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Returning to MIT for new skills — and to reminisce

More than 70 alumni returned to campus in 2015 to attend MIT Professional Education's Short Programs.
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Randall Coffie Goedhoop, SM ’05
Randall Coffie Goedhoop, SM ’05

In 2015, more than 70 MIT alumni attended MIT Professional Education's Short Programs, including international professionals from Denmark, Germany, Greece, Kuwait, Mexico, Monaco, Peru, and South Korea. That international presence was particularly appealing to Randall Coffie Goedhoop SM ’05, graduate of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and director of industrial engineering and systems engineering for the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico. “The Short Programs is an amazing experience,” he said. “The attendees in my class — Energy, Sustainability, and Life Cycle Assessment — literally came from all over the world, which helped us all look at different topics, challenges, and problems from different perspectives. It was an intensive three-day class, and as an alumnus, I can tell you, it’s very MIT-like. There’s an excellent balance of theory and practice. Beyond the slides and references, you’re doing something hands-on and you’re developing an ability. Our course team of three professors helped us think about new methodologies and approaches, so you definitely take something with you when you return home.”

According to Bhaskar Pant, executive director of MIT Professional Education, Short Programs is an ideal way for MIT alumni to continue to draw useful knowledge from their alma mater on a lifelong-learning basis. “In many ways, MIT Professional Education has become the gateway for alumni to return to campus — but not just for a reunion or homecoming,” he said. “They’re coming back to acquire new skills, learn about the latest developments and research in their fields, and gain new perspectives — and also reconnect with faculty and visit some of their favorite haunts around campus.”

For Jin Yong Lee '93, vice president of Samyang Holdings Corp., it was great to be back on campus visiting familiar ground, walking past landmarks and buildings from his undergraduate days. Lee most recently completed the Radical Innovation Short Programs course, one of several he has taken.

“Once again, MIT is giving me the tools and discipline I need to look ahead and see where the opportunities lie for me and my company,” Lee said. “There’s a rich diversity in the backgrounds of my classmates, so I am able to learn about different industries, functions, cultures — perspectives I could never imagine in Korea. MIT has extended the breadth of my thinking.”

For Jim Melzer SM ’77, a technical fellow at Rockwell Collins in Carlsbad, California, MIT Short Programs represented a stimulating way to extend the MIT experience — even many years after graduating. “As an alum, I can tell you that the caliber of MIT faculty has always been superb,” he said, “and this class is no different. Sandy Weiner — lecturer in Technology, Organizations, and Innovations: Putting Ideas to Work course — is an excellent instructor, and the guest lecturers were amazing. These were high-caliber individuals who are well-read and excellent researchers in their field. This has been a great experience.”

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