Leader to Leader

MIT's Leader to Leader (L2L) program strives to develop strategic, inclusive leaders who are inspired and well prepared to lead people and initiatives in support of MIT’s mission.

The L2L program equips leaders with leadership models and skills, greater understanding of MIT’s culture and operations, and access to a vibrant network of fellow leaders, including MIT senior leaders.

Away from daily work demands, program participants (L2L Fellows) are able to view challenges, opportunities, and decisions from a broader, more strategic perspective. They come to think and act differently, learning to lead with confidence, humility, and respect for the mission and values of MIT.

The program features:

  • Cohort format to facilitate shared learning and peer engagement
  • Multi-rater assessment using the x360 framework
  • Coaching to support work on individual leadership goals
  • On-the-job application of program learning
  • Strategic project work on topics that are timely and important to MIT
  • Workshops with the MIT senior leaders, MIT Sloan and other faculty members, and leadership development experts

Program Components


Workshops throughout the program year feature MIT senior leaders, MIT Sloan and other faculty members, and leadership development experts.

The workshops provide opportunities for:

  • Applying a theoretical framework for leadership to MIT-specific challenges
  • Engaging in dialogue with MIT senior leaders
  • Working collaboratively on meaningful learning experiences
  • Reflecting and committing to action

L2L Fellows learn and practice applying theoretical frameworks related to:

  • Decision making
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Leadership fundamentals
  • Leading change
  • Organizational culture
  • Situational leadership
  • Strategic thinking
  • Visioning
  • Other timely and relevant topics

Through dialogue with senior leaders and visits to campus facilities and Lincoln Laboratory, Fellows have exposure to important aspects of the MIT enterprise.

Among the topics typically covered are:

  • Academic leadership (including a Deans' Panel)
  • Admissions
  • Alumni engagement
  • Financial leadership
  • MIT culture
  • MIT governance
  • Research (campus and Lincoln Laboratory)
  • Resource development
  • Student life
  • Other topics of particular importance to MIT during the program year

Individual leadership development

x360 leadership assessment

Effective leadership begins with self-awareness. L2L Fellows participate in a multi-rater assessment using the x360 framework, which is based on research at MIT Sloan. The assessment produces insights on how Fellows are perceived by managers, colleagues, and direct reports related to critical leadership competencies. It helps the Fellows identify strengths and areas for development.

After the x360 assessment

L2L Fellows meet with a coach to:

  • Analyze and synthesize the results
  • Identify leadership development goals
  • Periodically discuss progress toward their leadership development goals, obstacles that hinder progress, and ways to apply L2L learning in working toward the goals

L2L projects

The projects are a critical learning component of L2L. They provide L2L Fellows with an opportunity both to carry out timely and important work for MIT senior leaders and to apply leadership concepts and tools in a project team context.

In support of an executive sponsor and a sponsor, each project team investigates a vital topic and produces information, insight, and recommendations to help inform decision making and actions.

Teams are asked to approach the projects as they would any major work project, bearing in mind the importance of a project plan, clearly defined scope, relevant and achievable goals, and alignment with sponsor expectations.

Teams are also expected to use the projects and the team experience as a learning vehicle, being intentional about both applying leadership tools and frameworks and exploring how team dynamics evolve over the course of the project.

The projects culminate with a written report for the sponsors and a final presentation at the L2L project presentations event.

View final reports from past L2L Projects (Touchstone required).

Cohort learning

L2L is a shared learning experience, and alumni cite the cohort format as instrumental to their learning and growth as a leader. A cohort consists of 20+ leaders from across campus and Lincoln Laboratory, and the program encourages learning with and from other cohort members. L2L can be intense, requiring considerable individual and group work and prompting L2L Fellows to stretch, step out of their comfort zones, and at times be vulnerable. This fosters interactive learning and deep personal connections that extend long after the program year.

Manager engagement

L2L Fellows are most successful at applying what they learn when their managers are actively engaged in their leadership development. To this end, managers of Fellows are expected to:

  • Provide input to their Fellow's multi-rater assessment
  • Participate in a Managers' Orientation
  • Actively enable their Fellow to apply what they are learning
  • Meet with their Fellow and their coach at least twice during L2L
  • Attend the L2L project presentations event

Alumni network

With a 20+ year history, L2L has a significant and active alumni network, including more than 100 alumni who are currently in MIT leadership positions. Graduating from L2L provides access to this rich network for both informal peer connections and organized alumni activities, including learning and networking events, laboratory tours, and special meetings with senior leaders. Alumni are also invited to join the private L2L Alumni LinkedIn group. View the list of L2L alumni.

Applying to L2L

The application period for the 2025 L2L Cohort will open in August 2024. Learn more about applying.