Category: About Exec Ed

Tips for networking with your peers while at MIT Sloan Executive Education

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 days ago

Networking at MIT

There are many reasons to engage in continuing education, including developing core competencies, learning new business skills, or preparing for a new role. However, the benefits of attending executive education programs often extend well beyond the specific skills and frameworks acquired. At MIT Sloan Executive Education, our participants consistently remark on the value of networking with like-minded peers from around the world. And while both our in-person and online programs enable participants to connect and collaborate, our in-person programs—ranging from two days to one month in duration—provide remarkable opportunities for personal connections.

What to expect at MIT

MIT Sloan Executive Education programs are typically held in rooms with tables that seat six to eight participants. Often the tables are round, allowing for a great deal of interaction. Faculty lead exercises that require or encourage table mates to work together. This is an excellent way to meet others in a small, friendly setting. Participants are also often asked to rotate tables, enabling even more interaction.

On the first day of class, breakfast is served in the room where the course is held. Talking to another person as you grab coffee or sit to eat your morning bagel will feel natural. The course breaks for lunch, which is held in the same building where the classes take place, so this is another terrific opportunity to take a seat next to someone you have yet to meet.

In the evening, after the first day of the program, there is a cocktail hour that is held near the classroom. If you missed your chance to talk to someone during the day, this is a very relaxed time to connect with others.

Tips for networking with your peers

If you are planning to enroll in one of our courses, here are a few tips to help you break the ice with the other program participants:

  1. If you're anxious about approaching strangers, just remind yourself that others feel the exact same way! It's often a welcomed relief when one person makes the first overture. Everyone wants to connect with someone else, and it's always nice when someone else takes the initiative to start a conversation.
  2. During breaks, talk to someone who was at your table during class, and bring up a comment that they said during the lecture, or ask them how they like the class so far. Or, sit with someone at lunch and strike up a conversation.

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Certificate helps executive “future proof” his career

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 2 months and 16 days ago

MIT Sloan Certificate holder Robert Robertson

Robert Robertson is president of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and recently received an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation at MIT Sloan Executive Education. In this interview, Dr. Robertson shares his thoughts about the experience and how he has applied those lessons in his professional endeavors

Initially, what made you consider the MIT Sloan Executive Certificate?
The reason I chose the MIT Sloan Executive Certificate was because of the reputation of the School and recommendations from previous attendees.

Can you share some lessons learned from your MIT Sloan experience? Were you able to apply them in your workplace?
The scope and speed of change challenges us all to think outside the box, and these programs afforded the means to address that reality. The training was very practical and relevant. The programs provided excellent cases and exercises that engaged everyone, and in addition, there was a very good range of participants, which added value to the work. Also, the ability to link disruptive innovation to my work was very useful.

What were the highlights of your experience with the programs you completed?
The instructors, the environment, the materials, and the planning by all involved were highlights of the programs. In fact, I have retained the materials and still use them. They are excellent! All of the faculty presenters were well prepared, and the sessions were definitely world class. It is difficult for me to single out any one instructor in particular. In my experience, all of the professors reached an exceptionally high standard across the board.

Was there anything that surprised you about the programs?
What surprised me initially was the consistent quality across all of the courses. Also, the diversity of the cohorts and the ease with which you could work with the participants was really a plus. It was an enriching experience to be able to work with people from so many different factions. For example, I had course mates from the U.S. military, the European commission, and a large Japanese company. The differences in terms of experience that the participants brought to the table were applicable immediately to my current situation.

Were you able to connect with your classmates? If so, what were the benefits of doing so?
The networking opportunities were an important aspect of the classes. I have had good connections from the certificate experience and have maintained contacts in Southeast Asia, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh, who have shared emerging issues, trends, and problems—and given me good feedback, which has assisted me in my teaching.

Did the programs meet your expectations? Would you recommend them to colleagues? Overall, the programs exceeded my expectations. They were well organized, and the takeaway materials were excellent. I found the programs to be a very useful and well worth the time and energy to attend. I would highly recommend the experience.

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MIT Age Lab Director elected to AARP board

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 1 day ago

Joseph Coughlin

Joseph Coughlin, Founder and Director of the MIT Age Lab, was recently elected to the all-volunteer Board of Directors of AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons. The governing body of AARP, the Board provides strategic direction, sets policy, and provides governance oversight for AARP. Directors' responsibilities include approving AARP's strategic plan, approving the budget, and monitoring AARP's finances.

Dr. Coughlin--whose research explores how demographic change, technology, and social trends converge to drive future innovations in business and government--will serve a two-year term on the Board.

Dr. Coughlin is the author of more than 150 publications, a regular contributor to MarketWatch, and publishes Disruptive Demographics on He is one of Fast Company’s "100 Most Creative People in Business" and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of "12 pioneers inventing the future of retirement and how we will all live, work, and play tomorrow."

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Leaders of change have a tough job—MIT Sloan makes it easier

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 29 days ago

"Like a good play or restaurant, this course left me wanting more." That was the sentiment from Brad Evans, Nuclear Operations Division Manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, when asked about his thoughts on the MIT Sloan program, Leading Change in Complex Organizations. His fellow participants agree. Leaders of change have a tough job, but MIT Sloan makes it easier to navigate by providing frameworks and encouraging executives to look at situations through multiple lenses.

Effective change leadership is an evergreen struggle for many organizations, so it's no surprise that the MIT Sloan program, which runs once a year in mid-May, continues to be popular with executives around the world. The 2016 program attracted 46 participants from 14 different countries spanning North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Deanna Lomas

Some might say leadership and change go hand in hand. Deanna Lomas, Director of Supply Chain at Telstra in Melbourne, Australia, would take that statement a bit further and quip, "Leadership is change … change of oneself, others, and systems to achieve what may seem impossible. This program teaches you the key tools to start the journey."

Participants in the program are introduced to MIT's approach to leadership, the 4 Capabilities Leadership Model that was created here at MIT Sloan. They learn about the power of networks, both inside and outside of their organizations, how to organize for innovation, and effective methods for managerial decision making. True to MIT's motto of "Mens et Manus," which is Latin for "Mind and Hand," the program also offers opportunities for participants to test their new knowledge through case studies and hands-on simulations that put the learning into practice.

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Upping the IT quotient: A custom program for News Corporation

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 20 days ago

news media

With business units as diverse as 20th Century Fox, The Times, MyNetworkTV, National Geographic Channel, and Fox Interactive Media, News Corporation touches 70% of the world's population every day. While its vast reach and numerous holdings are a plus in terms of a successful business model, these elements make for a complex organization, along with challenging leadership responsibilities.

In an effort to assist its executives and strengthen its organizational structure, News Corporation’s then Senior Vice President and CIO Dave Benson turned to MIT Sloan for help—in particular, Peter Weill, whose book, IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results, Benson was reading at the time. Weill is a Senior Research Scientist at MIT Sloan and the Director of the School's Center for Information Systems Research (CISR).

Benson's ultimate goal was to enhance the company executives' skill set so that they could manage their IT operations like businesses and better align the IT activities with the company's diverse business units. Weill suggested a custom program because of MIT Sloan's research and expertise in finance, marketing, leadership development, and generating business value from IT—as well as the program's tailored curriculum and one-on-one coaching aspects. "The key to the success of this program was the combination of MIT Sloan’s reputation, a strong customized curriculum, outstanding faculty, and the ability to deliver it all without relieving people of their day jobs," says Benson.

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The next generation of MOOCs bring added benefits to lifelong learners

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 4 days ago

Avatars at MIT

Several years ago MOOCs, or Massive Online Open Courses, were touted as the latest and greatest in executive education. While they certainly have enjoyed much success, there’s always room for alternatives when it comes to a virtual, remote education experience.

In fact, a few of the downsides of MOOCs when compared to on site programs—a lack of ready accessibility to professors as well as the benefits of networking face-to-face with classmates—are what led to the next generation of virtual online courses: SPOCs, or small private online courses. Although many MOOCs and SPOCs share similar attributes—such as their online format and the use of video lecture components—there are differences. With SPOCs, for example, the admissions process can be more rigorous. Participants may be required to take an entrance exam, supply references, and have accrued a certain amount of time in the working world.

Of course, one major difference is the size of the class. SPOCs, by definition, are smaller, often comprising just 100 to 200 students, instead of the 1,000 to 2,000 that typically comprise a MOOC. In addition, many SPOCs break the class into even smaller groups that meet online periodically during the program, allowing participants a more intimate experience and one in which they are more readily able to share ideas and feedback with each other. Many participants in SPOCs also have an opportunity to interact more closely with class instructors.

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A personal story of accomplishment: Jackie Caniza

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months and 11 days ago

By Colleen Berger, Program Director, MIT Sloan Executive Education

Jackie Caniza MIT Sloan ACE

As a Program Director at MIT Sloan Executive Education, I have the good fortune of meeting many interesting, successful people from a variety of industries. I truly enjoy getting to know our participants and hearing their stories, and I would like to share a recent one with you.
Jackie Caniza is a Success Coach and HR Consultant at Business Hat, Inc. in the Philippines. After a 15-year career in corporate HR roles, she took a calculated risk and decided to start her own consulting business. Realizing she needed two separate educational tracks in order to succeed, she pursued her coaching certification while simultaneously evaluating executive education programs that would teach her the necessary business skills for starting and sustaining a business.

Jackie's father, a steadfast proponent of engineering and technology, had always aspired to spend time at MIT and suggested Jackie consider a program at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Given the considerable costs associated with starting a new business, Jackie was skeptical about being able to take on an additional commitment. But her father persisted, even offering to split the cost with her because he felt so strongly about the opportunity and the results it would produce.

In the fall of 2012, Jackie enrolled in four MIT Sloan Executive Education programs and earned an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership. She was thrilled with her experience and the value of the education which could be immediately applied to her new business. End of story ... or so she thought.

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Why executive education is a good investment for your company

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 6 months and 22 days ago

Concerned that paying for an employee's education will be worth the investment? Will participating in executive education take an employee out of the office for too long? Will the employee leave the organization once the education is complete?

While these concerns are valid, MIT Sloan Executive Education has seen thousands of executives bring extraordinary value back to their places of work. Business leaders and HR executives tell us how they have come to reply on executive education to fill skills gaps, reward employees, support teams, solve persistent challenges, and meet specific business goals. These are just a few of the many great reasons—for both an employer and an employee—to invest in executive learning.

"I continue, daily, to apply the tools and thought processes that I learned from my MIT Sloan Executive Education experience. The hands-on learning vignettes, led by renowned thought leaders and business experts, provide a balance of theory, research, and real-world applications. The participants also added greatly to the learning experience, bringing their unique perspectives from diverse geographies, industries, and roles. Whether you are a manager of a P&L, leading a product development team, or in a corporate function like HR or IT, you will leave with tangible tools that can be immediately applied to advance your business."

- Phil Gillingham, Director, Global HR Operations, Microsoft

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