Category: Participant Viewpoints

Interview with MIT Sloan ACE Holder James Taylor

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 12 days ago

James Taylor MIT Sloan

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."

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An interview with MIT Sloan Executive Certificate holder Li Chang of Boeing

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 25 days ago

MIT Sloan Executive Certificate Holder Li Chang

Li Chang, Associate Technical Fellow for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, recently shared his thoughts with us about his experience at MIT Sloan Executive Education, where he earned Executive Certificates in Management and Leadership and Strategy and Innovation. Li was recently invited by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to represent Boeing at the 2017 NAE German-American Frontiers of Engineering (GAFOE) symposium for people who "demonstrate contributions in advancing engineering accomplishments in engineering developments."

What did you take away from your experience at MIT?
I gained an invaluable education from MIT, was able to network with some of the best minds, and shared wonderful experiences with everyone at MIT.

Do you think your attendance at MIT Sloan Executive Education was part of the reason you were selected to attend the GAFOE symposium?
Yes, the exceptional innovative spirit and culture at MIT really stimulated my creative, strategic, and constructive thinking, which I have been able to transfer to many of my colleagues here at Boeing. Additionally, my MIT experience leveraged and distinguished my credentials. I am looking forward to learning new concepts and strategies, along with other promising engineers from Germany and the United States.

What made you choose MIT Sloan Executive Education for your professional education needs?
I started my search for a graduate school by looking online, and I was captivated by the Mens et Manus (i.e., mind and hand) motto that defines MIT. I knew MIT was the school I wanted to attend because MIT's motto matches my mission at Boeing, which is capturing innovative ideas and turning them into reality. Another reason I decided to further my education at MIT was due to the number of Nobel Laureates affiliated with MIT and the spirit and culture which drives them. I wanted to be confident that I would be in an environment with people who were passionate, persistent, and perseverant; people who want to discover, create, collaborate, and contribute for a better future.

Explain how you have applied what you learned during the courses back at Boeing.
From my experience at MIT, I integrated everything that I learned from my professors and applied that to execute our strategy to continue to develop and accelerate innovation in advanced manufacturing for a dynamic and diverse industry. More importantly, we were able to craft a culture of innovation and value-creation that will impact the entire enterprise at Boeing. I believe we all can learn from one another, have different approaches and perspectives, and can solve any challenge presented. Master collaboration is the key.

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An interview with MIT Sloan ACE holder Mia Hemmi

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 month and 19 days ago

MIT Sloan ACE holder Mia Hemmi

Mia Hemmi is an Account Director at Hakuhodo Inc, an integrated advertising and communication agency headquartered in Japan. She earned an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation & Technology (ACE) from MIT Sloan in 2016.

Where are you from, and what brought you to the US?
I am from Tokyo, Japan. My husband had relocated himself to participate in a program at Harvard starting in July (2016). At the time, I had been on a childcare leave, so I decided to join him in Cambridge to commit to an academic adventure.

Can you tell us a little bit about your professional experience and your role at Hakuhodo?
Hakuhodo is one of the largest advertising/marketing communications agencies in Japan. Our mission is to "Invent the Future" in partnership with our thousands of clients from governmental organizations to companies of countless industries, including media, to create new values and movements through branding work based on our "Sei-katsu-sha" (a Japanese expression of a holistic person--an individual with a lifestyle, aspirations and dreams, in contrast to "consumer") insight. Long story short, we do practically anything that relates to "communication," to leverage the value of ideas, products, and services at all business levels.

2017 will be my twentieth year at the Hakuhodo DY Group, and I have been in the Account Services Department (aka Client Services/Sales) through my entire career. We work as "producers" in the front-line as strategic consultants to clients, managing and facilitating all projects as leaders by aligning key staffs internally (market research, events/promotions, PR, creative, media, selected depending on project) and teaming with third-party potential supporters to provide the best solutions to clients. My clients are of industries including foods/beverages, retailers, airlines, online services, government, sport event organizers, etc., which all operate as global brands or international entities, so the work constantly requires the understanding of the global markets of the respective industries. Aside from the general domestic services, my forte has been in the Business Development area analyzing cross-cultural opportunities, supporting Japanese clients to build businesses in foreign markets, and foreign companies that build businesses in Japan. The experience has led me to examine the managerial and operational side of the businesses, and I have been fortunate to be able to participate in projects of multiples of industries at the hands-on level. I must say I was a total workaholic working 24/7, with business travels abroad two-thirds of the year, until my son was born.

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Business leaders agree: It's time to start talking about race in the workplace

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

Business leaders agree it's time to start discussing race in the workplace

Discussing race, religion, and politics at holiday gatherings and in the workplace has been taboo for decades. Even in safer spaces and among friends, conversations about race are particularly difficult and anxiety provoking. But in the wake of heartbreaking events around the country, conversations about racial inequality and cultural divide have forced their way into the national consciousness. Social media is abuzz with chatter about the degree to which prejudice is at work. And yet the one place where we spend most of our time--at work--is noticeably bereft of dialogue. Should we make race and racial bias an open platform for discussion at work?

Many business leaders say yes. While such dialogues can be difficult to navigate, they are essential to helping us face the tragedies that surround us. When we avoid constructive conversation about our differences, communication deteriorates and productivity suffers. Perhaps most critically, open dialogue about race at work helps address the fact that the same racial bias that underscores these events also exists inside corporate walls.

Edith Cooper, Head of Human Capital at Goldman Sachs, recently authored an article for Business Insider, “Why Goldman Sachs is encouraging employees to talk about race at work – and why as a black woman I think this is so important," where she writes, "Ultimately, our experience at work is a collection of interactions with the people around us. When those interactions are stimulating and challenging and take place in an environment of inclusivity and collaboration, you have a better experience and, in turn, you perform better ... because as a result of those varied inputs and insights, you are better."

Cooper shares that Goldman Sachs is working to provide forums for their people to engage in and advance the diversity dialogue. “The pervasiveness of current events affects everyone at our firm from summer interns to senior leaders. With impassioned questions pertaining to race, fair treatment and equal opportunity being asked both in public and in private, we knew this was not a topic we could ignore.”

After Ferguson, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, drew a lot of heat for his “Race Together” campaign, which tried to get employees to engage customers in conversations about race. While some disparaged the effort as poorly planned, others praised him for trying to be part of a solution. At a candid panel discussion among executives held in Chicago earlier this year, Dorri McWhorter, CEO of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, said Schultz's initiative was a move in the right direction.

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My Certificate at work in India's media and entertainment industry

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 13 days ago

Guest post contributed by Kiriti Rambhatla, MIT Sloan Executive Education Strategy and Innovation certificate holder (2011), who wrote to us recently to share some of the ways his certificate has impacted his career.

Kiriti Rambhatla earns MIT Sloan Executive Certificate

Before attending MIT Sloan Executive Education, I had been writing and hosting political, economic, and business televisions shows for the established news networks in India’s media and entertainment industry—the largest in the world—since 2009. I soon realized that success required a larger understanding macroeconomics of the industry, however. With more than 90% of the products (movies, television, comics) not making the cut, the competition and failure rates in the industry were a point of research interest for me. I chose to further explore relevant topics by earning an MIT Sloan Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation.

After securing the Certificate 2011, I returned to the industry with renewed focus. I had developed particular interest in areas like macroeconomics, strategy for global markets and managing successful strategy for products and technologies. I began hosting a successful socio-economic talk show. It was during the scripting of this talk show, however, that I also began to focus on what is known as character entertainment in India.

Much like the American comic book studios Marvel and DC, India has a fragmented comic book industry where I felt I could use my writing skills to build sustainable characters across television, movies, comic books, and video games. With the advent of OTT platforms like Netflix, there was a rudimentary ecosystem for OTT platforms for video content as well in the country.

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

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 20 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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Interview with EDP participant and Administrate CEO John Peebles

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

John Peebles

We recently interviewed John Peebles, CEO of Administrate and a 2014 participant of the Entrepreneurship Development Program, via Skype. Below is a transcript of our conversation. His company, Administrate, offers an integrated, Software as a Service (SaaS) management system for training providers. The company went to market in 2012 and has customers such as PwC, Elsevier, Scania and learndirect. It’s based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

What led you to the MIT Sloan Entrepreneurship Development Program?

Let me start by saying that, honestly, I have never really enjoyed the academic setting. During college, I was always kind of tinkering, consulting [as a programmer]--I was learning concepts from those experiences more than in the classroom. Classes were boring to me, and I didn’t like the homework. Getting out of college was great--it was a miracle that I graduated, actually. For the most part I consider myself a self-taught programmer, despite having a computer science degree.

Back in early 2014, a colleague gave me a brochure about EDP, and I said no way. But people here in Scotland kept saying how great it was and when I heard it described as many semesters of info presented in a week-long crunch, I thought, that’s actually an environment I might enjoy!

Because I have a computer science degree (not business), despite having a lot of on-the-job experience running companies, I have always felt there were gaps in my understanding of business concepts. I was looking for this program to address some of those, and I felt pretty confident it could be in part because I had read Professor Aulet's book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, shortly before the application period.

Also it's important to note that entrepreneurs here receive a lot of support from the Scottish government, and they covered most of the cost of the program and travel for me to attend, which was incredible. Without that, I wouldn't have been able to go.

Tell us a little bit about your company, and the stage it was in at the time you enrolled.

The Administrate team back then was 10 or 11 people. We were a small start-up that had spun out of a training company, where they had developed software to manage training workflow and measure training results. Turns out there was a lot of demand for access to this tool--training organizations and HR traditionally get no love in the software space--so Administrate was built to address the pain points of training managers and senior executives.

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A personal story of accomplishment: Jackie Caniza

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 10 months and 1 day 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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