As part of a monthly segment started in 2016-17, MIT’s Communications, Promotions and Marketing team will be bringing you a series titled, “Where Are They Now”. Where Are They Now highlights former MIT student-athletes from all 33 varsity sports, asking questions that dive a little bit deeper into each individual’s time as a student-athlete and how those experiences shaped their current professions.
Name: Sam Jasinski `08
Major: Course 2 (Mechanical Engineering)
Current Place of Employment: Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Have you obtained a higher level of education since graduating from MIT?
Yes, I received my Master of Science in Engineering and Technology Innovation Management from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012
What is your current job title and what does this position entail?
Associate Director within the Technology Management and Policy group of the Energy Practice. I lead multiple project teams to provide market and technology analysis to government agencies that develop policies to reduce the energy consumption of residential and commercial building products. My work has also included energy technology road-mapping and R&D portfolio management.
How did your time at MIT prepare you for your current position?
MIT made me a problem solver. The skills I learned from struggling through problem sets transcend any one subject. Even though I’m not doing much multi-variable calculus or chemistry in my day to day, I’m still applying those problem-solving approaches to systematically frame problems and use whatever data or information is available to me to get to an informed solution. I also find myself appreciating the breadth of my MIT undergraduate education. I feel it gave me a more-than-basic understanding of many technical fields. In my professional experience, most challenges lay at the intersection of many disciplines. My broad technical background, founded on MIT’s curriculum, enables me to thrive at these intersections because I can rely on that background to comprehend, communicate, and contribute across a broad spectrum of disciplines.
What piece of advice would you have for current MIT Student-Athletes?
MIT is an amazing place. There are few, if any, other places in the world where the same breadth and depth of expertise, abundant resources, and culture of collaboration and pursuit of knowledge and innovation exist together. Take full advantage. Although elusive at a place like MIT, balance is important. So take good care of your mind and body. But if you find a subject that interests you, dive as deep as you can and immerse yourself in all that MIT has to offer on that subject.
How did your athletic involvement aid in the path that you chose following graduation?
The answer is simple and cliché. Teamwork. To be successful, you will need to know how to lead, how to follow, and how to collaborate. At times, you will need to rely on people and at other times, people will need to rely on you. Athletics was a great way to experience the triumphs and challenges that this entails. Athletics taught me a lot about accountability, humility, and how to relate to and communicate with people.
What is your most fond memory of MIT athletics?
The grind. My teams didn’t have a lot of success in terms of the win column. But I share an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment with my teammates that still showed up day in and day out in pursuit of those precious few victories. At MIT, I felt I experienced the rawest form of the sports I played; not a lot of fanfare and no extraneous resources. There wasn’t much to play for except the love of the game and love of your teammates. Few people get into MIT. Fewer play sports at MIT. And even fewer make it through a full season, let alone four seasons as an MIT athlete. I did, and I know the caliber of those that did too, and I’m honored to be in that special group.
What would you say is your greatest athletic & academic accomplishments during your time at MIT?
Neither my athletic nor academic career has a pinnacle moment or award that I can point to as a greatest accomplishment. Instead, I think my greatest accomplishment in both areas was my constant dedication, hard work, and improvement. I have a diploma and a captain’s patch to show for it, which is more than enough for me.
If you can recall, why did you choose to attend MIT?
In retrospect, I don’t think I fully understood what MIT was (or college or engineering, for that matter) when I was making my decision. I just knew that MIT was the best, so my thinking was: if you want to be an engineer and you get into MIT, you go to MIT.
What was your favorite non-athletics activity here at MIT?
2.009 (the Mechanical Engineering senior “capstone” class). It was the perfect culmination of a long and difficult curriculum and to me, it felt like the first time that the “training wheels” came off. Students were broken into large teams and given a real-world problem to address with a product of their design. We got to develop that product from cradle to grave, with minimal guidance, and by using any and all the things we had each learned in our time at MIT. For me, it was an excellent preview of and segue into my post-MIT, professional life.