James Taylor is Assistant Vice President of Technical Services at Continental Grain Company (CGC), a 200-year-old international firm engaged in agribusiness, food, and commodities. In his position--which combines his areas of expertise, including engineering, operations, and corporate environmental affairs--Taylor acts as the communications bridge between technical and non-technical people. He currently focuses on environmental affairs, where he administers resources and support, and identifies solutions in the company’s operations and at the corporate level. As such, Taylor is involved in matters ranging from cutting-edge waste to energy projects, nutrient resource recovery, sustainability initiatives, and process safety management for highly hazardous chemicals, among others.
You have earned Executive Certificates in Management and Leadership and Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management as well as an Advanced Certificate for Executives. How did the courses you took to earn these certificates differ? Did you have a favorite?
"I value all the programs equally, because each one delivers on the area of content where I intended to acquire new insights and skills. That said, achieving the ACE was certainly a rewarding milestone … and in a sense amalgamated my experiences and learning at MIT altogether. Each of these programs has an underlying commonality which allows a participant to transfer or build upon the learning and experiences gained in one program and apply it to any other, which ultimately translates to quickly establishing a very sound learning foundation throughout the programs overall. The structure and variety of the MIT Sloan Executive Ed program speaks well for the program staff and professors who collaborated to develop these programs and continue to refine them."
"If pressed to select one favorite course, I would say Business Dynamics: MIT's Approach to Diagnosing and Solving Complex Business Problems, with Professors John Sterman and Nelson Repenning, stood out for me personally. The course generated a paradigm shift in my approach and ability to assess, attack, and explain difficult multifaceted problems and then reduce them all into a simple narrative for others to easily decipher and understand. I've taken two classes where Professor John Sterman taught directly … he supplied access to the knowledge and skill sets which ignited a profound desire in me to go beyond any usual process of analyzing intricate problems and instilled a greater level of confidence in my competency to do so."
What made you choose MIT Sloan Executive Education?
"The range of courses along with the flexibility to customize a learning experience tailored to one's own needs and schedule was very attractive--especially when one considers embarking upon such an experience among life's other demands of work, business travel, and family. Other pertinent factors were most certainly MIT’s well regarded reputation as an institution with a long history on how to translate deep research into tangible results especially through its credo of 'learning by doing,' its exceptional caliber of teaching staff, and the diverse range of international professionals who attend the programs."