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MIT LGO logs 25 years as a leader in manufacturing and operations

The MIT Leaders for Global Operations program (MIT LGO) is turning 25, and you're invited you to help celebrate a quarter-century of outstanding manufacturing and operations education at MIT that will culminate in a two-day alumni conference on May 2-3, 2013.

MIT LGO began in 1988 as Leaders for Manufacturing (LFM) at a time when Japan and other overseas rivals were challenging U.S. manufacturing dominance in areas including the automotive industry. LGO students, who earn both an MBA form MIT Sloan and an SM from one of seven MIT School of Engineering program in two years, go on to become leaders in manufacturing and operations.

MIT LGO's founding directors were Thomas Magnanti, a former dean of the MIT School of Engineering and now president of the Singapore University of Technology and Design; and H. Kent Bowen, an MIT faculty member in materials science and engineering and electrical engineering and computer science who is now the Bruce Rauner Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus at Harvard Business School. Deans at the time were Gerald Wilson at the School of Engineering and Lester Thurow at MIT Sloan.

Because MIT LGO offers master's degrees in both management and engineering, the program's faculty leadership has always been shared between those two MIT Schools. Faculty co-directors from the MIT School of Engineering have included Professors John Heywood, Thomas Eagar, David Hardt, Paul Lagace, Warren Seering, and current director David Simchi-Levi.

Management faculty co-directors have included MIT Sloan Professors Stephen Graves (twice), Thomas Kochan, Steven Eppinger, Thomas Allen, and current director Georgia Perakis. Don Rosenfield, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan, has been the LGO program director since its inception. Bill Hanson and Ron Slahetka have been industry co-directors, a position now held by Vah Erdekian.

When MIT LGO began, just three MIT engineering programs were involved: materials science and engineering, electrical engineering and computer science, and mechanical engineering. Aeronautics and astronautics, biological engineering, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, and engineering systems are also participants today.

MIT LGO's roster of industry partners has grown from nine in 1988 to 23 today. Founding partners were Digital Equipment Corp., Kodak, Boeing, Polaroid, United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Johnson & Johnson, Alcoa, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard. Boeing, UTC and Johnson & Johnson remain as partners today, along with General Motors, which signed on shortly after the program was founded. They've been joined by partner companies in sectors that have become focus areas for MIT LGO in recent years, including biotechnology firms Amgen, Novartis and Sanofi, and online retailer Amazon.

"This 25th anniversary is a major milestone in our rich history, and we look forward to our continuing partnership with these great companies, and connecting MIT and industry around manufacturing and operations," Rosenfield said.

In the coming months, we'll publish historical stories and profiles about MIT LGO. If you have any historical information, anecdotes or images relating to the program that you'd like to contribute, please contact Josh Jacobs (, director of operations and partner integration.

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