By Alice Waugh
March 8, 2017
Maya Olsha, has been named Director of Business Partnerships for MIT’s Integrated Design & Management (IDM) program. Olsha, a 2008 alumna of IDM’s sister track, the System Design and Management (SDM) program, brings over a decade of experience and a breadth of accomplishments.
As primary liaison to IDM’s partners (mostly companies, but also nonprofits and other agencies), Olsha will identify and nurture current and future relationships between IDM and those partners. Her goal is to increase awareness of the program and collaboration opportunities including class and thesis projects, student careers, joint research, gifts and social initiative projects.
Olsha is well acquainted with IDM Director Matt Kressy, since she took his Product Design and Development class as an SDM student. After doing her thesis project on procurement risk management at Accenture, she worked full-time in product management and was a vice president for customer success at a startup.
“I’ve always loved interaction with the customers, listening to their problems and trying to solve them creatively,” she says. “Now I can help promote the IDM vision by working with students and companies to the bring design integration to corporate culture and processes.”
Olsha looks forward to promoting many types of collaboration between IDM and its partners, including facilitating internships and post-graduation job opportunities for students, as well as helping guide IDM’s Spring Project Market Opportunity Pitch event. In that exercise, several companies, along with all of the students, pitch real-world problems. Students choose one of the problems and work on solutions by conducting interviews, doing market research and creating prototypes. The solutions might be a product or service, such as inventing a means of alerting deaf cruise ship passengers about emergencies, or it might be a social challenge such as sparking children’s interest in nature.
“Maya has been working with the IDM leadership team for the past year and has become integral to the mission of the program,” Matt Kressy says. “Her wonderful energy has created meaningful relationships with partners that inspire the students and also result in terrific outcomes for the companies.”
Olsha started college in her native Israel and got her bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in computer science. She worked as a software engineer for the Partners Healthcare System before enrolling at MIT.