Getting into MIT is a pretty impressive accomplishment.
But thousands of students do it.
Only one can be president of the class, though.
Nate Fox has been elected 3 times.
Nate — now a senior — has long been destined for success. At Staples he was a self-described “math and science geek.” He starred on the math and robotics teams, but also enjoyed being part of a broader community.
“It’s an awesome place,” he says of the high school from which he graduated in 2008. “There’s something for everyone. No matter how you want to get involved — sports, drama, radio — you can.”
Nate calls MIT “the next logical step.” From his Lego days on, he liked inventing and creating new things. “Math and science have power to impact people’s lives,” he explains.
He finds MIT to be — like Staples — “an amazing place. There’s intense intellectual curiosity and rigor. Everyone asks questions, and everyone tries to find answers.”
The school offers world-class professors, funding for research, and an environment in which “really cool ideas can grow.”
Though Nate loved physics at Staples, he found the MIT program too theoretical for his tastes. “Studying black holes is really important,” he says. “But for me, I want to effect the world more immediately.”
He went into mechanical engineering. A toy product design class satisfied his “childlike passion” for creating. “People do this for a living?!” he asked.
To complement the project-based, hands-on engineering curriculum he took marketing and business classes at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
His first internship, after sophomore year, came in the product development group at Volkswagen. He learned a lot, then did a winter internship at Continuum, a design and innovation consultancy. “That was a fun, wacky place,” Nate reports. MBAs mixed right in with English, anthropology and engineering majors.
Those work experiences reinforced Nate’s desire to work in product design. Now he’s landed a job with Microsoft as an associate product manager. Starting this summer he’ll work in the Seattle-based Windows business group, examining product development, marketing and finance.
Now, about that MIT class presidency…
As a sophomore Nate ran against the incumbent, and won. He’s been re-elected ever since, based on his focus of getting more back for the class’ budget bucks.
As president, he’ll speak at graduation.
“It’s an incredible honor,” he says. Realizing that commencement speeches are filled with cliches, and that “it’s hard for a 21-year-old to be profound,” Nate plans to focus on what makes his class happy, what drives them, and what makes them who they are.
“We go through life trudging along,” he notes. “But every day is a gift. We really need to make the most of it.”
As Nate Fox clearly already has.