MIT program wins UPS Prize


MIT’s Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program is presented with the UPS George D. Smith Prize.

INFORMS awarded its prestigious UPS George D. Smith Prize to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) Program. Committee Chairperson Ranganath Nuggehalli announced the winner at the 2014 Edelman Gala held in conjunction with the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in Boston.

The UPS George D. Smith Prize, which includes a $10,000 cash award, recognizes an academic department or program for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research. For the purpose of this award, operations research is defined broadly to include operations research, management science and analytics.

The Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, formerly known as Leaders for Manufacturing, was started in 1988 to develop technically trained managers who would lead the U.S. manufacturing industry. It was the first program in the United States to forge a partnership between industry and schools of management and engineering. Since its inception, the program has evolved to reflect the rise of the service industry and the increasingly global nature of operations and manufacturing.

LGO is a two-year dual degree program. Upon graduation, its students receive an MBA or MS from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an MS from one of seven MIT engineering programs. Each year, approximately 48 students with science and engineering backgrounds and an average of five years of work experience are admitted, resulting in a total enrollment of 96. Every LGO student receives a fellowship sponsored by one of the program’s industry partners that covers a substantial portion of tuition costs. In addition, merit scholarships are awarded to outstanding students. LGO graduates are among the most sought after in the industry.

The LGO curriculum is based on the belief that fundamental knowledge of operations research is essential to achieving superiority in operations. O.R. courses are central to the LGO core curriculum and form a critical part of its electives. In addition to technical skills, the students also get strong training in “soft skills” that are vital for translating theory into practice.

Intense, hands-on training is a significant part of the LGO curriculum. Students help companies improve their operations through electives centered on real-world operations management practice.

The central part of practical training in LGO is a required six-month internship at an industry partner company. The internship research and results form the basis of the dual master’s thesis.

The other finalists for 2014 included the Lehigh University Enterprise System Center and Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the University of British Columbia Center for Operations Excellence, Sauder School of Business.