The global shipping trade is a dynamic, multi-faceted industry. This year, the Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) Class of 2013 counts among its 50 students a technical manager for Seaway Marine Transport. Alicia Lenis, LGO ’13, discusses challenges, her future, and the new track in Ocean Systems Management (OSM) for LGO with News@MITSloan.
Q. How did you know you wanted to be in the shipping industry?
A. It was an exciting industry that permitted me to practice a breadth of engineering skills. As an industry, it is very international: You do business globally and have to be in touch with what is happening around the world as it impacts the business.
Q. You served as an assistant project manager of a team of inspectors to oversee the construction of a $120 million shipbuilding project in China. What was the biggest challenge?
A. The biggest challenge about building ships in China was staying on top of the fast-paced building environment and ensuring that quality remained a top priority for the shipyard.
Q. Was it difficult to be a female in a male-dominated industry?
A. I certainly stood out. Some people were not yet entirely open to the idea. However, like in most situations like this, hard work and good humor wins.
A. I chose MIT Sloan because it is a leading school with incredible faculty; it is within a fantastic school that promotes innovative interdisciplinary work; and because it has the LGO program. I knew I wanted to do an MBA, but continue to apply my engineering background. The LGO program was the perfect fit where I could learn some new engineering skills and develop my management skills.
Q. What do you think about the new OSM track announced by the LGO program and the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering?
A. I think it is great news. The global shipping industry is a fascinating one to work in. It has traditionally been a very cyclical industry, but like many of the more traditional industries, it is seeing a gap in the younger generation and so there are great opportunities for growth.