Student leadership

Developing leadership skills is critical for your professional development at MIT and beyond. Your time as a graduate student is the perfect opportunity to advance your skills.

In-person learning opportunities

  • GWAMIT Annual Fall Leadership Conference
    The Fall Leadership Conference, started fall 2010, seeks to provide graduate women with the opportunity to gain communication and leadership skills. The organizing committee comprises women from across MIT departments and has invited top experts to share advice.
  • MIT Graduate Student Leadership Incubator (MIT GSLI)
    The MIT Graduate School Leadership Institute is a first-of-its-kind, peer-led collaboration across all MIT graduate schools to further develop the leadership skills, experience, and network of outstanding MIT graduate students who have exhibited strong leadership capacity. Out of the hectic pace of studying at MIT, the program carves out dedicated time for purposeful, authentic reflection and connection. MIT GSLI is supported by the MIT Leadership Center, the Student Activities Office, the MIT Sloan School, and the Office of Graduate Education.According to past participants, this is a deeply rewarding program. A kick-off retreat on Cape Cod and mandatory weekly meetings build strong friendships, leadership skills and reflections, and a peer network bolstered by alumni events that continues after the MIT GSLI semester is over. For more information, contact the program student leadership at mitgsli@gmail.com.
  • MIT LeaderShape
    A four-day leadership development program run by MIT’s Division of Student Life (DSL) with support from the MIT Leadership Center for MIT students (graduate and undergraduate) every January.
  • Graduate Student Council (GSC) programs
    The GSC offers Professional Development Skills Workshops each year to help graduate students develop career skills including communication, leadership, conflict management, improv and networking. See their site for current offerings.
  • Gordon Engineering Leadership Program has many offerings that are open to all graduate students, including courses on leading creative teams, engineering leadership, negotiation skills for technical leaders, and multi-stakeholder negotiation.
  • Independent Activities Period (IAP) offerings in leadership (for credit subjects and non-credit activities: keyword search “leadership” for current year listings.
  • Student group retreat development support offered by the Student Activities Office (SAO)
    SAO staff are available to assist students in formulating retreat schedules, determining goals and agendas, using icebreakers and teambuilders, creating meaningful conversations, and anything else that goes into planning for and implementing a great retreat.

Online learning opportunities

  • MIT Leadership Center
    Here you will find:

    • Profiles of innovative leaders across campus
    • Videos of conversations with influential leaders
    • Blog entries about leaders and leadership
    • Research papers and academic perspectives on leadership
    • Leadership Development Tools including videos on 4 Capabilities Assessment, Innovators DNA Assessment, System Dynamics, and Self Assessment; Case studies on leadership and ethics; and System Dynamics Simulations
  • Student Leader Toolkit from the MIT Division of Student Life (DSL)
    This “toolkit” is meant to provide students and student organizations with leadership resources at your fingertips. The Student Activities Office also has a number of books, materials, and activity ideas.

Funding opportunities

  • Graduate Student Council (GSC) Professional Development Exploration Grant
    The Professional Development Exploration (PDE) Grant offered by the GSC is designed to support MIT graduate students from all schools and departments in their pursuit of local professional development opportunities outside their area of study or research. Specifically, this fund is allocated to cover registration fees that are not currently funded by the student’s advisor or other funding sources. Registration would be covered, up to the $200 cap, for professional development activities including but not limited to seminars, workshops, conferences, and meetings.

Become a student leader