Category: Management

A personal story of accomplishment: Jackie Caniza

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 days ago

By Colleen Berger, Program Director, MIT Sloan Executive Education

Jackie Caniza at MIT Sloan

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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Is the tech industry overlooking half its talent pool?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 26 days ago

There is much talk as of late over the lack of women working in and leading organizations in the technology industry. For example, a report by the American Association of University Women concluded that women made up just 26% of computing professionals in 2014, a substantially smaller proportion than 25 years ago and about the same percentage as in 1960. Women in engineering roles in the US are even less represented, making up 12% of working engineers.

Mitra Best

MIT Sloan Executive Certificate holder and U.S. Innovation Leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mitra Best, may have said it best in her recent blog post on CIO Dashboard: "It is ironic that while technology has broken many barriers to innovation, barriers to women’s engagement are rising." Mitra recalls her time as an undergraduate in computer science in the late 80s, when approximately 30% of computer graduates were women. She had assumed at that time that we’d reach parity in 10 to 15 years and was recently disappointed to learn that, in 2015, only 18% of computer graduates in the US were women.

Unfortunately, the underrepresentation of women in tech is, for the most part, a global phenomenon. In the U.K., women represent only 17.5% of computing professionals, and only 8.2 percent of engineers. In Israel, known for its thriving tech scene, women compose only 12% of PhD graduates in engineering and only 15% of professors in STEM subjects.

There is hope. Female scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians worldwide are breaking barriers and making incredible contributions to their fields, despite the odds. Projects like The Internet of Women, an upcoming book and global community to support women in technology founded by leaders from Cisco and New York Institute of Technology, prove that there are exciting cultural shifts taking place around the globe. Some of these achievements, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, are in part driven by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and Millennial Development Goals, which emphasize gender equality and technology education for girls, respectively.

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The Greater Boston Executive Program is back!

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 9 days ago

After a brief hiatus, the Greater Boston Executive Program (GBEP) is back. Now in the hands of MIT Sloan Executive Education, this popular course was developed almost six decades ago by a partnership formed among MIT and various companies in the Greater Boston area. The program remains supported and guided by a Board of Governors made up of representatives from several Boston based firms, including the Federal Reserve Bank and Raytheon BBN Technologies.

The original goal was to create a management development program for mid-level managers who wanted to move into executive leadership roles. These forward-thinking companies recognized that fostering continuing education in management principles was essential for those who wanted to move up in their firms. Although many of the initial organizations were already participating in in-house management programs, they found there was something missing: a supplementary program that would expose participants to current thinking in management philosophy without taking them away from their respective workplaces for long periods. With the help of MIT's Howard W. Johnson, then President of MIT, the GBEP was established and held its first course in the spring of 1958. 

While the current program has its roots in the original one, it has been shortened, refreshed, and relaunched as part of the MIT Sloan Executive Education portfolio. Today, as before, the program offers the benefits of seminar discussions among participants--representatives from companies based in Greater Boston--while providing managers with current, research-based frameworks for understanding and improving leadership capabilities, the implementation of organization changes, and the management of human resources. 

According to MIT Sloan Professor John Van Maanen, who is Faculty Director of GBEP and one of three faculty members who teach in it, the program's frameworks and modules are complemented by the small class size and close student-faculty interaction, as well as the diversity of topics and participant backgrounds.

"I know of no other open enrollment executive course that fosters the amount of mutual learning over an extended period of time as the Greater Boston program," says Van Maanen. "The local character ensures relevance and uniqueness across a variety of companies and industries."

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Embodied leadership: Is neuroscience the next frontier in management?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 months and 8 days ago

Contributed by Peter Hirst, Associate Dean, MIT Sloan Executive Education

Neuroscience

There has been much excitement in the media lately about how breakthroughs in neuroscience can be applied to improve our daily lives. From brain-boosting juices and snacks, to game apps designed to keep our brains agile, to marketing techniques promising more effective selling--neuroscience has captured public imagination.

While it's important to separate the hype from actual science, the fact that advances in brain-imaging technology have finally given researchers the tools to see with greater accuracy what's going on in our brains is full of promise. Long-held beliefs about how the brain works are now turning out to be if not exactly untrue, then at least up for debate. It's understandable that people are excited by the potential implications of these new possibilities. 

Applying Neuroscience Insights to Leadership Education

As Associate Dean of Executive Education at MIT Sloan School of Management, a big part of my job is to champion scientific knowledge as it applies to management and leadership education. So, needless to say, I was quite excited to learn what brain-based insights can teach business leaders.

My first glimpse of the tremendous potential that advances in neuroscience can bring to business leadership happened at the UNICON 2013 conference--a meeting of executive education providers from the world's leading business schools. It was there that I met Dr. Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and executive leadership coach who gave a compelling presentation on how brain science can be applied in management and leadership education.

Her presentation posed a number of thought-provoking questions. How can our understanding of the agility and diversity of thinking affect our leadership effectiveness? Is it actually possible to create a whole new mindset and to disrupt deeply embedded leadership patterns? Can we truly overcome what Harvard Graduate School of Education professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey call our "immunity to change"? Can leaders truly be transformed and, in turn, transform their organizations? I was so impressed by what I saw that I immediately started thinking of ways to bring her knowledge to MIT Sloan

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What flat organizations can learn from the Head of the Charles

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 5 days ago

Head of the Charles Regatta

This past weekend thousands of athletes, spectators and volunteers lined the banks of the Charles River in Boston for the 51st Head of the Charles Regatta. It is the largest two-day regatta in the world and draws competitors from colleges, high schools, and clubs from nearly every state in the U.S. and from 28 countries throughout the world. "Regattas such as the Head of the Charles in Boston and the Head of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia are to the rowing world what the New York Marathon and the Boston Marathon are to running," said Susan Saint Sing in The Eight: A Season in the Tradition of Harvard Crew.

To the average spectator at the Head of the Charles, rowing is a graceful, elegant sport, and a fun fall Boston event. But just like any sport where the elite in the field are competing, rowing in the Head of the Charles takes thousands of hours of hard work, dedication, and commitment. And the interpersonal dynamics within a successful, competitive rowing team present some intriguing lessons for those managing companies with today’s preferred "flat" organizational structure—one with few hierarchical levels and looser boundaries. 

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System Architecture, a new book by Bruce Cameron

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 17 days ago

System Architecture

A new book, System Architecture: Strategy and Product Development for Complex Systems, by Bruce Cameron, Director of the System Architecture Lab at MIT and a Lecturer in Engineering Systems, focuses on modern complex systems and the science behind them. It is the result of 20 years of research by Cameron and his fellow co-authors Edward F. Crawley, President of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow and Daniel Selva, a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell.

At the highest level, Cameron explains how to look at system architecture as a series of decisions that can be actively sorted and managed. Readers are provided with examples of good architectures and the modes of thinking required to analyze system architectures. The case studies presented range from building farm equipment to the International Space Station.

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Aspen Faculty Pioneer: MIT's Thomas Kochan earns lifetime achievement award

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 14 days ago

Thomas Kochan, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Co-Director for the Institute for Work and Employment Research at MIT was recently named the "Lifetime Achievement" award winner of this year's prestigious Aspen Faculty Pioneer Awards from the Aspen Institute of Business & Society Program. The Faculty Pioneer Awards were created in 1999 to honor educators who "demonstrate leadership and risk-taking--and blaze a trail toward curriculum that deeply examines the relationships between capital markets, firms and the public good." 

According to the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, the focus on this year's awards was to recognize and honor faculty who are teaching about inequality in their MBA classrooms. The awards honor faculty who are prompting students to think expansively about their role as managers as well as global citizens, now and over the long term.

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Why commonality sometimes fails

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 8 months and 15 days ago

Commonality, or the reuse and sharing of components, manufacturing processes, architectures, interfaces, and infrastructure across the members of a product family, is a strategy targeted at improving corporate profitability. Companies from Toyota to GE use product platform strategies to deliver more variety to their customers and compete more effectively. For example, Black and Decker uses shared motors and batteries across a range of power tools. Volkswagen models such as the Jett and TT share similar underbody components and other aspects.

Typical benefits of a commonality, or a product platform strategy, include:

  • Shared development costs
  • Common testing procedures
  • Production economies of scale
  • Amortized fixed costs
  • Reduced inventory

By definition, commonality seems like an obviously good thing. Why incur the cost of making different parts for different products if the parts do the same thing?  Because as it turns out, commonality is not always the right thing to do. And even when it is right, it can be difficult to achieve.

Dr. Bruce Cameron is a lecturer in MIT's Engineering Systems Division and a consultant on platform strategies. His research at MIT uses a healthy dose of systems thinking to tease out when commonality makes sense and how to get companies to pull it off. Cameron oversaw the MIT Commonality Study, which closely examined 30 firms over eight years. The study was the first work to uncover that many firms fail to achieve their desired commonality targets, showing weaker investment return on their platform investments. "That type of behavior and phenomenon is seen in studies that we did in automotive, consumer products, and transport," says Cameron.

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