Is GEL only for those who plan to work at engineering jobs after graduation?
The GEL undergraduate program is open to all engineering students at MIT and to students from other departments who are drawn toward engineering as a career. We understand that many students are still thinking through career plans as they begin their junior year. We encourage all students who are considering engineering careers to consider GEL, even if they’re not yet sure where they will be after graduation. But, in keeping with the program's mission to develop individuals as effective engineers and engineering leaders, GEL is designed for those who have engineering career intent. Students aspiring to work in engineering (or to explore the prospects of working in engineering) will get the most out of GEL, as the program’s curriculum is tailored toward personal and professional development in this field.
Engineering work presents a remarkable opportunity to develop the world’s products and systems, and can thus form the basis of highly fulfilling careers. GEL encourages students to deeply explore career possibilities across engineering as they form their career intentions. GEL helps facilitate this exploration through the program’s mentorship opportunities, engineering industry guest visits, and internship and full-time job postings.
The breadth of engineering work has grown in recent years. Traditionally categorized engineering roles – those on teams that hold responsibility for product or system design and performance – remain prevalent. Such jobs often constitute gateways into technical leadership and management: career trajectories directly supported by GEL’s educational program. Further, career opportunities not explicitly labeled as “engineering,” but that are engineering-related – such as careers in product or project management – have expanded substantially in the 21st century. Students pursuing such tracks can also benefit from GEL, as this type of work resides in close proximity to engineering decision-making and involves collaboration with engineers. Students already committed to careers in other areas that are more distant from engineering decision-making and design responsibility will not get as much out of the GEL program. While GEL is an Engineering Leadership Development Program, those with interests in other career areas should consider MIT’s various other offerings in leadership, management, and entrepreneurship (see, for example, LeaderShape, Undergraduate courses and programs in the Sloan School of management, and courses associated with the MIT Entreprenurship and Innovation Minor, among others).