EECS Alumni/ae: taking EECS to the limits

Rolando Rabines, SB 6-1, 6-3, ’86, Founding Partner and principal operator of Growing Well Partners.

Rolando Rabines, SB 6-1, 6-3, ’86, Founding Partner and principal operator of Growing Well Partners.

Rolando Rabines (SB 6-1, 6-3, ’86), is the Founding Partner and principal operator of Growing Well Partners. His current focus is making equity investments in seed and early stage firms. He has substantial expertise and interest in emerging network and financial technology firms.

Since his MIT EECS experience, Rabines has developed a variety of mission critical applications using distributed system and networked architectures, as well as creating a wide array of asset management applications. He holds patents relating to online analytic systems and distributed application components.

Rabines credits his successes to the high level of preparation he received as an engineer at EECS.

“I believe one of the most unique aspects of my MIT EECS experience is the high expectations both faculty and teaching assistants have for undergraduate students. I transferred into MIT for my sophomore year, so I had an opportunity to see how things were being done elsewhere. I expect most MIT undergraduates come to MIT after a steady and largely self-imposed diet of academic challenges, but few if any are able to approximate the environment provided by MIT. I did not feel like a student, I felt like an engineer in testing. I recall writing on my admission application cover letter, something about wanting to come to MIT to have the opportunity to discover and fulfill my potential, test my limits and all that. I was not disappointed.”

Indeed, as Rabines earned his bachelors degree in both electrical engineering and in computer science, he was able to more than handle just about any student internship or job opportunity that he undertook.

“I recall my first summer job at a leading technology company. They gave me a project that was supposed to take 10 weeks to finish. Honestly, it was about the complexity of a mid-semester problem set, and I had it done in a few days. My supervisor was not ready for this outcome, so he decided to give me a really hairy project he had on backlog ready for a soon-to-be hired engineer. I completed the project before the end of the summer, exceeding his (and probably my) wildest expectations. I feel this is the essence of the impact my MIT EECS experience has had in my life’s work: plan to deliver beyond the highest of expectations.”

Rabines was previously co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Macgregor, a leading financial technology provider of software and services for global financial market participants. He co-lead the firm from the startup stage through ultimate sale to a public company, serving over his 15 year tenure in senior roles including Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.

Noting how confidence level was definitely boosted from his EECS experiences, Rabines said: “I started a company with an MIT EECS classmate, and credit much of our success to the confidence, tools and tempo we developed at school. Critical elements to delivering beyond expectations: the emphasis on first modeling the problem correctly, rather than running-off half-cocked to implementation; confidently decomposing large, seemingly unmanageable problems into the right pieces; using powerful abstractions to handle complexity; consuming large amounts of new material, by separating the real drivers from irrelevant clutter. Ultimately, a high comfort level with commitments to achieve what most would consider unreasonable.”

On learning recently about the major curriculum revamp in EECS, Rabines said, “It is clear that [MIT EECS’] goal remains to produce nothing less than the best engineers on the planet.”

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