Grad Workshops on Engineering Leadership (Spring 2021)

Instructor: David Niño and other GEL Graduate Instructors

Join us for these six workshops, designed for MIT graduate students interested in “making a positive difference” in their chosen fields. Our sessions will focus on building skills in core areas related to leadership development and also on how graduate engineering students can earn a new GradEL Certificate in Technical Leadership based on completion of our academic courses. (See here for additional info on requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership Program.) We will also explain how doctoral engineering students can combine our academic classes to satisfy minor requirements in selected graduate degree programs. These workshops will be delivered in collaboration with GradSage, an advisory group to the Dean of Engineering.

We invite you to register and attend our virtual workshop series, which counts toward satisfying requirements toward the certificate. Most of the workshops will be held from 5:30pm-7:30pm with the exception of March 4*, which will be held from 5:00pm-7:30pm. 


Welcome Back- Building Community and Solving Problems in Virtual Teams -  Led by David Niño and GradSAGE. Thursday, March 4, 2021 (*Note — Workshop held from 5:00pm-7:30pm EDT.)

Creative problem solving is challenging in a virtua team environment but it's a valuable skill that we can build together. In this workshop, you will get to know your peers while tackling puzzles and problems in small virtual groups. By the end, you will gain valuable insights on virtual teamwork and how to lead problem solving interactions in online environments.

The R&D/Innovation Role in Bringing a Strategic Choice to Life Led by Reza Rahaman. Thursday, March 18, 2021.

This workshop will look at the types of strategic choices that face organizations and the role of R&D and Innovation in bringing these strategic choices to Life. We will use a Harvard Business School case study on the Clorox Company to look at potential strategic choices and then the personal experience of the workshop leader to give insight into the period immediately following the case study – we will look at how one of the actual strategic choices was brought to life by R&D and Innovation and the tradeoffs and constraints involved.

Technical Leadership & Finance: What Technical Leaders Need to Know About Dollars and Sense - Led by Olivier de Weck. Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

This workshop will focus on the relationship between corporate finance and R&D investments in technology. We review the foundations in corporate finance including reading a balance sheet, analyzing a profit and loss statement (P/L) and showing how R&D projects are one of the vital links between the short term and long term view of a company’s financial posture. Student participants will select a company of their interest ahead of time and work in teams of two to carry out an initial analysis. This workshop will also compare the annual financial performance for 2019 and 2020 to asses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the firm (negative, positive or neutral).

Foundations for Ethical Action and Integrity in Engineering - Led by James Magarian Wednesday, April 14, 2021. 

This workshop centers on an interactive case analysis in small student groups. An introductory lesson frames the decision-making of technical professionals in terms of integrity and professional ethics concepts. Tools for decision analysis are presented, and students develop awareness of contextual variables that tend to strain integrity. Session concludes with case analysis debrief.

Managing Up Your Advisor or Supervisor - Led by Diana Chien and Jesse Dunietz. Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Our relationships with research advisors and professional supervisors have a tremendous effect on our well-being and growth. This workshop will teach principles and skills to help you “manage up” your supervisors here at MIT and beyond, creating more positive, productive working relationships. Skills will include identifying the overlap between your interests and your advisor's, advocating for your own needs, and optimizing your day-to-day interactions.

Taking Charge of New Roles: Strategies For Your First 90 Days. - Led by David Niño and Albert Atkins.Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

Our session will build your abilities in managing your transition from graduate school into new professional roles.  The workshop is designed for students who are graduating but the lessons about “taking charge” apply to broader leadership situations. This session will differ slightly from last year’s and David will be joined by Albert Atkins, Managing Director of Air Liquide Colombia. As a senior executive, Albert will share his global experiences in “taking charge” of new roles and provide more industry perspectives on this important capability

*Register for any or all workshops: Email Lisa Stagnone (