MIT Teaches Social Skills

Businesses want engineers with people skills, and MIT wants better-rounded students.

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Business leaders complain that engineers don't have enough practice working with others to finish projects in a timely fashion. So, being the world's top engineering and IT school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology naturally responded to these complaints with a solution: a program tailored for students who want to learn how to operate and apply their skills in the business world.

The plan is for the two-year leadership program to add 30 juniors each year, the Boston Globe reports. So far, students and faculty alike are touting the positive results of the program, which was launched last fall.

"A lot of MIT graduates go out into the real world and fall on their faces because they don't know how to work within a company, Tanya Goldhaber, an MIT engineering student tells the Globe. "They expect their bosses to be impressed by their creativity, but they don't deliver the product on time.

The students in the program meet three times a week. They work in labs that test their leadership skills, the report says. One recent project required the students to come up with an innovative idea and put together a presentation to pitch to the MIT Sloan School of Management. Projects like that allow students to see the other side of product development, something that's important in a business world where contracting, cutting budgets, and efficiency are prized.

"I literally thought two years ago that I'd be an engineer sitting in a cubicle cranking out equations for the rest of my life, Goldhaber tells the Globe. "Now I've discovered that I'm good at people as well as machines, and I never would have had the gumption to explore that without this program.

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