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

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.

Were you able to connect and network with other professionals during the sessions? If so, was that beneficial?
I was very inspired by my classmates and all of my professors. Today, I am still in contact and communicate with many of them as we work cross-collaborative projects together.

Are there any particular insights from your course time at MIT Sloan that you would like to share?
I have learned many insights from my time at MIT, but one in particular comes to mind: I gained insight about gap intelligence. We need to work at closing the gaps between different disciplines with better communication and collaboration with one another--professionally, politely, and openly. It takes a team effort to close gap intelligence by transitioning from "solo genius" to "collective genius."

Do you have a favorite professor? Course? Experience?
I enjoyed learning from all of my professors and appreciated the opportunity to engage with them. MIT's professors were willing to share years of pragmatic industry experience and cultural engagement. They enhanced my strategic thinking, and now I am excited to share my knowledge, experience, and enhanced vision with my colleagues.

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