with things to do.  I'm really looking forward to it.

To help learn about out partner companies, one thing I've done since LGO started is set up Google alerts for them.  Google alerts are custom searches for keywords and when they are found in news articles, it delivers the article to your email or RSS feed.  While searching for "GM" in the news sometimes brings up articles about pro sports, the filter has been useful, even if I cannot read all the stories, I try and scan as many headlines as I can.  Sloan's CDO (Career Development Office) has recommended this as a way of doing research on companies to help in writing cover letters and interviewing.

Speaking of interviewing, when we get back from Plant Trek, we'll be beginning our On-Cycle interviews for the projects that will be the foundation for our theses.  Lots of things are happening and that's good.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Field trip, thanksgiving and warmth

This afternoon, one of my engineering classes, Mechanical Assemblies (MIT # 2.875 - Mechanical Engineering is course #2, so all their classes are numbered 2.*.  Sloan is #15) went on a field trip with another Mech E class to Instrumentation Laboratory in Bedford, MA, a medical device company.  Our professor has been working there on and off as a consultant for the past year and so we were able to see their manufacturing floor and testing areas.  This was relevant to our Mechanical Assemblies class because throughout the semester we've been analyzing a consumer product (our team's choice was a NERF gun that shoots foam suction cup-tipped darts).

For Mechanical Assemblies, we've had weekly projects where we've modeled the parts on the computer, drawn exploded views, written assembly instructions, explained dimensional tolerances and key characteristics that need to be present in order for the NERF gun to function properly, as well as defined other process parameters, like how long we think the assembly would take, how much our materials and labor costs would be, how we would layout the factory, etc.  Today we were able to see a real world example of how this is done and got to see ways that assembly stations, or work cells (as IL called them) are arranged in-person.

I'm still getting used to being on a school schedule again, after taking some much needed time off over Thanksgiving.  Break was filled with food and naps, some TV or a movie and then more food and more naps.  Comfy clothes, nice people.  All was good.

This week and November in general have been abnormally warm.  Besides the small amount of slushy snow we got in an oppositely freakish manner right at the end of October, this week has hit 60 degrees multiple times.  Because the leaves on the ground aren't yet snow covered or frozen stiff, I can't tell whether this means that I'm actually getting sick now or just having super late fall allergies.  The weather is definitely different from last year...though the giant snow that I remember was actually in January, when I flew out for LGO Interviewfest, not November.  Since the photo below is of the unusual January 2011 snowfall, I would NOT expect ::crosses fingers:: something like that in 2012.

The snow in Cambridge IN 2011, note the car mirror sticking out of the snow bank in the middle
Related to thinking about Interviewfest and coming to campus, applications are due 12/15 for the LGO class of 2014, so finish up those essays and please apply - I hope to see you next year!
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