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Leaders for Manufacturing inspires Turkish program

Sabanci University outside Istanbul recently announced the formation of its Leaders for Industry program, which is modeled after MIT's 13-year-old Leaders for Manufacturing Program.

Like Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM), Leaders for Industry was created to help manufacturing companies become more competitive by training engineers to be leaders and change agents.

"Stiff competition from Eastern European and Southeast Asian manufacturers means Turkish industry must shift its focus from reduced cost towards product differentiation and higher value-added," said Leaders for Industry (LFI) co-director Gunduz Ulusoy, who is also a professor of manufacturing systems engineering in Sabanci's Engineering and Natural Sciences division. "We need more than conventional graduate programs to help Turkey make this shift, so we decided to establish a separate program for this purpose. LFM became a logical place to investigate and benchmark."

Professor Ulusoy visited MIT in June 2000 and met with Professors Stephen Graves and William Hanson, LFM co-directors. His subsequent proposal for Sabanci University was accepted by the unversity's board of trustees in time for the new program's first students to enter this fall.

Sabanci's program has many similarities with MIT's, including industry partners, dual degrees (graduates will receive an M.Sc. in engineering and an M.Sc. in management), project work at partner companies and financial support for students.

"LFM-SDM [System Design and Management] is excited about expanding the concept of the tripartite partnership worldwide," said Hanson. "It's an opportunity to learn from each other on an international level and help manufacturing continue to be recognized as a key to a nation's economic and social well being."

Professor Ulusoy noted high student demand for his university's new program, with 244 applications for 12 slots. "All of this indicates a real need in Turkey for such a vision and program. We look forward to intense cooperation with LFM and similar programs elsewhere in the world to further enrich our LFI program."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on August 29, 2001.

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