Campus Leadership Opportunities

In addition to governance through SAAC, Residence Halls, FSILGs, student organizations, etc. there are many formal leadership programs available to MIT students.

The MIT Leadership Center is committed to developing innovative leaders who solve the world’s most challenging problems. We do this by acting as a hub for leadership development opportunities on campus and for providing matriculated students with the training and tools they need to make a difference from within any part of an organization. MIT students investigate leadership through a variety of lenses, and learn to think critically about leadership at the individual (personal) level, the team level, and the organizational or societal level.

The Freshman Leadership Program immerses freshman in a process of personal development that lays the foundation for the exploration of leadership at MIT. FLP accomplishes this through a curriculum focused on inclusivity, empowerment, value defining, and leadership skill building. Students participate in workshops, activities, and discussions where they encounter various social issues, including but not limited to multiculturalism, diversity and gender roles, racism, sexism, and religious and socioeconomic issues. FLP is a unique program that is guaranteed to be both fun and rewarding. Incoming first-year students have a chance to join this Pre-Orientation Program every August for a truly unique, amazing, and rewarding experience.

The Emerging Leaders Conference is a weekend opportunity for freshman and sophomore leaders that happens annually. It is a great opportunity to build a foundation of leadership development from the very beginning of your career. The Emerging Leaders Conference focuses in on the personal context of leadership with an interactive and experiential agenda. Participants are challenged to think beyond positional leadership and are given the opportunity to explore what leadership means to them, to assess their personal behavioral style, and to tackle such topics as personal values, teamwork, competition, collaboration, and communication. Participants leave with a clearer understanding of how they define leadership and why, and are given the tools necessary to bring their new knowledge back to their organizations, dorms, living groups, and team.

MIT’s Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP) has a well-earned reputation as a “career success accelerator.” This is a yearlong professional development program that prepares sophomores – regardless of major – to thrive in their careers. It is one of the largest co-curricular programs at MIT, as almost half of all sophomores apply. The UPOP year gives students real-world skills, life-long connections with and coaching from successful MIT alums, experiential workshops, company field trips, one-on-one counseling from UPOP staff, networking events, exclusive panel discussions with companies like Accenture, Akamai, Apple, Google, Northrop Grumman and Tesla Motors, and access to the 2000+ employers who work with UPOP and who know and trust that a UPOP-trained intern will hit the ground running. UPOP requires only a few hours TOTAL each semester, but has a firm requirement of a one-week course offered twice during IAP.

LeaderShape is an intensive six-day leadership development experience. Participants will be asked to wrestle with such challenging topics as professional ethics, dealing with uncertainty, working within a diverse community while developing skills in areas of problem solving and interpersonal communication. Over the course of the program students will develop a community among their peers through dialogues facilitated by MIT faculty, staff cluster leaders, and student veterans of the program. LeaderShape takes place at an off-campus retreat in southern Massachusetts, allowing students the opportunity to full engage in the leadership experience. Students not only build upon leadership skills, but have the opportunity to share with and get to know others on a deeper, more personal level. Although it is not an expectation of LeaderShape to share personal stories and/or insights, you are strongly encouraged to participate in the full experience.

Community Catalyst Leadership Program (CCLP) pairs student participants with an MIT alumnus/a in a coaching relationship designed to meet each student’s personal development goals. CCLP has four main pillars:

  • One-on-one coaching
  • Educational sessions
  • Leadership planning
  • Personal reflection

The program’s learning agreement requires participants to commit to:

  • Attend at least six of the eight workshops scheduled during their sophomore and junior years (dinner is served at the events)
  • Engage with and get to know the cohort of fellow Catalysts
  • Schedule monthly interaction with the coach. At least two of these over the course of the semester should be in-person if possible
  • Complete a one-page summer leadership ln which will be assigned in the spring and reviewed with the coach

Gordon Engineering Leadership Program (GEL) is a for academic credit program that provides juniors and seniors, primarily from the SoE, both a challenging and supportive environment where they develop leadership skills to help them become highly effective leaders of engineering teams. The first year of the program (GEL1) introduces students to engineering leadership experiences and development, and sees approximately 120 students participate. Upon completing the GEL1 prerequisite, an exclusive group of 30-35 students may begin the second year of GEL (GEL2). GEL2 is an intensely personalized leadership development program that includes opportunities for leadership practice, and significant interactions with industry leaders, staff, and peers.