INFORMS Awards 2014 UPS George D. Smith to MIT LGO Program

BOSTON, April 10, 2014 – The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) has awarded its prestigious UPS George D. Smith Prize to the Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) Program. The prize was announced at a banquet on Monday, April 1 in Boston at the 2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research.

The UPS George D. Smith Prize is awarded to an academic department or program for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research. It is accompanied by a $10,000 cash award.  For the purpose of this award, operations research is defined broadly to include operations research, management science, and analytics.

INFORMS, the INFORMS College for the Practice of Management Science (CPMS), and UPS collaborated to establish this award to emphasize the importance of operations research practice and to encourage operations research/analytics programs around the world to focus on preparing students for operations research practice.  In the three years since its inception, the prize has gained international stature, and has been attracting applications from highly recognized academic programs in U.S. and abroad.

The Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, formerly known as Leaders for Manufacturing, was started in 1988 to develop technically-trained managers who would lead the U.S. manufacturing industry. It was the first program in the United States to forge a partnership between industry and schools of management and engineering. Since its inception, the program has evolved to reflect the rise of the service industry and the increasingly global nature of operations and manufacturing.

LGO is a two-year dual degree program. Upon graduation, its students receive an MBA or MS from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an MS from one of seven MIT engineering programs. Each year, approximately 48 students with science and engineering backgrounds and an average of five years of work experience are admitted, resulting in a total enrollment of 96. Every LGO student receives a fellowship sponsored by one of the program’s industry partners that covers a substantial portion of tuition costs. In addition, merit scholarships are awarded to outstanding students. LGO graduates are among the most sought after in the industry.

The LGO curriculum is based on the belief that fundamental knowledge of operations research is essential to achieving superiority in operations. OR courses are central to the LGO core curriculum and form a critical part of its electives. In addition to technical skills, the students also get strong training in “soft skills” that are vital for translating theory into practice.

Intense hands-on training is a significant part of the LGO curriculum. Students help companies improve their operations through electives centered on real-world operations management practice.

The central part of practical training in LGO is a required six-month internship at an industry partner company. The internship research and results form the basis of the dual master’s thesis.

The other finalists for 2014 were:

  • The Lehigh University Enterprise System Center and Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • University of British Columbia Center for Operations Excellence, Sauder School of Business

The UPS George D. Smith Prize is named in honor of the late UPS Chief Executive Officer who was a patron of operations researchers at this leading Fortune 500 corporation. George D. Smith was the second CEO of UPS, holding the position from 1962-1972. He joined UPS as an accountant in 1925 and at some point in his long and illustrious career held almost every functional title within the company. He believed operations research practice was vital to the sustained growth of the company and championed its practice. UPS is generously underwriting the expenses for this prize to recognize the contribution of operations research discipline in transforming a small messenger company to a global logistics company.

More information about the prize is here.


INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in analytics and operations research (O.R.). INFORMS advances research, and develops and promotes best practices in analytics and O.R. through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development. INFORMS helps business, government, and other organization professionals make better decisions to drive value to their organizations and society. Our certification program (CAP®), highly cited publications, educational meetings and conferences, continuing education, industry and process focused networking communities, competitions, and recognition provide professionals with the knowledge and connections they need to achieve ever greater value for their organizations. Further information about INFORMS can be found online at or @informs.



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