By Dan O’Sullivan
From a girl who loved computer science to a woman pursuing an MBA and MS in engineering, Wendy-Kay Logan has always enjoyed engaging her technical side. At the MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, she's doing just that — and much more.
Wendy-Kay Logan, LGO '11, was part of a four-woman team that won an MBA case competition last year.
Logan was born in Jamaica and grew up in the Houston area. She got her first computer at age 12 and quickly became fascinated with it.
In high school, a female computer science teacher acted as a mentor, encouraging Logan to enter programming competitions and to continue exploring her interest in computer science. While other students moved in the direction of chemical engineering (Houston is home to many oil and gas companies), she stuck to her guns.
A Woman Who Opens Doors
At Rice University, Logan noticed many female classmates naturally gravitated toward electrical engineering. Computer science, in contrast, was male-dominated. "It's not like anyone proactively discouraged me from studying computer science, but I did see how women could be discouraged in subtle ways," she said.
Logan set out to address the gender gap in computer science by co-founding the Society for Women in Computer Science (CSters). The student group was able to secure funding from Rice to support and promote women in computer science.
When a woman joins CSters, she gains a network of similarly minded individuals and supporters, including members of the Rice faculty and representatives from industry. CSters has flourished, producing about 35 alumnae to date.
Victory in MBA Case Competition
After graduating from Rice in 2004, Logan worked for five years at National Instruments in Austin, Texas. The LGO program appealed to her because of the strength of MIT's engineering program and the exposure to operations and manufacturing.
"I had spent much of the previous five years doing marketing and sales, and we often threw our forecasts and customer demands over the wall into manufacturing," she said. "We weren't necessarily expected to know what manufacturing did to get products out the door. So I came here to learn what goes into that, the operations side of things."
Since coming to MIT in June 2009, Logan has earned some impressive honors, including being named an Intel Noyce Scholar and a Google UNCF Scholar. But she is most proud of an award she shared with three other LGO women.
In November 2009, Logan and her teammates won first place in the fifth annual MBA Exclusive Case Competition. The quartet bested teams from about 20 other schools.
"The case competition brought together the teamwork experience that LGO emphasizes so much — being collaborative, leveraging your strengths, focusing on improving your weaknesses," she said. "And it was an opportunity to apply some of the operations knowledge I've gained here."
Kinship and Community
At National Instruments, Logan worked to bring in more minority engineers (who were underrepresented in the company). At Rice, CSters was her attempt to unite women in computer science. Today, she serves as a senator on the MIT Sloan and Dean's Student Advisory Council, where her primary goal is to create a sense of unity among the various programs.
"I try to focus on taking down walls between MBAs, LGOs, Master of Finance students and Sloan fellows," she said. "I think the common thread that has driven me throughout my career is trying to find this sense of kinship and to build community."
To learn more about LGO, please visit our page with MBA program FAQs. Or, find out about MBA internships available through the LGO program.
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