Daniel J. Riccio Graduate Engineering Leadership Program


GradEL students in "6.9280 Leading Creative Teams" from Spring 2019. 



"Leverage Your Graduate Degree to Change the World!"

At the intersection of engineering practice, leadership scholarship, and experiential learning lies an opportunity to take the best technical students in the world and develop them into exceptional technical leaders. The Riccio Graduate Engineering Leadership Program (GradEL) is here to help MIT graduate students develop skills across career paths, from leading research groups to leadership roles in large companies and startups. The program builds on students’ technical education by allowing them to practice developing highly-effective teams, identifying worthy problems to solve, creating innovative solutions, and crafting a shared vision.


Apple executive Dan Riccio’s gift of $10 million in 2022 allows GradEL to expand its classes, workshops, and certificate into a world-class program for technical leaders. Speaking about the motivation behind his gift, Dan said, “The most innovative companies are not limited by ideas or by money - rather, they are limited by having enough effective engineering leaders to bring complex new products to market.”


In addition to new classes and workshops, GradEL is creating an intensive internship experience called an “engineering residency” that is analogous to a medical residency. It will target exceptional students with deep technical acumen and a strong desire to make impact as leaders. There will also be a new program for researchers to gain a deep understanding of the real-world impact of their work.


Students who complete the requirements (below) earn a Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership. PhD candidates may also use GradEL coursework to fulfill the doctoral minor.


GradEL courses (open to all MIT grad students):

  • 6.9280 Leading Creative Teams (Fall & Spring)
  • 6.9270 Negotiation & Influence Skills for Technical Leaders (Fall)
  • 6.9260 Multi-Stakeholder Negotiation for Technical Leaders (Spring)

GradEL workshops (These are one-off workshops led by a wide range of instructors, held at least four times per semester. Open to all MIT grad students.):


1. Leading Through Design

- Tony Hu, Director, GradEL (September 28, 5-7pm, 32-144)

  • Apply human-centered design principles to leadership through team exercises.

2. MIT PhD to Venture-Backed Startup: A Case Study of a Make-or-Break Decision

- Shreya Dave, Co-founder & CEO, Via Separations (October 11, 5-7pm, 32-144)

  • Work through a challenging bet-the-company decision and learn what actually happened.

3. Investigating Leadership and Engineering Through Film and Media:

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

- Chris Boebel, Producer and Multimedia Development Manager; Andrew Silver, Producer; and David Gute, Professor, Tufts University (November 8, 5-7pm, Zoom)

  • Discuss leadership and moral responsibility around the Manhattan Project through the Oppenheimer film and BBC mini-series.

4. How to Empower and Inspire Yourself and Others When Things Get Tough

- Di Ye, Lecturer, GradEL (November 30, 5-7pm, 32-144)

  • Explore coaching tools that will take your performance, relationships, and teamwork to the next level.


Graduate Certificate in Technical Leadership requirements:


1. Complete 6.9280 Leading Creative Teams with at least a B grade.


2. Complete 12 or more units from any of the following graduate classes with at least a B grade:


  • 6.9270 Negotiation & Influence Skills for Technical Leaders 
  • 6.9260 Multi-Stakeholder Negotiation for Technical Leaders 
  • 10.807/15.371 Innovation Teams 
  • 15.270  Ethical Practice: Leading Through Professionalism, Social Responsibility, and System Design 
  • 15.281  Advanced Leadership Communications 
  • 15.304  Being Effective: Power and Influence 
  • 15.310  People, Teams, and Organizations 
  • 15.318  Discovering your Leadership Signature 
  • 15.320  Strategic Organizational Design 
  • 15.321  Improvisational Leadership: In the Moment Leadership Skills 
  • 15.324  Practical Leadership 
  • 15.341  Individuals, Groups, and Organizations 
  • 15.374  Organizing for Innovation 
  • 15.386  Managing in Adversity 
  • 15.398  Corporations at the Crossroads: The CEO Perspective 
  • 15.661  Building Successful Careers and Organizations  
  • 15.665  Power and Negotiation 
  • 15.669  Strategies for People Analytics 
  • 16.887 / EM.427  Technology Road Mapping and Development 
  • EM.413 Foundations of System Design and Management III 
  • STS.482[J] Science, Technology, and Public Policy 

3. Attend at least four of the experiential workshops (2 hours each) offered by GradEL (at least eight offered per year).


Email Lisa Stagnone (lstag@mit.edu) if interested in registering for the certificate program and/or workshops.